I know that knowledge is power, but as I confessed before Mixfest, I have largely remained in denial (and subsequently in the dark) when it comes to college savings for Laurel and Violet. And via casual conversations with other parents, I know I’m not alone! So today -- as part of my work with MEFA/Fidelity -- I want to share 5 (totally not scary) ways to get college savings savvy. These resources have been so helpful -- and easy to process! -- for me.
1. Get a handle on the overall basics. I found this Make College a Reality slideshow super helpful, particularly regarding dispelling some of the myths related to college savings; for example, that saving for college means no financial aid or that it’s not worth saving if you can’t save at all. This is a really compact and streamlined (read: not an overwhelming amount of financial lingo) primer in just 19 slides!
2. Figure out what you need to do now. I find it less overwhelming to identify what I need to tackle right now (or in a year or two window) vs. thinking about a 15-year span. Check out this categorical grade planning breakdown, ranging from pre-K to graduate school, to help you figure out immediate action items.
3. Identify savings options. This savings guide identifies the differences between the U.Plan and U.Fund and offers helpful tips for saving for college.
4. Learn the MEFA U.Fund basics. I imagine most people would lean towards the more geographically flexible U.Fund. MEFA is a non-profit state authority that works to make higher education more accessible and affordable, and the Massachusetts 529 college investing plan is a tax-advantaged college savings plan professionally managed by Fidelity. This 529 overview offers a nice, concise outline for the tax advantages and basic financial details.
5. Get free advice. I will admit that reading about important, financial matters is not my forte! If you feel similarly, MEFA offers free seminars and webinars to help families learn about planning, saving, and paying for college. There are lots of time/location options, just in October alone.
Totally not scary, right? I hope these resources prove as helpful to you as they've been to me!
Disclosure: I’ve partnered with Fidelity & MEFA for this post in support of the U.Fund Dreams Tour. All thoughts and opinions are -- of course -- my own.
Image credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net