I just finished watching A Different World marathon and for some reason, I always forget how much I love that show. Whitley Gilbert was my favorite character because she was the originator of ‘bad & bougie’. Most importantly, that show inspired me to go to college because it showed me that it was possible for someone like me. As I continued to binge on episodes, it got me to thinking about my own son and his collegiate endeavors.
My husband and I firmly believe that our son, Kingston Cane, will receive a full scholarship to the University of Miami and become a Miami Hurricane! We’re so firm in this belief that his middle name, Cane, is an homage to the Miami Hurricanes. But while we have these high hopes, we also realize that there’s a possibility that it may not happen and that’s fine too. He may not attend the University of Miami but he will go to college and we need to be prepared when the time comes. Trust me, I’m counting the days until he’s off to college and I can turn his room back into my office.
So for all the bougie mamas out there here are a few reasons why you should start a college fund for your child (and some tips on where to start!)
1. It’s Simple and Easy
Most 529 plans can be set up online or at a local bank or credit union. A financial advisor provides you with the paperwork and advice to make the best decisions for your family at no cost to you. Also, many states have a version of the 529 plan that can offer local tax breaks. Here’s some info from the government on types of 529 plans available!
2. There’s Flexibility in the Spending
The 529 savings plan is not taxed at the federal level and there are no tax penalties when the money is withdrawn for education purposes. The savings can be used toward education and educated-related expenses such as purchasing a laptop, books or paying for tuition. It can also
be used for any child that attends college; there’s no sole beneficiary. For me, if Kingston Cane’s scholarship to the University of Miami actually pans out I will be using the 529 funds to attend culinary school to pursue my dreams as a vegan pastry chef.
3. Any Amount Will Make an Impact
I don’t make tons of money, but I’ve found financial success in shifting my lifestyle choices. In fact, one year I was able to save $25,000 by being more mindful of my money goals. Channeling those same behaviors, I can now save for my little one’s college future. I currently contribute
$150 a month; which isn’t a lot but it’s what I can afford at the moment. I know that the small amount, plus time and interest will make a sizable impact in 17 years. Start where you are!
4. It Takes a Village to Raise A Child
You can ask family members to contribute in lieu of birthday presents and Christmas gifts. Toys are fun, but most toddlers rather play with your keys, the remote control or in the toilet; yes the toilet. Instead of accepting toys on holidays ask your friends and family (especially the
grandparents) to contribute that money toward the 529 savings plan.
5. Do the Math
Think about your personal student loans (if you have any). I calculated my loan repayment throughout the course of a year and the amount of money was so startling I found myself rocking back and forth in a corner the fetal position. But seriously, I discovered that it is wiser to save for my son’s college as opposed to taking out loans with compound interest. I know the anxiety I feel every time my student loan payment is due and I don’t wish that on anyone; especially my sweet baby boy who enjoys playing in the toilet.
As you embark on 2018 and think about new habits and resolutions I encourage you, bougie mamas, to start thinking about your child’s futures. College is expensive and will likely continue to cost an arm and a leg. I challenge you to figure out ways to include contributions to child’s college education in your monthly budget. We owe it to our kids to help them secure a bright future that’s free of debt and full of opportunity.
Research shows that a college degree can be one of the most proven ways to attain wealth. Still looking for more info on where to start? There are lots of types of 529 accounts (some only cover only in-state tuition for example).Talk to a financial professional you already trust. Credit unions, bankers, etc. are all great resources. Time magazine offers some great resources online (advice varies by state.)
About the mama blogger:
Ar’Sheill Monsanto is a Houston lifestyle blogger, mom and wife. Her blog focus on marriage, parenting, relationships and career advice for savvy women. You can check out her blog, ArYouSerious, at www.aryouserious.com, follow her on Instagram @ar.youserious, or send her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.