- The college savings plan became much more concrete after listening to episode 25 of Jumping Monkeys. I listened to that podcast on the TWiT network before it went off the air. It may have been my favorite podcast, possibly behind TWiT itself. Episode 25 talked about saving for college, 529s, and had a guest from Freshman Fund. Which brings me to. . .
- Freshman Fund is a website designed to help people save for college. In particular, it makes it easy for friends and relatives to donate to your child's fund. It also suggests plans for you based on the state where you live. For example, I live in Massachusetts, which has no tax advantage for using their fund so it makes since to pick a fund from any other state if that state's is better. I ended up NOT using this site, though, because I did not like having my kid's birthdays so publicly and easily available.
- I started looking at 529s after hearing about them on Jumping Monkeys. They described them as "the hot new thing," but I think they aren't actually that new. 529s appealed to me because they were easy to set up, use, and maintain. It took me half an hour to set up accounts for my kids and start saving.
- The question then becomes: "How do I pick which 529 to use?" In addition to looking on Freshman Fund, I found a number of good resources:
- Morningstar regularly publishes a "five best" and "five worst" list of 529s. I found one from 2009 and one from 2007.
- The website savingforcollege.com has a lot of useful material. In particular, I liked their 5-cap ratings and the overall plan performance rankings for 2009
- Kiplinger also has some useful 529 resources. in 2009 they put out a list of the best 529 plans, including a state-by-state guide of what to do.
Saturday, February 20, 2010
College savings and 529s
One of those things that everybody knows they should do but may still not do is backup their computer files. Another one is parents saving for the children's education. I recently just started funds for my kids, after delaying for a few years and not knowing how to start. Here are some useful resources I used during the process: