By Rodger O’Connor
Did you make any New Year’s resolutions this year? It’s a new year, and for many people that means a fresh start. Maybe you made the standard pledge to yourself to get in better shape, or to be better organized in 2020. Maybe you want to learn a new skill, or travel more with the family.
A lot of us set ambitious goals while basking in the glow of a bright and shiny new year. (As for me, my resolution last year was to obtain visual confirmation of the existence of my garage floor.) But far fewer actually end up following through on those plans. According to a study published in the journal of Clinical Psychology, only 46% of people who made New Year’s resolutions ultimately accomplished their goals. That means, despite our best intentions, more than half of us will fail. (Yep, still looking for that garage floor.)
So how can you keep from falling into the category of Resolution Failure? Experts on the subject of resolutions (and believe it or not, we actually found some experts) offer tips such as setting specific and manageable goals, writing them down, sharing them with others, and reviewing your progress regularly. And don’t forget that you probably have technology, literally in your pocket, that can help you track and follow through on your resolutions. There are loads of reminder apps available out there that can help you build to-do lists and manage your tasks. (See, look at that, you’re already more organized. You’re crushing these resolutions!)
As a parent, you might choose to make a resolution to start saving for your child’s future education. Washington’s College Savings Plans (WA529) can help with that. Conveniently, WA529 offers two types of 529 plans to help you achieve your college savings goals:
- The GET (Guaranteed Education Tuition) program is Washington’s prepaid tuition plan, where you buy units at a set price while your kids are young, and 100 of those units are guaranteed to cover the cost of a year’s tuition at the state’s highest-priced public university whenever they are ready to use it, no matter how high tuition costs go up between now and then.
- The DreamAhead College Investment Plan is a traditional market-based 529 plan. Contributions are invested in various age-based or static funds of your choosing, depending on how comfortable you are with investment risk, and how close your child is to enrollment.
With both plans, your contributions grow tax-free as long as the funds are ultimately used for qualified education expenses. Plus, both plans offer automatic tools that allow you to schedule regular contributions from a linked bank account. This “set it and forget it” approach is an easy way for you to stay on track and meet your goals.
Here’s another tip: when friends and family ask for gift ideas for your child for birthdays or holidays, suggest to them that they skip the toy or video game and give the gift of college instead. GET and DreamAhead both offer gifting platforms that make it easy for Grandma and Grandpa to make a gift contribution by check or electronic deposit.
So you see, some resolutions are easier to keep than others. Even if you don’t succeed in hitting the gym four times a week, mastering the sitar, or finding your garage floor, with help from Washington’s College Savings Plans, you can slam dunk your higher education savings resolution. Happy 2020!
Rodger O’Connor is the Associate Director for Marketing & Communications for Washington’s College Savings Plans.