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529 Tips

529 Plans Aren’t Just For Kids

Are you considering heading back to college to finish your degree? Or do you want to further hone your skills for your profession? Or maybe you’re interested in starting a new career path? Or are you finally able to start the graduate degree you’ve wanted? You’re already been saving money in a CollegeAdvantage 529 plan for your child’s future college expenses. Why not open a 529 plan for your schooling as well? Only this time, mark yourself down as the beneficiary.

No Age R​estrictions With 529 Plans

While traditionally 529s have been used to fund children’s future college costs, there are no age restrictions on who can use these college savings accounts and there are no time limits on when the account must be used. 529 plans can be used by anyone who wants to receive a post-secondary education. And it doesn’t have to be a traditional four-year collegiate program either. 529 accounts were created to be used for qualified higher education expenses at any federally accredited educational institution; the list includes two-year, four-year, graduate, professional or post-secondary degree programs. So if you’ve always harbored a secret desire to become a world-class chef, visit FAFSA’s school code search to see if the nearest culinary school is on the list. If it is, you can use your savings in the 529 to cover your qualified costs. If you interested in going to back to college to further your career, for instance to earn an MBA or take continuing education classes, check with your workplace to see if tuition reimbursement is a part of the employee benefit package.

Advantages ​Of Saving For College I​n ​A 529 P​lan

All the tax advantages you enjoy through your beneficiary’s 529 account will apply to yours as well. The 529 will grow with tax-free earnings on your contributions. To see how much tax-free growth adds up in a 529 savings plan, use the tax benefit tool and immediately notice the difference between a 529 account to a taxable savings account. Unlike a taxable savings vehicle, a CollegeAdvantage 529 plan ensures that every bit of investment growth is yours to use. Withdrawals from 529 plans are also tax free, provided the funds are used for qualified higher education expenses, which includes many large costs like tuition, mandatory fees, and computers. If you’re Ohio taxpayer, contributions to CollegeAdvantage may be deducted from your state of Ohio taxable income in any amount up to $2,000 per year, per beneficiary, with unlimited carry forward. This means that $2,000 per year is not a contribution cap. Should you choose to contribute more than $2,000 in a calendar year, any amounts above $2,000 may be deducted in future years, in increments up to $2,000 per year, until all contributions have been deducted. If you have College Advantage 529 accounts for your children as well as yourself, you receive the deduction to your Ohio taxable income for contributions made to each of your 529 accounts.

Transfer ​Leftover 529 ​Funds ​To Your Account

If your child has already finished their collegiate education and there is money left over in their 529 plan, you can also transfer the remaining funds to your account. No tax penalties will be accessed with the transfer as long as the new beneficiary is a family member to the original one — which you are. By rolling over these 529 plan assets to your account, you can use the money you’ve already set aside for college expenses, but now it’s funding your own continuing education.

Ask ​For ​The Gift Of College

Why not ask for family and friends to give you the gift of college at your birthday or the holidays to help fund your 529 plan? They may prefer to contribute to your continuing education rather than have to buy the latest and greatest fad. You can set up a code through Ugift which will allow gift givers to donate directly to your 529 plan online without needing the actual account number. Your loved ones can even check to make sure their electronic contribution is securely transferred from their bank account by visiting Ugift529.com. Once a gift giver has the code, they can continue to make one-time or recurring electronic gifts for college without fees.

If your children are interested in continuing their own education into graduate school, encourage them to contribute to their own 529 plan. Once they turn 18, your children can also open a 529 account, list themselves as the beneficiary, and then start setting aside money to fund their ongoing schooling. This way they may also benefit from all the tax advantages of owning a 529.

It’s simple to start to 529 account for yourself. Visit CollegeAdvantage.com for additional information, such as investment options and investment performance. When you’re ready to join Ohio’s 529 Savings Program, it’s easy to open an account here. As always, with CollegeAdvantage, it’s your plan, your way.

Posted on November 16, 2016

Ohio Tuition Trust Authority

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