As winter winds down and we are all bombarded with spring break plans, upcoming holidays (St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, etc.), I am reminded, once again, on how fast time passes by. It seems like just last month my daughter started high school, and yet my son and daughter are almost done with this school year! With both kids in high school focused on their grades and excelling in school, I realize how grateful I am as a parent.
My kids are both very fortunate to have their health, friends, and family support to pursue their dreams as they move through young adulthood. Raising children is quite challenging, and doing it alone brings its own set of financial and emotional setbacks and choices. As we juggle financial priorities between life’s needs and wants, I reflect back on the New Year’s resolution I made a few years ago, to purchase a prepaid tuition program for each of my children.
Although I know they will both need more financial support (room/board/books/etc.), I know I have taken the first step in helping them pave their own way in this world by purchasing a program that can be used nationwide at institutions of higher education. Being born and raised in Las Vegas, neither of my children are planning to attend college in this State. As a parent, where they go is not as important as the savings plan to help them get to their dream school. I am so pleased that they will have choices based on their own academic record, and through the Nevada Prepaid Tuition Program, which will pay tuition at Nevada rates. After all, as parents, we all want our children to have every opportunity in life to be productive, independent, happy and healthy members of society. The only real way I’ve found to mentor my children and to help them pave their own way to achieve these goals, has been to foster a sense of personal responsibility in each of them.
To instill the idea that ‘anything is possible with education, desire, and personal commitment’, has been a cornerstone lesson in my home. Although my son is unsure of what he wants to do, he knows his path includes going to college on the West Coast. He has started to supplement his Prepaid Tuition Program with earnings from part time internship, into a traditional 529 Savings Plan. He is also focused on grades, in hopes of receiving a merit scholarship. We have spent many hours reviewing the financial side of funding an undergraduate degree, and know it is a collaborative process between parents and children. Although my son would much rather spend his entire internship salary on Apple products, he has successfully saved some money for college. Funding an entire undergraduate degree is a bit like putting together a puzzle. You start with the outside, such as, a prepaid tuition program, and work your way inside, until all the gaps are filled.
So, as your family gets ready to finish yet another year of school this year, I challenge you to think about and start planning, a college savings strategy with your own kids. Check out the various 529 College Savings Plans your state offers. Consider the peace of mind that comes with pre-purchasing their college tuition. Although I don’t claim to have everything saved that I will need to support them, I’ve shown them that I am doing my part to help secure their future.
Are you ready? Don’t wait another minute! Spring into action today!
Submitted by - Deputy Treasurer for Southern Nevada Sheila Salehian joined the Treasurer’s Office in January 2012. Sheila’s responsibilities include oversight of the first 529 CollegeSavings Program in Nevada, The Nevada Prepaid Tuition Program. She is also responsible for outreach and administration of the office’s many Financial Literacy programs. rior to joining the Treasurer’s office, Sheila worked in the Financial Services Industry for over22 years, holding a variety of Relationship Manager, Area Director, & Information Technology liaisonroles for a Fortune 100 company. Sheila holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of Iowa.