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Missouri’s 529 Savings Plan

Did you know that children with $1 to $499 designated for school are 2.5 times more likely to enroll in and graduate from college than children with no account? According to the 2013 Washington University study, Small-dollar children’s savings and college outcomes, school-designated savings are more effective than basic savings in influencing college outcomes.

There are many opportunities to start a college savings account for children or grandchildren. Tax refunds, monetary gifts, settlements and other unexpected influxes of cash can be great starts for education savings. If you are not expecting any of those monetary windfalls, automatically transferring a small amount of money from each paycheck to a college savings plan is an excellent way to make an investment in your child’s future.

Missouri offers the MOST 529 Savings Plan that can be opened at no cost. Funds can be used for tuition, room and board (with some limitations), computers, internet access and computer software – if the items are used primarily by the student during their time at school. For students enrolled in public, private or religious elementary or secondary schools, you can expense up to $10,000 (annually per student). 529 plans can be utilized for trade and vocational school as well!

Opening an account online is a simple, streamlined process. From the start, you will need to choose how your money will be invested. If you are not comfortable with choosing investments for your contributions, the plan offers “Age-based options” that allow you to choose based on your risk tolerance. These accounts will move your savings to a more conservative portfolio over time.

Money in a 529 account will grow tax-deferred and you do not pay federal or state income taxes on withdrawals as long as they are for qualified expenses. You may also qualify to deduct up to $8,000 of your contributions (or $16,000 if married filing jointly) when you file your state income taxes.

For more information about the MOST 529 Savings Plan, call 888-414-6678 or visit https://www.missourimost.org.

Ashley Bales

Ashley Bales

Ashley Bales is a Family Financial Education Specialist and Accredited Financial Counselor® headquartered in Madison County.  Her office is located at 137 West Main St., Fredericktown, Missouri. Contact Ashley at 573-783-3303 with questions or comments. MU is an equal opportunity/ADA institution. University of Missouri Extension does not discriminate on the basis of their race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, age, disability in employment or in any program or activity.

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