I was setting up my youngest daughters 529 College Savings Plan the other day and saw a gifting link on the 529 plan website. I'm always being asked how much to set aside for college and what are the best plans and strategies. But most of those strategies are funded by you and thought maybe this link could help boost all those other strategies we're always talking about.
I will tell you right upfront which two plans I setup for my kids College Savings Plan, the Utah 529 Plan and the Florida 529 College Savings Plan. Both 529 college savings plans are the savings plans and not the pre-paid plans. There are many other great plans out there but since I'm in Florida and we don't have state income tax there is no benefit tax wise for us. In States like New York, there is an income tax deduction on contributions to a 529 College Savings Plan if you live in and choose the New York Plan.
In any case, both the Utah 529 Plan and the Florida College Savings Plans both had a gifting link. The benefit of using the gifting link, beyond the obvious contributions from someone other than yourself, is that you don't have to share your account information. The links are setup so only contributions to your child's 529 plan are made by whoever decides to contribute. No one can change, withdraw or do anything nefarious to the 529 plan you worked hard to setup and fund.
The link also makes it much easier to share and encourage others to contribute, like friends and family. The bonus of using the link over asking is that you don't have to actually ask anyone to contribute. Stick it on a Birthday or other special occasion or holiday invite, make a social media post or send it in an email or text.
The impact can add up and turn out to be more than just a few extra pennies. Let's say each year you received $100 in total gifting contributions into your child's 529 college savings plan from birth to age 18. The total amount at an 8% annual rate of return would equal $4,044.
Over the last 18 years the total return for the S&P 500 was 10.29%. However, it's important to say that past performance is not a guarantee of future returns, but hopefully this still gives you an idea that it's not impossible.
Even if you don't have a 529 College Savings Plan then using it only for gifting could be reason enough to open one. Check the details for how the gifting link works at your favorite 529 College Savings Plan and share the link and reach your goals.
Here are my links from the Utah 529 Plan.