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college graduation day thanks to 529 college savings plan
Help Today’s Child Become Tomorrow’s Educated Leader With a 529 College Savings Plan

529 College Savings Plan

So, what does an average college student pay for a good education these days and how can a 529 plan make a difference? According to the College Board, the average published prices for tuition, fees and room and board for four-year undergraduate colleges and universities (with estimated room and board) during 2020-21 are $22,180 (for in-state public schools), $38,640 (for out-of-state public schools) and $50,770 (for private non-profit schools). These are not small sums of money. In fact, these 2020-21 costs reflect tuition and fees increases of 1.1% (for in-state public schools), 0.9% (for out-of-state public schools) and 2.1% (for private non-profit schools) compared to 2019-20.

Paying for your child's college education may seem overwhelming, especially with rising costs. In addition to scholarships, financial aid and student loans, there are many ways for you to help finance higher education expenses. A 529 college savings plan is an investment opportunity that may help.

Named after section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code, 529 plans offer you tax-deferred growth of your investment as well as tax-free educational use of the money. Although you can't deduct contributions to a 529 plan on your federal income tax, some states permit their residents to deduct all or some of their contributions from their state income tax when investing in their own state's plan. Best of all, the plan's student beneficiary can enjoy tax-free distributions for qualifying educational expenses, which include tuition, fees, room and board (with limitations), required books and supplies, computers and related equipment at any accredited college, university or vocational school. If you make a distribution from your 529 plan that does not meet the criteria for qualified educational expenses, you may be required to pay income tax as well as a 10% early-distribution penalty on the investment gains.

One of the best things about a 529 college savings plan is that anyone — parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends — can open an account. You even can set one up for yourself to finish or pursue your own undergraduate or graduate degree.

Learning the ABCs of 529s

You may be surprised at how little it takes to start a 529 savings plan. Most have low minimum start-up requirements. After the initial contribution, you also may be able to set up scheduled contributions. Not only can you as the account owner contribute funds, but other relatives and friends may as well. And as the account holder, you remain in control of the investment. Beneficiaries cannot independently access this money on their own.

Unlike IRAs or 401(k) plans, there is no annual contribution limit for 529 plans. However, you may incur gift taxes if you exceed a certain amount. The money you invest can add up to a substantial quantity over time. However, 529 plans do have maximum accumulation limits, which vary by state, but some are more than $300,000. Keep in mind that this investment will fluctuate with changes in market conditions and may lose value. 

How Much Do You Need to Save for College?

Your children are growing up fast. Are you financially prepared to help them pay for college?

Learn How a 529 College Savings Plan Can Help Fund Higher Education

College education costs continue to rise, but we can help you get ahead of the wave with a 529 college savings plan. Take a minute to learn some key facts about saving for college so you can plan effectively for your child’s success in life.

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Learn More About Saving for College

Start with these educational articles to help empower you to make more informed decisions about your financial future. 
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Why a 529 College Savings Plan From Western & Southern?  

As you consider investing in a 529 college savings plan, you may want to partner with a company you already know. Besides offering life insurance and retirement solutions, Western & Southern could help you with saving for college, too. Working with us means you can get everything you need all in one place and straightforward answers from experienced financial representatives.

Investors should carefully consider investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses before investing in a 529 savings plan. This and other important information is contained in the Issuers Program Description which can be obtained from a financial professional. The Program Description should be read carefully before investing. 

Securities offered through W&S Brokerage Services, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC. W&S Brokerage Services, Inc. is a member of Western & Southern Financial Group.