McRae: Financial Hacks for Parents

By Treasurer David McRae

Use a cupcake liner to catch melting ice pop dribble. Put heavy-weight tape on a toy’s speakers to dull the sound. Secure a fitted sheet with a cooler, a chair or other items while at the beach to create a make-shift pack-and-play that keeps the sand out. The internet is filled with life hacks for parents, so today, I’m going to try to fill your newspaper with three financial life hacks any parent of young children can use.

Hack #1: Invest in a College Savings Account Early

By the time your child is starting to read, you should start to put money toward their college education. When investing early, two important things happen. First, you get to take advantage of compound interest, allowing your contributions to make even more money for you. Second, you can spread your payments out over a longer period of time, reducing the month-to-month burden.

The State Treasury offers parents a two incredible tax-advantaged options. To learn more, please visit

Hack #2: Write or Update Your Will

No parent wants to think about it, but making sure there is a plan in place should the worst occur will protect your family. Wills are not only for the wealthy either. A chain of custody is one of the most important things to include and can help ensure it’s you (and not the courts) who decide where your child is raised.

Hack #3: Open a Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account

Not everyone has access to Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts, but some Mississippi employers do offer them. These accounts (sometimes referred to as DCFSAs) enable families to save up to $5,000 annually in pre-tax funds. The funds can be used to care for children under the age of 13, helping pay for before- or afterschool care, babysitting, daycare, summer camps and more! If you aren’t already enrolled, ask your employer if they offer the benefit.

Thanks taking the time to “scroll” through a few financial life hacks with me. If you’d like to learn more about financial planning tools offered through your State Treasury, please visit