I just had my first child six month ago. I do not plan to save for her education. I’m not even a little concerned that she wouldn’t use the 529, but I’m more concerned about her having college paid for. Without getting into too much detail about my experience because it will definitely come off as bragging, suffice it to say I left college with no debt. I imagine college will either be wildly more expensive or free when my daughter is ready. So, my thought is that I’ll bribe her. If she focuses on certain degree programs, such as STEM, I will pay xx% based on grades. A’s are worth 100%, and it decreases from there. She is, of course, welcome to choose something else and do it on her own.
I know it’s an n of 1, but my biggest concern is that if college is just paid for, she’ll go for whatever whim she has at the time and leave with no debt and no education.
On the topic of 529s, were I to have one, my biggest regret would be that I didn’t start one a decade before she was born. Since a 529 can be transferred to another person, you can start one under your own SSN and then transfer it to your child after birth.