Five Simple Ways To Think About College Savings (Yes, Already!)

I’ve partnered with Fidelity & MEFA in support of the U.Fund 529. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Here are five simple ways to start thinking about college savings, yes, already! No matter the age of your children, it's not too early to start thinking!

There were various events around Boston this summer and fall, where you could get information on different options available to families. The U. Fund Dreams Tour is all about making college planning & savings knowledge accessible to parents in various stages of the planning process. We still have fairly young children, but so many years have passed, and I have always wished for more resources to rely on for information throughout this process. No matter how old your child is, or children are, saving for their educational financial futures is a big undertaking. Are you ready to find out more? I know I have been!

Here are five simple ways to start thinking about college savings, yes, already! No matter the age of your children, it's not too early to start thinking!

These 16 Boston-area events took place between May and October of 2016 and they were GOOD. The events all had a large “Dreams Tent” filled with engaging discovery activities for kids to have fun with and connect. There were discovery activities intended to help parents better understand the challenges of saving for college, and they were also there to be fun and interactive for the kids. There was the U.Fund Dreams Tour at Wachusett Mountain KidsFest on September 24th and 25th, and the U. Fund Dreams Tour @ Boo at the Zoo at the Stone Zoo on October 23rd. We had a lot of fun!

Here are five simple ways to start thinking about college savings, yes, already! No matter the age of your children, it's not too early to start thinking!

My kids are four and seven, and instead of thinking it’s too early to think about saving for college, in fact, I have been worried it’s too late. Luckily, there are plans, ideas and tips that can work for ALL of us – no matter our place in the game. I know my kids aren’t thinking about college yet, but I’m happy that we are thinking deeply about their futures.

Here are five simple ways to start thinking about college savings, yes, already! No matter the age of your children, it's not too early to start thinking!

Five Simple Ways To Think About College Savings (Yes, Already!):

1 – Don’t get discouraged. It’s easier said than done. College costs rise about six percent per year, and we do worry about what it will be like in 10-15 years or so. The good news is that there are plans, scholarships and benefits that can fit the bill.

Here are five simple ways to start thinking about college savings, yes, already! No matter the age of your children, it's not too early to start thinking!

2 – Involve your kids. They need to know the value of money early, whether it’s how to earn it, how hard it can be to earn it, and how valuable time and work can be. I think it’s great to make goals with them – like bake sales or lemonade stands.

Here are five simple ways to start thinking about college savings, yes, already! No matter the age of your children, it's not too early to start thinking!

3 – Open a college savings account for your kids. You can do so at the Fidelity.com/college or MEFA U.Fund page.

Here are five simple ways to start thinking about college savings, yes, already! No matter the age of your children, it's not too early to start thinking!

4 – Look at data and choices. One thing that isn’t as fun, but is important, is to look at your financial data from the last three months. The point of this is to get a rough idea of your monthly expenses vs. income, so you can decipher how much to allocate to a monthly 529. Start investing in your children’s education early so that savings can compound. You can shift to more conservative investments as your children get older.

Here are five simple ways to start thinking about college savings, yes, already! No matter the age of your children, it's not too early to start thinking!

5 – Learn more about the MEFA U.Fund Massachusetts 529 plan managed by Fidelity Investments. This is a simple and smart way to save for your children’s colleges. The experts at MEFA and Fidelity can work with you to see which flexible investment choices are best for your budget and your needs. As little as $15 a month can grow over time to help pay for your children’s college expenses. The MEFA has been helping families save for college through 529 plans for over 30 years.

Here are five simple ways to start thinking about college savings, yes, already! No matter the age of your children, it's not too early to start thinking!

Their experts work with all families. You can head over to Fidelity.com/college for more information about saving for college. And head to the MEFA U.Fund page for more information about the Massachusetts 529 college savings plans. MEFA also offers a number of seminars in locations across Massachusetts to help you plan for college. Find one HERE.

Here are five simple ways to start thinking about college savings, yes, already! No matter the age of your children, it's not too early to start thinking!

MEFA’S U.Fund, the Massachusetts 529 college-investing plan, is a tax-advantaged college savings plan professionally managed by Fidelity. MEFA is a non-profit state authority that works to make higher education more accessible and affordable.

Here are five simple ways to start thinking about college savings, yes, already! No matter the age of your children, it's not too early to start thinking!

Strange Currencies

“Y’know with love comes strange currencies
And here is my appeal
I need a chance, a second chance, a third chance
A fourth chance, a word, a signal
A nod, a little breath
Just to fool myself, to catch myself
And make it real, real” — R.E.M.

You know that place between being asleep and being awake? And do you know that space between night and morning? For me, it’s 2:00am – 4:00am. Those are the witching hours. Every minute before then is just late night. Every minute after creeps slowly toward dawn. Dawn is a clean slate and fresh plate – it’s where you can almost forget the hauntings of the night before. If I’m ever to get haunted, it’s always in those witching hours. By haunting, I mean bad dreams, bad places between being asleep and being awake, and bad spaces between night and morning. Sometimes it’s an anxiety attack – although they are rare – and I’ve come to either expect them or accept them. Both. Then they drift away as mysteriously as they come.

Not quite as rare, but rare, is that I can’t sleep. Legend holds that I can sleep through ANYTHING – earthquake, gun powder plant explosion, hurricane, thunder, snoring, TV, loud parties, Broadway plays, Flogging Molly concerts, and a cat walking across my head. Legend also holds that I can sleep through ANYTHING – except newborn babies who need me to breastfeed them, bad roommates, and pretty much anything taking place in Douglass College – Rutgers University. I can sleep anywhere, anytime, anyhow, except when I can’t – which is when I don’t feel completely safe. That can change as mysteriously as anything I’ve listed above, because it’s not always about who, what, where, when, why, and how, but it’s about the me at the given time. All I know is that different things hit us differently at different times. Sometimes I can’t sleep. Mostly I can.

Sometimes I’m haunted. Mostly I’m not.

A week ago today, I woke up with a start at 3:39am, although I was certain it was more like 6:00am. I was sick – that’s why I woke up. I’ve woken up from nausea maybe three times in my life, and this was a fourth. I didn’t think it was anxiety because I never wake up from it – rather, I’m triggered by it every now and then – and then it takes over my body. It’s like a fast-spreading flush. This was different, though. This was nausea, chills, and sweats. I went downstairs because I knew I was going to face this. I wasn’t going to hide from it, which is one does as a legit vomit-phobic. I let it go. I was ready. I wasn’t even that scared. I figured I’d lie on the couch and then confront it when everyone went to school and work. It passed over me in deep waves, chills, and a red-hot heat. I shivered and writhed for three hours or so to wait until everyone else woke up.

Around dawn, I went into a small dream about cupcakes. 7.5 years of parenting, through sinus infections, allergic reactions to antibiotics, RSV, clogged ducts, throat viruses, and many, many nervous stomachs, and this.. THIS.. was the first time I’ve ever not been able to do what I usually do. Cassidy took the kids to school. He even picked them up. He made lunches, packed backpacks, and they all left me in my misery. I stood up first, then attempted sips of water, then Matzoh (we had it for some reason), and then even a shower. At night, I went out to the school for movie night. I have no idea what happened, because it had never happened to me before. Was it something I ate? The shortest, most non-vomiting stomach virus ever?

All I know is that giving myself that space to rest was like a magic balm.

I always need a safe space – in the middle of the night – and in general. Sometimes there are 18 people, overflowing into dens and studies. Sometimes I’m in beach houses, where there are so many houseguests, they spill out onto the yard and camp in tents. I’m always ok, but even better the other 364 days a year where my special place and space is always there waiting for me. Like flying with Xanax you never intend to actually crack open, I rarely – if ever – use or need my space and place.

I just like to know it’s there for me.

So if you ever find yourself wide awake during witching hours – with anxiety, or mysterious stomach bugs, indigestion, creepy roommates, snoring kids, farting dogs, hauntings, real ghosts, bad Chinese food, marital chills, strange currencies, or whatever else the HECK that can happen during witching hours, what do you do? Where do you reach? What lulls you to sleep?

I like to connect. I like to reach out for anything hard and tangible, soft and distracting, focusing and connecting, anything to let me know I’m awake, alive, real. When it comes to those strange currencies, sometimes it pays to ride the radio waves.

Currencies and Frequencies. What might you find?

This is me linking up, as one of my favorite things to do, with Finish The Sentence Friday. This week’s topic is “When I can’t sleep, I…” And there’s still time to write yours. What do you do? Come link up with your spin on the matter: HERE.