Growing Peace of Mind as a Mom :: My Experience with Future Scholar

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Columbia Mom is proud to partner with Future Scholar to bring our readers the following post.

Ever lay awake at night thinking about your child’s well-being? I know — silly question. Of course you have. Moms are the keepers of all information, the thinkers on every topic pertaining to our children. We literally lose sleep over the worry and the hope that we are doing all the things we need to for our children.

One thing that doesn’t have to keep you up at night is how to help save for and pay for your child’s higher education.

I started 529 college savings plans with Future Scholar over four years ago for both of my daughters, and it has given me such peace of mind knowing I am already giving my girls a head start in paying for their education.

What is Future Scholar?

Future Scholar is South Carolina’s 529 College Savings Plan. And what is a 529 plan? It’s a savings plan designed specifically for paying for higher education. If you’re familiar with a 401(k) plan, I can tell you that they work very similarly to one another. The money contributed is tax-deductible, and when you withdraw the funds, the earnings are also tax-free (state and federal), as long as the funds are used to pay for qualified educational expenses.

Every state offers a 529 plan as an option for saving and paying for higher education, but each state differs in how the plans are managed, as well as the benefits they offer. South Carolina’s Future Scholar 529 plan has been recognized as one of the best in the country. The plan has earned this recognition for its low fees, plus its tax advantages.

So why choose to start a 529 now? Here are the things that motivated me, and the reasons that I know I made a great decision by starting plans with Future Scholar.

It’s Easy

Setting up a 529 account was so easy with Future Scholar. I started plans for both girls in less than an hour, and I didn’t need to be a financial expert to do so. All you have to do to get started is visit their enrollment page! Contributions are easy too and can be set up as automatic contributions or done manually if, and when, you are financially able. And with Future Scholar’s gifting options, it’s also super easy for friends and family to contribute to the account as well!

It’s Flexible

I don’t have any idea what my children’s plans are for higher education. I can’t even predict which food my eight-year-old will decide she dislikes next week. But I don’t have to know my children’s plans right now. What’s great about Future Scholar is that it allows for that uncertainty through its flexibility.

Your child doesn’t have to choose a specific path for higher education to utilize a Future Scholar 529 College Savings Plan. The plans can be used to pay for a huge range of higher education choices. Whether your child chooses a public or private university, a two-year tech school, graduate school, trade school, or even an apprenticeship program, your Future Scholar 529 plan can be used to fund that choice. The funds can be used for any accredited school in the country, and over 600 international schools. You can even withdraw funds from your Future Scholar account to pay for K-12 tuition at public, private, or religious elementary or secondary schools.

Also, the funds can be used for more than just tuition. Your child can use the funds for room and board, books, and even computers. Plus, these plans are transferable, so if one child’s plans change, you still have options for using those 529 savings. The flexibility of the Future Scholar 529 plan makes it a great fit for families with children of any age, and even expectant moms about to welcome that first little one into the family!

Anyone Can Contribute

My husband and I contribute to our daughters accounts each month, but their grandparents also contribute, and it’s a great gift to our children. Anyone in the family that wants to contribute can do so, even friends! Plus, the contributions are deductible on your South Carolina state income taxes. And it’s very easy to make changes to your contributions as well. If your situation changes for any reason, you can make changes and updates to your contributions at any time. I’ve done so a couple of times and was truly impressed at how easy the process was.

Timing is Everything

The cost of college has risen dramatically over the past decade. It can be intimidating to think about, but it doesn’t have to be. The sooner you start saving with Future Scholar, the more time you have to reach your investment goals, and the less your child may have to borrow down the line.

So many savings options require a big investment upfront, which can be hard for so many of us to make happen. But Future Scholar has no minimum requirement for your initial investment or your monthly contributions. Every dollar you save (even if it’s only a few to start) makes a difference down the line for your child. And you can do it without straining yourself financially in the present. Future Scholar understands that you have to budget for the present and the future. No minimum contribution requirements make that possible. What matters the most is just getting started at the level at which you’re able.

I know that as moms, we have enough on our plate as it is. But taking the steps now to plan for your child’s education can let you cross a very important task off of your to-do list. And thankfully, Future Scholar makes the process of starting and contributing to your child’s 529 plan easy while offering flexibility to you and your child. Every bit you save makes a difference, and the savings can fit your budget now, plus change if and when your budget changes. If you’ve got a spare hour in your week, you can easily get a plan started, and sleep easier knowing that every dollar you’re saving now is one your child won’t have to borrow when it’s time to make those important higher education decisions.

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