This year marks 10 years since my husband and I graduated from college and we're both still paying off our student loans. For various reasons, neither of our families had saved money for our college educations. Although our parents contributed as much as they were able while we were in school, we both worked and took out hefty loans as well. Now, don't get me wrong, we don't begrudge our college loans one bit. My husband went to a huge state university and I went to a small private college and we both feel we had the best possible undergraduate experience.
But after our son was born, we wanted to start saving for his future education. For his first birthday and Christmas (only three days apart!) we bought him one gift and opened a 529 plan. We've been contributing a modest sum monthly and have encouraged our relatives to make gifts there as well.
Our fund has been open for 2.5 years and its total value is now 24% less than our total contributions. That's not 24% less than the fund's peak earnings or our contributions + returns, that's almost a quarter percent less than the actual cash we have contributed. I can't help but think that we would have been better off stuffing our cash under the mattress for the past two and a half years.
Read more over at DC Metro Moms.