Author: Deborah Goodkin, Managing Director, Savings Plans, First National Bank

Thanksgiving is no doubt one of my favorite holidays. What’s not to love? As we share gratitude over food with loved ones, Thanksgiving is a time to fill our hearts and our plates, reflecting on the many opportunities we are fortunate to have—including the opportunity to pursue a higher education.

No matter how old the child in your life is, this time of reflection is perfect for developing a savings action plan for your family—that way, you’ll be financially prepared when the time comes for them to move on to the next stage of their academic career. Below, we’ve compiled some tips to help you and your family afford the costs of higher education.

  1. Start sooner—not later. Although it’s never too late to begin putting money away for college, starting now will lead to greater payoff down the road. Your baby may be eating mashed potatoes in a high chair now, but before you know it they’ll be accepting their high school diploma and embarking on the next chapter of their life.
  2. Request the gift that keeps on giving. With the holiday season right around the corner, consider asking family members to forego toys and trinkets and instead contribute to your child’s college fund. By directing these gifts into a NEST 529 Plan account, they will be providing a worthy investment in the child’s future. You can find NEST 529 Plan gift contribution coupons here.
  3. Earning while learning. It’s college application season! If your child’s college of choice offers work-study, internship, and campus employment programs, encourage them to take advantage. Many college and financial aid applications ask if the student would like to be considered for a work-study position—marking the “yes” box will open up opportunities to assist professors, work in a lab, or obtain another similar position. These earnings can help offset tuition expenses and prepare your child for the real-life working world.

So, while you’re stuffing the turkey (and your stomach!) this Thanksgiving Day, consider stuffing your college savings as well by opening up or contributing to a NEST 529 College Savings Plan. Visit our website to learn more.