How To Set a Monthly College Savings Goal

When it comes to achieving success, in any aspect of life, one of the most important steps is setting thoughtful goals. As parents planning for our children’s future, this is no different. A goal can be any objective that you set for yourself and push yourself to achieve. As parents, no goals are more important than those that impact our children and their future. Student-loan debt is a worsening problem for college graduates, with an average borrower owing about $30,000 when they graduate. It’s no surprise then that parents are hoping to help their kids avoid borrowing. Today we are going to look at College Savings’ goals, and more specifically, how to set them.

First, it is crucial to understand why you want to set the goal. Most parents realize that college is becoming more expensive, and without establishing a plan early in their kid’s lives, they will be unable to pay for college when their children eventually grow up. Once we understand why we are setting the goal, it helps to have a framework to ensure success.

Those who set goals for themselves are more likely to achieve success than those who do not. Here are tips for how to approach setting your college savings goals and how the UNest app can help you along the way.

  • Clarity: Goals need to be clear and easily understood for them to be most effective. With the UNest College Savings Calculator, parents can calculate what they will need for college and develop a plan of recurring contributions to hit the mark.
  • Challenge: Good goals have a high enough level of difficulty that you have to push yourself to achieve them. At UNest, we encourage our parents to start by forgoing their daily cup of coffee and instead invest $3 a day. If you start early, you’ll be amazed at how much you can accomplish over 18 years!
  • Commitment: Without a high level of commitment, it’s difficult to achieve any goal, especially those that are somewhat challenging. Helping facilitate engagement by offering monthly and biweekly withdrawal features allows us to help parents keep their commitment to their children. We find that once our parents start using UNest, they stick with it.
  • Feedback: You need to be able to receive information about how well you are progressing toward your goal. This information may motivate, or it may signal that your goal needs to be adjusted. At UNest we have a tracker that allows parents to monitor their contributions and our performance as we work to grow your money. This instant feedback helps parents understand if they are on track or need to adjust their goals.
  • Task Complexity: The more complex a goal is, the more time you need to give yourself to achieve it. Reasonable goals don’t have to be complicated, but understanding how complex your goals are is an essential part of planning how you will achieve them. Saving for college is a complex goal, but at UNest, we have done everything in our power to simplify things and make them achievable for all parents. From selecting 5 star rated plans, allowing you to automate contributions, and even providing email customer service support to answer any questions. 

Whether it is with UNest or another advisor, we hope you will take the time to set goals around saving for your children’s future education. Together we can stop our growing problem of student debt and give our children a better, debt-free future. For additional information on saving for college, please visit us at or find us on the App Store or Google Play.

Ksenia Yudina, CFA, MBA

Founder and CEO

Ksenia is the Founder and CEO of U-Nest, the first mobile app that makes it easy for families to save for college. As an entrepreneur and finance professional, Ksenia has focused on alleviating the impact of student debt on families across the economic spectrum. Previously, Ksenia was a Vice President atCapital Group/American Funds, the largest 529 provider in the U.S. In this role, she played a leadership role in helping parents plan and manage their finances, with a focus on the future well-being of their children. Prior to Capital Group/American Funds, she was founder of a residential real estate company. Ksenia earned her bachelor’s degree in finance from CaliforniaState University Northridge, and an MBA from UCLA’s Anderson School of Management.

Mike Van Kempen

Chief Operating Officer

Mike joined U-Nest in September 2019 as COO. He was previously at Acorns, a financial wellness platform, where he spearheaded the analytics and growth initiatives. Mike successfully expandedAcorns’ paid acquisition strategy, adding over 4.5 million investment accounts. Mike began his career in strategy & analytics at Belly, a Chicago-based loyalty startup in 2012. At Belly, Mike led projects that fueled growth across all aspects of the business, growing the customer base from1,000 to over 11,000 merchants, and accumulating a membership of over 2 million customers.Mike holds a B.B.A. in Finance from Loyola University of Chicago.

Steve Buchanan

Chief Technology Officer

Steve has over 20 years of experience in delivering digital innovations in the financial sector. Steve previously orchestrated product architecture and innovation as a Solutions Architect/ Fintech consultant at Union Bank. Prior to Union Bank, he was Chief Architect and Director of Engineering at Calypso, a Silicon Valley startup, where he architected and built multiple financial solutions. He was also Head of Global Integrations at Globe One in Vietnam where he integrated its Peer-to-Peer lending products into core banking solutions. Steve also built the first ever electronic Equities &Equity Options trading systems for Scottish stock brokers Wood Mackenzie (acquired by CountyNatWest). He is a graduate of Edinburgh University.

Peter Mansfield

Chief Marketing Officer

Peter has built an impressive track record in multiple financial industry segments including payments, credit/prepaid cards and lending. He has played an instrumental role at a succession of financial industry leaders, co-founding companies such as Brand3 (acquired by American Express) and PropertyBridge (acquired by Moneygram), and, as the early stage marketing lead at Marqeta (where he was team member number two), BillFloat and WallabyFinancial (acquired by Bankrate).He has helped fast-growth companies reach an aggregate market value of close to $8 billion. Peter holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Angila, UK.

Sonya Kidman

Client Relationship Manager

Sonya Kidman is a Customer Success professional with a decade of experience in advocating for consumer through user research and genuine empathy. Sonya specializes in user behavior and regularly attends national and global training sessions in wellness and people analytics tools. Sonya is a true global citizen was born in Russia, grew up in Israel, lived and worked in Canada and NewZealand. That global expertise along with an undergraduate degree in Sociology from Tel AvivUniversity have helped to shape a bullet-prof Sonya's framework to develop a winning customer strategy.

Frank Mastrangelo

Board Member

One part banker and one part technologist, Frank spent his early days with the Annenberg Foundation and PNC Bank. His career path led him to Jefferson Bank, where he led the build-out of its electronic banking platforms, and where he would forge a powerful alliance with The Bancorp co-founder Betsy Z. Cohen. As President and COO of The Bancorp from its inception in 1999 Frank played a critical role in helping the organization become an industry bellwether for branchless financial services and a global leader in payments. For this, he has become a widely respected fintech expert, and thought-leader. Frank was recognized in 2013 by Banking Innovation, a leading industry journal, as an “Innovator to Watch.” and as one of the innovators shaping the future of banking. Frank is a graduate of West Chester University of Pennsylvania.


College Savings Calculator is a hypothetical tool that demonstrates how monthly contributions, age-based asset rebalancing, and tax savings may impact the long-term value of your account, and do not take into account a portfolio’s underlying investment management fees. Calculations assume the private institution cost inflation is 2.8%, public out of state cost inflation is 3.9%, public in state cost inflation is 2.7%. Portfolio is assumed to have only stocks and bonds. Monthly equity returns are based on the historical data from the 10-year track record of the stock market (SPY). Monthly fixed income returns are based on the historical data from the 10-year track record of the bond market index (AGG). The current college expenses are provided by the Actual account performance may differ due to market fluctuations, changes in recurring investments, and asset allocation. The information provided here is for illustrative purposes only and does not represent actual or future performance of any investment option and is not intended to predict or project the investment performance of any security or index.