5/29 is “National 529 College Savings Plan Day” and certain state plans are offering promotions and/or giveaways. Some end on 5/29 and others end on 5/31, so that’s why I’m posting this early. Many are simply sweepstakes drawings which don’t really excite me, but here are some fixed bonuses:

  • California Scholarshare 529$50 bonus when you open a new ScholarShare 529 College Savings Plan account with a $50 contribution and sign up for ongoing automatic contributions of $25 or more per month for a minimum of 6 months between May 28, 2019, at 12:01 a.m. and May 31, 2019, at 11:59 p.m. (PST).
  • Florida PrepaidUp to $50 bonus. “Open a Florida 529 Savings Plan, from now through May 29, and we’ll seed your account with $25. Set up an automatic monthly contribution of $25 or more, and we’ll add another $25.”
  • Idaho Ideal$25 bonus. Open an IDeal – Idaho College Savings Program account online between May 1-29, 2019. It only takes a few minutes! Make an initial contribution of $25 or more and we’ll add $25 to your account.”
  • Nebraska NEST 529$10 bonus. Either start a new (or increase an existing) monthly Automatic Investment Plan (“AIP”) into a beneficiary’s account with $25 or more before May 31, and receive a $10 bonus.

Let me know if I’ve missed any.

My brief take on 529 college savings plans in general. I believe that you should worry about having adequate emergency and retirement savings first. Take care of yourself, so your kids won’t have to take care of you financially in old age. That’s a gift to them as well. However, if you are on track otherwise, a 529 plan can be a handy package of automated savings, automated investment, no annual tax paperwork, and valuable tax savings. For example, setting up an auto-deposit of $50 every month could add up to nearly $20,000 at the end of 18 years (assuming 6% return).

In terms of picking a specific plan, remember to first consider your state-specific tax benefits via the tools from Morningstar, SavingForCollege, or Vanguard. Morningstar estimates that an upfront tax break of at least 5% can make it worth investing in your in-state plan even if it is not otherwise a top plan (assuming that is required to get the tax benefit).

If you don’t have anything compelling available, anyone can open a 529 plan from any state. Also, you can roll over your funds into another 529 plan once every rolling 12 months. (Watch out for tax-benefit recapture if you got a tax break initially.) Here are the Morningstar Top 529 College Savings Plan Rankings for 2018. I personally invest in the Utah My529 Plan for my children due to their many DIY features, but would also recommend the Vanguard Nevada 529 Plan if you want something that is more “set-and-forget”. There are other solid plan options, but if you ask me for a quick recommendation, those are mine.

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529 Day (5/29) College Savings Plan Promotions from My Money Blog.

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