Mar 03, 2023

NGPF Podcast: Richard Ellis, Executive Director at my529, on Saving for College

How much do you know about 529 plans? What should you look for when choosing a plan? Listen to this podcast to find out!

Richard Ellis, Executive Director of my529, a 529 plan established by the State of Utah joins Yanely to talk about college savings plans. Listen to this conversation and you will learn about Richard’s career leading up to his role at my529, the benefits of saving early and often, and how to analyze 529 plans.


  • 0:00~1:11 Introduction
  • 1:11~3:58 Increasing access to college
  • 3:58~6:13 America Saves Week
  • 6:13~8:43 Saving a little is better than saving nothing
  • 8:43~13:40 What to look for in a 529 plan
  • 13:40~18:00 Misconceptions about 529 plans
  • 18:00~20:29 What if you choose not to use your 529 funds?
  • 20:29~25:52 Grandparents versus parents opening the account
  • 25:52~29:33 Changes with SECURE 2.0 Act
  • 29:33~37:29 Conceptualizing saving for college
  • 37:29~43:09 Roth IRA vs 529 plan 
  • 43:09~47:18 529 plans across different states
  • 47:18~48:26 Conclusion



  • “Just think about all the toys you step on that never get played with after the first three days that our kids or grandkids have -- boy, a $50 bill you throw into their [529] account when they were 1 or 2 or 3 or 4 [years old] would be worth a lot more down the road and memorable and make a impression on their lives.”

About the Authors

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.

Ren Makino

Ren started interning at NGPF in 2014, and worked part-time through high school and college. With his knowledge growing alongside NGPF, he joined the team to work full-time after graduating from college in 2020. He is also the producer of the NGPF podcast. During his free time, he likes to try out coffees from different roasters across the world.

Mail Icon

Subscribe to the blog

Join the more than 11,000 teachers who get the NGPF daily blog delivered to their inbox: