When I got married 10 years ago, honeymoon records were all the rage, to the delight of some and the horror of others. The question was whether such a register – in which guests are asked to pay for a romantic dinner or a zipline excursion – was brilliant or out of date.
Records are, by their nature, a way to direct loved ones to the specific gift you want or need. Stainless steel measuring cups, not plastic. The cradle sheets with the elephants, not the rockets. You can sign up for wedding gifts, baby gifts, and honeymoon experiences; you can even sign up for your loved ones to contribute to your home down payment.
And now you can save your child’s college savings.
I was a little hesitant about that at first; preparing for the cost of my son’s college education is my responsibility. But with the era of US savings bonds basically behind us (yes, you can always offer them and they’re now mostly electronic, but still … a relic), a ledger actually makes a lot of sense. Parents who want to give a financial gift for a special occasion now have a more direct way to allocate that money specifically to college.
Start with your own institution
Some investment companies allow you to create personalized college donation pages that are directly linked to your child’s 529 account. T. Rowe Price’s “GoTuition PortalFor example, allows customers to create a personalized profile page that you can share via email or social media. Family and friends can donate directly through the online donation page or go old fashioned and by mail in a contribution form. The site also provides a (rough) estimate of how a contribution will grow over several years:
Other establishments, like loyalty, offer similar dashboards that parents can customize, send to family, and use to track gifts over time.
Use a gift list site
If your institution doesn’t offer a personalized donation page (or if it isn’t user-friendly), there are a few gift registry sites dedicated to college savings. College donation allows users to link their account to an existing 529 savings plan Where an ongoing student loan. This site also offers the unique opportunity to redeem old gift cards that you no longer want from over 200 major merchants. In return, you get a e-gift card for Gift of College, which can be used in your linked accounts.
In the same way, The gift of education also allows users to create a free gift list linked to your 529 or other savings plan. On both sites, users can search for a child’s name to find an existing registry, or you can share a link to the page via email or on social media. In all of these options, the donor will not be able to see any sensitive information, such as account numbers or balances.
It might not be as exciting as a candlelight dinner for two on the beach, but it’s best to hold onto that stack of paper savings bonds for a few decades.
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