Gifts for a Brighter Future

Instead of purchasing the latest toy or electronic gadget for your children or grandchildren, what about giving them something that will last a lifetime and isn’t in limited supply: the gift of a more secure future. Sandra Palmer, Head of 529 Distribution for Franklin Templeton’s 529 College Savings Plan, discusses how crowdfunding can help finance a college education. She also has some tips if you are looking for ways to extend your charitable giving further this holiday season.

Given the ongoing pandemic, this year’s holiday season is particularly challenging for many of us. With supply chain issues and shipping delays, it can make it even harder to find that perfect gift for loved ones. And, inflation is making many items even more expensive this year.

As the holiday season approaches, like many people, I go on a search for meaningful and useful gifts for friends and family. It’s often hard not to succumb to the latest fad, especially for younger children who clamor for the hottest electronic gadget or must-have toy. But, according to the Journal of Infant Behavior and Development1 toddlers with fewer toys were actually more creative and focused. Imagine that! Maybe another toy to add to the pile isn’t the answer. So, what’s the solution to my present dilemma (pun intended) for my younger relatives?

The gift of an education is something that will never be discarded and provides lasting benefits. One way to finance educational needs is via a 529 plan, which fits the bill for a unique and meaningful gift that can help loved ones avoid taking on future student debt, too.

Whether or not you have children of your own, you probably are aware of the staggering statistics about student debt in this country—you may even still be paying off debt yourself! As of November 2021, student loan debt at $1.75 trillion outpaces the rise in tuition costs by 353.8%.2 Various estimates show the average student loan is now more than $30,000 at graduation—quite an amount to face as one starts his or her career.