Preschool Milestones

Meet Avery - Charleston, WV


Avery may only be in preschool, but her parents are already thinking about and planning for her future. They dream of Avery going to college and becoming anything she wants to be. Lucky for Avery, her mom and dad already have a jump start on making her dreams come true – they opened a SMART529 college savings account.

Avery’s parents realize that sooner is better when it comes to saving. Want to get your child on the way to a college education? Not sure how to get started? When your preschooler moves on to kindergarten, use a portion of the money you save in child care expenses to start a college savings account. Saving just $100–$200 per month can give you the start you need to pay for your child’s college education.

If Avery’s parents had waited to invest, the money they may have saved might have been thousands of dollars less than if they would have started earlier. Even in these difficult financial times, they realize that continuing to invest and staying calm should help them make Avery’s dreams come true.

Saving Regularly is the Key

Saving $200/month vs. $100/month

This hypothetical chart assumes a 7% rate of return and does not reflect the actual performance of any product or investment option, or the effect of taxes.

Tips to prepare your child for college now

  • Participate in extracurricular activities. Colleges want to recruit well-rounded students.
  • Read! Students who read more are better writers and problem solvers.
  • Encourage good study habits. Set aside a special time for homework when the television is off and your child has a quiet study space.
  • Communicate with your child’s teacher. This lets the teacher know that you are involved and have high expectations for your child.
  • Do things outside of school. Get involved in community service.

Preschoolers can learn about money too

Teaching your preschooler to save money can be fun and educational for the whole family. Although delayed gratification is a hard concept to learn, even for adults, it can benefit your child for years. Here are some tips on how to begin:

  • Introduce your child to money as soon as they can count.
  • Make money management a family issue. It is never too early to include your children in the decision-making process. Expressing your desire to have things you can’t afford will teach your children how to make decisions involving “needs vs. wants.”
  • Take your child to the bank. Opening a savings account for your child can help them learn about savings, interest, and how to make deposits and withdrawals.
  • Communicate by explaining the bigger financial picture. For example, a trip to the water park involves gas, food and the price of admission.
  • Show children how to share with families who are less fortunate.
  • Match the amount a child saves regularly to motivate spending.
Updated 12/08/2015