Like most parents, I believe that a great college education will bring my two children the best chance for a better, more prosperous future. But the eye-popping cost of college and mounting student debt have created real concerns about how to answer the ultimate question: how can we afford to send our kids to college?
When I started to research how to begin saving money to reduce future borrowing for my two kids, I found a vast variety of options. Like most people, I’ve never worked in finance, so I was quickly overwhelmed by what I was reading. Financial jargon seemed like an entirely different language. There were long and confusing agreements, endless applications, tax-related terms, and a variety of different accounts to choose from. I felt like SpongeBob (yes, I watch a lot of cartoons with my kids), in the episode where he’s running through the perfume section of the department store, trying to dodge random sprays, and eventually starts to suffocate. The time that I spent in front of the computer screen, raised more questions than answers and made me want to throw my computer out of the nearest window.
Even after a good night’s sleep, I woke up with nagging thoughts in my mind like a hamster running on a squeaky wheel in the background. I had to find the way to send my precious little geniuses to get a good education. There was no way I could fail at this task. My “obsession” brought me back at my laptop, a hundred open browser tabs waited for me. New day, fresh ideas, right? I decided on my next move: read family and personal blogs to learn from people who’d figured it out already.
Some options I encountered on those blogs: send my kids to a different country where education is cheaper, start a career in modeling, rely on scholarships, withdraw from my 401K, use life insurance money, open savings/brokerage accounts, take out student loans, and apply for expensive parent loans.
Five cups of coffee later, trying to process all of these options and considering whether to hide my money in the back of the sock drawer or sell my kidney, I noticed some quality responses about the 529 college savings plan. Just as SpongeBob and his friend Patrick found their way out of the suffocating perfume store, I found mine. Sweet relief! I could breathe again!
The more I read about the 529 plan, the more sense it made to me. Since it’s tax-advantaged, that means my account will grow faster than other investment accounts. Also, the money in my 529 account compounds over time and my favorite benefit is that family and friends can also contribute. It’s like a gift that truly keeps on giving.
Finally, I had figured out how a 529 plan works. But then came the real question: how to get started? It turns out there is a simple and modern way to begin saving with a 529 plan and enjoy the process — the U-Nest app.
How U-Nest Helps With Saving?
U-Nest is a mobile app platform, run by professional financial advisors that makes it extremely simple to start a 529 plan and help it grow. There is no complex process to open an account, no need to fill out a 15-page long application (I know!), no need to sift through thousands of investment options. Sign-up only takes 5 minutes. Just link it to your bank account to contribute money (as little as $25) every month.
There are plenty of free resources out there, and you could figure out all of it for yourself, but if you’re serious about saving for your children’s future, use this shortcut to take control of your savings and allow it to provide you peace of mind. U-Nest is a simple way to get you started. You can Download U-Nest here.