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June 30, 2009


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So I am on the complete other end of the spectrum. My 3 week old boy will be starting school in the far distance. I have been wondering if a 529 or an ESA is the better place to start investing. I have a pretty meager income so the limits of the ESA are not an issue right now. I guess I don't want to threadcap but any advice would be great.

That is interesting that Virginia does the carry forward deduction.

Bill --

If it was me, I'd look into the advantages of both and probably start with the 529 first since it gives me a tax break in my state.

529 College Savings Plans are good investment accounts and will save thousands in taxes. However, my advice would be to focus on your retiremnet before doing anything with a 529 plan. There is no such thing as a federal loan for retirement.

I'm thinking about doing the same thing. My wife goes to college and we will probably have to pay out of pocket. Rather than pay directly to the school, I'm working on setting up a 529. In Indiana, you get a 20% tax credit on up to $5000 of contributions. That's a free $1000.

Also, "certain room and board expenses" count for tax free dispersement. This is a tricky one, because her school doesn't have on-campus housing, but they do give FAFSA an estimate of about $9000/year for room and board. It's my understanding that, as long as she goes to school, we can push $5000 through the 529 and take it right back out to pay our "room and board" expenses (mortgage, groceries, etc). I still need to confirm this with a tax advisor.

Certainly we can do this for the tuition/fees/books expenses, but that won't add up to $5000 for her and we will already be using those expenses for the Lifetime Learning Credit.

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