529 College Savings Plan and Student Loans

My favorite email every month comes twice, it doesn't give me a discount on clothes or food, it doesn't provide me insight or advice, it doesn't make me laugh and it doesn't make me cry. My favorite email reminds me of my past struggles, and current mountains in my life. This is my favorite email:

My favorite email is a notification that funds from my paycheck have deposited in my children's 529 college savings plans.

Student loans have been my biggest struggle in my life. Accumulating the debt has weighed heavy on me, sometimes causing me to be upset with my parents for letting me acquire such a large amount of debt so early (I know this is misguided anger). A couple years ago I would even question frequently if my degree was worth the debt.

About the same time my son Carter was born, I concluded it was worth it. The main reason, because education and enlightenment is something no one can steal from you, providing a sense of security. You can debate whether this security is good or bad but no doubt the security is there. It comforted me that I would always be able to provide for him.

Post college I examined some of my friends situations from the debt perspective; most of my friends that went to State schools rather than Private were better off financially because of the selection. But, to be honest when I was choosing a college, Private vs State never entered my mind or conversation between my mom and I. The absence of this thought or conversation hurt. But I learned from the experience and decided the school conversation would be one I had with my kids full blown, covering all bases. First, whether college is necessary for their career plans, if it isthen we discuss the types of colleges that best fit their plans and if paying a premium for private is worth it. And once this conversation is all said and done regardless of what comes from it my children will have money set aside through the 529 to avoid accumulating mountains of debt. And for this reason, twice of month when that BlackRock notification hits my email it reminds me they won't ever have to deal with student loan debt.

I learned about the 529 plan from a former boss and career mentor who one day coming from lunch said, "Ryan do yourself and kids a favor and get them 529 plans and don't accept physical presents from family during birthdays for the first couple years instead tell them you want money for the 529" and that's just what I did. Below you can find a link about the pros and cons to the 529 plan. I'm no expert on the matter, what I know is the 529 plan is a conservative investment vehicle with some tax advantages down the line. I think its more important for young millenial parents to consider their student loan debt and what responsibility you have to ensure your kids have a sound financial outlook after college.

http://www.360financialliteracy.org/Topics/Paying-for-Education/College-Savings-Options/Advantages-and-disadvantages-of-529-plans