As we head into the warm-weather months, we all start to mark some special occasions on our calendars—the last day of school, graduations, weddings and family vacations. On May 29, I invite you to join me in celebrating another important occasion, 529 College Savings Day ®, by learning more about MOST—Missouri’s 529 College Savings Plan.
As state treasurer, one of the ways I commemorate this day is by spending time with schoolchildren. I read to them, participate in their activities and talk to them about the importance of doing well in school and going to college. I also talk to their parents and explain how plans like MOST 529 can help families take the first steps in saving for higher education.
We need to take action to make higher education a reality for our children. Saving for college can seem an impossible hurdle to new parents and even to parents with college-age children. The cost of college keeps going up, and while you may not be able to save enough to cover the entire cost of your child’s education, saving a little each month can make a big impact on higher-education expenses. One of the best ways to do this is by saving money with a plan like MOST 529, which can be used to pay for qualifying two- and four-year colleges and universities, as well as trade and vocational schools.
My wife and I save for our two daughters with the plan and know how easy it is to get started. For just $25, you can open a MOST 529 plan account and watch that investment grow over time. You can take advantage of certain tax benefits, such as tax-deferred growth and withdrawals that are exempt from federal and Missouri state income tax when used for qualified higher-education expenses.* As an account owner, you can also deduct up to $8,000 per year ($16,000 if married and filing jointly) from your Missouri adjusted gross income.**
We all know it is important to do everything possible to help our children prepare for their future. For this reason, I am excited to announce a special giveaway in honor of 529 College Savings Day that will take place at the beginning of June. Two lucky winners will receive a one-time $529 contribution to a new or existing MOST 529 account. Missouri residents who are 18 or older are eligible to register. The contest runs May 1–31, and you can enter by visiting www.most529savings.com and clicking the 529 Day button.
The MOST 529 Matching Grant Program will also be offered again this year. Missouri residents can apply between June 1 and 30, and those who qualify could receive matching funds of up to $500 in their MOST 529 plan accounts for 2013. Funding is limited and you must apply each year to be considered for this matching grant program.***
Setting aside money for a child’s future is a significant way to help him or her reach their goals. My own life experiences reflect how important higher education is. I am the first person in my family to attend and graduate from college. My education was possible because my parents understood that saving for higher education was an investment in long-term success. They started small, saved little by little, and eventually were able to help put me through college. I encourage Missourians to make the same investment in the lives of children they know.
So as we celebrate 529 College Savings Day, take a moment to visit www.most529savings.com or call 888-414-MOST (888-414-6678). The MOST 529 plan offers federal and state tax benefits, low costs and flexible ways to contribute. Go online or call to find the investment option that is right for the child in your life. And, if you are already investing in the plan, consider increasing your contribution as a way to commemorate the importance of 529 College Savings Day.
*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.
***Matching Grant Program funds are limited and will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis in the order in which applications are received. Matching grants are dependent upon funding limitations, as overseen by the Missouri Higher Education Savings Program Board, and there is no guarantee of the continued operation of the MOST 529 Matching Grant Program. For more information about the MOST 529 Matching Grant Program, please visit our website at www.most529grant.org or call 800-992-8790 for important information about eligibility requirements as well as limitations.
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.
529 College Savings Day is a registered service mark of Upromise Investments, Inc. Used with permission.