Thanks to the Guaranteed Education Tuition program for their sponsorship of this post.
The holidays are winding down and it’s time to get back on track. While everyone may have a different New Year’s resolution in mind (from hitting the gym to cutting out sweets) something many of us have in common is trying to get our spending back in control and our budgets balanced.
While setting your family budget for the New Year, it’s important to be looking ahead – especially when it comes to planning for future college costs. Preparing for this major expense is a high priority for parents with high schoolers, but may be one of the last things on your mind if you’re busy cleaning up after infants or preschoolers. College may seem eons away when kids are young, but before you know it, your cooing, crawling baby will be a walking, (back) talking teenager, filling out college applications.
This year is a great opportunity to make a resolution to take that first step to begin saving for college. One of the best ways for families to begin putting away for higher education is through a 529 plan. These tax-advantaged plans are specifically designed to help families maximize their college savings. One of the most significant benefits of a 529 plan is that account earnings and withdrawals are tax-free when funds are used to pay for qualified higher education expenses.
Washington’s 529 plan, the Guaranteed Education Tuition (or GET) Program, shares the same advantages as other 529 plans, but with some unique benefits. The value of a GET account is guaranteed by the State of Washington to increase along with rising tuition costs in our state. This means that your savings are not subject to the ups and downs of the stock market that many other investment options face. It’s also important to know that even though the value is tied to rising tuition in our state, you can use a GET account to pay for school nearly anywhere in the country (and even in other countries).
There are many good reasons to start saving as early as possible, but perhaps one of the most convincing is that average student loan debt is now over $27,000, and national student loan debt has surpassed $1 trillion. Further, studies show that children who know there’s a college savings account in their name are seven times more likely to attend than those who don’t. By making a plan and starting while your kids are young, you’re ensuring they can focus on worrying about “where” they want to go to college, rather than “if” they can go to college.
GET is in its sixteenth year of helping Washington families save for college. Since 1998, GET has helped over 34,000 students attend college in all 50 states and 14 foreign countries. You can open a GET account online between November 1 – May 31, annually. Once enrolled, you can continue contributing to the account year-round. For more information, visit the GET website here, or call 1.800.955.2318.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post with provided content. We are a proud GET family.