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Happy Tax Day!

Jamie Canup, Partner
Hirschler Fleischer
April 15, 2015

Happy Tax Day?  Not something you typically hear on April 15th.  If you invest in a 529 Plan you can congratulate yourself for making a wise investment choice that also comes with multiple tax benefits.  529 Plans are among the most tax-efficient instruments available for someone to save for future higher education expenses -- whether those expenses are for you, your children, or your grandchildren (or frankly, anyone else).

We know that the cost of higher education continues to outpace inflation and we also know that the cost of not being educated in the 21st century is extremely high.  What we sometimes ignore, however, is that a dollar saved for higher education today means one dollar less in debt tomorrow.  In addition, in our rapidly changing and increasingly competitive workplace, planning for future education and re-training is key to achieving career satisfaction over a working lifetime. 

Let’s not forget, though, that 529 Plans also provide many tax benefits that make investing in a 529 account a tax savvy option.  Among these tax benefits are:

Why Not Pay Sale Prices for College?

Nancy Farmer
President, Private College 529 Plan
April 6, 2015

“How come anything you buy will go on sale next week?” - Erma Bombeck 

American humorist and columnist Erma Bombeck died before 529 plans became a common vehicle for families to save for college. But I think she would have approved of 529 prepaid tuition plans. They each offer college education in the future, at guaranteed prices.

And unlike Erma’s wistful complaint, the 12 states and one private college organization that sponsor prepaid college tuition plans don’t make any secret of when you can buy their products on sale. In fact, they advertise trying to get more and more families to take advantage of the benefits.

Why use a prepaid tuition plan?  Here are several reasons:

National Association of State Treasurers Conference Provides Opportunity to Celebrate & Advocate

By Betty Lochner
Chair of the College Savings Plans Network and Director of Washington’s Guaranteed Education Tuition (GET) Program
April 1, 2015

I read a blog recently that said the world is changed by your example, not by your opinion. This quote epitomizes my last week where I joined CSPN affiliate and state members in Washington D.C. for the National Association of State Treasurers (NAST) legislative conference. 

This year there were two sessions at the conference entirely devoted to 529 college savings plans. The first session included a panel of key congressional aids that have been involved in legislation surrounding enhancements to 529 plans, including the new ABLE legislation.

The second panel featured Susan Hirschmann of Williams & Jensen as well as co-chairs of the CSPN Federal Initiatives Committee Joan Marshall (Maryland) and Mary Morris (Virginia) who discussed the prospects for our legislative initiatives and what we can do as states to advocate for our plans.

Make your tax refund work for you this year

By: Hon. Michael L. Fitzgerald
State Treasurer, State of Iowa
March 30, 2015

When it comes to our children, we all want the best for them and their futures. Watching them grow and develop, we observe them exploring with their imaginations and discovering the endless possibilities for success in life. Graduating with a college degree is a huge achievement, and one way to help set them up for that success is to save for their higher education. However, much like the April 15 deadline for taxes, the time to start saving for your children’s college education is over before you know it, which is why I encourage you to take your 2014 refund and invest it in your children’s future.

By investing your refund in a state-sponsored 529 plan you have:

Reaching your dreams takes a lot more than a little bit ‘o luck

Lucas Minor
GET Marketing & Communications Manager
March 16, 2015

Many symbols associated with St. Patrick’s Day signify luck. Shamrocks, horseshoes and the color green are often revered as tokens that promise bounties of good fortune. However, while there definitely are times where the cards seem to be more in our favor than usual, good fortune typically takes more than luck alone. In fact, the things we attribute to luck are usually direct results of the efforts we make. As Thomas Jefferson is credited with saying, “I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.”

This is all too true when it comes to planning for our children’s future success. If we simply cross our fingers and hope our child wants to become a doctor, gets into the most prestigious medical school, and secures the scholarships to pay for it, we’re setting ourselves up for disappointment. There’s nothing wrong with these lofty goals – we SHOULD dream big for our kids, and inspire them to do the same. But when these dreams aren’t supported with sweat equity, the chances of our desires coming to fruition can be slim. So how do we bring our hopes for our children’s success from simple wishes to tangible realities?

I’m Not Worried About Paying for College; My Child’s Going to Get a Scholarship

Jim Peterson
Marketing Manager, Michigan Education Trust (MET)
March 9, 2015

During the course of any conversation I have concerning saving for college with a 529 plan, parents will inevitably ask, “What happens if my son/daughter gets a scholarship?” I understand the question; it’s a valid one. Parents are considering investing their hard-earned money and they’re looking at all the possible outcomes that may affect their investment. Those are important questions to ask.  

But, if you’re a parent that’s putting off saving for your child’s education because you believe your child will attend college on an athletic scholarship, let me share a word of caution – the thousands of dollars you spend in supporting your student athlete will, most likely, not translate into college dollars.

New Report from CSPN Shows Continued Growth for 529 Plans

Betty Lochner
Chair of the College Savings Plans Network and Director of Washington’s Guaranteed Education Tuition (GET) Program 
March 3, 2015

Today, the College Savings Plans Network published its 2014 Year-End 529 Report and we’re happy with the results: growth!

Highlights from the report show:

  • Total Investment: Total investment by American families in 529 plans grew by $20.8 billion reaching a record level of $247.9 billion.
  • Number of Accounts: The total number of 529 accounts increased 4.1% over the past 12 months, going from 11.6 million in December 2013 to 12.1 million as of December 2014.
  • Total Assets: Including growth from contributions and investment returns, total assets in 529 plans grew by 9.1% in 2014.
  • Average Account Size: The average 529 account size continues to grow, reaching an all-time high of $20,474.

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