If going to the gym was easy, fewer people would break their New Year’s resolutions.
We get it. Consistency is hard.
But what if you could achieve a goal with minimal effort? Turns out, there’s a way.
Recurring Contributions (automatic investments) is an easier way to save for college. It allows you to set up automatic payments to remove some of the stress of saving, often with less hassle than doing it manually.
Whether you’re a lapsed saver (meaning you didn't contribute beyond the first 3 years of account ownership) or you’ve just been less-than-disciplined about saving, jump-starting your contributions can make a potentially big difference in the long run. One of the easiest ways to get back on track is by setting up Recurring Contributions.
3 benefits to making saving automatic
The Recurring Contributions approach consistently keeps you on track—and consistency is key when saving over time. A valuable tool for parents saving for college, automatic investing plans increase potential return, reduce risk, and can help you avoid missing out on tax breaks.
Here are 3 key benefits:
- Discipline. It’s one thing to decide to save money in a 529 account. It’s quite another to actually do it. Automatic investments can eliminate the temptation to spend that money elsewhere.
- Convenience. We’re all busy with schedules jam-packed with tasks and activities. Why not take something off your to-do list? Recurring Contributions let you automate college saving.
- Better results. Consistent savers may get better outcomes than those who try to invest large sums all at once.* Here’s how they stack up:
- Lapsed savers. Among investors who haven’t made any 529 contributions beyond the first 3 years of owning the account, few are enrolled in automatic savings plans. This group had an average of $10,825 saved.
- Inconsistent savers. These are account owners who save less frequently than once a year. They have an average lifetime contribution of $19,745.
- Consistent savers. More than 60% of regular savers have set up Recurring Contributions. They've saved an average of $23,566.
Ready to invest? Follow these 5 steps:
If you’re convinced of the benefits of Recurring Contributions, it’s easy to get started:
- Log on to your MOST 529 account.
- From the menu on the right, choose Contribute.
- Select electronically from your bank account.
- If you have more than one beneficiary, choose the beneficiary you want to add recurring contributions for or you can select all.
- Enter the amount, frequency of your contributions, and start date.
- Select your bank account or if you don’t already have a one on file, add one for the contribution to pull from.
Instead of pledging to hit the gym more this year, make a resolution you know you’ll actually keep: Take advantage of an AIP. It’s like having someone lift you off the couch and put you on a treadmill. Except an AIP can potentially pay bigger dividends than losing a few pounds.
*Source: Vanguard, 2017. 529 Plan Savers Earn Better Grades for Behavior.