Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

Albuquerque Teachers Debt Free With Savings Plan

ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) – It’s never too late to plan ahead, especially when it comes to money and how to make higher education more affordable. Something Haley Phillips knows firsthand, but it’s never too early for her to start saving.

Phillips is a second grade teacher in Albuquerque. She knew from a young age that she wanted to become a teacher.

She made this dream possible when she graduated from UNM in 2019 with a degree that she didn’t have to pay a penny for. That’s all thanks to a 529 college savings plan. “My grandparents opened it when I was little,” said Phillips.

Because of this savings plan, Phillips was able to afford to join a sorority and study debt free. That saved her not only financially during her studies, but also later under circumstances that no one could predict. “We didn’t know COVID was going to happen,” Phillips said.

During the pandemic, when businesses shut down and some friends and family lost their jobs, Phillips was grateful not to burden her student loans. “I couldn’t be the person who had to live check after check,” Phillips said.

Now she is opening one not only for herself but also for her future children. “You don’t have to worry about the additional college costs and have a little more freedom,” said Phillips.

This is a unique circumstance, but in some cases the fund can be used more than once. Joanie Griffin opened an account for her son over twenty years ago, but when he didn’t need it, she helped not only her daughter-in-law but also her stepdaughter. One day it could help her granddaughter too. “By the time she reaches college age, she will have more than enough to complete a college education,” Griffin said.

Phillips knows firsthand the potential of a savings plan and the importance of investing in your future. “A lot of jobs require you to have these kinds of requirements,” Phillips said.

The plan benefits not only the person attending school, but also the person who pays the money. At the end of the year, contributions can also be credited as tax breaks.

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