Author: Rachel Biar, Assistant State Treasurer

Love is in the air! What could be as sweet as a holiday dedicated to celebrating affection? As Valentine’s Day approaches, I am reminded of the relationships in my life that mean the most, and the importance of ensuring my loved ones are prepared for the future. Though sharing roses and boxes of chocolates may be the typical gifts, consider showing you care this Valentine’s Day by contributing to your loved one’s NEST 529 College Savings Plan instead.

Growing your savings—your way— is now easier than ever. With so many of life’s daily tasks to keep track of, opting for recurring contributions is an effortless way to contribute to an account. You can establish these contributions to be taken directly from your personal bank account, or you can contribute a certain amount each month from your paycheck. Want to take it a step further? Increase the dollar amount of your regular contributions. Whether by a hundred dollars or five dollars…a little extra love will add up over time.

Additionally, investing in a college savings plan has benefits that are often overlooked; no matter the dollar amount you begin with, recurring contributions and earnings benefit from compounding. Each month your contributions, and the earnings on past contributions, have an opportunity to increase due to market action. The sooner you begin, the more time your savings will have to work for you.

There are also many other ways you can grow your savings with just a little extra love- like making a habit of checking out our scholarship page. Our latest opportunity, the “Why I Want to Go to College Writing Contest,” is open to all seventh and eighth graders. Twelve lucky winners will receive NEST 529 account contributions to increase their savings.

Students are asked to reflect, in 750 words or less, on the value of education and what they hope to achieve through higher education. If eligible, encourage your children to apply before March 2nd of this year. Taking advantage of contests like this is an out-of-the-box and fun way to grow your savings, with an added bonus of encouraging your child to reflect on the importance of education.

As you can see, there are several options available to help set your child up for a successful financial future. From reoccurring contributions to scholarships, each extra dose of love can make a big impact. What better way to share the love this Valentine’s Day?