It’s possible I’ll now be up for a Father of the Year award based on the truly ecstatic reaction my 19yo daughter A- had yesterday when we met at the Apple Store and I bought her a brand new MacBook Pro for her college adventure. I know that there are plenty of my friends who now seek to be adopted so they too can enjoy the largesse of my apparent generosity! 🙂
What they don’t realize is that I’ve spent years planning how I can help out with college expenses by having set up a 529 Account back when she was in elementary school. My logic was that even $50/mo automatically pulled out of my checking account and dropped into each of my three children’s 529 accounts would eventually yield some decent savings, and it’s worked great, allowing me to save up a decent amount for each of them in the intervening years.
If you’re not familiar with a 529 Account, they’re college savings plans that let you sidestep taxes that would otherwise be associated with a regular savings account. The Securities and Exchanges Commission describes them thusly:
A 529 plan is a tax-advantaged savings plan designed to encourage saving for future college costs. 529 plans, legally known as “qualified tuition plans,” are sponsored by states, state agencies, or educational institutions and are authorized by Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code.
The long and short of is that when I drove to the Apple Store yesterday to meet A- and purchase her fully decked out MacBook Pro, I already knew that I’d be reimbursed for this “qualified expense” from her 529 account. A few hours later I simply logged in to my bank’s Web site, clicked on her 529 account, and was able to request a reimbursement on the spot, transferred right into my checking account:
Darn helpful, really.
And boy did we get a nice setup for her – at educational pricing (saving us over $500 all told) – and with Apple’s Back To School special promo that gave us a pair of fancy Beats Solo2 Wireless “Special Edition Gold” headphones for free (value $299). Not my personal favorite headphones, but nothing to complain about, for sure!
Here’s the haul:
Oh, and I purchased AppleCare for the new gear too. With her being far away in college, if something happens to her computer, AppleCare will ensure that she gets prompt help from the local Apple Store. Plus warranty coverage extends to three years instead of the usual one year, another important facet.
Some folk aren’t fans but I have to say that I’ve always gotten my money’s worth out of AppleCare for my many Mac computers and definitely plan on getting it for my new laptop when I purchase one later this year.
And perhaps as an ironic counterpoint, we also discussed calculators and A- had to choose which of our two fancy programmable calculators would be a better addition to her suitcase:
She chose the Casio. My suspicion is because it’s solar powered, but she used both extensively in school, so perhaps it’s just that it’s a better calculator than the Sharp. Either way, it’s rather old school, new school when she gets a fancy new top-of-the-line laptop and a well used calculator on the same day.
Now she just needs to configure the computer exactly as she needs before heading off in a few days. But I can probably assist in that department too, though I much prefer the Biblical idea of “teaching someone to fish” so will likely direct her to do the work instead.
And as for that Dad of the Year award? Hey, I’ll take it. Something to add to the mantel. 🙂