With a sad heart but a brave smile on your face, you usher your brand new kindergartner onto the school bus for the first time, waving as it pulls away. Later in the day, you are first in line at the bus stop to pick them up when they return.
The first day of kindergarten is a milestone in both of your lives and a big step forward in your child’s education. It could also be a big step forward for his or her future higher education. Because one day, your kindergartner will want to go to college, trade/vocational school or start an apprenticeship program. So what are some small steps you can do today to make their future higher education dreams come true?
Well, here’s one idea: What’s your plan for the money you’re saving by not paying for preschool? As these costs are already figured into your budget, why not shift them from paying for their pre-k education to saving them for their post-secondary education with Ohio’s 529 Plan, CollegeAdvantage?
Preschool is actually a huge disappearing expense. Since your baby has starting kindergarten, transform those former day care or preschool costs into regular contributions to their 529 college savings account. Those dollars you’ve prioritized for pre-K education can now support your child’s higher education.
A disappearing expense, one of those temporary costs in your family’s budget, like preschool, diapers or baby formula. There’s actually quite a few disappearing expenses in a budget that can be redirected in college savings contributions once they are done. Other disappearing expenses include paying off a car loan, medical or dental bills, credit card debt, or even your own student loans. These costs are probably included in your budget so you aren’t missing any income by shifting those dollars to a 529 account. As you know from paying off those bills, it’s far cheaper to save now than pay off student loans later.
Compound Interest: A Saving Superpower
Another reason to transfer those preschool or day care costs into contributions for Ohio’s 529 Plan: You can grow your 529 college savings plan with the power of compound interest for a longer time if you start while your child is young.
For a 529 college savings plan, the compound interest is accrued not just on the original contribution but every contribution as well as the earnings from the 529 investment options and the already accumulated interest. If you’d like to see the power of compound interest, use this calculator from U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to input your information to see how compound interest can build up your college savings account.
The effect of compounding is especially powerful over a long period of time as the amount of earned interest grows larger and larger. This is an excellent reason to start as 529 fund as early as possible for your child – to maximize the effects of compound interest in the account. In a 529 plan, compound interest works for your best interests. On the flip side, accrued interest on a student loan debt can set back financial success as the interest will grow on the amount borrowed as well as unpaid accumulated interest. Any funds you can set aside in a 529 account is money your child won’t have to borrow for their education.
Tools and calculators
Just imagine how quickly your Ohio 529 Plan account can grow by adding these disappearing expenses. Ohio’s 529 Plan has free tools and calculators to help you see how every dollar can help. You can determine your long-term savings goals with the college savings estimator and see how adding those disappearing expense can boost the 529 account. You can also check out the benefits of saving now in a tax-advantaged 529 plan for higher education costs later. You may also want to review how much of a difference saving early can make by taking advantage of growth through compound interest. After exploring all the options you have in a 529 account, set aside what you can afford now and add those disappearing expenses from your budget as your child grows older.
Saving strategies by life stage
Whether you’ve started saving for your child’s higher education before they are born or if you are getting a later start, Ohio’s 529 Plan, CollegeAdvantage, offers account strategy suggestions based on your child’s age. These life milestones are the perfect opportunity to start, ramp up your saving, and take advantage of Ugift and Upromise. Based on how old your child is — whether a baby to toddler, kindergarten to elementary schooler, middle schooler, high schooler, or college student — review the guidance and choose for yourself the best path for your 529 account.
If you’d like to open an account with Ohio’s 529 Plan, today is a great day to start! 529 plans are the tax-advantaged way to save for future higher education and college costs. With tax-free earnings, tax-free withdrawals for qualified expenses, and a $4,000 state income tax deduction for Ohio residents who contribute to an Ohio’s 529 Plan account, 529 college savings plans are a smart and simple way to save for the future. And 529s can be used at not only four-year colleges, but also community colleges, technical, art or music schools, vocational and trade schools, apprenticeships, grad school, law school, or medical school. 529 plans are a great alternative to student loan debt. Ohio’s 529 Plan, CollegeAdvantage, is your plan, your way.