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Making a college savings plan and sticking to it

  • Written by GET Washington

GET SavingIt’s an awe-inspiring experience to watch our children grow and transform before our eyes from fragile little newborns into strong, confident and talented young adults. Throughout their development, it’s important to take the time to celebrate all of life’s “firsts,” from their first steps all the way to their first day of college. All the while, it’s just as important to be planning ahead to set them up with the best chance of achieving these milestones.

One of the most important considerations for families to pay attention to as they prepare their children for the journey towards adulthood is that of the educational opportunities that will be available to them.

While there is not much debate about the importance of having access to a quality education, a significant blind spot for many parents is saving for future higher education expenses when their kids are still young. This is a story that Jackie Ferrado, the community relations manager for Washington’s Guaranteed Education Tuition Program (GET) is all too familiar with. “As I travel throughout the state meeting with families, I often hear parents saying ‘I kept meaning to start their college savings, but just never got around to it,’ or ‘Our child is starting to look at colleges and all we can think is how are we going to afford this?’” Parents clearly know the value of saving for this major expense, but it can be difficult to connect intent with action, especially when college can seem so far away for a young child.

Delaying college savings efforts is an easy trap to fall into, but fortunately there are options for families, such as Washington’s GET Program, that take the pain out of getting started. As a 529 prepaid tuition plan, savings in a GET account grow tax-free and remain tax-free when withdrawn for qualified higher education expenses. Further, the program is unique in that the value of a GET account is guaranteed by the state of Washington to keep pace with rising tuition costs in our state.
Since GET accounts are not subject to the ups and downs of the stock market, you have peace of mind knowing your money will be there when you need it. It’s also comforting to know that no matter whether your child decides to go to school, GET accounts can be used at nearly any public or private college, university or technical school in the country. Plus, if something unexpected comes up such as your child receiving a scholarship or deciding not to attend college, you can transfer the savings to another family member or even request a refund.

It’s easy to get started with the program and to continue building your college savings over time with flexible payment options, from pay-as-you-go lump sum deposits to custom monthly payment plans. And remember – when it comes to saving for college, you’re not alone. It’s becoming increasingly popular for grandparents and other family and friends to add to a child’s college savings. The gift of education is perfect for any occasion.

By starting college savings when your kids are young, you’re making a commitment to their future dreams and ambitions, and making the journey a bit easier by giving yourself plenty of time to add to your account. To learn more about GET and enroll online, visit www.get.wa.gov. GET’s annual enrollment period ends May 31, so now is the ideal time to take that first step and begin saving for your children’s future education.

There’s no time like the present to give the gift of education

  • Written by GET Education Fund

When a child is born, one of the most universal ways for friends and family to express their love is to shower the little bundle of joy with gifts. The thing about many of these first gifts is that it’s not long before the child outgrows them. From way-too-cute dinosaur-embellished onesies that will last a few months, to deluxe jogging strollers that may last a few years, these items (while practical) have a relatively short useful life. What if there was a gift that continued to grow along with your child and could help set him or her up for a lifetime of success?

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Northshore YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day® aims to help kids exercise minds and bodies

  • Written by Woodinville Weekly Staff

On Saturday, April 26, the Northshore YMCA is holding a free community event to inspire more kids to keep their minds and bodies active. YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day®, the Y’s national initiative to improve families’ health and well-being, features face painting, inflatables, Holly the Husky, demonstrations, arts and crafts and more to motivate and teach families how to develop a healthy routine at home.

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Healthy happy family travel

  • Written by BPT

Looking to take a road trip but dread hearing the infamous “Are we there yet?” or “Can we please, please stop for fast food?” questions.

Never fear, Registered Dietitian, author and mother, Pamela Nisevich Bede, offers creative ways to keep your family (and you) satisfied and entertained while traveling.

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Spring has sprung: tips for getting outside to play

  • Written by BPT

After being cooped up during one of the most brutal winters in recent memory, families are eager for warmer weather so they can get outside and play. Research shows that play is an important part of children’s physical, emotional and intellectual development.
With spring upon us, now is a great time to make play and outside activity part of your family’s regular routine. Here are some ideas:

Remember, every little bit helps
Active play is an important part of keeping families happy and healthy. In fact, childhood obesity increases 29 percent in neighborhoods without a park or playground, according to KaBOOM!, a national non-profit dedicated to ensuring that all children get the balance of active play they need. Instead of driving to your local playground or park, walk or bike, to get in an extra dose of activity. Every little bit helps in keeping your kids growing up strong - physically, emotionally and intellectually.
Keep imagination at the forefront
Kids can do anything they put their minds to, and they can keep themselves busy for hours with just their imaginations. Bring that power to your next outdoor adventure by creating a make-believe obstacle course based on their favorite book or movie at your local play area. Get other kids involved and become the MVP of playtime.

Pledge to be active
Staying active on a consistent basis is key to achieving a balanced lifestyle. Let’s Play, a community partnership led by Dr Pepper Snapple Group to get kids and families active, provides a host of tools, places and inspiration to make play a daily priority. Visit www.LetsPlay.com for a wealth of ideas to incorporate play into your day, and take the Let’s Play Pledge to devote additional playtime each week to your family’s routine.

It’s all about balance
Playtime takes a lot of energy, so make sure your kids are armed with healthy and nutritious nibbles to replenish their growing minds and bodies. Fruits, veggies, applesauce, whole grains and snack-size cheese are great after-play snacks. Make sure kids are also staying hydrated to keep their energy levels up throughout the day.