“The secret to creating lasting financial change is to decide to pay yourself first and then make it automatic.” – David Bach

David Bach has a point, and his point holds true for saving and investing for our kids. At UNest, we believe that the most important step to beginning the journey to saving for your children’s future starts with making it automatic. That is why we allow our customers to begin saving with as little as $25 per month. Do we believe that $25 a month will be sufficient to pay for your children’s tuition, books room and board? No, it most certainly will not. However, building the habit of saving every month for your children is an important step in the process.  It is also an important skill to teach your children and show them how investment compounds over time and creates lasting wealth. 

Automating your savings is one of the easiest ways to save even more and reach your savings goals, but what does it mean to automate your savings, exactly? You, the contributor, will make automatic and fixed amount deposits at specified periods into an account. Every time you receive a paycheck, you can set a designated amount automatically transferred to your accounts. Automating your savings is not only convenient but can also help with budgeting and managing your spending habits. Automating your savings also helps take the emotion out of investing in a plan or portfolio that can increase or decrease depending on the market performance.

Below are our list of best practices for setting and achieving your family’s savings goals. No matter what, remember that taking action and opening a UNest account will positively impact your children’s future.

  1. Define what success looks like. Goals will be different for every parent. Some will want to have enough to pay for Stanford Medical School, while others will be content being able to pay for a 2 year state school. In some cases parents will use their UTMA savings to pay for their children’s first car or a downpayment on their house! There are many calculators available to help you determine the amount of time and money you are willing to contribute what can be accomplished.  The key here is to remember that all of our finances are fluid. While the goal may seem insurmountable today, defining what success means will place a target that you can begin making strides towards.
  2. Evaluate your finances: Can you go without Starbucks and save $3 a day for your kids’ future? If so you will be astounded at what can be accomplished over the course of 18 years. Ensure that you continuously reevaluate your finances to ensure your contributions are in line with your finances. 
  3. Start Saving: No matter what if you have kids you need to have a 529 account. The sooner you can establish one and begin saving the better. Even if you are only contributing $25 a month you are taking a positive step towards your children’s financial future and building the foundation.
  4. Consistency: Warren Buffet didn’t become the wealthiest person in the world by changing up his practices. He discovered value investing and practiced it 
  5. According to a recent survey of about 1,000 parents from T. Rowe Price, 53% of respondents said saving for college is a higher priority than saving for retirement.

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 www.unest.co or find us on the App Store or Google Play.


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 collegeboard.org. 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.

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.