Education Planning & College Savings Plans

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Education Planning for Success

College Savings Plans For Military Families

College Education

A prudent investment.

Our First Command Advisors have an array of savings products designed for your education planning success and pursuing your financial goals.

Investing for education expenses consistently ranks as a high priority for many American families. As well it should. Despite the rising cost of college, statistics continue to show that the long-term value of a degree makes it a prudent investment. College graduates are more likely to be employed, make substantially higher incomes, and are nearly twice as likely to receive employer-provided healthcare and retirement benefits.1

Education Trends

Planning: By the numbers.

When to Invest

Put time on your side.

There’s no shortcut when it comes to investing for college — but you can significantly increase your chances of achieving your objectives by beginning to plan, save and invest as early as possible.

Investing $200/mo. and assuming an 8% rate of return. 4

Chart showing the increase in net worth when relying on compound interest

Assuming they invest the same amount of money and earn the same rate of return, parents who start investing for a college education when their children are born may accumulate roughly twice as much by the beginning of their child’s freshman year as parents who put off investing until their child’s sixth birthday.

Smart Investing

Maximize your resources.

Through thoughtful planning and disciplined investing, you can make the most of your financial contributions to an education plan. Your First Command Advisor can help you choose a tax-advantaged investment option that meets your needs.

Qualified Tuition Programs

Also known as Section 529 plans 5, these programs allow tax-deferred earnings and tax-free distributions for qualified college expenses.

Coverdell Education Savings Accounts (ESA)

ESAs allow for contributions of up to $2,000 per year until a child’s 18th birthday, as well as tax-deferred earnings and tax-free distributions for qualified elementary, high school, or post-secondary expenses.

Post 9/11 GI Bill

While the post 9/11 GI Bill offers a very generous post-service education benefit, a special provision of the program allows career service members the opportunity to share their education benefits with immediate family members. The ability to transfer GI Bill benefits to family members can make this a powerful tool for college planning.

Picture of a mother and two girls drawing on the floor.

It Starts with You

Talk to your Financial Advisor.

There’s no better time to begin planning for tomorrow’s education expenses than today. In addition to helping you set goals and determine which investment options best meet your needs, your First Command Financial Advisor can:

  • Help you allocate and diversify your investment dollars.
  • Explain how your investments may impact the availability of financial aid.
  • Show you how to prioritize your investment dollars if your time or assets are limited.
  • Help you explore the availability of scholarships, grants, and loans.
  • Build a customized plan that takes all of your objectives into account.

  1. “Trends in Higher Education Series - Education Pays 2013.” The College Board, 2013.
  2. Average tuition and fees for the 2017-2018 academic year, according to College Board.
  3. The Average Salary by Education Level 1, according to
  4. This example table is a hypothetical illustration of mathematical principles and is not meant to represent the past or future of any particular investment or investment strategy.
  5. Prior to investing in a 529 College Savings Plan, you should compare the Plan with any 529 college savings plan offered by your home state or your beneficiary's home state and consider, before investing, any state tax or other benefits that are only available for investments in the home state's plan. Please read the Plan's Disclosure Document which includes investment objectives, risks, fees, charges and expenses, and other information. You should read the Plan Disclosure Document carefully before investing. For this and other information on any 529 College Savings Plan, contact First Command at 800-443-2104 or your Financial Advisor. Please note that the availability of tax or other benefits may be conditioned on meeting certain requirements such as residency, purpose for or timing of distributions or other factors as applicable. As with any investment, it is possible to lose money by investing in a 529 College Savings Plan. Information provided is for general purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax or legal advice. Where specific advice is necessary or appropriate, please consult a qualified tax or legal advisor.