Not only is it important to encourage your child to discover, explore and dream, it is essential that parents are prepared for life beyond the nest – college. Below is a practical guide to help parents, family and friends plan and save for that special child in their life.

Parents

Children

Family & Friends

Newborn – Pre K

Research and compare 529 programs online check
Talk to your financial advisor about 529 college savings plan
Talk to your family and friends about what they’re doing to save for college
Use online calculators to help establish goals and create your personal college savings plan
Open a 529 college savings account
Sign up for a 529 affinity program and link it to your account (make sure that your state allows you to do this)
Encourage family members and friends to contribute to your child’s 529 account. “Give the Gift of Education” during celebrations and holidays
Check your personal plan on an annual basis
Establish an automatic contribution plan for a checking or savings account to make contributing easy
For 529 plans with a state income tax deduction or other incentive make sure you take full advantage of this extra benefit

Grade School

Consider the steps for a Newborn – Pre K but recognize that you have less time to save so you need to adjust goals or contribution amounts
Review your personal 529 college savings plan and savings amounts to ensure it is on track to meet your college savings goals. Make adjustments as necessary
Introduce your child to money and savings

Middle School

Consider the steps for a Newborn – Pre K but recognize that you have less time to save so you need to adjust goals or contribution amounts
Encourage family members and friends to contribute to your child’s 529 account as a gift
Involve your child in the savings process by sharing with them quarterly statements and savings plans
Establish a Matching Gift Program with your child. For every dollar they put into their 529 account match it with the same or more
Sign up for a 529 affinity program (if offered by your state’s program)
Increase contributions to your 529 college savings account

High School

Review your personal 529 college savings plan and savings amounts to ensure it is on track to meet your college savings goals. Make adjustments as necessary. Involve your child as schools of interest become clearer
Encourage family members and friends to contribute to your child’s 529 account as a gift
Involve your child in the savings process by sharing with them quarterly statements and savings plans
Increase contributions to your 529 college savings account
Attend financial aid workshops to learn about different ways to pay for college
Research and apply for scholarships on line and at your local community organizations, churches, etc
Attend a college fair and/or visit college campuses