Whether it’s for your own child, a grandchild or other loved one, the best time to start saving for college is right now. College costs continue to outpace inflation, and in 18 years you can expect to spend six figures on a 4-year college degree. One of the smartest ways to get ahead of the game and keep your child’s student loan debt to a minimum is to open a tax-free 529 college savings plan through CollegeBacker.
CollegeBacker is a free online platform that helps families select, open and manage a 529 plan. Once a 529 plan is set up, CollegeBacker families create a personal gifting page for their child and invite family and friends to chip in. There are no minimum age requirements for a child to have a CollegeBacker account. In fact, you can even open an account for a child before they are born.
Many CollegeBacker families are making the most of their 529 plan by starting to save early.
- 20% of CollegeBacker families start saving for college before their child is born
- 60% of CollegeBacker families enrolled when their children were age two or younger
- On average CollegeBacker families are saving 43% more by inviting family and friends to help
Savingforcollege.com readers who enroll in CollegeBacker are currently eligible to receive a $25 matching VIP gift to help kick-start their college savings.
It only takes about five minutes to open a CollegeBacker account. You can start growing your child’s college savings before naptime is over. Here are a few more compelling reasons to get started today.
It pays to start saving for college early
The investment earnings in your 529 plan grow tax-deferred and withdrawals are completely tax-free when used to pay for qualified higher education expenses. Because of this tax-free compounding, families who start saving early will accumulate a larger portion of their total savings from investment earnings.
For example, a family who contributes $250 each month to a 529 plan from the time their child is a newborn until they are 18 years old can save $95,000 for college, assuming a 6% annual investment return. However, if the same family waited to start saving until their child is 8 years old, they would have to save around $600 each month to reach the same college savings goal.
529 plan contributions make a great gift
With CollegeBacker, families can invite grandparents and other friends and family to contribute to their child’s 529 plan. A gift of college savings is more meaningful than a traditional baby shower, birthday or holiday gift. Right now, your baby or toddler doesn’t know the difference between an expensive toy or a 529 plan contribution, but they will certainly appreciate the latter when it’s time to pay for college.
Gift givers can schedule a college savings gift through the CollegeBacker website. The recipient is notified of the gift via email, and once they redeem the gift, the funds are invested in a 529 plan. As a backer, the gift giver can see updates and track the child’s college saving progress.
How to Open a CollegeBacker Account Before A Child is Born
When you start to save for college before your child is born, there is more time for your 529 plan investment earnings to compound tax-free. CollegeBacker makes it easy to start saving for a future child. But, an unborn child can’t be named as a 529 plan beneficiary, since they do not have a Social Security number or tax identification number.
Instead, future parents and grandparents can open a CollegeBacker account and name themselves as the 529 plan beneficiary. CollegeBacker can help you change the beneficiary on the 529 plan account once the child is born. An extra year or two of college savings can make a difference in your ending balance and help reduce the amount your child has to borrow in student loans.