Along with our age-based investment options, Ohio’s 529 Plan, CollegeAdvantage, offers age-based savings strategies for parents who want to select their own 529 investment options. No matter how old your child is, Ohio’s 529 Plan has guidance on what to do at this current stage of their lives. For it’s never too early and never too late to save for their higher education. In this third article in a six-part series, Ohio’s 529 Plan shares recommendations on what steps to take to build a 529 college savings account from when your child starts to middle school.
Once your child enters middle school, it’s time to redouble your focus on saving. While college will be here before you know it, you still have time to make a significant impact on your child’s higher education savings.
To make sure you are on track to reach your savings objectives, visit the tools and calculators at Ohio’s 529 Plan, CollegeAdvantage. For instance, you may want to rework your college savings goals with the College Savings Estimator. You can increase the contribution amount to see how a little more can more quickly grow the 529 account. If you have been saving in other savings accounts other than a 529 plan, use the Tax Benefit Tool to see how tax-free earnings can build up in a 529 plan when compared to a taxable savings account. Then consider rolling all the various pools of college savings into one 529 account to maximize the benefits of tax-free earnings, tax-free withdrawals, and for Ohio residents who contribute to an Ohio 529 plan account, a state income tax deduction for up to $4,000 per year, per child. And $4,000 is not a contribution cap. For larger contributions, you can carry the deduction forward into future years.
And it’s not too late to take advantage of power of compound interest to help your 529 account take off. You have at least four-five more years to allow the interest on the original as well as any additional 529 contributions, any earnings from the 529 investment options, and any accrued interest to accumulate in the college savings account.
Continue to promote the idea of the gift of college through 529 contributions among your family members and friends when they ask about what to give your child for their birthday, holidays, or any other special occasion. Remember that Ugift code you gave out at the baby shower for your now middle schooler? Your loved ones can still use it to make an online donation to your 529 college savings account. In fact, the Ugift code can be used to contribute to the account at any time and as many times as they like. If the gift giver would prefer to write a check, make sure it’s payable to Ohio Tuition Trust Authority (the state agency which administers CollegeAdvantage) and includes the 11-digit account number.
You’re still doing so much shopping to feed and clothe your family as well as keeping the house clean. Keep looking for retailers that are Upromise partners so you are rewarded for your everyday shopping and shift those funds back to the 529 plan. If you haven’t heard of Upromise, it’s a free loyalty program that offers members cash back and rebates for purchases made at a wide variety of businesses. First, you connect your debit and/or credit card to your Upromise account to earn rewards with your everyday shopping. Then link your Upromise account to your CollegeAdvantage Direct 529 Plan account to roll over these rebates. Read how this CollegeAdvantage family used Upromise to add to their 529 savings.
Someday, your child will be going to college so start saving with Ohio’s tax-free 529 plan. These are some recommendations to consider for your middle school student and corresponding steps to take with your 529 college savings plan. Learn, plan, and start for as little as $25 today at CollegeAdvantage.