Potty trained. Check. Savings plan for child. Check (at least after today!).
I want you to say this with me, Mama Bear:
“From this holiday and birthday onward, I will set aside 50% of each of my child’s money gifts into their savings account.”
Making this one commitment will change the money course of your child’s future.
Yes, they might whine at you.
Yes, they might have their hearts set on something to purchase in a store with that money.
Psst: I did say 50%, not 100%, for this savings plan for child. So they could certainly still spend some of the money on themselves. Otherwise this savings plan for child might fail!
But when they turn 18, and you can hand over a savings account with (potentially) several thousand dollars in it − made up of $5 here, $25 there − they’re going to be über grateful that you did this for them.
Why? Because it’s textbook money for college. It’s first-apartment-deposit money. It’s car money. Wouldn’t you have loved it if YOUR parents had handed an account over to you with several thousand dollars in it before being thrust out into the real world?
8 Actual Parents Who Have Been Doing This + How Much It’s Reaped for their Kid(dos)
I started doing this myself – at 100% contributions of any cash gifts we receive ($110 so far! We’ll likely decrease the percentage once he figures out how a store works) – starting at our little guy’s birth. But he’s only 21 months old, and I want to know how this will play out for you (and me!) over the years.
So, I found several mothers who had started doing this when their kid(dos) were very young to see how it’s turning out for them.
After posing this question in several different Facebook Groups, I found that among 8 different families, the range of savings accounts from using this method is between $850 all the way up to $20,000! In other words, from covering two semesters’ worth of college textbooks, all the way to several semesters’ actual tuition cost.
Here’s a breakdown:
- Jill (*name changed) daughter, 11: $850 in a savings account thanks to employing this method.
- Jane (*name changed) son, 13: “What I have done with him is every time we go and see my parents for the last several years, when my Dad gives me $50, I set it aside and put it into my son’s bank account. I take him with me when I do this. I’m custodian to his savings account, which has about $3,500 in it right now.”
- Ryan Inman, son, 2: “Contributions from grandparents towards college has been the primary reason for opening the account. Most of it makes it to the 529, some saved here for other investments. My son turns 3 in sept and has 12k in it. Started the account a few months after he was born.”
- Jesse M Fearon, children aged 19 months, 4, and 5: We’ve had savings accounts for them “since they were born (well, since we received their SSN numbers in the mail after they were born). It’s just a simple savings account but we deposit all money in that account until they are 3, then the rule is they can keep the cash (if it’s less than $10) and any checks are deposited into their savings account. We don’t give our children birthday gifts, instead we deposit money into their savings accounts for their birthdays. Our children are 5, 4, and 19 months old. Our oldest has the most saved since he’s been around longer, but all of our children have over a $1,000 in their accounts.”
- Holly Porter Johnson, 6 and 8: “I’ve been saving my kids birthday money since they were babies. I add it to their 529’s. They each have around $10,000 And they’re 6 and 8?.”
- Emma Healey, son, 5: “My 5 yr old has $2800. I bank all the gifts his grandparents send over. They live in a different country so always send cash and tell me to buy something nice for him but instead I buy him a $1 toy from the thrift store and bank the rest.”
- Lee Huff, 2 and 6: “We started saving $100 a month in a 529 in my name for each child when we found out we were pregnant. Then we transferred the money into their names after they were born and had a SSN. Instead of birthday gifts, we ask people to contribute to their 529 instead. They’re now 6 and 2 and have a combined $20,000 in their 529s.”
- Robert Farrington, 9 months, 3: “We have two kids, one is 3 and the other is just 9 months. We’ve put every cash gift they’ve ever received into the account. My oldest, at 3, has $1,700 in their account. My younger one has $1,000. We plan to continue to save all their cash gifts this way.”
Wow. Inspiring, right? Remember that when it comes time to hand over these accounts to the kids (who won’t be kids anymore, but very young adults), they’re not going to remember that toddler-sized Elsa doll they weren’t allowed to buy with their money, or the latest video game they would have conquered in a few weeks anyway. They’re going to be super grateful to have had a mother with the foresight to know their child was going to need money to start their adult life. Besides, saving money for kids could also help steer them away from a paycheck-to-paycheck mentality. Your savings plan for child starts today!