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Back to School. September 2014

I want for my two girls the same as every parent does – for them to have happiness and success. But what does that mean? And what will it take?

Like most suburban families, we’ve spent quite a lot of time - and money – over the past few weeks obtaining all the tools the kids will need to have a successful school year. We’ve purchased pens, pencils, binders, composition notebooks, computers, calculators, backpacks, hand sanitizer, new shoes, new eyeglasses, and back-to-school clothes.

Next week at 6:53 am we’ll stagger to the corner and join the other sleepy moms and anxious kids waiting for the school bus. No doubt all the kids will be prepared for the first day - healthy breakfast, freshly brushed teeth, new clothes, and neatly organized backpacks. It’s great to see everyone off to a fresh, new start but it also makes me wonder, how many families are REALLY preparing their kids for academic success? I’m referring to more than just the new outfit and the pile of school supplies. I’m referring to a plan for their future college experience.

Let’s agree on two very obvious facts. One: college is really, really expensive. Two: kids grow up in the blink of an eye. Put those two statements together and that’s why planning today is critical.

That’s why my husband and I, as well as so many of my clients, are taking advantage of the benefits of saving for college through 529 College Savings Plans. With a wide array of investment choices, tax advantages, flexible contribution terms, low minimums, and unique control features, it’s easy to see why 529 Plans are such a popular option. In fact, the numbers keep growing. According to Financial Research Corporation (FRC), 5.5 million households in the United States have 529 plans in 2012, up from 3.5 million five years ago.

Ask yourself, are you doing your part to ensure your kids will be academically prepared, and also financially prepared for that next step? Be sure to add “College Fund” on your Back To School to-do checklist and give me a call. We can discuss a strategy and together we will navigate the many options until we find a solution that works for your family based on your budget, your risk tolerance, your time frame and your unique personal needs and concerns.

No one said that equipping your child for a lifetime of success was going to be a simple or easy task. However, don’t make the tragic mistake of being prepared for the first day of the school year but unprepared for what will happen at the end of the school year.

 

Investments in 529 college savings plans involve investment risks. Investors should also consider, before investing, whether their home state or the home state of the beneficiary offers any state tax or other benefits that are only available for investments in in such state’s qualified tuition program.

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Jennifer Blake Karaczen

NEXT Financial Group, Inc.
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Jennifer.Karaczun@Nextrep.com

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