The 29th day of May isn’t one that stands out on most people’s calendars; my office is different. May 29th is national 529 College Savings Day. Around this time of year, we like to take a step back and look at the investments Missourians are making in children’s higher education each and every day.
529 College Savings Day promotes the importance of setting aside money for children’s education early and often in a 529 College Savings Plan. Missouri’s plan is MOST 529.
If you are not a Missouri taxpayer, consider before investing whether you 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., and American Century Investments serve as Investment Managers 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.
Using MOST 529, anyone can set aside money for their child’s future. For as little as $25 you can open a MOST 529 account for a child and see that investment grow with time. Investing early and consistently is critical. More than 123,000 people, including me, are doing just that. But please remember, investment returns are not guaranteed, and you could lose money by investing in the plan.
One example to consider when thinking about saving for higher education is an investment of just $50 made each month into a MOST 529 account from the time a child is a newborn to when he or she is 18 could accumulate up to $16,633. This hypothetical example, based on a 5 percent annual return, is not guaranteed, but it displays the power of small investments. This hypothetical example does not represent the return on any particular investment. The final account balance does not reflect any taxes or penalties that might be due upon distribution.
Small investments using compound interest to reap greater returns are especially important in our current economy. Investments using compound interest can have real results for a student’s education. With MOST 529, families can save without breaking the bank. Such investments are also tax free.*
Growing up, most families were like mine – saving for higher education wasn’t always easy, but it was always important. My parents knew that saving for school was an investment in long-term success, just like teaching me to be a member of a community. They taught me that a little time or a little money could make a big difference in the lives of those around me. That is what MOST 529 is about. It’s a program for families to set aside a few dollars a month toward education for their kids.
I am the first person in my family to attend and graduate college. The opportunities I was given and the knowledge I gained were possible because my parents made small investments. I encourage every Missourian to make the same investment in the lives of the children they know.
As 529 College Savings Day comes and goes, please take a moment to visit most529savings.com or call 1-888-414-6678. The plan offers federal and state tax benefits, low costs and flexible ways to contribute. Go online or call to pick the investment options that are right for the child in your life.
Small investments can make a big difference in children’s lives. They certainly did in mine.
Missouri State Treasurer Clint Zweifel is chair of the Missouri Higher Education Savings Program Board, which oversees MOST 529. Treasurer Zweifel also oversees the management of the state's investments. He manages $20 billion in annual state revenues, directs the state's banking services and oversees Missouri's $3.5 billion investment portfolio. He can be contacted at treasurer.mo.gov.