Families are encouraged to start putting money aside for their children’s education during College Savings month, which starts Saturday.  The Missouri State Treasurer’s office is using this time to educate the public about Missouri’s 529 College Savings Plan.  Click to hear KMZU’s Sarah Scott talk to Missouri State Treasurer Clint Zweifel:

Clint Zweifel

“Residents are able to set aside money tax fee and it grows tax free,” said Zweifel,” One of the neat things about the program is there’s flexibility built in, so you can start saving for your youngster as soon as they have a social security number.  Rather they go to a public or private school, a trade or technical school, they can use those resources to help pay for their college tuition.”

A MOST 529 plan can be started for as little as $25.  According to the treasurer, Missouri has more than 120,000 established accounts with a combined total of $1.6 billion invested.  For more information, visit www.most529savings.com.

Press Release:

September is College Savings Month

A column by State Treasurer Clint Zweifel

For many Missouri families, this fall marks a new back-to-school memory as they send their children off to college for the first time. Everyone says it, and it is true – they grow up quickly. That is why it is so important to start preparing as early as possible for the cost of higher education. September is College Savings Month, a great time to get started. Take this opportunity to learn about the benefits of MOST—Missouri’s 529 College Savings Plan.

Like any project, building a child’s future starts with the right tools and materials. Your MOST 529 Plan account can be the cornerstone of a well-planned savings strategy for your child’s higher-education future and the crucial first step toward success. As parents with MOST 529 Plan accounts for our two daughters, one of the things my wife and I like best about the plan is the flexibility of the investments. Even if you are not an experienced investor, you will likely be able to craft a savings portfolio that is suited to your needs. (Keep in mind that all investing involves risk, and that changes in the economy could affect the value of your account.)

Remember that it is never too late to open and contribute to a MOST 529 Plan account for your child or grandchild. Whether your kids are in nursery school or high school, there is still time to prepare for college. Even just a few years of saving can add up down the road, and every dollar you save now could mean one less dollar out of your pocket when that tuition bill arrives.*

As part of our month-long celebration, MOST 529 will be giving away a Kindle Fire to one lucky contest winner. To register for your chance to win, visit www.most529savings.com. The contest is open September 1–30 to Missouri taxpayers who are age 18 or older, and the winner will be notified by phone on or around October 3. While you are visiting the website, take a look around and consider opening a MOST 529 Plan account for a child in your life.

With more than 120,000 accounts and a combined total of $1.6 billion invested in direct accounts, MOST 529 is dedicated to improving and enriching the lives of Missouri students. So why wait? You can get started with as little as $25 and make additional contributions of $25 or more whenever you like. What is more, your contributions and earnings grow tax-deferred, and can be withdrawn tax-free when used for the beneficiary’s qualified higher-education expenses.**

A college education is one of the most important gifts you can give to your children, one that will serve them all their lives. I am very grateful to my parents for helping make college a reality for me, and now that I have kids of my own, I have made it a priority to give them every possible advantage as they prepare to enter adulthood. Please join me in building a better future for our children by making higher education accessible to the next generation of achievers.

About MOST 529

State Treasurer Clint Zweifel sponsors MOST 529, 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 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 their contributions each year in computing their Missouri state income tax, and married couples filing jointly may deduct up to $16,000 annually.***

* A plan of regular investment cannot assure a profit or protect against a loss in a declining market.

** 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.

*** 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.

Kindle, Kindle Fire, and Amazon are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc., or its affiliates. Kindle devices are given away on behalf of MOST—Missouri’s 529 College Savings Plan. Amazon is not a sponsor of this promotion.

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.

For more information about MOST—Missouri’s 529 College Savings Plan, call 888-414-MOST or visit www.most529savings.com to obtain a Program Description, Privacy Policy, and Participation Agreement. Investment objectives, risks, charges, expenses, and other important information are included in this document; read and consider it carefully before investing. Vanguard Marketing Corporation, Distributor and Underwriter.

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.