It's never too early or too late to start saving for college. Just save what you can, when you can. Here are some reasons why you should start now.

A promising future

Research supports the idea that saving for and attending college are important:
 

  • Young people who expect to graduate from a four-year college and have a college savings account are approximately six times more likely to attend college than those without an account. (Elliott & Beverly, The role of savings and wealth in reducing "wilt" between expectations and college attendance; Journal of Children & Poverty, 2011)
  • A college degree can have a big impact on future earnings power − as much as 65 percent more than the typical high school graduate over 40 years. (College Board: Trends in College Pricing, 2013.)

The cost of not planning ahead

College may be expensive, but if you plan ahead, it doesn't have to be out of reach. For the cost of a night out with the family, you can afford to invest every month. And studies have shown that regular investments can add up to a significant college nest egg over time.*

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As you can see in this hypothetical chart, if an account owner began to save $50 a month when a child was 1 year old (with an initial contribution of $250), a 529 college savings plan could potentially have an account worth $16,677 by the time the child was college age.

While starting an account later in a child's life (say, age 15) could still result in tax-free assets of more than $2,000.**

Starting earlier can make a big difference!

Saving versus borrowing

With a combination of the high cost of college and today's economic climate, it may seem like a good idea to borrow for college when the time comes, rather than saving money now. But saving in advance can help in the long run. Consider these two hypothetical scenarios:

Scenario 1: Terry's parents start investing $100 a month into a 529 plan account right after Terry's birth. In 18 years (assuming a 5 percent annual rate of return), they could potentially save more than $35,000.*

Scenario 2: Terry has to borrow $35,000 to attend college. Based on a private student loan rate of 7.0 percent, Terry could be faced with a monthly payment of $406 for 10 years (or $48,720).***

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*A plan of regular investment cannot ensure a profit or protect against a loss in a declining market.

**The hypothetical example assumes college begins at age 18 and is based on a 5 percent rate of return compounded daily, and is for illustrative purposes only. It does not reflect an actual investment in any particular 529 plan or taxes, if any, payable upon withdrawal.

***This hypothetical example is for illustrative purposes only and assumes no withdrawals made during the period shown. It does not represent an actual investment in any particular 529 plan and does not reflect the effect of fees and expenses. Your actual investment return may be higher or lower than that shown. The loan repayment terms are also hypothetical.

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The information provided does not constitute investment advice and it should not be relied on as such. It should not be considered a solicitation to buy or an offer to sell a security. It does not take into account any investor's particular investment objectives, strategies, tax status or investment horizon.

The statements and opinions expressed are subject to change at any time, based on market and other conditions. State Street cannot guarantee the accuracy of completeness of third party statements or data.

Investing involves risk including the risk of loss of principal. Investment returns will vary depending upon the performance of the Portfolios you choose. Except to the extent of FDIC insurance available for the Savings Portfolio, you could lose all or a portion of your money by investing in the Plan, depending on market conditions. Account Owners assume all investment risks as well as responsibility for any federal and state tax consequences.

ETFs trade like stocks, fluctuate in market value and may trade at prices above or below the ETFs’ net asset value. Brokerage commissions and ETF expenses will reduce returns.

The SSGA Upromise 529 Plan (the “Plan”) is administered by the Board of Trustees of the College Savings Plans of Nevada (the “Board”). Ascensus Broker Dealer Services, Inc. (ABD) serves as the Program Manager. ABD has overall responsibility for the day-to-day operations, including distribution of the Plan and provision of certain marketing services. State Street Global Advisors (SSGA) serves as Investment Manager for the Plan except for the Savings Portfolio, which is managed by Sallie Mae Bank, and also provides or arranges for certain marketing services for the Plan. The Plan’s Portfolios invest in either (i) Exchange Traded Funds and mutual funds offered or managed by SSGA or its affiliates; or (ii) a Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)- insured omnibus savings account held in trust by the Board at Sallie Mae Bank. Except for the Savings Portfolio, investments in the Plan are not insured by the FDIC. Units of the Portfolios are municipal securities and the value of units will vary with market conditions.

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For more information about the SSGA Upromise 529 Plan (“the Plan”) download the Plan Description and Participation Agreement or request one by calling 1-800-587-7305. Investment objectives, risks, charges, expenses, and other important information are included in the Plan Description; read and consider it carefully before investing. Ascensus Broker Dealer Services, Inc. (“ABD”) is distributor of the Plan.

Before you invest, consider whether your or the beneficiary’s home state offers any state tax or other state benefits such as financial aid, scholarship funds, and protection from creditors that are only available for investments in that state’s qualified tuition program.

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