Resist Trendy: Invest for the Long Term

This post is sponsored by the Florida Prepaid College Board, through my role as a Believer Blogger. All thoughts are my own.

Long Term College Financing

How Important is it to be Trendy?

I was in a conversation online recently with a friend who mentioned the term “trend adjacent.” I am always interested in new terminology; this was no exception. A fashion world reference, explained in this blog with, “Designers looking to find their place in the market must know whether they intend to be on-trend, trend-adjacent, of off-trend altogether.”

It is tempting to want to be on-trend, for sure. It’s also tempting (I would think) for grandparents and others to want to help the children in their lives keep up with trends so they fit in with their peers.

Trends, however, come and go.

The value of a college education lasts forever.

It’s Trendy to Give Children the Security of an Education

The value of an education will, I promise, last longer than bell bottoms, jelly shoes or Farrah Fawcett hair.

Florida Prepaid plans lock in tomorrow’s tuition for less with guaranteed plans starting at $47 per month.  I am so grateful that my parents purchased prepaid plans for my children when they were infants; it has taken away much of the stress of helping pay for their college educations (especially with two in college at the same time).

What if My Kid Decides Another State is Trendier than Florida?

One misconception I have heard throughout my time as a Believer Blogger is that a child has to remain a Florida resident to retain the Florida Prepaid benefits.Long Term College Financing

If a Florida Prepaid beneficiary moves out of Florida after purchasing a Prepaid Plan, the child will still be billed at in-state tuition rates when using their plan at a Florida college or state university.

The “Resist Trendy” Clock is Winding Down!

Open enrollment for Florida Prepaid ends February 28, 2018.

Don’t be “last year’s style,” banished to the clearance rack of life planning. Invest in a child’s education today and you won’t ever have to worry about a poor fit or busted seam.

Learn more from this webinar held Tuesday, February 20, from 12-12:45 p.m. ET. The Florida Prepaid team and Florida Prepaid advocate Cristy Clavijo-Kish discussed how families have been using Florida Prepaid for over 25 years to send their children to college. Get a firsthand perspective on how to get started and how saving early can make a difference in your child’s future success.


If you have questions, visit the program’s FAQ page.

If you’re ready to enroll, click here, then save 50% off your enrollment fee ($25 off of $50) by using my special code, GREEN1718.

Long Term College FinancingYour kid is bound to look at least trend-adjacent (I’m betting even trendy!) in a t-shirt representing their university once they enroll under a Florida Prepaid  plan. It’ll be a much more comfortable fit than crushing debt.

Wife of one, Mom of two, Friend of many.

Make Your Child’s Future Dazzling with Florida Prepaid

This post is sponsored by the Florida Prepaid College Board, through my role as a Believer Blogger. All thoughts are my own.

Because our yard is large and has a huge tree-free area, our neighbor uses it every year to stage a pyrotechnics extravaganza (he has a professional license, so it truly is something beyond “sparklers and fireworks picked up at a state border somewhere”).

It takes Bill a long time to set up for the show: getting the license and insurance, spending a day in our yard arranging the various components of the production, etc.

Then, as the new year begins, light, sound and awe fills the air ….. for about 15 minutes.

Another way to spend 15 minutes that involves less explosions and lasts longer is signing your child up for a Florida Prepaid plan. You can even save $25 off the $50 application fee with my special code.

Florida Prepaid Experience

Ignite a Debt-Free Future

Let this sink in for a second: The rate of student loan debt among Americans exceeds $1 trillion. ONE TRILLION DOLLARS. According to the Institute for College Access and Success as cited in Forbes, Florida is among the top 10 states for average student loan debt (with an average of $23,379 per student).

I wish I could tell you that my college senior (yay!) and freshman will be graduating debt-free thanks to their Florida Prepaid contracts. I haven’t managed things that well.

However, they will have less debt than they would have if my parents had not purchased prepaid contracts for them when they were newborns. Best of all, you can avoid the same mistakes our family made by securing your child’s debt-free college education before open enrollment closes next month.

Florida Prepaid Options

Every year, the Florida Prepaid program gets more flexible and adds options that suit almost every family. In my last Florida Prepaid post, I focused on the 1-year Florida University plan.

Other options include:

  • 2-Year Florida College Plan
  • 4-Year Florida College Plan
  • 2+2 Florida College Plan
  • 4-Year Florida University Plan

You can read more about each plan here. (There’s also a dormitory plan.)

But The Start of the Year is So Busy

I know it’s a busy time of year. It’s January 7 and our tree is still up. We have pretty much dropped everything to deal with supporting my mom, who has been hospitalized 2.5 hours away since December 11. We are supposed to have had our house ready to put up for sale three weeks ago. And, especially relevant to the audience reading this, I haven’t done my children’s FASFAs yet.

It’s not overwhelming to apply for Florida Prepaid, though — I promise. In the time our neighbor entertained the whole neighborhood with his incredible show, you can diminish the chance your child will leave college in debt. As a parent who has to explain the prospect of ten years’ of student loan payments to my college senior, I assure you that you don’t want to have to do that.

It’s easy to apply. Like I said, about 10-15 minutes between now and February 28. With my code (GREEN1718). you can save 50% off the $50 application fee.

If you invest in your child (or children) by applying for a Florida Prepaid account, you deserve a treat! Take a chance at winning a $10 Starbucks treat just by learning more and spreading the word. Editor’s Note: The giveaway has ended (congrats Michelle!). Thank you to everyone who entered and helped share the Prepaid message. ~ pk 1/12/18

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Apply soon (but definitely by February 28). It’ll be a dazzling start to the habit of investing in your child’s education and success!Florida Prepaid Experience

Wife of one, Mom of two, Friend of many.

Make Your Initial Investments Wisely

This post is sponsored by the Florida Prepaid College Board, through my role as a Believer Blogger. All thoughts are my own.

Monograms: They are enormously popular here in North Florida.

I see monograms on ANYTHING that will fit three letters these days: dresses, athletic tanks, headbands, thermal mugs, boots, umbrellas, Yeti coolers, pacifier holders, burp cloths, blankets, license plates, windshield decals, iPhone home buttons (?), Chuck Taylors … the list is infinite.

Back in the year 2000, when Tenley was 3, monogramming was quite popular among other moms (and kids) but not to the extent it is now. Still, I spent a disproportionately large amount of money on a monogrammed dress for her. The company, which did shows in people’s homes, had compelling arguments: it was well made (true), stylish (true), individual to her because of the personalization (true), and had a deep enough hem that I could continue letting it out as she grew.

The only thing I have left of that dress is a picture.

College Financing

Although some families are flush enough income-wise to spend liberally on children’s clothing and invest in a future beyond preschool, we really weren’t able to do both at the time. It would have been wiser to put that money toward her college education instead and eliminate the need for our family and Tenley to incur student loan debt as we are doing now..

(Note: if you’ve been reading my Believer Blogger posts for a while, you know my parents were more farsighted than I was and bought my kids prepaid plans when they were newborns (thanks, parents!) but if they had not done that, it would have been on my husband and me. I also believe I should have invested in 529 plans to pay for expenses beyond tuition such as books, fees, and housing.)

If you are still on the fence about investing in the Florida Prepaid Plan for your child or a child you care about, consider this before Open Enrollment ends on February 28.

Calculating the Cost of College

I used the Florida Prepaid Cost of Waiting College Savings Calculator to see what parents of a 3 year old today should anticipate regarding college savings:

College Financing

According to the “results” chart below:

  • Based on these inputs, the cost of waiting just one year to start saving for your college goal is estimated to be $79 per month
  • Every year you delay, it costs you more to save the same amount of money for college
  • Four years of college could cost you over $206,000 fifteen years from now. You could save 100% of the projected cost by putting aside $774 a month, if you earn a 5% annual return for fourteen years.
  • If you wait just one year to start saving, the monthly cost goes up to $853 to save the same amount of money over 15 years.

College Financing

All Those Facts and Figures. What is the Bottom Line?

The bottom line is this: the things you think matter so much now may be a lot less important down the road.

The Florida Prepaid College program, with more options than ever including a one-year Florida university plan, a 2+2 Florida plan taking advantage of our fabulous community college system, and a dormitory plan, is something to think about now. Even putting it off until next year could be costly.

Take it from me; what I should have had monogrammed was a bank, not a dress.

College Financing

A Head Start

With the code BLOG1617, you can save 50% off of the $50 application fee!

College Financing

For More Information

Visit the Florida Prepaid College Plan by clicking here for information. If you prefer to speak with someone by phone, please call 800-552-GRAD (4723).

College Financing

Wife of one, Mom of two, Friend of many.

Florida 529 Savings Plans are Big!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by the Florida Prepaid College Board, through my role as a Believer Blogger. All thoughts are my own.

Eight dollars and ninety-seven cents. 

Florida 529 Savings Plans

I am not proud of the fact that this is the balance of my college sophomore’s Florida 529 Savings Plan.

Years ago, I opened a Florida 529 Savings Plan for her at a time when my employer was offering to match my contributions. When our family experienced several financial challenges (too much debt compounded by job loss), I stopped making contributions to the account and withdrew most of what had accumulated, since we were in survival mode.

529 Savings Plans Fill Gaps

To be clear, we were ahead of the college finance game compared to many Florida families. We were extremely fortunate that my parents had generously purchased Florida Prepaid contracts for our children when they were infants (more on that here and here).

Two years into my daughter’s college experience at Valdosta State University, though, and just over a year before my youngest child graduates from high school, I think often of the additional “breathing room” I would have if I had kept up my Florida 529 Savings Plan contributions (and unlocked my employer’s matching contributions). We could have avoided the student loan debt we have incurred.

By “breathing room,” I mean expenses like:

  • tuition
  • mandatory fees
  • room and board
  • textbooks and supplies
  • computers
  • other equipment that is required for enrollment

One small hurdle when I opened my children’s Florida 529 Savings Plan accounts was the minimum required contribution. The Florida Prepaid College Board has removed the minimum contribution requirement. You could start with, for example, $8.97.

How is a Florida 529 Savings Plan Different from a Prepaid Plan?

  • Unlike Prepaid Plans, the Florida 529 Savings Plan does not have a set payment amount or schedule.
  • A family can contribute as much or as often as desired, and accounts can be opened at any time. There is no minimum contribution to open a Florida 529 Savings account, and there are no application fees.
  • The biggest difference between the two is that the Florida 529 Savings Plan is subject to fluctuations in the financial markets, while the Prepaid Plan are is guaranteed by the State of Florida.
  • There are 11 investment strategy options, including an age-based option that gets more conservative as the beneficiary gets closer to college age.

To learn more about Florida 529 Savings Plans and the Prepaid Plan, please click here.

Opening a Florida 529 Savings Plan is Simple

If you don’t have a Florida 529 Savings Plan already, click here to start!

You Could Win a $529 Scholarship!

The Florida 529 Savings Plan Scholarship Program is new! In conjunction with 529 College Savings Day (observed on May 29!), it will award 10 winners a $529 Scholarship deposited into a Florida 529 Savings Plan account. Families can enter to win between May 1 and May 29, 2016 via this link!

Only legal residents of the state of Florida who are currently over the age of 18 are eligible to enter. Winners will be selected from among all eligible entries via a random drawing to be conducted on June 1, 2016, at 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

A Lesson Learned

I wish the balance on my daughter’s 529 Savings Plan was $897, $8097, or more instead of $8.97, but it is not. If you are at an earlier stage of planning for your child’s college expenses, I simply urge you to consider the role a 529 Savings Plan can have for you.

If nothing else, go for the scholarship!

Florida 529 Savings Plans

 

Motivation-Monday

Wife of one, Mom of two, Friend of many.

The POWER of a Florida PrePaid Plan

What comes to mind when you think of “power generation”? Frankly, I usually just think of power generation when it doesn’t work following a thunderstorm or some other technical problem.

I have had more opportunities than usual to think about power generation lately.

My friend Linda Pulley Freeman initiated and implement the #KidPower2015 project, which utilized bicycle generators to make power. The project didn’t just use bicycle generators to make power; it used the process to help children of incarcerated parents bond with their parents and it helped residents of Cambodia have power at the Light of Future School.

Linda Dad

Photo credit: Linda Pulley Freeman #KidPower2015

Another friend has been talking about the potential of extremely large scale batteries. These batteries could have a role in replacing traditional power supplies in towns and cities, saving money and reducing adverse environmental effects. (Here’s an article about these batteries and here’s one more link; I don’t pretend to understand it all!).

When I go to Cape Canaveral next week to observe the launch of the Orbital ATK OA-4, I anticipate learning about the power required to launch a space station re-supply shipment.

Power for Education

As the Open Enrollment Period for the Florida Prepaid Tuition Program nears its mid-point, I am writing to remind you that you have the power to make a difference for the future of a child in your life, by purchasing a Florida Prepaid Tuition Plan for them.

Florida Prepaid offers five distinct ways to superpower your child’s future. They all include tuition and most fees at either one of 28 Florida Colleges or 12 State Universities. Though each option is designed to be used at a Florida College or State University, the amount covered by the plan can also be applied to other schools nationwide. For example, my daughter’s Florida Prepaid plan benefits are applied to her tuition at Valdosta State University, which charges in-state tuition for Florida residents despite being in Georgia.

A Power Boost Via A Giveaway!

I am excited to have these awesome Florida Prepaid goodies to share with one fortunate reader. The backpack, tshirt, water bottle, pencil pouch, and Florida Prepaid pen are all reminders of the huge impact planning ahead can have on a child’s life! (The Green Pen is a bonus and the only one among the Florida Prepaid Believer Bloggers!)

FullSizeRender (4)

For a chance to win this Florida Prepaid swag, please comment below by noon ET on December 11. I will choose a winner from among the comments using random.org (please make sure I have your email address so I can reach you. This giveaway is limited to United States residents.)

Airplane Mom

With the right kind of power now, a child in your life can soar high into a promising future!

To learn more, click here or call 1.800.552.GRAD (4723)! If you purchase a plan, please provide the code BLOG1516 for a special gift.

This post is sponsored by the Florida Prepaid College Board, through my role as a Believer Blogger. All thoughts are my own.

This post was inspired by a Mama Kat Writing Prompt: Write a blog post inspired by the word “power.”

KAT

Wife of one, Mom of two, Friend of many.