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Giving and Receiving College Savings Gift Cards

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Preparing for the holidays is about carefully deciding how much to budget for each individual on your list as well as making sure everyone feels good about what they are both giving and receiving.

Instead of buying a toy that may soon be broken or clothes they will eventually outgrow, contributions to a 529 college savings plan can have a long-term impact.  If you gave just $25 every year and it was invested for 18 years with a 6 percent return, that’s potentially $775 (not adjusted for inflation). That’s enough to help pay for some college books, reducing the need to borrow.

College savings gift cards can be the perfect balance. However, it is a gift that you want to make sure your family wants.

Here’s the etiquette for giving and receiving college savings gift cards:

What 529 College Savings Plan to they have?  That's the beauty of using the Gift of College gift registry---our gift card can be redeemed as a contribution toward ANY 529 college savings plan.

Add a small toy for young children and occasionally a gift for older ones, too.  A college savings gift card is not something a kid can play with, but high schoolers understand how it will help their future. Little kids don’t. When giving a gift for someone under 12, always include a toy. I’m particularly fond of Spiderman bubbles and it would only cost you $5 extra to add this or for family members who want to buy a college savings present but don’t want to take the fun out of the holidays.

How Much to Give?  One of the problems with financial gifting is there is always the question of how much. The answer is the amount that you can afford, and that you feel is appropriate. Never give more than you can afford just because you think that’s what is expected of you.

Never specify an amount when asking for a 529 plan gift card.  Asking for money can be bad etiquette. but asking for a college savings gift card when asked about what to give isn’t. 

Don't Get Stuck on the Appropriateness Question.  Finally, there’s absolutely no doubt that financial gifting can be challenging when you first start.  Our best advice is, don’t overthink it, if it feels good to give it, it will feel good to get it.


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