1. How many kids do you have? How old are they?
We have one daughter who is 20 months old.
3. What is your favorite family activity?
Play time before bed…we run around the house like a bunch of crazy people in an effort to get my daughter tired enough that she’s ready for bed. It’s actually super fun!
3. What was your plan to pay for your kid’s college before U-Nest?
It was something that was always on my mind given how I paid for school (more on that later), but to be honest, I didn’t really have a plan. I knew I needed to save, but it wasn’t until our daughter was born that it really hit us that we needed to start putting money away and we didn’t know the best way to do it. I initially thought we would make a tax-free contribution to her each year and invest that money in something (e.g., ETFs, bonds), but I didn’t really sit down and pencil out how much we needed to pay for school and how much we needed to invest to hit that goal. So, I went down the rabbit hole of Google-ing “best ways to save for kids college” and finally came across a 529 plan which lead to a series of other complications…what plan, how do I set it up, etc.
4. How did U-Nest help you navigate complexities of college savings?
U-Nest honestly made the whole process as simple as I could have ever imagined. Not only did it help educate me how much I needed to save, it also took the guessing out of whether or not I’d reach my goal and showed me what value my account will grow to with a set monthly contribution. That was hugely helpful to make the idea of saving more real. Beyond that, the setup could not have been easier…For comparison, I’m a Schwab account member, and opening a 529 plan with Schwab involved printing out forms, identifying accounts, mailing copies in (not even PDF email, actual mail!) and it was headache which caused me to keep putting it off (although, now I’m glad I did). And that’s with the bank I’m currently using! Saving for my kid’s education can be simple thanks to U-Nest. U-Nest was the polar opposite, they allowed me to link my account quickly, sign the required documents on my phone, and then set the amount…that was it…I was done. It could not have been any easier. U-Nest is the reason I’m saving and getting the benefits of a 529 tax-advantaged plan, I think I would be using a standard investment account if it wasn’t for them!
5. Do you have any interesting story about your own path to college?
My family always promised me: “just get into college and we’ll pay for it” — I think it was with the best intentions to motivate me (my parents didn’t go to college), and they probably figured they would find a way, but ultimately when the time came my family didn’t have the money. I recall sitting and speaking with my mom a few weeks before it was time to move to the dorms and I had decided that I wasn’t going to go, I didn’t want to burden everyone with the cost and I didn’t want to take out loans…I would just go work with my dad in road construction. However, my mom convinced me to go and we were able to get a Pell Grant, some loans and a deferred payment schedule to get me started. I loaded up on classes and did well academically and won some merit-based scholarships that helped with the first year. But after that I knew the only path was more debt, so I decided to join the military — there were other motivations beyond the money obviously — and pay for school that way. That decision allowed me to finance my education and led to countless other experiences and opportunities that I’ll be forever grateful for, but I can’t help but think about how many kids don’t go to school (or drop out) because the cost it too burdensome. And the problem is only getting worse with the rising cost of education…