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Starting College 101

Starting College

Starting college is an exciting time for both parents and kids. The kids are about to fly solo for the first time, exploring the world all on their own with their parents routing for them from the sideline (their now empty nest). With this comes a lot of planning and without it you can bet that it’ll be a flight with quite a bit of turbulence. To ensure the smoothest path, consider these few things: plan ahead and make a packing list if they are planning on moving out, and learn when, how and what to pull from that 529 plan you’ve been building over the last several years.

Unbox and Save

Ecommerce shipping has boomed since the pandemic began, causing a shortage in packing boxes, and it isn’t over. A lot of companies are having to deliver their products in unbranded boxes due to the shortage, which means even less boxes for you. So be sure to save up boxes from your deliveries or purchase boxes ahead of time for moving.

Make a List, Check it Twice

Before you travel anywhere, you should make a list. But if your child is moving out into a college dorm, it is definitely a must. Make sure to research what they can and can’t have in a dorm and make sure to bring the essentials such as storage, laundry supplies, electronics, desk supplies, toiletries, household/kitchen supplies and clothing. Most dorms are furnished and are tight in space, so make sure you have the measurements of the space and the furniture included so you know how much space you have left to work with. If you’re already signed up and your child has a roommate, try to get in touch with them and see what shareable items they are bringing to save space.

The When, How and What of 529’s

After years of saving, it’s finally time to use your child’s 529 Educational Savings Account. Before filing a withdrawal request, there are a few steps you need to take. Start by calculating your qualified education expenses. For a short list of common qualified educational expenses, go here.

You know how much, but when do you withdraw? We recommend that you withdraw within the same year you purchase the qualified expenses. To withdraw your calculated expenses you need to submit a withdrawal request. The form usually asks for the 529 account number, your name and social security number, the beneficiary’s name and social security number, and phone number. It is also possible to download a request form and mail it in or request by telephone.

We hope after this you’re a little more prepared to be an empty nester. If you have any questions please feel free to contact our office with any of your 529 questions!

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