The U.Fund Dreams Tour: Teaching Families to Save for College
Every year, MEFA and Fidelity go out into the community and bring the concept of saving for college to life through the U.Fund Dreams Tour. This tour is in its 7th year and has become an attraction for many young students and families who attend popular community events such as WGBH Fun Fest, Topsfield Fair, and HubBub Boston Book Festival. Today, we’re going behind the scenes to talk with Michael who has worked the U.Fund Dreams Tour for two years. Here’s a glimpse of what he’s learned about what’s on the mind of parents and children as they experience the Dreams Tour.
Penny: Every day we hear stories about students working to pay back college loans, which makes the message of saving early for college that more important. When you were young, did the idea of saving for college ever come up during your kitchen table conversations?
Michael: Saving for college
didn't come up at the kitchen table as early as it should have. By the time we
were thinking about it as a family, the burden was left to me to pay for it on
my own. If we had started thinking about saving for college when I was a child,
I would have had some help with the cost. And any little bit helps.
a recent college graduate, what words of wisdom would you give a family of
young children in terms of being planful and saving for college?
Michael: Start as soon as
possible, and put away anything you can. One month may be $100, and another
$15, but slowly contributing adds up fast. Even saving $1,000 or $2,000 in
total would significantly help with textbooks and fees!
The main goal of the U.Fund Dreams Tour is to be in front of families and kids
to share the college savings message and help families take action and begin
saving. How is that message received? What are the reactions you get from
families when you discuss saving for college?
Michael: People usually
respond to our message in one of three ways; being overwhelmed in thinking they
don't have enough money, thinking they should start, but don't know how or
when, or have already started saving. We encourage families who are already
saving to continue to do so, and tell people who haven’t yet started about how
easy it is to begin saving. People are pleasantly surprised when they
learn how easy it is to start a savings plan.
was the most interesting question or conversation you had with a parent on
saving for college?
Michael: One parent had a 13-year-old
determined to go to Harvard and become a doctor. Neither parent had been to
college, and they were extremely proud of their daughter for having such big
dreams. The parents were happy to find out that saving for their daughter’s
future wasn't as complicated as they thought.
Michael has been a brand ambassador for the U.Fund Dreams
Tour for the past two years, and has stepped up into a leadership role this
year as Assistant Tour Manager. He is attending North Shore Community College
and is studying Marketing. His passion is to create a positive impact in
people's lives, and working with MEFA and Fidelity is giving him the experience
he needs to achieve his dreams.