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How To Compare 529 Plans?
If you are investing in a 529 state plan, it is easy to compare. The reason is that American citizens are allowed to take any state plan, and then they can even switch between plans if they want to. That is the reason everyone wants to compare 529 plans before they actually open an account. So how do you make the comparison? What do you look for?
Well, it is not quite straightforward to compare 529 plans of different states. There are too many things to take care of. However, here are some guidelines that might help you to make the comparison.
1. Look into the tax breaks the plans are offering. In fact, if your own state plan is giving you a tax break, then it is not necessary to look into the plans of other states. Any limitations that exist in your own plan will be overcome by the tax deductions your plans offer. Currently, 31 out of the 50 states in America provide tax deductions on their 529 plans, along with the District of Columbia. These 31 states are: Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
2. Look for the expenses of the plans. The expenses you will have to bear when taking a plan will be the enrollment fees, annual maintenance fees and the program management fees. This is a good parameter to compare 529 plans. Some plans, like that of the state of Wyoming have very high expenses. Even the plans of the stats of Alabama, Arizona, Maine and Tennessee are very expensive and hence not at all good choices.
3. See what kind of investment options the plans will offer you. Most plans will give you at least three investment options, conservative and aggressive. Some of the plans, like that of the state of Virginia, provide as many as 21 American funds, giving a very good choice for investors.
4. There are two kinds of 529 plans - those that can be opened directly and those which require a broker to open. The broker, or the state adviser, will help in opening the plan and also give tips and pointers on making investments. But it must be understood that broker plans are more expensive than the plans that can be opened directly.
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