What to Think About Before You Actually Need Your 529 Funds

Have a child going off to college soon? While a student’s inevitable departure for school can be an exciting time for families, it’s important to begin considering a few things before you actually need the funds you’ve worked so hard to save in your Future Scholar account.

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For starters, parents should make sure they know when their child’s college tuition is required. Most colleges and universities have a calendar on their website listing important dates to be aware of such as when tuition and financial aid is due. Don’t be caught off guard if tuition is due weeks before your child leaves for school. It may take anywhere from a few days to a week or more to transfer funds, so you’ll want to make sure to allow the process plenty of time to take place.

Or, if your child is still a few years away from attending school, you may want to use this time to review how your funds are invested. As CPA Roger Harrelson says, your 529 plan’s investment strategy should shift to more conservative investments as your child nears the age of 18.

“You don’t want any surprises right before your child is getting ready to go to college as far as a drop in your investment value,” he said.

Fortunately, with a Future Scholar 529 College Savings Plan, account holders can choose from three different investment tracks. The age-based track, for example, will automatically shift your investments from more aggressive to more conservative investment options as your teen nears the time of enrollment, so with this option parents can “set it and forget it.”

“It’s always exciting to think about that day when all your hard work – the planning and saving – will finally pay off,” said South Carolina Treasurer Curtis Loftis.

“What’s even more exciting is the flexibility of Future Scholar,” he added. “It’s one of the plan’s greatest features and as I always say, a Future Scholar 529 College Savings Plan really is the smart, easy way to save for college.”

For more tips on utilizing funds in your 529 college savings plan, read on: https://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/paying-for-college/articles/2012/08/15/5-steps-for-utilizing-529-college-savings-plan-funds.