Less Is More for Ages 0 to 4
When you’re the parent of little ones, particularly those who are 4 years old and younger, navigating holiday gifts from friends and family can be tricky. While it’s heartwarming to watch your children open fabulous presents, chances are they have a pile of perfectly good toys at home that they’re already bored with. And every parent has probably watched a toddler be more fascinated with the box it came in than the actual gift.
We get it—the toy situation can easily get out of hand.
Just know that if you’re dreading the annual onslaught of everything from plushies and puzzles to building blocks and bath crayons, you’re not alone. In fact, recent research shows that an increasing number of parents across the country are embracing the idea of gifting college funds in lieu of material gifts for the holidays.
In one study, nearly half of all parents surveyed said they will ask for contributions to their children’s 529 savings plans during the holidays and other major milestones. And almost a quarter of surveyed families said they didn’t realize this kind of educational gifting was possible, but planned to learn more about it. After all, college is expensive, and it’s never too early to start saving.
But how do parents broach the subject with loved ones who want to shower their baby or toddler with the latest toys? It’s delicate, no doubt. Talking about money is always a little awkward, so to help you out, we consulted the experts and came up with these tips:
- Make Your Goal Known. If you want to ensure your child can attend college or take part in another kind of post-secondary education with less debt, let your inner circle know early on. Explain why education is important to you. These are people who will play important roles in your child’s life, so they will be interested. Make sure to have the conversation in person and speak honestly about your hopes for your child’s future.
- Be Willing to Compromise. Restraint doesn’t always come easily to excited grandparents and aunties and uncles at the holidays, so think about asking for a combo gift of one special toy or other item along with a contribution to the college fund. It’s a win-win!
- Walk the Walk. Making saving for college a priority when, or even before, your child is born. From infancy on, when you receive a monetary gift for your child, make a point of setting aside a small portion for college and share with friends and family what you’re doing. Seeing you work diligently toward your child’s education reinforces that it’s a serious priority, and they will likely want to support you during the years to come.
- Remember, Small Contributions Add up over Time. Assure friends and family that you’re not expecting any contribution to be extravagant. Be gracious and open to any amount they want to give, and remind them that even small investments are worthwhile.
- Craft a Special Email or Card. When the holidays arrive, one option is to write a personal message to friends and relatives about your child’s college fund and how you would welcome any gift contributions they would like to make. Be sure to include details about your child, their interests and abilities, and express to these loved ones how much you value their presence in your child’s life.
Remember, if you want college to be part of your child’s future, you can invite friends and family to contribute to your Florida 529 Prepaid Plan or a Florida 529 Savings Plan through the gifting portal in your online account.
Every contribution, large and small, can have a lasting impact on your child’s future.
It’s easy, just follow the steps below:
STEP 1 – Log into your Florida Prepaid account. Click on the gift image on the homepage.
STEP 2 – Select Gifting Event Type and Start Date.
STEP 3 – Select one or more beneficiaries to add to the eGift event.
STEP 4 – Select invitees — choose contacts from your address book to send an eGift email invitation.
STEP 5 – Preview invite email and then click Create Event.