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You know of state 529 plan I suppose. You can open one with relatively small amounts of money. We did this with $500 for two of our great grandchildren and $1000 for the other two. Our state is NC which has many opportunities and we use Vanguard funds that come in growth, moderate growth and "safe." Furthermore we get to deduct the money we donate from our income for NC taxes.

We didn't have 529 plans for the grandchildren but like you took out custodial accounts. As I recall at the age of 21, custodial accounts are given to the child. In the end, only one of the grandchildren used the money for college, two used the money for sports camps (they were athletes but neither ended up having a career in sports), and one just frittered it away (I think). All have large college loans in addition that they are paying off as well as they can. The granddaughter is unemployed at present.

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