The U.S. News has reported that about 70% of college graduates in 2013 left college with an average student loan debt of $28,400. 

For many readers that may seem scary. For other readers it might sound just about right. I am one of the many students that has graduated with the suffocating weight of student loan debt. While I don’t particularly care to provide the exact amount, let’s just say that I could afford to pay two mortgages if it weren’t for my monthly student loan payments or… one mortgage for a house twice as nice.

However, because I had a college degree, I managed to finagle my way into an entry level position with benefits and a 401k, and I slowly worked my way up. While I have been able to steadily tackle my mountain of debt, I will be doing something very different for my own children.

Just after my son was born, we opened a 529 College Savings Plan for him because we want him to have the chance to pursue higher education without the threat of debt. While the plan is only one piece of the college budget puzzle, it’s an important one because it gets you saving early.

So what about that free money for college bit I lured you in here with? Well, ScholarShare is offering something great for California families looking to start saving for their children’s futures – “You Start It, We Match It”.529

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On May 29th, when you open a 529 savings plan with a deposit of $50, ScholarShare will match your contribution. That is $50 for free for your child’s education!

The California 529 College Savings Plan offers families a way to pay for all of the costs of higher education.

  • All qualified earnings are tax free.
  • Funds can be used at schools across the Nation not just California.
  • Funds can be used for a wide variety of school needs and supplies.
  • In 2014, families with 529 plans withdrew over $300 Million to cover higher education costs.
  • There is no annual maintenance fee and no income limits.
  • The 529 Plan offers high maximum account balance.
  • Any legal resident of at least 18 years can open an account. Anyone can gift to an existing account through the “Give a Gift” option.

Give your child every advantage that higher education has to offer. College students earn on average 65% more during their working lifetime than non-college graduates. Give them a stepping stone to that advantage by paving the way to a better future by thinking of their college expenses now, not later. Even just saving $50 a month, makes a difference. And the best part is, once you are able to put away $50 a month, it will become easier to add another $25 or $50 as times goes by.

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For more information visit ScholarShare.

I am sharing this information as a ScholarShare Ambassador, however all opinions remain my own.

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