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We all want the very best for our children. It’s one of the few things that is universal among parents. Despite religious, political, and cultural differences, something all parents can agree on is that we hope our children succeed in whatever path they choose for their future.
If there is one thing we can learn from the current situation in the world, it’s that the future can be unpredictable. Trips are being canceled. Weddings are being postponed. Life as we know it is almost unrecognizable at times. The importance of planning for the unexpected has never been more discernible.
When I was pregnant with my oldest daughter, I experienced a life-threatening complication that resulted in a hospitalization and an extended absence from work. So, not only did I have a substantial unexpected medical bill, I wasn’t earning my regular salary either. At that time, I realized how important it was to have a little money stashed away, because you never know when you’ll need it.
That mindset has carried over as my husband and I consider our daughters’ futures. One of the largest financial burdens we both had when we met was our student loan debt. I know a lot of couples who can say the same. A NY 529 plan is one way to ease that burden for your child(ren). Just like with retirement savings, a little bit here and there can really make a difference over time.
One of the best things about the NY 529 plan is that it’s not all or nothing. If there comes a time when you’re not able to contribute as much as you normally would due to unforeseen circumstances, you can still contribute. Even $5 or $10 a month makes a difference.
As a mom, it’s hard accepting that there are so many things I can’t control. And that’s okay, because that’s how life works. But being able to reduce the amount of student loan debt my girls will take on is one thing I CAN do. Saving a little now versus borrowing more later reduces the overall cost of their education, and might be the difference between going to their dream school versus the school they can afford (or not going at all). Unlike other accounts (like UGMA/UTMA), a 529 is not considered part of the child’s assets in financial aid calculations, so it has significantly less impact on financial aid eligibility.
As our youngest daughter’s second birthday approaches, we are being bombarded with suggestions for gift ideas from grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends. We may not be able to have a traditional birthday party the way we hope to again this year, but friends and family still want to help us celebrate her special day. A contribution to her NY 529 plan is what I’m going to offer as an option.
It’s never too early to plan for the future and investing in education is always wise. The sooner you start, the more you’ll have when the time comes to use it. Because let’s face it, we blink and those babies become toddlers. We blink again and those toddlers are now donning a cap and gown getting ready to spread their wings. Wouldn’t it be nice to play a role in helping them follow their dreams?