Please be careful with my money.
Explanation: The exciting financial events in my daughter's life just keep rolling by. First we received her birth certificate. Then her Social Security number. And now, thanks to a long morning nap on Saturday, I have opened her 529 college savings account! Woo-hoo! I've never been more proud of my little tax deduction.
If you've never looked into 529 accounts, they are pretty simple in theory. You open a tax-deferred investment account to save for college. Each state has a plan (or several plans). Some state plans offer a tax deduction on contributions by their residents. New Jersey does not. So there you go. I just had to pick a plan and open an account.
The problem is this. If your state plan does not offer benefits that make it the obvious choice, you then have to pick from over a hundred plans. Each plan charges differently - some have annual fees that are either fixed or percentages, some charge management fees, and of course there are the fees built into whatever fund you invest in. It's not just comparing apples and oranges - you're comparing a whole basket of fruit. It isn't pretty.
After over an hour of research, trying to find the perfect plan, I settled on Utah. It may not be right for everyone, but I figured it was the best choice for us. So there you go. My daughter's education hopes rest with the great state of Utah. Don't let us down Utah. We need you to come through for us.
Monday, April 20, 2009