Gift Higher Education with ScholarShare 529 College Savings Plan
While I have been posting a lot of reviews, giveaways, and other gift ideas for the season, I have a unique, but cool idea for gift giving. I recently attended a dinner with the people from ScholarShare, and I learned a ton of useful information. I haven’t been in a position to save for quite some time, but with my husband graduating from chiropractic school in June, I have some hope for my future. With 4 children, all of which I expect to graduate from college, that is a lot of money that someone has to come up with. I haven’t decided how much of my kids’ education I want to pay for, and how much I want them to work for, but I definitely want to give them a start if nothing else. One thing I know for sure is that I don’t want my kids to ever think they can’t go to college because we don’t have the money.
If you are in the same boat as me right now, where you are unable to save, then perhaps you can ask your kids’ grandparents and aunts and uncles, to get a College Savings Plan started! The ScholarShare 529 College Savings Plans makes it easier than ever for parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles (and any other generous family members or friends that you may have), to give a meaningful gift that they don’t have to beat the lines to get. This particular savings plan is only for California, but you can check your home state to see what College Savings Plans are available, if you aren’t in my state.
Giving the gift of a ScholarShare 529 College Savings Plan is great because it can be used years after gifting it! You can’t say that about many gifts for kids. ScholarShare makes last minute holiday gift giving easy and painless. Through the “Give a Gift” option on the ScholarShare website. Any gift giver can open an account.
To open an account, all you need is $25, but you can definitely start a plan with more money if you’d like. At the dinner, I learned that if you open an account with $25, then you have to contribute at least $25 every month. However, if you the monthly commitment makes you nervous (if your finances are precarious), then you have the option to start an account with $50. Starting the account at a higher amount might be worth it for some, because then you don’t have to commit to pay into the account every month. I personally plan to contribute more at tax return and bonus time.
If your favorite loved one is already on the path to college with ScholarShare, you can contribute to an existing account with the “Gift of Education Certificate,” allowing for a personal message to be included for the beneficiary.
Studies have shown that Between 1985-2005, tuition has risen 439 percent! That is so high! Tucking some money away when you can, will really help offset some of those increases. I have included a few statistics that may surprise you:
The average college student in 2011 had a staggering average debt of $22,900. Source: Mark Kantrowicz, FinAid.org
Average cumulative debt has increased by 5.6% or $1,139 a year since 2003-04. Source: Mark Kantrowicz, FinAid.org
Compared to other regions of the country, outstanding student loan payments in California and the Northeast are far greater. Many counties in California find students have to take out multiple loans, each having an average outstanding student debt per account hovering between $8,337 to $12,701 Source: Equifax, Moody Analytics
Starting to save early works, the results indicate. California Parents who have been saving more than 10 years have set aside an average of $25,193. That compares to $14,733 for those saving 6-10 years and $4,663 for those saving five years or less. Source: ScholarShare California Statewide Survey, 2012
ScholarShare has made some recent changes that may interest you, compared to their older plans.
- Under the revamped plan, fees will be reduced by approximately 30 percent, making ScholarShare one of the lowest cost 529 plans in the country.
- The annual asset based management fees now range from 0.18 percent to 0.62 percent, vs. 0.25 percent to 1.06 percent with old plan.
- 4 additional investment portfolios (15 to 19), giving account holders more options, depending on their savings goals and risk tolerance.
- You can also compare different college saving choices to make the wisest selections for you and your beneficiary.
If you are gifting to any children, teens or young adults this year, I recommend really considering starting or adding to a College Savings Plan, to help with their education. I believe education is so important and can aid in giving our youth the tools they need to succeed. If you are in California, like me, then check out ScholarShare for more information.
This is a sponsored post. All opinions expressed are my own.