Resolve to Secure Your Child's Future

The underlying goal of most New Year’s resolutions is to accomplish a goal or otherwise improve your life.

Similarly, obtaining a college degree is a life-changing accomplishment. The U.S. Census Bureau has reported that on average, Americans with bachelor’s degrees earn 67 percent more during their careers than those with only high school diplomas.

So, with the calendar freshly turned to the new year, it’s a perfect time for parents to resolve to review and potentially improve their college savings strategy to help secure their children’s future.

Here are some ways to get your college savings on track.

1. Start saving. If you’ve already started building a college savings account, congratulations! Feel free to skip to the next item in this list. But if you’ve been putting off saving for your child’s future higher education, don’t fret – but don’t wait. The earlier you begin saving the better, and every little bit helps. If you don’t have a big chunk of money to set aside at the outset, consider a Michigan Education Trust Pay-As-You-Go account, which you can open for as little as $111. Then you can make additional contributions of just $25 or more whenever you want.

2. Increase contributions. If you’re already regularly contributing to a college savings account, see if you’re able to increase the amount you put in. We’ve all heard tips for adjusting our spending. For example, take coffee with you in a travel mug instead of splurging on a latte during your daily commute. After just a week or two, you could use the savings to make a MET Pay-As-You-Go contribution. Or, as you accumulate a hoard of cash, you could buy at least a semester’s worth of MET prepaid tuition in a lump sum or with a monthly purchase plan.  

3. Set up automatic withdrawals. You can make saving for college simpler by scheduling automatic contributions to a MET account from a linked bank account. Or, if your employer offers it, you can have money automatically deducted from each paycheck. Each method offers a “set it and forget” approach that helps parents stay on track to meet their savings goals.

4. Add it to your wish lists. Various gift-giving occasions throughout the year, such as birthdays and holidays, also provide college savings opportunities. If family or friends ask for gift ideas for your child, suggest that instead of buying the latest toy or gadget, which might sit on a shelf gathering dust after a few uses, they make a contribution toward the gift that lasts a lifetime – a college education. Gift givers can open a new MET contract in the child’s name or contribute to an existing account. They just need to know the account number to contribute money online or through the mail.