Investing in your child’s education early can position them to take advantage of the numerous opportunities that will shape their future. Plus, opening an account is simple. It can be done online or by mail, and it takes just $25 to start. The state of Wisconsin has an especially versatile plan.
All state's 529 plans allow contributions to help you save more money because your investment grows tax-deferred, while they’re invested in the plan. You can select your investments or use age-based options that change, as the beneficiary gets closer to college age. The distributions are tax-free if they’re used for qualified education expenses.
However, the Wisconsin 529 plan allows residents to benefit from some unique tax advantages and your child can still attend school in another state. Wisconsin's "Edvest" 529 plan can be used in any state and even at certain colleges abroad. Some rule changes this year mean that funds can also be used for K-12 school tuition, in addition to college or vocational schools.
Grandparents are also able to create 529 accounts to benefit their grandchildren. If your grandchild doesn’t need the funds for the school, you’re allowed to transfer the beneficiary designation to another grandchild or family member.
There are also estate planning benefits to opening a 529 plan. The annual gift tax exclusion is $15,000 for a single person, and Wisconsin’s Edvest plan lets you give up to five years’ worth of gifts at one time. You could gift $75,000 for a single filer and $150,000 for couples.
Education and investing are terrific examples of long-term planning, and whether it’s from parents or grandparents, a 529 plan is a win-win for education and college funding.
Reference: Green Bay Press Gazette (July 13, 2018) “Benefits of 529 college savings plans keep giving”