A crisp stack of notebooks. A fresh pack of highlighters. Unsullied erasers. Backpacks almost bigger than the kids carrying them.
Sports fans always trot out the “Hope Springs Eternal” headline at the start of baseball season (stealing a line from Alexander Pope) — but for me, a Total Nerd, that feeling of freshness comes at fall. I love seeing my Facebook feed filled with first-day-of-school smiles. Now that I’m a parent, I get butterflies for those on both sides of the camera (errr, smartphone).
It’s crazy how quickly kids grow, and I know in two blinks we’ll be posing Emmett on the front steps before he heads off to Kindergarten. So, naturally, I’m already thinking about college. It’s hard to save when you’re paying for daycare (uff da!), but having a College Savings Iowa 529 Plan makes it easier. We started one as soon as we had Emmett’s social security number, and have contributed little by little, and in bigger chunks when he gets holiday moolah from grandparents.
OK – So you don’t have kids. Don’t let your eyes glaze over yet. You can contribute to an Iowa 529 plan for a niece, nephew, mentee, or even open one for yourself if you’re going back for grad school. And wouldn’t it be nice to seed an account with $10,000?
Some readers may remember I used to work with the Des Moines “I Have a Dream” Foundation, which is launching it’s Search the City contest right now. I know this project has taken a long time to launch, and I’m so excited to see it finally happening! It’ll be fun to solve clues and search for the medallion, which is worth a $10,000 college savings account! A registered Search the City Button owner that finds the medallion will receive a $10,000 college savings account that they may register in their name or the name of a beneficiary.
I’m giving away 5 Search the City buttons to blog readers who want to play along! To enter, just leave a comment letting me know your favorite thing about back to school season.
Oh – and here’ are some fascinating facts, fellow nerds:
- Children with a savings account in their own name are six times more likely to go to college than children who don’t have an account.
- Low-income students with just $500 or less in college savings are three times more likely to enroll in college and four times more likely to graduate.
- 72% of low-income students with college savings enroll in college and 33% graduate. Without savings, just 45% enroll and 7% graduate.
- $23 a month in a children’s savings account grows into $16,000 in savings by age 18, significantly decreasing the effects of college debt.