Helping Them Believe ‘I Can Be Anything!’
Ask a child what they want to be when they grow up, and the answers often have no limitations.
I am going to be an astronaut!…I want to be a firefighter!… I am going to be a doctor like my mom…I will be a princess and a teacher and a zookeeper…President of the United States!
The challenge, and the goal for any of us as parents and educators, is to support a child’s confident, no-limits ambitions long past grade school. We have to empower them not just with the desire to achieve great things in their careers – but also the practical resources to do these things.
The path to most careers begins with a postsecondary education, which can be a significant expense. Consider:
- Today the average cost of a 4-year degree at a university (including undergraduate tuition, fees, room and board) is close to $30,000, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
- According to Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, it is estimated that two-thirds of job openings will require postsecondary education within the next 5 years.
- The same study found an individual with a bachelor’s degree can earn up to $1.6 million more over their lifetime than someone with only a high school diploma.
Having a college savings account for your child sends powerful messages: We expect your education to continue into college. We want to help you be anything you can be.
Today the average cost of a 4-year degree at a university (including undergraduate tuition, fees, room and board) is close to $30,000, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
According to Sean Moore, a certified financial planner who specializes in college savings, children with college savings are 4.5 times as likely to graduate from college as those without.
Moore, president of SMART College Funding, encourages families to involve children in the college savings process. Have them contribute toward college savings with a portion of the money they receive for birthdays and holidays. Encourage them to ask for contributions to their fund in lieu of trinkets as gifts. Talk about what you, as a family, are doing to save for college as well as what will be expected for the child to contribute as they get older.
The key to saving for college is to start as soon as you can – long before they are even old enough to know what “career” means. By beginning when your child is a newborn, you are able to maximize the compounding of their dollars, says Moore.
If you wait until your child is in kindergarten (age 5 or 6), you would need to save twice as much money per month to achieve the same goals! By waiting until 4th grade (age 10.5) you’d need to save 4 times as much per month!
Help your child follow through on their no-limits dreams by making sure they have a college savings account to back them up.