Watch image

Tick-Tock. Tick-Tock.

My watch has not worked in years, yet I wear it every day.

Something has kept me from getting it fixed.  The watch is special (Rosemary gave it to me as an engagement present 20 years ago) and I don’t like letting it go if even for a few days.  I really don’t need it to tell time (thanks Apple), so a stopped watch doesn’t really affect me anymore.  I feel weird when I’m not wearing it, and no other watch will do.  I think it cost me $200 to fix it last time, and I’m not in a hurry to do that again.

Mostly, I think I just want time to stand still.

My boys turn 13 in September and will be entering the seventh grade.  Sometimes I have to repeat that just to believe it.

The seventh grade.

I’m not great at math, but I’m pretty sure that means they’ll graduate from high school in six years.  

Incredibly, the college talk is starting.

Life is expensive enough.  Four children can make it… well… expensive times four.  I’m not sure what we’ll be able to do for them in terms of paying for college/post-high school education, but we’d like to help.  And the best play I know to do that is through a 529 plan.

529 plans allow you to invest dollars for a beneficiary, growing them tax-deferred.  So long as withdrawals are made for “qualified” educational expenses, the withdrawals are tax-free.  They offer a lot of flexibility and can be used for all types of education (including tuition for grades K-12).

As with all investing, the most valuable ingredient of a 529 is time.  Time to let it grow, and time to defer the taxes.  You may not be able to stop time, but you can take advantage of it.

Rose and I will keep putting dollars into the 529s, and one day soon we’ll be glad we did.  In the interim, we’ll keep our fingers crossed that we can make time stand still.

But it will not stand still.  It will keep on going.

And so will my boys.

| JAY KENERLY, MSFS, CHFC, AIF®