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4 Reasons to Add a 529 Plan to your New Year’s Resolutions

January is the perfect time to make saving for your children's futures a priority. While you may not yet be emotionally prepared for the day you send your little ones off to college, a 529 account can help make sure at least your finances ARE ready.

If you’re determined to make 2022 the year you get your education savings in gear, there are a few steps you could take to make sure you’re on track to meet your goal.

Get started. It’s never too late --- or too early!

Families who have delayed saving typically put it off because they either don’t believe they have the money to start, or they can’t decide on the best way to save. These are understandable concerns. But whether your child was just born, or has just started high school, there’s no time like the present to put away money for their higher education. The sooner you start, the more time your investment will have to grow.

Make it convenient. Make it fit your budget.

With 529 plans, you can typically start saving with as little as $10 and choose how often and how much to save based on your budget. You can also reach your goals faster and put your savings on autopilot with automated contributions from your checking or savings account. Identify a start date, whether that’s the beginning of the month or a particular pay period, and kick start that goal!

Tell others.

Ask family and friends to contribute to your child’s 529 account as an alternative to toys and other gifts for holidays or birthdays. For example, Virginia529 offers gifting flexibility with gift cards, certificates and an online gifting center.

Rest assured. A 529 plan is flexible enough to let them achieve their dream!

One of the common misconceptions about 529 plans is that they can only be used for four-year colleges. 529 plans are designed to be flexible, and in recent years the approved uses for your 529 plan have grown to include many pathways to help your children achieve their dreams. Money saved in a 529 plan can be used for qualified higher education expenses at two- or four-year public or private colleges, universities and community colleges, as well as graduate and vocational/technical schools. And now, Invest529 funds can also be used to pay for some K-12 tuition expenses, registered apprenticeship programs and certain student loan repayment..

You don’t have to tackle saving for higher education alone. 529 plans like Virginia529 typically provide calculators and other tools to help families plan how much to save based on a child’s age, but experts say the key to savings success this year is to identify your goals, attempt to accomplish small steps to get there, and track your progress. Good luck!

- Devon Copeland, Senior Communications Associate, Virginia 529

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