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Small child in the snow holding a teddy bear with a Happy Holidays Greeting from WA529

(December 12, 2023) - As parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, or even as a family friend, sometimes it is so hard to find a unique, meaningful gift for children in our lives. Toys, games, clothes, and candy make great traditional gift options, but giving the gift of higher education savings is also a meaningful gift option that many people don’t think about. Gift contributions to a 529 education savings account will have a positive impact on a child’s future that will last a lifetime.

By the time my children were in kindergarten, they had more toys than we knew what to do with! That is when we began to take advantage of gift-giving opportunities like holidays and birthdays to give our children something to save, something to spend, and something to enjoy. When friends or family members asked what our kids wanted for holidays or birthdays, we encouraged them to consider the option of giving them cash, along with a book or a small toy. We let them know that we had a family plan that our kids were participating in – half of all their cash gifts went into their higher education savings. The best part was that not only did our children enjoy receiving cash, but they also embraced the concept of saving half of their money for their future and established fantastic savings habits at the same time!

I am thankful that family and friends loved the idea, and their gifts helped us add to our children’s college savings every year. Plus, it reduced the volume of toys coming in every year. More importantly, it also reduced the amount they needed to borrow when they began using their higher education savings to pursue their dreams. Within one year of her college graduation, my daughter was debt-free, and my son will graduate next year with minimal student debt thanks to their college savings, their strong work ethic, and the financial habits they formed over the years. 

With holiday shopping in full swing, now is the perfect time to think about choosing the gift of education for your loved ones. One fantastic benefit for the gift giver (you!) is that you can easily contribute to an existing account or open a new 529 account for a child you care about from the comfort of your own home. There are no crowds or long lines to stand in!

Washington College Savings Plans (WA529) offers two 529 savings options, the Guaranteed Education Tuition (GET) program and the DreamAhead College Investment plan. You can open an account with as little as $25 and then you (and other family and friends) can contribute to the account on a regular basis, for special occasions, or whenever you have funds to set aside. Even small contributions add up over time and make a big difference. You can personalize a colorful GET or DreamAhead gift certificate online and print it to present to the child with another gift or put it in a holiday card. No matter how you present it, you can’t go wrong with giving the gift of education this holiday season!

Visit the WA529 gifting page to learn more about gifting with GET or DreamAhead.

Happy Holidays from the WA529 family to yours!

by Jenn Dyck