Monday, May 17, 2010

Top College Savings Plan

With the cost of going to college increasing more and more each year, parents and grandparents need to start saving now. Many students and families are faced with the tough decision of how to pay for higher education—it is a tragedy when families have to make the decision not to attend college due to the inability to afford tuition cost. I have always been an advocate for making it possible for young people to attend college—I have personally sent five young adults to college! The best way to ensure your loved one gets a college education is to save for the expense. A 529 savings plan is recommended as a great investment for your future college plans.

These savings plans do not get taxed federally and many states also give a state income-tax credit for having one. Check whether your state offers a tax break and take advantage of it. To escape federal taxes on the distribution, you must use the 529 savings to pay for qualified educational expenses such as tuition, books, fees, room and board. Don’t worry, the 529 accounts are flexible. If your child doesn’t want to go to college, you can transfer funds to another family member without losing the tax benefits. If you do need to withdraw the money and use it elsewhere please know you will pay taxes on the distribution and a 10% penalty on the earnings. Buy a 529 savings account directly from your state and you will avoid paying commissions or adviser fees. According to more than 60% of investors put their 529 money on autopilot by choosing age based portfolios.

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