Our boys are decades away from college but we already have an account set up at our bank for their post-secondary education one day. I think it is something you should do as a parent if you can. Personally, I had to food the bill on my education, so I want to try to help out where I can when Harry and Charlie reach that age.
Another cool way to start saving now is Instagrad.
They recently released a beta launch of what is a very progressive concept in college savings. The platform helps parents raise funds for education by encouraging friends and loved ones to contribute directly to the child’s established Savings Plan. With college tuition expected to double in the next 10 years and household incomes projected to remain stagnant, Instagrad was created to provide families with a way to increase savings and ensure a higher education for their children.
As I was looking this over, it must be an American offering. I know our set up here in Canada, easily allows friends or families to contribute. We just have to give them access. Anyways, back to Instagrad.
The main selling point of Instagrad is that it makes it easy for relatives and friends to immediately contribute online directly into the child’s 529 plan (again this must be American?)
Once the 529 Savings Plan has been established, families can create a free profile on the website where they are provided with the framework and tools needed to encourage family members and friends to donate on special occasions such as birthdays, religious holidays and graduations.
From what I can tell, they make it more of a reminder that the option is there, rather than blatantly bagging more money.
Parents can establish a mailing list, send invitations and monitor gifts received, Instagrad not only simplifies the process but makes it safe and reliable. With the added ability to share across all social media platforms, Instagrad enables loved ones across the world to be an integral part of a child’s successful future.
Again, this would turn off my family, being asked to contribute money with reminders on Facebook, but times are changing I guess.
It is free to sign up and they do the “fundraising” for you is what the website says.
I may be the wrong person to ask because my wife works in the fundraising industry, but this does not seem like what fundraising is. It seems like begging for a hand out because you don’t have it. But the nice looking website and smart copy really downplay that whole angle.
My overall take on this platform is that it is just trying to take something that already exists (a bank’s saving account) and attaching it to easy-t0-manage software so you can track everything and use social media to remind family to contribute.
I can see a lot of people using this and having success. I can also see a lot of people receiving the alerts to become very annoyed and wonder why they are being asked to pay for a kid to go to college.
As software goes, it seems pretty good and easy to use and is certainly worth a try.
As a parent, I am going to stick to the bank and manually let the few people know about contributing myself. No tweets required.
The Instagrad website is also full of useful information even if you don’t want to sign up. Their blog for example has a list of the best father’s day gifts.
Full disclosure : I was compensated for this post on Instagrad, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.