What To Know About College Saving 529 Plans

This post contains affiliate links. We may earn compensation when you click on the links at no additional cost to you.

I’m so excited to be a Scholarshare Ambassador for 2015 and I’ll be sharing sponsored posts throughout the year filled with college savings and planning information. Today is the perfect day to talk more about college savings accounts because Friday is national 529 Day!


One of the first things that new parents think about is college savings. 

It was no different for us. As soon as we found out we were going to be parents we started thinking about college savings for our new baby… but then life got in the way (babies are exhausting and time consuming). We kept saying we needed to do it, but we also felt like we had years to plan and save.

We learned pretty quickly that life goes by quickly and that the perfect time to start saving for college is as soon as possible!

Fast forward 15 years and we are now two years away from our oldest starting college. Thankfully we have been saving for her college education for years… but when she was born we didn’t have the same options we do now for our littlest one, namely a state-sponsored 529 plan. And we both agree that would have made a big difference in how we saved.

My favorite view no matter what city we are in.

If you have been thinking about starting a college savings account, then Friday is your lucky day since it’s 2015 ScholarShare 529 Day!

National 529 Day (May 29) is celebrated nationally by state-sponsored 529 plans to raise awareness about the importance of saving for college and the value of 529 plans, it is also ScholarShare’s 529 Day Matching Promotion Day! In celebration of National 529 Day on May 29, 2015, ScholarShare launched its 529 Day matching promotion, “You Start It, We Match It.”

If you open a ScholarShare 529 College Savings Account on Friday, May 29, 2015 from 12:01 a.m. PT to 11:59 p.m. PT and ScholarShare will match $50 of the initial deposit. Pretty cool right? It’s free money to help kick off your college savings account. 

To be eligible for ScholarShare’s matching promotion, California families will need to:

  1. Open a new ScholarShare College Savings Plan with an initial deposit of at least $50 – to be contributed and invested at the time the new account is opened.
  2. Enroll in the automatic contribution plan (ACP) for the new account with at least a $25 contribution per month.

The matching deposit of $50 will be made to the eligible ScholarShare 529 account on or before 11:59 p.m. PT on Dec. 15, 2015. There is a limit of one matching deposit per new ScholarShare account opened for a new beneficiary.  ScholarShare is California’s 529 College Savings Plan, a state-sponsored, tax-advantaged investment vehicle designed to help and encourage families to save for future qualified higher education expenses. The ScholarShare College Savings Plan is offered by the State of California. TIAA-CREF Tuition Financing, Inc. (TFI) is the Plan Manager.

Sounds pretty great right?

The only thing she wanted to do on this vacation was to buy a "bucket and spades " and build a sand castle with Daddy.

Here are 5 more things you need to know about ScholarShare 529 College Savings Accounts:

1. There are options for everyone and their needs. ScholarShare offers 19 investment portfolios, giving account holders more options, depending on their savings goals and risk tolerance.

You can even open an account for yourself if you have plans to go back to school! If you have limited time till the money is needed there are options that are more conservative and other choices if you have more time and can take more risk. They also have an option if you are more comfortable taking no risk with your investments.

Since its inception in 1999, the number of ScholarShare accounts has grown to more than 260,000 with over $6.3 billion in total plan assets. In 2014, ScholarShare helped California families meet their higher education needs, with nearly $300 million withdrawn by families to pay for qualified higher education expenses.

2. Money saved is never lost if not used and can be used for more than just paying typical college expenses. ScholarShare offers a diverse set of investment options, and provides tax-deferred growth and withdrawals free from state and federal taxes when the funds are used for qualified higher education expenses, such as tuition and fees, books or even certain room and board costs.

3. If your child gets a scholarship a matching amount can be taken out penalty free. The money can also be used for accredited trade schools. 

4. It only takes $25 to open an account. Any U.S. citizen, or resident alien with a valid Social Security Number or Taxpayer Identification Number, can open a new account, for as little as $25. And through ScholarShare’s “Give a Gift” option, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends can open a new account as a gift or make a gift contribution to an existing one.

5. ScholarShare accounts are easy to setup. ScholarShare has no annual account maintenance fee, no income limit and offers a high maximum account balance.

My view during I never leave home without my people.

There are so many reasons to save for college, but I’ve found the best reason is that the earlier you start the better.

If you think you don’t have enough extra money to contribute, think again. Just $25 a month can make a huge impact on the future. It all adds up and even if you don’t have the whole amount saved before college starts, what you do have offsets what you will need to be made up with student loans. So often parents think that financial aid is a scholarship and doesn’t need to be paid back. That’s completely not true. Financial aid is just another word for student loans. Saving now means that there will be less or no student loans needed!

Take a moment and learn more about ScholarShare today and then be sure to visit ScholarShare on Friday to open a 529 account for the matching promotion!

Have you started saving for your child’s college education?

Heather Reese
the authorHeather Reese
Heather Delaney Reese is the storyteller and photographer behind the lifestyle and family travel blog, It's a Lovely Life®! For the past decade, she has vacationed over 150 days a year with her family. She is a vegan, and loves being by the water, spending time with her children, husband, 2 Shih Tzus and Cat.


  • That sounds like a no brainer – free money! I know my husband has accounts for my kids, but he is in charge.

  • This sounds awesome! I’ll have to search and see if we have something like this here. We have accts for all our kiddos but this would be great!

  • Wow, I had my kid’s savings in a regular bank! I had no idea these were so much more beneficial!

  • No, we have not, but need to. We have three little ones and I can’t stand to think about sending them all. Ugh, it hurts my belly to think of it. I need to get on the ball

  • We haven’t started saving for college yet. But with 5 kids we need to! This sounds like a great option for us.

  • This sounds like an amazing program. I would have loved to do this when my kids were younger. I will have to share this post.

  • It is so important to start saving for the kids college as early as you can. This sounds like an amazing program. I will have to look into it for my girls.

  • It really is never too early to start saving for your children! We just started a savings account for my 2 year old son!

  • I wish my parents had made me a college savings. College is so expensive and I’m paying for it now. I’ve been looking into a savings for my kids. I’ll need to look into doing this for them.

  • Great tips! We have followed some of these tips a long time ago, and so glad we did! College planning is something we should all start when the kids are very young.

  • That sounds like a great program! We have a similar one here in Canada which we signed up for when our son was 1 year old and we got “free” money for his education too – win, win!

  • We have three kiddos to save for, so it always seem so daunting and so expensive. Our oldest is 10, so now we only have 8 years before he graduates. I still think that he should work towards scholarships and grants and we can help where we can but we won’t be offering full rides to any of our children. We’ll have to read more about 529’s and see about setting them up.

  • Great tips! I’ve been looking into the 529 plans for some time. It may be time to finally do it! Now we have 2 kids so it definitely will add up quickly!

  • I got all excited for a second until I read will match up to $50. $50 bucks is $50 bucks. 😉

  • My husband and I both are paying for our college bills still, but are planning to provide college expenses for our kids. Hopefully we will be able to pay for it all, but starting is important. Contributing a little over time will add over time. I can say college is well worth it and we plan for our kids to all complete there higher education timely after high school. Thanks for the tips.

  • You are right. The best way to start saving for college is as soon as you find out you are having a baby.

  • Sounds like an amazing program. Its really a best way to start saving for college education and great that this program exists with various options. I really love to do this for my kids. Will definitely share this post with my husband.

  • This is my first time hearing of ScholarShare accounts. I will have to pass this information on to my brother so that he can be more informed in regards to my nephew’s educational future.

  • I like this kind of program. I have to mention this to my husband, and see if we can start funding our daughter’s college education. Thanks for sharing!

Comments are closed.