November 5, 2017

Parenthood, Adulting, and Saving for Your Child's College Education Wisely...

This post is sponsored by the Florida Prepaid College Board, through my role as a Believer Blogger. All thoughts are my own.

After Irma hit my husband and I have decided to prioritize things in our life a little more, I guess you could say we are giving this whole "adulting" thing a go. I guess it just took the threat of a natural disaster to make us "man up" but we've both been doing a lot of thinking about life and evaluating what our priorities are.

With my itty bitty baby already hitting her 14 month milestone recently, I've realized she's going to  grow up fast. Right now I'm reading her stories at bedtime and remind her not to eat dirt, next thing I know it'll be tea parties with her neighborhood friends and trips to library with classmates, and soon enough I'll be sending her off to college. I'm still figuring all this adult stuff out but one thing I know for certain is life flies by, so the reality of planning for her future is absolutely of utmost importance to us now.

With that said, I know now is the time to start saving for her future - I want to be sure she can get the higher education she wants and deserves without feeling burdened. My hubby and I have been saddled with college debt and a monthly student loan for years and that's just not something I want for her future, so we're doing something about it.

Saving for her future isn't just for her though. It benefits us too, we want to be sure we don't saddle ourselves with even more college debt and I mean, one day... someday, we eventually hope to retire... and well, that all takes planning, budgeting, and all that jazz.

While it's been great to really start to "adulting", I'm not going to lie - it's a little stressful getting up close and personal with all things finance-related. I'm sure we aren't the only millennials trying to figure out what to do about our college debt while also trying to plan how to pay for our kid's college one day.

After a little bit of research and some investigation, I'm so happy to have found the answer - The Florida Prepaid College Board Plans... and the good news for us all is: NOW is the time to enroll!

With five different plans, each with specific costs, payment schedules, and benefits which all include tuition at 28 Florida Colleges (as well as 12 universities), it's easy to see why the Florida Prepaid program would make sense for our little Florida baby.

So if you're a parent in the same boat as me trying to figure out how to save wisely, you may be asking yourself some questions... and I'm hoping I can answer a couple of them...

Let's start with the first question that came to my mind - How can you sign up for this Prepaid Plan and how much will your monthly payments be? You can sign up here... and since the monthly payment amount varies based on the age of the child and the amount you plan to save, your payment will be different than mine. Prices start at around $50 and the range of prices really varies.

When is the right time to start investing? NOW! From birth until 11th grade, you are eligible to enroll during open enrollment and should take advantage of this savings plan. After all, when we found out the cost of college has already increased 538% since 1985, we knew NOW was the right time to start investing and guaranteeing her a great education.

But why a Florida Prepaid College Plan? There's several reasons, but my top three include:

You and your family can literally fund your kiddo's college years, one month at a time. I mean it's pretty easy to pay approximately $50 a month, it's a little more daunting with a bill of $7,373 being thrown at you each semester, which is approximately the lump sum you could pay into the 1 year Florida Prepaid fund if you were able to...

Another reason we decided to save with Florida Prepaid, is the benefits and the flexibility.

What exactly do I mean by that?
Even if one day we decide to move back to Oklahoma or maybe even broaden our horizons and dip our feet in a Wyoming pond, the good news is Delainey will always have access to Florida in-state tuition while using her plan to help pay for tuition! I love that we are free to roam and she won't lose her Florida Prepaid benefits!

Even better, if she happens to get a scholarship, I love that the amount of the plan we have selected can be use towards school expenses or refunded!

What if you only have enough for the one year plan now? Well, I love that we can work towards getting her college paid for as a family. One student can have a handful of purchasers, that means grandmas, aunts, cousins, and more can help send your kiddo to college.... and it's an affordable monthly payment, if they're able to help! I love that. Instead of asking for toys this year, I think we may ask Delainey's grandparents to help pay for a year of college... maybe you could do the same?

Will my payments vary? Nope, the plans are guaranteed and the prices are locked, so no worries about price hikes in tuition or payments suddenly increasing.

With all of that said, just because these plans work for us, doesn't mean it's made for you... Don't fret. Check out how a Florida 529 Savings plan could be the answer! With no set payment schedule it may be harder to add into your budget, but the down side is the plan isn't guaranteed by the State of Florida like the Florida Prepaid plan.

No matter which plan you choose, now's the time to enroll - go ahead and sign your little one up for a Florida Prepaid Plan before open enrollment ends in February!

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