Thinking Outside the Gift Box

Friday, December 21, 2018

It’s been a mad rush of holiday gatherings since late November, and the scramble to find gifts for your friends, family and loved ones is well underway. Thankfully, you still have time to give the perfect present and claim another 2018 tax deduction at the same time.

This holiday season, I encourage South Carolinians to think outside the gift box and give a present that will benefit both you and the recipient – a contribution to your loved one’s Future Scholar 529 College Savings Plan.

It’s a timely gift. The cost of a college education keeps climbing, and South Carolinians shoulder some of the country’s highest student loan debt, a median of $18,366.

The good news is over 150,000 households in South Carolina are changing that statistic by saving for college with Future Scholar. Joining them is simple when you give the special gift of college savings to a loved one. Here’s how:

Smart and Easy
Future Scholar provides Contribution Forms on its website for you to download, print and mail-in with your check to give the gift of a contribution. You can even order free greeting cards from the website to accompany the gift.

Future Scholar also offers an online gifting option that makes it simple to contribute to your loved ones’ 529 accounts. Account owners can invite friends and family, near and far, to contribute to their beneficiary’s account via an eGift invitation online.

And if your loved one doesn’t already have a 529 account, you can open one for them as a gift. There is no minimum amount you need to invest to open a Future Scholar account, and you can simply transfer funds directly from your bank account, making it easier than ever to start saving.

A Gift for Them with a Benefit for You
When you give the gift of college savings, your contribution to a Future Scholar plan provides a benefit for you, too. In South Carolina, residents can deduct 100 percent of contributions made to their Future Scholar 529 College Savings Plan by April 15, 2019, from their 2018 state income taxes.

The money you save with Future Scholar also grows free of state and federal income taxes. When your child or grandchild is ready for college, qualified withdrawals you make for college expenses are tax-exempt, too. Paying less in taxes certainly makes a 529 college savings plan a smart way to save for college.

With a Future Scholar 529 College Savings Plan, there are additional benefits beyond reduced taxes. First, there’s no minimum contribution needed to open an account. Then, once the account is established, parents, grandparents, other relatives and friends can easily make contributions at any time. Better still, unlike other college savings vehicles, you remain in control of the funds. You can even redirect the money to another child if needs or plans change down the road. Best of all, every dollar you save in Future Scholar today results in less money you or your loved one could need to borrow down the road.

This holiday season, I invite you to join the more than 150,000 households already participating in a Future Scholar 529 College Savings Plan. Long after toys are tossed or broken, Future Scholar will be working to provide the important gift of a college education. At holiday time, tax time or anytime, investing in a Future Scholar 529 plan really is the smart, easy way to save for college.

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Newsroom
Director of Communications
Karen Owens
karen.owens@sto.sc.gov
803.734.2549
803.722.8602

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