Saving for College: A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

I have clearly been in a bit of denial regarding the whole college savings thing for Laurel and Violet. So it seemed quite fitting to head to the MEFA/Fidelity U.Fund Dreams Tour tent at Mixfest with Laurel on Saturday. Laurel's newly minted 10-year-old status has been conjuring up all sorts of “what will happen in the future?” type conversations in my head pretty much constantly.

The U.Fund Dreams Tour tent was outfitted as a (totally not scary!) way to introduce people to the concept of college savings; specifically, to invite kids -- and prop-loving grownups! -- to dream about what the future could bring.

Visitors could choose a career, pose with props, and leave with a photo of them in a particular career setting. (Laurel and I chose a mix of astronaut, viking, and rock star props because hey, DREAM BIG!) There also were cute set pieces that included regional facts that made me pretty proud to be from Massachusetts.

And while the photo booth definitely made for fun images, the picture that made the biggest impact on me was from a brochure I picked up at the booth. I’m a visual person and a former scientist who spent considerable time nerding out on spreadsheets and statistics and graphs, so perhaps this is not too surprising! Anyway, this hypothetical depiction of what a $50 vs. $100 vs. $300 monthly college savings investment could render totally got my wheels spinning.

I mean, RIGHT? Whoa. Though it might pain me some in the short term, I could totally redirect some of our monthly burrito budget into a 529 and it would not be that hard.

Next month I’m going to share about nuts and bolts about the 529 (I’m just really learning this all myself), but if you’re ready to take the plunge right now, you can learn more here.

Image credits: event images by Christine Koh; hypothetical example graph by MEFA/Fidelity.

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.