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Big First Steps for an Awesome Little Dude

Luke, Anna, and James
Luke, Anna and James
The parenting world is still a bit mystifying to me, and I admire those brave souls who have ventured into this uncertain landscape. While my wife and I have yet to set off on our parenting journey, just over a year ago we experienced our closest encounter of the parenting kind to-date: we were blessed with a beautiful, 6lb., 15oz. nephew named James.

To be clear, James is the cutest, handsomest, smartest, and whatever other “est” you can think of, little guy that I’m aware of. My in-laws, of course, will back me up on this. You see, James is the first offspring among the siblings in both my wife’s and my families. This means that since that incredible day when he entered our lives, James has been our family’s favorite person on the entire planet. This is evidenced by the thousands of photos we’ve shared, the multiple trips to his Texas home over the last year, and the veritable Mt. Everest of presents at his first birthday party last month.

James is now a year old, and continues to be our personal superhero. Just yesterday, he took his first on-his-own steps. Sadly for us, this milestone happened thousands of miles away in his parent’s kitchen. The miracle of smartphones, however, made us feel like we were part of the moment.

It has been mind-blowing to see James transform from a fragile bundle of joy into a miniature pseudo-adult who continues to gain independence and control of his appendages every day. What this also means is that time is flying by terrifyingly fast and it is important for all of us to keep up with him as he grows. This includes planning ahead for his future educational milestones, and the expenses that come along with that.

That’s why this year, my wife and I have decided to give James a head start by opening a GET account to help with him with his future college expenses (don’t tell his parents though – it’s supposed to be a surprise). For those of you who aren’t sure what a GET account is, here are the basics.

Washington’s Guaranteed Education Tuition (GET) program is a 529 prepaid tuition plan that helps families save for future college expenses in a secure way. State law guarantees that all savings in a GET account will keep pace with future tuition and state-mandated fees at Washington’s highest priced public university. While GET is tied to in-state tuition rates, James will be happy to know that he’ll be able to use GET to pay for higher education expenses at nearly any college, university or technical school in the country. Plus, because GET is a 529 plan, any future growth and withdrawals from a GET account are tax-free.

As with any major financial decision, when it comes to making a game plan to save for college, I always encourage families to do their homework first. Review the details of how GET works, compare it to the other college savings options, consider consulting with a financial advisor, then pick an approach (or mix of approaches) that best fits your needs and budget. The important thing, no matter how you choose to save for college, is to start early and save often. Saving, even a little at a time, can help offset future higher education costs.

If you feel that GET is a good fit for your family, the good news is it only takes a few minutes to get your savings started by enrolling online at get.wa.gov. This year’s enrollment period is open through May 31.


Luke Minor, GET Senior Associate Director
Luke Minor, GET Senior Associate Director

About the Author

Besides being an uncle to the world’s most awesome little dude, Luke Minor is also the Senior Associate Director for the state’s Guaranteed Education Tuition (GET) Program. GET serves Washington citizens by offering secure savings options that help families plan ahead for future college expenses, reduce reliance on student debt, and promote financial wellness. Since 1998, over 100,000 Washington families have opened GET accounts and over 50,000 students have already used their accounts to attend colleges, universities and technical schools nationwide. To learn more about GET and the benefits of college savings, visit get.wa.gov.


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