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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

ScholarShare Give the Gift of College to your Loved Ones – and Beat the Crowds and Holiday Stress!

Holiday shopping shouldn’t be stressful or hectic, should it?  How stressful is it to drive to the shopping mall, find a parking space, beat the crowds and spot the right sale?  Well, actually it can be one of the most stressful times of the year.  Even the Mayo Clinic has a list of things you can do to cut down on your holiday stress. 

 But fear the holiday shopping no more – there is a better way to find that perfect gift - with ScholarShare.  ScholarShare can turn that stress into something bright and long-lasting. It’s a gift that that will bring recurring returns on your investment and affect the future of your children, grandchildren and loved ones in a way no other gift has the power to do.  It is the gift of College & Higher education.

Think about it for a minute.  How many gifts have you purchased or received over the years only to trip upon that plastic one, forgotten the batteries for the squeaky one or tossed that frustrating one that broke a few days after you unwrapped it?  But with a the gift of a 529 College Savings Plan you can give the gift of college education that reaps many rewards.  It could also reduce the amount of financial debt that your child could incur if you don't set up a college savings plan TODAY.

What do you need to set up your ScholarShare account?  First head over to one of their links below.  You can to learn more about it, ask questions and open a ScholoarShare 529 College Savings Plan.  For as little as $25 you can open an account for each of your children.  If they already have an account you can contribute to an existing account and send a personal message.   Then set up an automatic deposit so you don't even have to think about it month-to-month.  Or set aside a certain percentage from every monetary gift they get for birthdays and holidays.  

Key Sites:

Are there Tax Advantages to a 529? (answer from http://www.savingforcollege.com)

There are tax advantages to opening a 529 account.  Federal tax benefits

529 plans offer unsurpassed income tax breaks. Although your contributions are not deductible on your federal tax return, your investment grows tax-deferred, and distributions to pay for the beneficiary's college costs come out federally tax-free. The tax-free treatment was made permanent with the Pension Protection Act of 2006.

State tax benefits

Your own state may offer some tax breaks as well (like an upfront deduction for your contributions or income exemption on withdrawals) in addition to the federal treatment. You should research what benefits residents receive for investing in your own state's 529 plan. If you don't get any benefits from your state, you have the pick of every 529 plan on offer...so compare plan features.

What Else Should I know?
The Text Below is Straight from the ScholarShare Website

ScholarShare’s New Features

The new ScholarShare plan significantly reduces fees, expands the investment lineup, and offers online and mobile tools to make California’s 529 plan more accessible and easier to manage.

The minimum initial contribution to open an account is now only $25, down from $50 a year ago.

Under the revamped plan, fees will be reduced by approximately 30 percent, making ScholarShare one of the lowest cost 529 plans in the country.

The annual asset based management fees now range from 0.18 percent to 0.62 percent, vs. 0.25 percent to 1.06 percent with old plan.

4 additional investment portfolios (15 to 19), giving account holders more options, depending on their savings goals and risk tolerance.

You can also compare different college saving choices to make the wisest selections for you and your beneficiary.

The ScholarShare website will feature informational tools to help California families better prepare a college savings plan to meet their specific needs, including a new Risk Tolerance Questionnaire.

For the on-the-go customer, ScholarShare launched a series of mobile-friendly services, including a mobile site with full account management capabilities and a mobile app called College Savings Planner, that allows customers to keep track of their college savings goals and plan to help meet them.

Full Disclosure: I attended a dinner with several other bloggers where we met with ScholarShare and Investment partners.  Prior to attending my family already had a 529 account and plan to contribute more regularly now that I have learned more about the plan, the benefits and tax advantages.  All opinions are 100% my own.

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