Last night I was standing in my driveway near dusk, watching my almost four-year old daughter run around in the front grass when another kid and his dad rolled up on a Big Wheel. Well, actually the dad was walking and his son was riding the Big Wheel. :)
Kids are few and far between in my neighborhood, so I introduced myself and we started chatting. We got along real well, and before long, we cam to the "so what do you do for a living" conversation. He told me he works for the phone company and I told him "I help young doctors get on track with their personal finances."
"My wife and I are going to have to come talk to you" he said. "We've been thinking about college for our son and we don't know where to begin."
Saving for college isn't rocket science. I said, "Oh, that's easy. Just open a 529 account." After all, Section 529 college savings plans are not just the best college savings vehicles for doctors. They're actually great for just about everybody who's saving for college.
He gave me a kind of puzzled look, which I took to mean, "But I don't know HOW." So I continued...
"It's easy. Just go to the website, hit the 'Enroll' tab, fill out the form, and you're done. It's that easy."
He still seemed puzzled. And then I realized that even though it's easy to open a 529 college savings account, he had never done it before and he had no idea where to begin. And because I do it all the time, I'm comfortable with the process. I oversimplified it to the point of abstraction.
If I were a brain surgeon, I'd probably say brain surgery was easy, too.
But I'm not, it's not, and neither is the process of opening a 529 college savings account.
I'd like to tell you right here and now all about how to handle this little chore, but today is Friday and I've worked by butt off this week helping doctors rescue their dream homes from the mortgage crisis. So I'm going to do what comes naturally. I'm going to procrastinate.
When I get back to the office Tuesday (it's a 3-day weekend), I'll begin a new series that tells youa young doctor who wants his kiddo to have the best possible shot at making it in this worldexactly how to build your own college savings plan from the ground up, step-by-step, so that you can actually do it on your own, or at least understand what you're getting yourself into.
Have a great weekend, and talk to you Tuesday.