The Blog

Here's what we're writing.

Want to Keep In Touch?

News

3 Things Moms Should Know About Saving For College

We all want to provide a bright future for our children, and part of that means saving for their college education.

Students in the class of 2015 graduated with an average of a little more than $35,000 in college-related debt.* That’s not the legacy we want to leave for our children. As the challenges and costs of paying for higher education continue to grow, saving now is more important than ever, and can have a big impact later. One way to face the challenging costs of college head-on is to open a 529 college savings plan. A 529 plan is a tax-advantaged investment plan designed to encourage saving for the future higher education expenses of a designated beneficiary (typically one’s child or grandchild). A 529 plan is quick and easy to set up and can help you realistically meet your college savings goals this school year—and beyond. With more than 12 million 529 plan accounts open nationally, 529 plans continue to be one of the most successful ways for families of all income levels to plan ahead, save for college and reduce reliance on student loans.

Committing to a college savings plan may seem overwhelming at first, but the investment is worth it. Statistics show children with a college savings account are six to seven times more likely to attend a four-year college, compared to children with no dedicated account. College graduates earn an average of $1 million more than high school graduates during their careers, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Plus, a recent study by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce reported that by 2020, more than 65% of new jobs in the U.S. will require a college education.

college kid

How can you jumpstart your college savings?

Define your savings goals:

The first step is to determine how much you ultimately want to save for your child’s education. Do you want to save for tuition only or to include room and board? All four years of college or just two? Public or private? You can use a college cost calculator to forecast what the estimated cost of college will be when your child is ready to enroll.

Start early and save often:

Start saving as early as possible – you can even open an account before you have children. The earlier you begin saving, the more time your money has to grow, and you can always increase your contributions to an account in the future. It’s never too late to start saving. Remember, saving something is always better than nothing. Think of it this way: a family that begins setting aside $50 a month when their child is born can accrue over $21,000 in an account that earns 7% interest per year, by the time the child turns 18. This is just one example of how a little bit goes a long way in helping to eliminate future debt.

Find Your Fit:

Nearly every state offers a 529 plan, either a prepaid tuition plan and/or a savings plan. Many plans offer tax or other incentives for residents, so it’s always a good idea to look at your state’s plan first. For example, Texas offers several different 529 plans, including the Texas Tuition Promise Fund, Texas College Savings Plan, and the LoneStar 529 Plan. However, you don’t have to go with your state’s plan if it isn’t the right fit for you. In fact, you can participate in almost any 529 plan across the country. CSPN’s website is an excellent resource for choosing a 529 plan that best meets your saving goals and needs. You have the option of comparing 529 plans by feature and by state.

As mothers we do everything we can to ensure the best lives for our children. Investing in a 529 plan is an important stepping stone in supporting our kids’ higher education and their futures beyond school. Remember: no amount saved is too small, and it is never too early or too late to start saving!

I’ll be speaking at MomCom 2015 on November 7 and look forward to answering your questions in person!

Learn more and register for MomCom 2015 at MomComLife.com.

Betty Lochner serves as Chair of the Executive Board of the College Savings Plans Network (CSPN), a national non-profit association that is the leading objective source of information about Section 529 College Savings Plans and Prepaid Tuition Plans. Lochner also serves as director of Washington’s 529 plan, the Guaranteed Education Tuition (GET) program, a division of the Washington Student Achievement Council. For more information on how to start saving for college, or to spread the word on 529 plans to friends and family, visit CSPN’s website: CollegeSavings.org.

*The Wall Street Journal, May 2015

 

Committed

As a marketer, I dig words and their multiple meanings. It’s a bonus if I can use a couple of meanings of a word in one speech, essay or article. Today let’s talk committed. As in, I should be committed for starting MomCom again or I’m committed to making MomCom happen in 2015. By taking on sponsors for the November 7 event and moving forward with MomCom Salon, to what have I committed myself? Am I nuts?

I’m not crazy. At least not today. I am however, passionate. Passionate about women, motherhood, friendships, communication and honest conversation. I’m passionate about the power of mothers. I’m passionate about the diverse nature of motherhood, diverse, yet connected. And that’s what gets my blood pumping.

While my current position as a marketing manager at a university keeps me going financially, I can’t rely on it to fulfill my passion. During this past year while on a self-inflicted MomCom hiatus, I’ve realized that having a job, living comfortably and earning a paycheck are not enough for me. I need more. So this time around I’ll do it a little differently. I’ll take the advice of Yasmin, a wise mama whom I know and love. I’ll do what I can. I won’t seek more than I can handle, I’ll make MomCom fit into my life and the life of my family. It can be a happy distraction, something I reach for when I need to fill myself up, not something that wears me down.

I’m committed. Committed to my passion without letting it overwhelm me. I’m also committed to taking it easy, enjoying the ride and seeing what happens.

01.21.12MC0191_3

Please join us for MomCom Salon: A Primer on the Power of Motherhood on June 13 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

#BringBackOurGirls Rally Tuesday May 13 in Austin

BringBackOurGirlsThis Tuesday, May 13th at 6pm, join MomCom Life and Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls at the Texas Capital Building! The #BringOurGirlsBack Rally will bring awareness of the abducted Nigerian school girls.

What’s happening in Nigeria?

Three weeks ago dozens of gunmen stormed the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, Nigeria and abducted more than 200 girls who were asleep in their dormitories. Even as global media coverage grows, so do the fears of the families and communities of the missing girls.

#Bringbackourgirls

This week, Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls, along with Girl Rising, organized a Google + Hangout to help galvanize communities worldwide to take action. Together, they launched an “Action Pack” with tips and tools on how women around the world can bring attention to this important news story. With that in mind, MomCom Life & Smart Girls will be taking to the streets of Austin to “walk the walk” right here in Texas.

Join us. Help make this story continue to make headlines.

Be sure to RSVP on the Austin Rally’s Facebook page!

MomCom is an inspiration and event platform which fosters community and connection between mothers and challenges us to shift the paradigm of work by putting families first. With both educational and social events throughout the year and an annual conference, MomCom is a resource for motivated mothers who are turning their passions into actions.

Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls is a rapidly expanding online network and community movement whose aim is to help young women and the young at heart with the process of cultivating their authentic selves.

 

And So It Begins – Again

Today is the day. I’m going to start blogging on MomCom Life again. I’ve been told I need to even though this is mainly an event site. Apparently it’s my “platform” and everyone has to have a platform now days, duh! I won’t be sharing my posts for a while because I’d like to get back into the swing of things first. It’s not that I haven’t been living life. I’ve been getting some work published on Huffington Post and some other online publications. I’ve been talking with a lot of people, trying to figure out my next steps for MomCom and for work. I’ve also been attending events and going on interviews (the job kind). So life is moving along. And here I am again. Back with my business baby, after a much needed hiatus.

Image from PhilAsify 101

Image from PhilAsify 101

When I first started MomCom I was going to have a blog that featured all kinds of incredible women, which we were doing with the help of our former content manager, Lindsay Shugerman. But I’m taking a different approach and not trying to force the stories out of people. If someone submits a great story, I’ll publish it but I’m not going to spend my time seeking it out. First and foremost, MomCom is an event platform and the online community part is just going to be icing on the cake, butter on the bread and hot sauce on the breakfast taco.

What I have decided to write about is about this wild ride I’ve been on as an entrepreneur. I’m going to mix that in with stories and examples and tips on what it takes to plan events, including the MomCom conferences and the upcoming Powered by MomCom events. It’s not always going to be pretty. But that’s what we all like, don’t we? We want the dirt, the gritty, dirty, messy part of people’s lives – so we can know that we’re not alone. I’m going to give it to you. Buckle up and get ready!

P.S. Here’s something to get you started. I found it when I went down a rabbit hole looking for an “I’m back” graphic. See if it sounds like anyone you know.

 

Hats off to Trish, the heart and soul of MomCom

MomCom 2014 in Austin has come and gone, but I have one more message to share.

Post_its_SocialMedia9Oct13-03-1

If you were one of the fortunate women who attended this weekend’s event, you know what an amazing experience it was. The speakers were phenomenal. The workshops were inspiring (how many of you came out of the Mommy-guilt session in tears?  The mark of a touching presentation.)  The networking was unbelievable, and the Wine Walk was a much-needed chance to unwind.

I just want to say what I know the whole MomCom team will want to echo. If it were not for Trish, NONE of this would ever have happened. None of us would be inspired or connected or buoyed up the way we are today.

So from me, and I’m sure the rest of the team, thank you Trish. You did good! And we’re so happy we were a part of it.