I went to the page for Indiana’s 529 plan, clicked on the “direct savings plan” option at the bottom and set up an account for Jonathan.
It took about 15 minutes for me to go through the process (including the time it took to dig my son’s social security number out) and choose all my options.
The account requires a $25 minimum contribution each time you fund it, and you don’t have to make regular contributions.
I sent up an electronic funds transfer from our bank account and it should arrive in a few business days. You can fund this particular account with automatic transfers, a payroll deduction if your employer offers that, or mailing a paper check.
You have the option of choosing an age-based investment strategy where they choose the allocation of your investments for you. That’s what I chose for now. Since Johnny is 2, his funds are in the most aggressive allocation, and it gets progressively more conservative as the child grows.
Alternatively, you could create an individual portfolio and allocate it all yourself. I think the fees are slightly lower if you choose this option, but I need to double-check that.
It’s really simple for me to make changes or contributions to the account. I’m relieved!
This 529 plan made it simple for me to link my Upromise account. UPromise, if you’re not familiar, is affiliated with Sallie Mae and is a portal for you to earn an extra bit of money for college from your regular purchases. You link your grocery and drug store rewards cards and Upromise deposits a small amount into your account if you purchase certain items. Also, if you make online purchases (more than 800 retailers are featured), or dine at certain restaurants, you can get extra cash back into your account.
For example, I bought two jars of applesauce from Giant Eagle last month. It netted me $0.03 for college. Woo hoo! Ok seriously, three pennies ain’t nothing to do a happy dance over, but it was automatic and over time it can grow into a whole lotta pennies.
You need to have $25 in your Upromise account before you can transfer the balance to a 529 plan.
I’ve had a Upromise account since 2007, but I haven’t taken full advantage of it. I need to link more of my loyalty cards and look at more ways I can earn money through it. I found this blog post that shows how you can maximize your Upromise earnings. I’ll also remember to look at Upromise before making an online purchase and compare that with the potential cash back I can get with Ebates.
I’m going to see if any family members would be interested in giving me their Kroger card numbers (and whatnot) so their purchases will go toward my kids’ college savings. :)
Speaking of harassing my family, our 529 plan has an easy way to solicit contributions from relatives/friends. If someone wanted to give $25 or more to my child’s college fund (and it does need to be a $25 minimum), I can go to the UGift button on my CollegeChoice account page. It will let me email or print a coupon ticket thing so the relative can fund the account directly.