Friday, January 19, 2018
Business

Take advantage of 529 plans to save for college

I was surprised to learn that most people aren't aware of a college savings vehicle called a 529 plan. The financial firm Edward Jones surveyed Americans to see what they know about the plans, named after Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code. Only 37 percent answered correctly.

The advantage to the 529 plans is that its earnings are not taxed if the funds are used to pay for qualified college expenses. In most cases, earnings are also free from state and local taxes. There are no income limitations on who can contribute to an account. And I particularly like this feature — the account owner controls the money.

A prepaid tuition plan allows you to pay a child's tuition in advance. The point is to lock in for tomorrow at today's rate. However, be careful about funding a prepaid plan and thinking you are done. It covers only tuition and sometimes, fees. What if your child wants or needs to live on campus? Room and board alone can be as much as tuition.

Florida's prepaid program offers dormitory plans as well. Information on the prepaid program as well as the state's 529 plan is available at myfloridaprepaid.com/.

In the 529 savings plan, you invest much as you would in a workplace 401(k). This means your returns are based on how your portfolio performs throughout the years. Most 529 savings plans offer age-based options in which the investments become more conservative as the beneficiary gets closer to college age.

All 50 states and the District of Columbia offer at least one 529 plan. Although the 529s are state-sponsored, you can invest in any of them regardless of where you live.

Start your research about 529 plans by going to the one run by your state. Check out savingforcollege.com and collegesavings.org, which is run by the College Savings Plans Network.

Comments
Bus rapid transit: First look at Tampa Bay’s next, best hope

Bus rapid transit: First look at Tampa Bay’s next, best hope

ST. PETERSBURG — The public got its first glimpse Friday morning of a new transit system that could one day connect Wesley Chapel to Tampa to St. Petersburg.It’s called bus rapid transit, or BRT. Representatives from Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Five things Tampa Bay needs to know about bus rapid transit

Five things Tampa Bay needs to know about bus rapid transit

ST. PETERSBURG — Transportation planners on Friday unveiled a new transit vision for Tampa Bay leaders on Friday morning: Bus rapid transit.Also known as BRT, it has arisen as the leading option in an ongoing study to find the best regional transit p...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Amazon boosts monthly Prime membership fees by 20 percent

Amazon boosts monthly Prime membership fees by 20 percent

NEW YORK — Amazon is raising the price of its Prime membership monthly plan by nearly 20 percent. The fee of $99 for an annual membership will not change, the company said Friday. The online retailer had added the monthly payment option about two yea...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Cuba’s tourism is booming despite Trump’s tougher policy

Cuba’s tourism is booming despite Trump’s tougher policy

HAVANA — On a sweltering early summer afternoon in Miami’s Little Havana, President Donald Trump told a cheering Cuban-American crowd that he was rolling back some of Barack Obama’s opening to Cuba in order to starve the island’s military-run economy...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Tech firm TranferWise moves to Ybor City, illustrating a new chapter in Tampa’s business history

Tech firm TranferWise moves to Ybor City, illustrating a new chapter in Tampa’s business history

TAMPA — You could sketch an economic history of the city of Tampa — and maybe get a glimpse of its future — just by looking at the old J. Seidenberg & Co./Havana-American Cigar Factory.It opened in 1894, making it Ybor City’s second oldest brick ciga...
Published: 01/19/18
Florida unemployment rate increases slightly in December

Florida unemployment rate increases slightly in December

Florida’s rock-bottom unemployment rate ticked back up slightly after months of decline. The state’s unemployment rate was 3.7 percent in December, up from 3.6 percent in November, according to state figures released Friday. Tampa Bay’s jobless rate ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
House approves government spending bill

House approves government spending bill

A divided House on Thursday passed an 11-hour plan to keep the government running. But the GOP-written measure faced gloomy prospects in the Senate, and it remained unclear whether lawmakers would be able to find a way to keep federal offices open pa...
Published: 01/18/18
Will the third time be the charm for these Tampa Bay townhouses?

Will the third time be the charm for these Tampa Bay townhouses?

ST. PETERSBURG — In real estate circles, it would seem an odd match — 54 townhouses in an office park and a group of Realtors best known for selling luxury single-family homes in Snell Isle. Yet the Strickland Property Group is convinced it can do wh...
Published: 01/19/18
Crystal Lagoon planners cut the ribbon on a chilly day (w/video)

Crystal Lagoon planners cut the ribbon on a chilly day (w/video)

WESLEY CHAPEL — Mother Nature seems to have a way of putting a chill on one of the hottest amenities in residential real estate development.Members of the business community, elected officials and executives with Metro Development Group and Crystal L...
Published: 01/18/18

Consumer agency to spend rainy day funds

NEW YORK — The Trump-appointed acting director of the federal government’s consumer watchdog agency requested zero dollars of funding for its second-quarter budget, saying he intends to first spend down the agency’s rainy day fund. In a letter to the...
Published: 01/18/18