When it comes to college savings, many parents think they can’t save enough to make a difference, they won’t choose a smart investment, or it’ll come down to a choice between paying for college or retirement. First things first — take a deep breath. It’s not about paying for everything — it’s about saving what you can. Next, know that you’re not alone in this. There’s a smart way to do it affordably and conveniently with ScholarShare 529.

The Cost of College Shouldn’t Keep You Up At Night

Yes, college tuition costs are far outpacing inflation, and yes this is a big concern for most parents. But there’s good news: ScholarShare 529 can pay for these costs. If you’ve got a spare 15 minutes, you could open an account today. Since your account can grow tax deferred, you’ll potentially save more over time, so the sooner you start the better.

ScholarShare 529 Gives You More Choice

Choose from a variety of investments that fit your timeline and investment goals, including Enrollment Year Investment Portfolios intended to automatically position your savings for optimal performance throughout the lifetime of your account. The allocation automatically shifts from more aggressive to more conservative investments as your child approaches their expected year of enrollment in school. Use the money at any state or private college, technical school, or community college that offers financial aid — even some schools outside the US. Make qualified withdrawals free from tax on not just tuition, but certain room and board, books, computers and related technology expenses, and required equipment and supplies. In addition, up to $10,000 annually per student, in aggregate from all 529 plans, can be withdrawn free from federal tax if used for tuition expenses at a public, private or religious elementary, middle, or high school.

Please see the state tax treatment of withdrawals used for K-12 school tuition here.

Don’t Choose Between College and Retirement

Many parents worry they’ll need to make a choice between retirement and their child’s education. They understandably feel like making sure their child receives a college education should be the priority. In reality, retirement should be the priority, but you should save for both if possible. Don’t stress if you can’t pay for all of college, just start small and save steady. With ScholarShare 529 you can start with any dollar amount, and keep feeding your retirement nest egg. Also keep in mind there are many smart ways to reduce the cost of higher education before you even spend a dime.