Worth every tax-deductible penny.
Right now, your kids may be twirling in ballet shoes or swinging at a ball on a tee, but before you know it, they will head off to their freshman year of college. How do you plan to pay for your child’s college education?
According to T. Rowe Price’s 6th Annual Parents, Kids and Money Survey from March 2014, an estimated 28% of American parents lose sleep over the thought of saving for college. You may be one of them, but the State Treasurer’s Office can help.
Saving for college doesn’t have to be overwhelming or frustrating. The first step is as easy as picking a college savings plan that suits your needs. The State Treasurer’s Office offers an easy and affordable way for families to save for college with the Mississippi Affordable College Savings (MACS) Plan.
Parents and grandparents want to provide the tools necessary for their children to be successful in life, and they can contribute from in- state or out of state. Wix Crawford of Yazoo City is investing in his granddaughter’s future by saving for her college education with a MACS account. “Besides the usual things like baby dolls and stuffed animals, we wanted to do something for her that was special and would last a lifetime. It’s our desire to make the most positive impact on her life that we can,” he said. “We wanted to do something more.” Crawford opened a MACS account for his granddaughter in 2007, before her first birthday.
MACS is a 529 savings plan, 529 designating “tax-preferred treatment” in the IRS Code. MACS is designed to meet the college savings needs of all Mississippi families. There is a lot of flexibility with a MACS account. The MACS plan offers a large state tax deduction ($10,000 for single filers; $20,000 for joint filers) and tax-free earnings under both state and federal tax laws. The MACS plan has four investment options to choose from, with another option launching in September 2014. MACS can be used for most expenses related to higher education, and MACS funds can be used at most schools nationwide.
Better yet, MACS can fit any family’s budget. The important thing is to start saving!
Affordability is the cornerstone of the MACS plan. The minimum contribution is $25, or just 83¢ per day if contributing monthly. MACS account holders are not locked into a payment plan or payment amount.
In other words, simply contribute the amount you want as often as you want, and watch your college savings grow.
Many employers recognize the value in saving for higher education and partner with MACS to offer the plan to their employees through payroll deduction. “For a long time, we would make contributions when we could. Now my employer offers payroll deduction for MACS contributions, and we are able to take advantage of that,” said Crawford. The minimum contribution amount with payroll deduction is just $15.
Wondering how much to save? According to the Mississippi College Board, tuition and fees per year for an in-state public college average about $8,650, and the average cost of an in-state community college is about $3,100. Remember that you don’t have to save for the entire cost. Pick a realistic goal, such as saving for one or two years of college costs, and work toward achieving that milestone.
“We have been very pleased with the financial performance of our account and will open another MACS account if we are blessed with another grandchild,” said Crawford. For families with young children, time is on your side.
To learn more about MACS, visit us online at www.TreasurerLynnFitch.com or call our office at 601.359.5255.
Lynn Fitch serves as Mississippi’s 54th State Treasurer. She has prioritized fiscally conservative management of state funds, changing the financial culture of Mississippi through increased financial literacy, and saving for college as a way to ensure Mississippi’s future economic growth. Follow Treasurer Fitch on Twitter @LynnFitch or contact her at 601.359.3600.