Question: my wife and I just had our first child. We are wondering what sort of investment/saving plan would be the best to start for him. We are looking to invest $100 a month. Thanks. Michael, Seattle.
Answer: Congratulations. First of all, you can’t go wrong putting money on a regular basis into a tax-sheltered 529 college savings plan. That said, I have one other thought. How about putting the monthly savings into a broad-based equity index fund with razor thin fees (such as the Standard & Poor’s 500 index, Russell 3000, Wilshire 5000, and the like). The savings is in your name. In 16 to 18 years, you’ll have accumulated a nice pot of change. You can spend it on your child’s college education. But maybe your child will get good scholarships. Then you can spend the money on yourselves, or perhaps create the family trip of a lifetime. You gain a lot of flexibility with this approach.