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December 19, 2006


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How does the tax deduction work, does it just reduce your taxable income?

Derek -- Michigan residents get to deduct the contribution (up to certain limits) from income, thus reducing overall taxable income. Look at your past Michigan tax forms and you'll see a spot for it.

We've been using for several years now a MasterCard originally issued by MBNA, now, I believe, administered through a subsidiary of Fidelity Investments, that rebates 2% of all purchases into a Fidelity 529 account for my son. Everything, even a Coke at the convenience store, goes on that card. Over the last nine years, the accumulated rebates have amounted to more than $3,000. We've also registered all our credit cards and grocery-store cards at Upromise and have a 529 there.

MBNA credit card is no longer there. It has been replaced by Fidelity Amex card and rebate has been changed to 1.5% from 2.0%.
You can review all credit cards offer for 529 plans at
Under Save for College section.

What if your kids don't want to go to college? What if they decide they want to open a business or invest in real estate? Can the money you've socked away be used for those purposes or is it just for college tuition and expenses?

There's a good chance at least one of the two of them will go to college and the money can be shifted from one to the other. Also, it could be used for me or my wife if we went back to school. Finally, it can always be removed, though at a penalty.

What funds did you choose in the Michigan plan? I'm confused as to which is the best . . .

They have age-based funds. I put in half in the "aggressive" fund and half in the "moderate" fund.

FMF, We are trying to decide how to best start a 529 for a newborn. We have plenty of cash we could allocate to a plan, and are trying to decide whether to start the plan with a bigger initial investment or larger annual contributions. Can you provide some info on how you went about starting & maintaining your 529's? Any specifics would be much appreciated!

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