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By State Treasurer Clint Zweifel
As you and your family settle in to a new school year this September, I would like to remind you of one of the most important back to school tools – a MOST ̶ Missouri’s 529 College Savings Plan account. September is National College Savings Month, a great time to learn about the options MOST 529 has to offer. To add to the excitement, MOST 529 will be giving one lucky family a new Kindle.
Each year when my wife and I send our daughters back to school, it reminds me how important it is to prepare for their future. They are already talking about plans after high school, and one is only in eighth grade and other is only in sixth grade. I know, thanks to the MOST 529 accounts we have for them, their decisions will be a little easier. With big plans on the horizon, I always encourage families to start saving early and often. Saving now will take away a bit of the stress around those future decisions.
You can start a MOST 529 account with as little as $25, and you can make additional contributions of $25 or more whenever you like. Your contributions and earnings grow free of federal and Missouri state income taxes, and can be withdrawn tax-free when used for the beneficiary’s qualified higher-education expenses.* There are a variety of investment options to match your goals, comfort level and situation. MOST 529 has many great advantages, but it is important to remember that investment returns are not guaranteed, and you could lose money by investing in the plan.
As the cost of higher education continues to rise, saving early and often with a MOST 529 account is even more important. An example I always like to use is that a $50 investment made each month into a MOST 529 account from the time a child is born to age 18 could accumulate to $16,633. That certainly would help offset the expenses of tuition, room and board and books. Please remember this is a hypothetical example, based on a 5 percent annual return that isn’t guaranteed, but it certainly demonstrates the power of small investments.** It is also important to note this doesn’t represent the return on any particular investment, and the final account balance doesn’t reflect any taxes or penalties that may be due upon distribution.
Join me in celebrating National College Savings Month this September by visiting www.Most529Savings.com. Click on the September College Saving’s month button to register to win a Kindle, and share this opportunity with your family and friends. Missouri residents who are 18 or older are eligible. The winner will be notified by phone on or around October 3. While you are there, don’t forget to start your own MOST 529 account.
I’m the first person in my family to attend and graduate college. As a parent, I understand the sacrifices my parents made and the values they instilled in me – save a little at a time and that money can make a big difference. To learn more, visit MOST 529 at www.Most529Savings.com or call 888-414-MOST. More Missourians than ever are already saving billions for the higher education of children across the state – it is a real investment in the future of our children.
About MOST 529
MOST 529 is 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 many 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 contributions each year in computing their Missouri state income tax and married couples filing jointly may deduct up to $16,000 annually.
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.
* Earnings on nonqualified withdrawals may be subject to federal income tax and a 10% 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.
** A plan of regular investment cannot assure a profit or protect against a loss in a declining market.
Investment returns are not guaranteed, and you could lose money by investing in the Plan. Participants assume all investment risks, including the potential for loss of principal, as well as responsibility for any federal and state tax consequences.
If you are not a Missouri taxpayer, consider before investing whether your or the designated beneficiary’s home state offers any state tax or other benefits that are only available for investments in such state’s qualified tuition program.
The Missouri Higher Education Savings Program (the “Program Trust”) is a trust created by the State of Missouri. When you invest in MOST—Missouri’s 529 College Savings Plan (the “Plan”), you are purchasing portfolio units issued by the Program Trust.
Portfolio units are municipal securities. The Plan has been implemented and is administered by the Missouri Higher Education Savings Program Board (the “Board”). Upromise Investments, Inc., and Upromise Investment Advisors, LLC, serve as the Program Manager and Recordkeeping and Servicing Agent, respectively, with overall responsibility for the day-to-day operations, including effecting transactions. The Vanguard Group, Inc., serves as Investment Manager for the Plan. Vanguard Marketing Corporation, an affiliate of The Vanguard Group, Inc., markets and distributes the Plan. The Plan’s portfolios, although they invest in mutual funds, are not mutual funds.