For many Missouri families, this fall marks a new back-to-school memory as they send their children off to college for the first time. Everyone says it, and it is true – they grow up quickly. That is why it is so important to start preparing as early as possible for the cost of higher education.
September is College Savings Month, a great time to get started. Take this opportunity to learn about the benefits of MOST—Missouri’s 529 College Savings Plan.
Like any project, building a child’s future starts with the right tools and materials. Your MOST 529 Plan account can be the cornerstone of a well-planned savings strategy for your child’s higher-education future and the crucial first step toward success. As parents with MOST 529 Plan accounts for our two daughters, one of the things my wife and I like best about the plan is the flexibility of the investments. Even if you are not an experienced investor, you will likely be able to craft a savings portfolio that is suited to your needs. (Keep in mind that all investing involves risk, and that changes in the economy could affect the value of your account.)
Remember it is never too late to open and contribute to a MOST 529 Plan account for your child or grandchild. Whether your kids are in nursery school or high school, there is still time to prepare for college. Even just a few years of saving can add up down the road, and every dollar you save now could mean one less dollar out of your pocket when that tuition bill arrives.*
As part of our month-long celebration, MOST 529 will be giving away a Kindle Fire to one lucky contest winner. To register for your chance to win, visit www.most529savings.com. The contest is open Sept. 1–30 to Missouri taxpayers who are age 18 or older, and the winner will be notified by phone on or around Oct. 3.
While you are visiting the website, take a look around and consider opening a MOST 529 Plan account for a child in your life.
With more than 120,000 accounts and a combined total of $1.6 billion invested in direct accounts, MOST 529 is dedicated to improving and enriching the lives of Missouri students. So why wait? You can get started with as little as $25 and make additional contributions of $25 or more whenever you like. What is more, your contributions and earnings grow tax-deferred, and can be withdrawn tax-free when used for the beneficiary’s qualified higher-education expenses.**
A college education is one of the most important gifts you can give to your children, one that will serve them all their lives. I am very grateful to my parents for helping make college a reality for me, and now that I have kids of my own, I have made it a priority to give them every possible advantage as they prepare to enter adulthood. Please join me in building a better future for our children by making higher education accessible to the next generation of achievers.
About MOST 529:
State Treasurer Clint Zweifel sponsors MOST 529, the tax-advantaged program that enables families to save for a child’s higher education. MOST 529 is an affordable, low-cost, tax-deferred way to save for higher-education expenses. Investments in the Plan can be used towards qualified higher-education expenses, including tuition, certain room and board expenses, books and mandatory fees at most four-year colleges and universities, many two-year institutions and vocational schools, and some schools abroad. In addition, savings in MOST 529 can be used towards associate’s, bachelor’s, and advanced degrees. Account owners may deduct up to $8,000 in their contributions each year in computing their Missouri state income tax, and married couples filing jointly may deduct up to $16,000 annually.***
* A plan of regular investment cannot assure a profit or protect against a loss in a declining market.
** Earnings on nonqualified withdrawals may be subject to federal income tax and a 10 percent federal penalty tax, as well as state and local income taxes. The availability of tax or other benefits may be contingent on meeting other requirements.
*** Contributions to the Plan in a tax year are deductible from Missouri state income tax up to certain limits, but may be subject to recapture in subsequent years if you make a nonqualified withdrawal.
Editor's Note: This column was provided by Meghan Lewis, communications coordinator for the Office of State Treasurer Clint Zweifel.