State Treasurer Don Stenberg, Trustee of Nebraska’s 529 college savings program, urged children to dream about their futures and families to save for those dreams as he unveiled Fantastic Future Me, a new exhibit that opened today at the Children’s Discovery Zone in the Elkhorn Valley Museum in Norfolk.
The exhibit, which encourages children to envision themselves in future career roles, is sponsored by First National Bank of Omaha, program manager for Nebraska’s 529 college savings program, the Nebraska Educational Savings Trust or NEST. State-sponsored 529 college savings programs take their name from Section 529 of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code.
Fantastic Future Me is a traveling exhibit that has been displayed at children’s museums in North Platte, Kearney, Hastings, and Lincoln. The permanent exhibit is housed at the Omaha Children’s Museum. The exhibit will remain at the Norfolk museum through May 11.
Also expected to attend the Norfolk opening was Norfolk Mayor Sue Fuchtman.
“As a father and grandfather, I know that one of the questions children often are asked is ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ Now, in Future Fantastic Me, children will have a chance to visualize many of the possibilities for their futures,” Treasurer Stenberg said.
“At NEST, we talk about the importance of young people dreaming for their futures and parents and grandparents saving for those dreams. The theme fits perfectly with today’s event as children begin to explore career possibilities through Fantastic Future Me. Boys and girls can picture themselves as artists or computer programmers, as scientists or teachers, as pilots, and even as the President of the United States,” the Treasurer said.
“How these children envision their futures is up to them. But the adults in their lives have a very important role to play in how the children get there. Recent studies show that children who have college savings accounts in their names are six times more likely to go to college than children who do not have college savings plans.
“Children, too, can be introduced to concepts to promote financial responsibility at an early age – providing allowances as rewards for completing chores, teaching children how to count money, helping children save for later needs, and looking for everyday opportunities to teach financial responsibility at home,” Stenberg said.
“My message to you adults today is to encourage your children’s hopes and dreams for the future, look into Nebraska’s college savings program, and start saving for your children’s future now when they are young,” Stenberg said.
Special incentives have been created as a part of the Fantastic Future Me tour to help families get started saving. The first 50 new NEST Direct College Savings Plan accounts that are opened in association with the Norfolk destination will each receive a $25 bonus contribution. All new NEST Direct account owners also will be entered to win one $1,000 scholarship. Official rules and information on opening accounts can be found at NEST529Direct.com/futureme. Click on Maximize Your Savings and Drawings and Scholarships.
The Nebraska College Savings Program offers four qualified tuition plans under Section 529 of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. The four plans are the NEST Direct College Savings Plan, the NEST Advisor College Savings Plan, the TD Ameritrade 529 College Savings Plan, and the State Farm College Savings Plan. The Nebraska State Treasurer is the Program Trustee, and First National Bank of Omaha is the Program Manager. Investments are approved by the Nebraska Investment Council.
About Children’s Discovery Zone at Elkhorn Valley Museum
The Children’s Discovery Zone at the Elkhorn Valley Museum has dedicated itself to serving children, families, and schools as a center of learning and discovery since 2007. The Discovery Zone is committed to “Making a World of Difference” in the community through interactive play including a Creation Station, Grocery Store, Johnny Carson Performing Arts Stage and Puppet Theater, Recording Studio and other exhibits. Visitors can learn about special events by accessing the website http://www.elkhornvalleymuseum.org/?p=Childrens_Discovery_Zone or Facebook page or by calling the office at 402-371-3886.
NEST is a tax-advantaged 529 college savings plan and provides four plans to help make saving for college simple and affordable: NEST Direct College Savings Plan, the NEST Advisor College Savings Plan, the TD Ameritrade 529 College Savings Plan, and the State Farm College Savings Plan. The Nebraska State Treasurer serves as Program Trustee. First National Bank of Omaha serves as Program Manager, and all investments are approved by the Nebraska Investment Council. Families nationwide are saving for college using Nebraska’s 529 College Savings Plans, which have more than 261,000 accounts, including 84,000 in Nebraska. Visit NEST529.com and treasurer.nebraska.gov for more information.