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Grandparents with grandchild in the park

(June 22, 2021) - “Hey Nana, I want to be an engineer when I grow up!” said one of my grandchildren. “I am going to college…somewhere!”

Each of them are unique and passionate about learning. Crafts, Lego building, podcasts, coding (yes, already at age 8) and dress-up time fill their days. They venture outside any chance they get. They find the beauty in nature and have natural curiosities about most everything.

My husband and I have five grandchildren and enjoy our time with our “little ones.”

A day with grandchildren is so special – they see life with such wonder and joy. They remind you of what’s important and that time is needed to nurture and build trust in our relationships.

Conversation is also important in shaping our grandchildren. Even at a young age, they are insightful, kind, and very creative. I enjoy sitting around the craft table or playing games and asking questions. They work and sculpt, all the while entertaining us with their thoughtful responses.

Our grandchildren have visited the college campuses of their parents. At ages 7-13, they are already planning for their post-secondary education. Engineering, teaching, firefighting, police work, and art all mentioned as areas of interest of study when they grow up.

Even though retirement is drawing near, saving for college for our little ones has always been important. We want to help secure their post-secondary future. After reviewing our finances, we decided to open accounts for each side of the family. We went with Washington’s prepaid plan, GET – Guaranteed Education Tuition Program. We opened these accounts approximately 12 years ago. We have the option to gift on birthdays, Christmas, and other special events as well. Saving for their futures now will help us free up finances when it’s time for retirement.

I encourage you to connect with your grandchildren. Help them with a post-secondary educational vision. Set goals to assist in their educational financial journey. Post-secondary includes certificated programs, apprenticeships, internships, community college, and four year institutional tracks. Setting aside $25-$50 (or more) a month will be so helpful when they are ready for college. And with thoughtful planning you can help even before you retire!

About the Author

Betsy Hagen is the Associate Director for Operations at WA529 (GET and DreamAhead). Betsy has been with the program for fifteen years and works with the plan’s operational and administrative services.