Cherishing Time With Our Kids This Year

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by and contains information on the New York’s 529 College Savings Program Direct Plan. The content and opinions expressed in this post are my own.

This past year we’ve been doing things that are both fun and educational. I especially love when they do STEM-related activities.

For example, they enjoyed visiting farms where they learned about animals. They even got to feed goats milk bottles.

Feeding Bottle to Goat Bicultural Mama

Recently, my little one got a nifty new GeoSafari Jr. telescope to learn about nature and the world up high.

GeoSafari Jr Telescope Bicultural Mama

Everyone always says, “Time flies, they’ll be in college before you know it.” It’s so true. It reminds me and my husband to plan now for our kids’ future, especially when it comes to education.

Saving for Our Kids’ Education

When I was growing up, my dad taught me the value of planning for college. We lived in Michigan, and my dad opened a state-sponsored and supervised 529 plan. It was an investment savings plan to help parents save for college and other kinds of higher education. Thank goodness my dad thought ahead. His forethought eased the financial burden of paying for my college education.

Most states have a version of this kind of college saving program. New York has a similar plan called NY’s 529 College Saving Program Direct Plan. The program has been around for more than 20 years.

NY 529 College Saving Plan Box Bicultural Mama kids

When our kids were babies, my husband and I opened NY 529 Direct Plan investment accounts for both. We knew that the college saving money we deposited into these accounts now may help to reduce the burden of debt later for ourselves and our children.

I was already familiar with the NY 529 Direct Plan, so I was happy to feature it on my blog when the opportunity came up. I knew this program could help other families just like mine.

Now is a Good Time to Think Forward

529 College Saving Plan Box Opened kids

We received a very cool NY 529 Plan Back to School surprise box. My kids were excited to open it.

There were a lot of fun activities inside that reminded us that it’s never too early to save.

Putting Rocket Piggy Bank Together Bicultural Mama kids

We made fun rocket ship piggy banks that the kids could use to store their saved money.

529 College Saving Plan Decorating Box kids

The kids decorated the box, a launching pad into space for the rocket piggy banks.

On the inside cover, the kids filled in the statement, “In the future I want to be _______.” They chose “Happy.” I think this is spot on because ultimately we all want our kids to grow up and be happy. As a parent, if I can help secure their financial future by reducing stress that student debt may bring, then I’m all for it.

Benefits of a 529 College Saving Plan

  • Low Minimum Investments – You don’t have to invest high amounts of money. We’ve been putting $50 a month into each of our kids’ accounts. When friends or relatives give our kids cash gifts, we deposit it into their NY 529 Direct Plan Likewise, people have the option to send gift contributions directly into kids’ plans.
  • Automated Transfers and Payroll Deduction – We’ve set up automated transfers from our bank account into the NY 529 Direct Plan so that we don’t forget to do it. It makes the process easy and convenient.
  • Federal and State Tax Benefits – Our 529 plan helps us save for college because it’s federal tax-advantaged.* In addition, many states, like New York, offer state tax benefits. In New York, we can contribute up to $10,000 and deduct it annually from New York State taxable income for married couples filing jointly. Single taxpayers can deduct up to $5,000 annually.**
  • Flexibility Where to Use Funds – When it’s time for our kids to go to college, they can use their NY 529 savings at thousands of eligible colleges, graduate programs, vocational and technical schools, in 50 states and abroad.
  • Not a “Use It or Lose It Plan” – The great thing about the NY 529 Direct Plan is that you’re not locked into a “Use It or Lose It” scenario. What if our oldest child decides not to get a higher education? Then we can transfer her plan funds to our younger child. What if our youngest also doesn’t plan to use it? Then we can use the funds for family members such as nieces, nephews, and even me and my husband. And if no one decides to get a higher education? Then we can withdraw the funds with tax payments and a tax penalty.*

As someone who has benefitted from a college saving plan, it is important to me to do the same for my children. That’s why my husband and I opened up a NY 529 Direct Plan for our kids. If you’d like to learn more and open your own account, please visit

Rocket to College Savings Bicultural Mama kids


*Earnings on federal nonqualified withdrawals may be subject to federal income tax and a 10% federal penalty tax, as well as state and local income taxes. Tax and other benefits are contingent on meeting other requirements. Please consult your tax advisor about your particular situation.

** Contributions of up to $10,000 are deductible annually from New York State taxable income for married couples filing jointly; single taxpayers can deduct up to $5,000 annually. New York State tax deductions may be subject to recapture in certain circumstances such as rollovers to another state’s 529 plan, federal nonqualified withdrawals, or withdrawals used to pay elementary or secondary school tuition, registered apprenticeship program expenses, or qualified education loan repayments as described in the Disclosure Booklet and Tuition Savings Agreement. State tax benefits for non-resident New York taxpayers may vary. Please consult your tax advisor about your particular situation.

Investment returns are not guaranteed, and you could lose money by investing in the Direct Plan.

For more information about New York’s 529 College Savings Program Direct Plan, download a Disclosure Booklet and Tuition Savings Agreement [] or request one by calling 877-NYSAVES (877-697-2837). This document includes investment objectives, risks, charges, expenses, and other information. You should read and consider them carefully before investing.

Before you invest, consider whether your or the beneficiary’s home state offers any state tax or other benefits that are only available for investments in that state’s 529 plan. Other state benefits may include financial aid, scholarship funds, and protection from creditors.

The Comptroller of the State of New York and the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation are the Program Administrators and are responsible for implementing and administering the Direct Plan.

Ascensus Broker Dealer Services, LLC, serves as Program Manager and, in connection with its affiliates, provides recordkeeping and administrative support services and is responsible for day-to-day operations of the Direct Plan. The Vanguard Group, Inc., serves as the Investment Manager. Vanguard Marketing Corporation provides marketing and distribution services to the Direct Plan.

No guarantee: None of the State of New York, its agencies, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), The Vanguard Group, Inc., Ascensus Broker Dealer Services, LLC, nor any of their applicable affiliates insures accounts or guarantees the principal deposited therein or any investment returns on any account or investment portfolio.

New York’s 529 College Savings Program currently includes two separate 529 plans. The Direct Plan is sold directly by the Program. You may also participate in the Advisor-Guided Plan, which is sold exclusively through financial advisors and has different investment options and higher fees and expenses as well as financial advisor compensation.

© 2021 New York’s 529 College Savings Program Direct Plan

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