Author: Andrew Wingender, Regional Sales Director, NEST 529 College Savings Plans

Fall is our favorite time of year at NEST 529. Why? Aside from being ‘Back to School’ season, it’s the perfect opportunity to hit refresh on your savings goals and hone in on what you hope to accomplish for the remainder of the year.

The opportunity to renew your savings strategy does not have to be a daunting task. To help ease the process, we’ve gathered together some of the top savings challenges that our Account Owners face—and tips to help overcome them.

“It’s hard to get started.”

It’s a misnomer that starting your savings journey has to be difficult and confusing. In fact, setting up a NEST 529 Savings Plan account is simple and straightforward—and it only takes 10 minutes.

There’s no minimum amount needed to open a NEST 529 savings plan account and there are no application or annual account fees to budget for. You also have access to your account 24-hours a day, seven days a week, providing you with the flexibility to control and monitor your progress at your leisure. Learn more about starting a NEST 529 account here.

“I don’t know how much to save.”

When considering how much you should be saving, first establish your savings goals, then take into account how often you can afford to save.

To help you start formulating a plan, check out the NEST Direct College Savings Planning Calculator. This tool provides savings projections tailored to your specific goals so that you can save with confidence.

Some best practices that we find most helpful are to set benchmarks to keep you on pace, check in with your progress often and remain flexible when external circumstances prompt you to change your course. Perhaps you’ll earn a promotion and can contribute more funds to your savings, or maybe you’re focused on refinancing and need to shift your priorities for the time being. Savings is not a one-size-fits-all journey, so it’s important to tailor your approach to fit your needs. And remember, every contribution makes a difference—no matter how big or how small.

“I don’t have enough time.”

Staying up-to-date with your account’s growth and progress is easy and quick when you use NEST 529’s online portal. Using our secure website, you have the option to make contributions, view balances, manage your account and make qualified withdrawals when necessary.  

If you prefer an auto-pilot approach to savings, be sure to explore the Automatic Investment Plan (AIP), Auto-Annual AIP Increases and Payroll Direct Deposit features. You can set up AIP and Auto-Annual AIP Increases when you open your account or any time after in the secure online account management area.

It’s hard to do it alone.”

Personal finance does not have to be an isolating topic. We encourage Account Owners to be transparent with friends and family members about savings goals—and even invite them to join in.

Ask loved ones to consider sending gift certificate contributions, or encourage them to use the free online gifting service, Ugift, for holidays, birthdays and special occasions. With Ugift, gift givers don’t have to join, register or pay a service fee to contribute—all they need is the unique Ugift code assigned to the beneficiary’s account.

If you’re looking for more opportunities to increase your savings, stay tuned to NEST 529’s scholarships and rewards by visiting us on Facebook (@NEST529CollegeSavings). In 2018, NEST 529 awarded more than $100,000 in scholarship contributions! Learn more by visiting NEST529.com and searching “Scholarship.”

We wish you the best as you continue working towards your savings goals this fall. If you have any questions for the NEST 529 team, please contact us at clientservice@nest529direct.com or 1-888-993-3746.