Thursday, January 10, 2008

529 - Part 10

What questions should I ask before I invest in a 529 plan?

Knowing the answers to these questions may help you decide which 529 plan is best for you.
* Is the plan available directly from the state or plan sponsor?

* What fees are charged by the plan? How much of my investment goes to compensating my broker? Under what circumstances does the plan waive or reduce certain fees?

* What are the plan’s withdrawal restrictions? What types of college expenses are covered by the plan? Which colleges and universities participate in the plan?

* What types of investment options are offered by the plan? How long are contributions held before being invested?

* Does the plan offer special benefits for state residents? Would I be better off investing in my state’s plan or another plan? Does my state’s plan offer tax advantages or other benefits for investment in the plan it sponsors? If my state’s plan charges higher fees than another state’s plan, do the tax advantages or other benefits offered by my state outweigh the benefit of investing in another state’s less expensive plan?

* What limitations apply to the plan? When can an account holder change investment options, switch beneficiaries, or transfer ownership of the account to another account holder?

* Who is the program manager? When does the program manager’s current management contract expire? How has the plan performed in the past?