Along with our age-based investment options, Ohio’s 529 Plan, CollegeAdvantage, offers age-based savings strategies for parents who want to select their own 529 investment options. No matter how old your child is, Ohio’s 529 Plan has guidance on what to do at this current stage of their life. It’s never too early and never too late to save for their higher education. In this first article of a six-part series, Ohio’s 529 Plan shares recommendations on what steps to take to build a 529 college savings account from when your child is a baby or toddler.

Baby – Toddler

We hear that congratulations are in order! There’s so much to do and so much to consider before your baby is born. You may already be thinking about their future college costs and how you can cover some of those higher education expenses.

One of the best things you can do is to start saving early. In fact, you can start saving before your child is born by opening a tax-advantaged 529 college savings account under your own name. Once your baby has been issued a Social Security number, you can transfer the account to them. The sooner you start the 529 account, the sooner the power of compound interest and tax-free earnings can go to work growing the account.

It’s also easy for others to make a contribution to an Ohio 529 Plan account with Ugift. As the account owner of a CollegeAdvantage Direct 529 Plan, you can request an Ugift code, which allows the gift givers to donate online directly to your 529 plan, without worrying about your account number. They can use the Ugift code to contribute to the account at any time and as many times as they like. If the gift giver would prefer to write a check, make sure it’s payable to Ohio Tuition Trust Authority (the state agency which administers CollegeAdvantage) and includes the 11-digit account number.

Car seats. Diapers. Cribs. Diapers. Baby bouncers. Diapers. Baby clothes. Diapers. Bottles. Diapers. Baby shampoo. Diapers. And the list goes on and on. Before you go shopping, first sign up for Upromise, a free loyalty program that offers members cash back and rebates for purchases made at a wide variety of businesses. First, you connect your debit and/or credit card to your Upromise account to earn rewards with your everyday shopping. Then link your Upromise account to your CollegeAdvantage Direct 529 Plan account to roll over these rebates. Read how this CollegeAdvantage family used Upromise to add to their 529 savings.

After your bundle of joy is born, don’t forget to keep adding to their college savings account. In case you get too busy (or don’t get enough sleep), how about setting up automatic contributions so there’s one less item on your to-do list? It’s simple to do and you can set it and forget it to concentrate on more important items – like finding your baby’s favorite binky.

Someday, your baby will be heading off to college so start saving today with Ohio’s tax-free 529 plan. These are some recommendations to consider for your baby and the corresponding steps to take with your 529 college savings plan. Be sure to visit the blog section of next Wednesday to consider what to do for your 529 plan as your child heads off to kindergarten.

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