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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

ONE HOUR FOR A LIFETIME

When my son was growing up I was a new emigrant, a part time student and a part time fast food restaurant employee, I was basically trying to survive in this new word. In a matter of few months my world had turned upside down. I had left my mom and dad, sisters and brothers in Iran to come to America where my fiance was waiting for me. We got married within two weeks of my arrival. He was going to college and I also registered and started taking ESL classes. It was my husband's idea to have a child right away. He said all our challenges will be over at the same time, by the time we would graduate our kid would be in school. I was young , in love and stupid so I agreed. I guess in his mind the division of labor was like this, he would go to school and work to support us, and I would go to school and raise the kid. But obviously he hadn't counted on school being so expensive for foreign students that only one of us could go to school. Our parents were sending money from Iran for school bur only enough for one of us. I really don't know who's decision it was that the one going to school would be him but I have a pretty good hunch that being from middle east and from traditional families we both felt that with him being educated he would be in a better position to make a good living. So he went and I stayed home to care for our son. There is a point to my story, however I first need to explain why I did not do the things that I'm suggesting you to do. When I was young, I was selfish and I thought of myself only. I wanted to get an education, I wanted to have a carrier, I had dreams and goals. But I also had a son. I should have thought about his future, his education, his dreams and his success. But instead I felt that something or someone had stolen my dreams and there were boulders on my road to success. I was full of resentment and bitterness, I blamed everything and everybody. At this point in my life I have made peace with the wrong decisions of my youth, I have forgiven my husband for forcing me into motherhood way before I was ready, I have forgiven myself for not being a better mother, I have settled all my resentments and berried my regrets. Not only I was too busy feeling sorry for myself but also I basically knew nothing about saving for college, I only had a checking account to pay bills, we could hardly make ends meet let alone save for college. Then years latter I started working in the banking and investment industry and learned about financial planing. It was way too late for my children. My son went to community college, state university and graduated medical school with a $300,000.00 burden of student loans. He worked part time while in college and a year before starting medical school. We helped as much as we could, not from savings but from current earnings and it was difficult to say the least. It hurt us to see him struggle and have to do without. But we are proud that he stuck to his vision and reached his goal. Yet it could have been much easier and a whole lot less stressful if we had planned. This is where I am going to tell you to do what I failed to do because of my self absorption and ignorance. Your children deserve the best life. I know as loving parents you want everything that is the best in life for them. You want them to be happy and healthy of course but you want them to have good paying jobs, and that only comes from a solid education. All you new parents and parents to be, start thinking about this matter now. Set the stage for their success now. Lay the foundation, pave the road, make it possible for them to see their bright future. Start savings for your kids future as soon as they are born. Even if they are a few years old it is not too late. It is easy and simple, go to any major bank and ask to speack to the financial advisor, or go on line to Fidelity Investments and set up a 529 college savings plan. You can start with a $100.00 and have them transfer money from your checking account, any amount you want once a month. Once you do this you don't have to think about it anymore. Every parent can save up to $250,000.00 per child tax free. If one child doesn't use it for education another child in the family can. Set your child's future on the right track, remember your children deserve the best. Invest one hour in the future of your child now and set them up for a great life.

The ScholarShare College Savings Plan is California's tax-advantaged 529 plan, open to everyone. It's sponsored by the ScholarShare Investment Board, an agency of the State of California, and managed by Fidelity Investments.

Vanguard College Savings Center


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