Parenthood significantly changes our lifestyle. This change begins the minute the pregnancy test is positive, which puts us in total shock and happiness, and continues to the moment when the child heads off to university. As parents, we have invested nearly two decades of our time, money, and love into this young person. It’s easy to feel disoriented when suddenly our back seat is empty and our child is in a whole new place. At the beginning, the sense of loss can feel unbearable but, after some time we can proudly enjoy it.

I remember when my neighbor Emma sent her son Leo to college. She told me, “Finally, we’re empty nesters! Now it’s all about my marriage, friendships, work, hobbies, and passions! It’s about what we’re going to do with the rest of our lives.”

I was really happy for her and her husband. Emma started to post more pictures on Instagram of her trips, new outfits, incredible yoga poses, and the amazing food and drinks she was enjoying. “Hey, everybody’s doing it! Why shouldn’t I?” laughed Emma.

However, one sudden day, like a bolt from out of the blue, her son appeared at her door. With a wide-eyed, innocent gaze on his face, like Puss in Boots from the movie ‘Shrek’, he complained about how hard it was to afford to live on his own. While he hypnotized Emma with his big eyes, his foot pushed his bag inside the house.

How did this happen?

The main reason college students live at home is, of course, money. Dorms are expensive, and they’re not getting any cheaper. Room and board costs make up the largest portion of a student’s total college bill and are second only to tuition. But planning ahead can help parents cope with this new stage of parenthood. According to College Board, the average room and board costs for the 2017-18 school year were around $10,000 for public four-year colleges (in-state or out-of-state) and $12,000 for private four-year colleges.

Living with an adult child can be hard on parents. Whether your child is contributing his fair share or driving you up the wall with irresponsibility and attitude, you’re bound to lock horns from time to time. When Leo moved in, he became a typical video gamer/couch potato/slacker living in parents’ basement. When Emma invited me over for dinner, I was shocked at how immature Leo was–he didn’t even said hello to me. His mom complained about the time she spent on grocery shopping, cooking, and the non-stop laundry. There was not enough personal space.  They missed having their house to themselves and doing things on their own terms and schedule. Leo would use everything from Q-Tips to table salt, thinking they magically appear there. He was treating the house like a hotel–fancy hot tub, clean, organic food, free WIFI, and cable TV.  Emma regretted she hadn’t had a better college savings plan. To cheer her up I quoted the inimitable Will Smith, from the original Men in Black movie, “…and move out’cho momma’s house, boy, you like 40 years old!” he shouted as Will reprogrammed a “man-child” to be more grown up. By the end of the evening we laughed about it, but as for myself, I decided to tell others about Emma’s situation so us parents can be more prepared and set up college funds for our children.


men in black

Don’t let this happen to you

College is a transition to adulthood. When young adults attend college, they develop problem-solving skills like responsibility and resourcefulness. In addition to financial woes, moving back home can lead to arguments between kids and their parents and can potentially damage their relationship in the long term. Parents who prepare for these challenges beforehand have a better chance of avoiding these hardships.  That’s where the 529 plan uses its superpower to cover all qualified higher education expenses. We live in an amazing technological era, where pictures of newborns are shared with family and friends in seconds, where we can find any information by saying “OK Google,” where we can place an order for a latte from our cell phone, and now we can open a college fund by using the U-Nest app. It’s a financial app that allows you to open an account and start saving for your kids’ future, tax-free in only five minutes.

You no longer have the excuse of being busy between work and kids when you have a simple solution available at your fingertips. You can download it today at the Apple Store to start saving for your kids’ successful and independent future. Download U-Nest here.


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.