Prime Time for a 529: College Savings Basics
Once upon a time, you learned your ABCs. It’s easy to say them now, but it probably wasn’t when you were little bitty. After all, everything is challenging when it’s unfamiliar. It’s like that with college savings: It can feel intimidating to begin, but once you do you, you’ll look back and say, “That was simple!”
529s can actually help you learn your ABCs! Funds can be used for tuition from kindergarten through 12th grade.
For fun, here are some other lessons learned in childhood that apply to 529s:
It’s like riding a bike on a hill. It takes some hustle to start, but soon your confidence grows and you hit your stride. Then you reach the top, enjoy the view and start to head downhill — in the best way. With compound interest working for you, you’ll gather real speed!
It’s better to invite everyone to the party. Be honest: Does your child already have enough toys and electronics? Let friends and family know now that you plan to simplify everyone’s birthday and holiday shopping by asking them to chip in toward your child’s college savings. To invite family and friends to contribute toward your college fund, log into your Florida Prepaid account and click on the gift image on the home page, then follow the steps.
Routines are good. Everyone is happier and healthier when they eat and go to bed on time. Sure, you have the flexibility to say “anything goes” and promise yourself you’ll contribute more when you can, but financial experts recommend automating your savings. Even a small monthly contribution will grow your 529 Savings Plan steadily, you can reserve that mental space for other things.
It’s nice to be “best in class”. With low fees, attractive investment options and age-based solutions, financial planners say there’s a reason more Floridians are saving in Florida 529 Savings Plans than ever before. In December 2017, there were just over 66,000 accounts; now, that number now is 130,000 — almost double in the past five years!
And while we don’t learn much about taxes when we’re little, grown-ups will be glad to know that a 529 Plan also offers tremendous tax benefits — specifically, your earnings are tax-free when used for qualified education expenses, such as tuition, books, fees, and room and board.
It takes only 15 minutes to open an account. You’ll need to provide your address, date of birth, SSN, and a bank account if you want automatic withdrawals. You’ll also need the student beneficiary’s address, birthdate and SSN. Open a new plan now.