May 20, 2022

NGPF Podcast: Richard Ellis of my529 talks college savings plans with Yanely

What are the benefits of college savings plans? What's the right asset allocation as your child nears college age? Get answers to these questions and more with this conversation. 

Richard Ellis, Executive Director of my529, a 529 plan established by the State of Utah joins Yanely to talk 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. Richard also shared some great resources so you can learn more more about 529 plans. Enjoy! 



  • 0:00~0:56 Introduction
  • 0:56~2:48 Day in the life of Richard Ellis
  • 2:48~5:00 How Richard ended up at my529
  • 5:00~7:04 The importance of guaranteeing a personal finance course
  • 7:04~9:38 What is a 529 plan?
  • 9:38~12:40 Pros and cons of 529 plans
  • 12:40~16:19 Using 529 plan funds on non-college/university costs
  • 16:19~19:18 Ensuring money in the 529 plan is invested
  • 19:18~22:06 Common ways families invest within their 529 plans
  • 22:06~26:53 When families start their 529 plan
  • 26:53~27:15 A word from NGPF
  • 27:15~30:43 Flexibility of 529 plans
  • 30:43~35:06 What to look for in a plan
  • 35:06~39:20 Be aware of fees
  • 39:20~41:48 What happens if the student gets a full-ride scholarship? 
  • 41:48~43:26 Family members that can use 529 plans
  • 43:26~44:36 The benefit of dollar cost averaging
  • 44:36~46:37 Tax implications of 529 plans
  • 46:37~48:57 Resources and websites
  • 48:57~50:03 Conclusion



  • “Any savings is better than no savings. Whether you begin at 15, 17, or age 1, you’re benefitting yourself somewhere along the line by doing something that saves.”


More great guests on the NGPF Podcast can be found in the Podcast library

About the Authors

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.

Yanely Espinal

Born and raised by Dominican, immigrant parents in Brooklyn, Yanely is a proud product of NYC public schools. She graduated from Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School in 2007 before going on to receive her bachelor's degree at Brown University in 2011. As a Teach For America corps member, Yanely taught third and fourth grade in Canarsie, Brooklyn. She received her master's degree from Relay Graduate School of Education in 2013. She spends her spare time making YouTube videos about personal finance on her channel, MissBeHelpful. Yanely also loves to dance, sew, paint, listen to podcasts, and babysit her 10 nieces and nephews!

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