Springfield, MO

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Opinion: Save now - college is around the corner

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As you and your family settle in to a new school year, I would like to remind you of one of the most important back-to-school tools – Missouri’s 529 College Savings Plan. September is National College Savings Month, a great time to learn about the options MOST 529 has to offer – including a giveaway of a new Kindle.

As my wife and I send our daughters back to junior high, it reminds me how important it is to prepare for their future. They are already talking about plans after high school. With their MOST 529 accounts in place, those decisions will be a little easier. I always encourage families to start saving early and often.

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 Your contributions and earnings grow free of federal and Missouri state income taxes, and can be withdrawn tax-free when used for the beneficiary’s qualified higher-education expenses.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. It is important to remember that, with any 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. 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 Click on the September College Savings Month button to register to win a Kindle. The winner will be notified by phone on or around Oct. 3. While you are there, don’t forget to start your own MOST 529 account. … 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.

—Clint Zweifel, Missouri Treasurer[[In-content Ad]]


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