In our Money Mic series, we hand over the podium to people with controversial views about money. These are their views, not ours, but we welcome your responses.
Today, one woman shares how she made saving for her kids’ college education her top priority—stashing away thousands years before her daughter and son were even ready to enroll.
Ten years ago I was flipping through a magazine at the doctor’s office when I came across an article about the best ways to save for college.
It was a topic I’d been thinking about … a lot.
Even though my kids were young—my daughter, Jai, was 10, and my son, Matthew, was 7—I’d been putting about $25 a month into a college savings account for each of them since they were born, as well as every dollar they’d ever been given as a gift. I’d also opened South Carolina state 529 accounts for each of them, where I was depositing about $125 a month. And I was contributing to a state tuition prepayment plan too.
I knew I was doing the right thing by saving so much, but I constantly wondered if it would be enough.
I was starting to hear about skyrocketing tuition prices from friends who were also worried about whether they were putting enough away for their kids’ education. When I attended Spelman College in 1981, the tuition was just $3,000 a year. But when my daughter was in kindergarten 18 years later, that tuition had already shot up to nearly $12,000 a year—and I knew it was only going to increase.
So when the article mentioned the Private College 529 Plan, a savings plan that lets you prepay private college tuition and lock in today’s rates, I was intrigued—especially since I was hoping my daughter would follow in my own footsteps at Spelman.