Paying for the Class of 2039

When we found out that Penny was on the way, among the first things I did as a soon-to-be dad was open a 529 college savings account.* I don’t know much, but I know that 18+ years is a lot of time for compounding to do its magic, and that sending her to college is not going to be cheap. We are determined for Penny to graduate in the Class of 2039 debt-free, as both Laura and I were able to do. I now pitch a few hundred dollars into her 529 every month.

Planning for something as far-out as college in 18 years obviously involves a ton of unknowns, like: will people even go to college as a matter of course then? My guess is that they will, so we have to plan for it, but I have my doubts. American higher education is in deep trouble and on a path whose costs alone are clearly unsustainable. (And as we know, the thing about unsustainable things is that, eventually, they always stop.) As a future buyer of educational services for our (nearly) 3-month-old, I don’t know that I’ll be on the universities’ side when the time comes to save them.

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