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Preparing for College: 529 Plans and Tips for Recent HS Graduates

Preparing for College: 529 Plans and Tips for Recent HS Graduates

June 05, 2023

Graduation season is in full swing, and whether you have a kindergartener or a college senior, this can be a busy and stressful time. For our high school graduates, we know there is no more exciting time than packing up your things and heading off to college. We here at Schmerling Financial Group want to give parents some tips to help prepare for their children who one day plan to attend college and offer up some advice for recent (or soon-to-be) graduates.

When it comes to saving for your child’s education, there is nothing more important than setting up a 529 plan. Never heard of a 529 before? No problem – SFG has you covered!

What is a 529 Plan?

A 529 plan is a savings plan designed to help people prepare for education expenses. 529 plans are named after Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code, which started these plans. These plans are offered by individual states and allow for tax-free growth and withdrawals for qualified education expenses. They are a popular option for families looking to financially prepare for their children's college education fund.

Who are 529 Plans for?

These plans are eligible for anyone as long as the account holder is a U.S. citizen, and the beneficiary has a valid social security number. Typically, people who open 529 plans are parents of a child, but they can also be grandparents, an aunt or uncle, or anyone who would like to help fund a loved one’s education. Account holders can even include partnerships, corporations, trusts, estates or associations.

What are the different types of 529 Plans?

There are two types of 529 plans to choose from: prepaid tuition plans and savings plans. Prepaid tuition plans are designed to “lock in” your future college tuition at today’s prices. Savings plans help you invest money that can be used for future college expenses such as tuition, fees, room and board, and books or up to $10,000 per beneficiary per account for K-12 tuition expenses.

If you are just now learning what a 529 plan is and wondering if it’s too late to start investing, the answer is no, it’s not too late to get started. We would love to help you get started on preparing for your or your child’s future education. Simply call or email us today at

Here at Schmerling Financial Group, we want to ensure continued success for all of our clients and prospects. That being said, if you are a recent (or soon to be) high school graduate and gearing up to start college in the fall, we’ve compiled a list of our top tips and recommendations to help you succeed in your freshman year.

  1. Develop good study habits early on to ensure success.
  2. Get involved in extracurricular activities to meet new people and make connections. Consider joining an intramural sports team, or volunteer with an on-campus student organization.
  3. Take advantage of resources on campus, such as tutoring, career centers, and counseling services. There are on-campus advisors that are there to help guide you in deciding on a major or career path.
  4. Stay organized and manage your time effectively to balance academic and social commitments. This can be a huge adjustment when starting college. Time management is key. We recommend getting a planner or agenda and writing in the dates of all upcoming papers, quizzes and exams.
  5. Don't be afraid to ask for help or guidance from professors or advisors. They are there to help you succeed. It’s always a good idea to befriend your TA (teacher’s assistant) as they are usually closer to students' age and can relate to this new chapter of your life.
  6. Stay healthy by eating well, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep. It’s okay to say “no,” and you don’t have to go to every single thing you’re invited to. Be sure to set boundaries and make sure you put your studies first. Then, once you’ve aced your test, you can go and celebrate with friends or relax.
  7. Budget your money wisely and be mindful of your spending habits. This is where SFG can really help you! If you need help with a budget plan, we’ve got plenty of resources on our site. Check out:
  8. Explore new interests and try new things to broaden your horizons. Make friends! Push yourself to introduce yourself to new people or students living in your dorm room/apartment. It’s no fun to go it alone, when you’re surrounded by so many people in the same boat as you starting out at a new school.
  9. Stay in touch with family and friends back home, but also make an effort to build relationships with your peers on campus.
  10. Remember to have fun, but always prioritize your academic responsibilities.

If there’s any way we can help you financially, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.