Pennsylvania is investing in its future by giving every newborn a $100 toward college.
Image by Cari Dobbins from Pixabay

Americans owe $1.4 trillion in college debt. That’s more than they owe on car loans or credit cards.

College debt holds people back from being able to buy a home, start a business or save for retirement. It also means that many new graduates are forced to enter careers they don’t like just to stay afloat.

Many are burdened with massive student loan debt because their parents contributed little to their educational expenses. According to Forbes, 80% of college students get little to no financial assistance from their parents.


While it’s understandable that some parents simply don’t have the means to help their adult children with educational expenses, for others, it’s due to a lack of planning.

via PHENND / Twitter

The state of Pennsylvania is giving parents a head start on saving for college with its new Keystone Scholars program. The Pennsylvania treasury is investing $100 for every baby born or adopted after December 31, 2018 to be used for the child’s future higher education expenses.

All parents have to do is open a PA 529 account to receive the $100 deposit. A 529 account is a great savings tool because it allows people to invest pre-tax money and pull it out tax-free as long as it’s used for educational expenses.

While $100 compounded over 18 years isn’t going to get the kid a free ride to Harvard, setting up the account puts parents in the saving mindset. Parents who receive the $100 initial deposit and then contribute $100 a month over 18 years will hypothetically save $38,000 for college expenses.

These days we are hearing a lot of talk from Washington about possible student loan debt forgiveness or free state college for all. While those potential programs are giving people a lot of hope, it’s best to start saving now because you never know what the future holds.

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels
True

Increasingly customers are looking for more conscious shopping options. According to a Nielsen survey in 2018, nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.

But while many consumers are interested in spending their money on products that are more sustainable, few actually follow through. An article in the 2019 issue of Harvard Business Review revealed that 65% of consumers said they want to buy purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability, but only about 26% actually do so. It's unclear where this intention gap comes from, but thankfully it's getting more convenient to shop sustainably from many of the retailers you already support.

Amazon recently introduced Climate Pledge Friendly, "a new program to help make it easy for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products." When you're browsing Amazon, a Climate Pledge Friendly label will appear on more than 45,000 products to signify they have one or more different sustainability certifications which "help preserve the natural world, reducing the carbon footprint of shipments to customers," according to the online retailer.

Amazon

In order to distinguish more sustainable products, the program partnered with a wide range of external certifications, including governmental agencies, non-profits, and independent laboratories, all of which have a focus on preserving the natural world.

Keep Reading Show less
True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.