College Savings Month: Time to Fine Tune Your Family’s Plan
September is here. And it brings with it bright fall colors, exciting football fun - and College Savings Month! Whether your child is much too young for homework or old enough to hyper-focus on friends and sports, College Savings Month is a great time for you to fine tune a savings plan for your child’s future education.
South Carolina’s Future Scholar 529 College Savings Plan provides families like yours a smart and easy way to save for higher education and offers benefits you won’t find with traditional savings accounts.
“We’re proud South Carolina has one of the best college savings resources in the country,” said State Treasurer Curtis Loftis, “We hope new families will choose College Savings Month to open a Future Scholar account and that families already saving with Future Scholar will mark September as the perfect time to check in on their plan and optimize their savings,” Treasurer Loftis added.
Check out five things you can do in September and see if one (or more) is right for you:
1. OPEN AN ACCOUNT WITH ANY AMOUNT
If saving for college has been on your to-do list, this month is a great time to open a Future Scholar account.
You don’t need a lot of money or time to make it happen:
- You can open an account with any amount.
- You can set the account up online in about 30 minutes.
2. CHECK IN ON YOUR FAMILY’S PROGRESS
Already have a Future Scholar account? September is a good time to check-in and do a little tuning up. Future Scholar offers several free calculators that can help you optimize your plan:
- How much more do you need to save? Use the College Savings Projector.
- What will your state tax deduction be? Use the 529 Tax Calculator.
- What will college cost when you’re child is ready to go? Use this calculator to find out.
3. SAVE A LITTLE MORE
It’s possible to save more and not feel the pinch to your monthly budget. Here are a couple of ideas:
- Make a one-time deposit when you receive some extra cash. For example, if you’re getting the child tax credit, deposit part or all of that amount into a Future Scholar account and give your savings a significant boost.
- Increase your monthly contribution and automate it. You can set up a recurring payment from your bank account so contributions are steady. It’s one of the best ways to see your Future Scholar savings add up. Many families tell us they’ve been able to increase their contribution amount and haven’t missed the extra money they’re setting aside for college savings.
4. LOCK INTO YOUR TAX ADVANTAGE
One advantage of saving with Future Scholar is that you can enjoy a variety of tax benefits. Explore what’s out there for you:
- Deposits to a Future Scholar account can be deducted from your S.C. state income tax return.
- Money in your account grows free from state and federal income tax.
- Withdrawals from your account are tax-free as long as you use the money to pay for qualified expenses.
5. LEARN HOW eGIFTS CAN HELP
Many parents tell us their children don’t need more “stuff.” A contribution to college savings is the perfect meaningful gift they will never outgrow. Future Scholar’s eGift makes it easy for you to suggest college savings gift contributions to family and friends:
- Parents can send eGift invitations to family and friends. The invitation provides a link that makes gift giving easy.
- When gift givers make a deposit to a Future Scholar account, they can deduct that amount from their South Carolina income taxes—so they get a gift, too.
- Gifts don’t have to be for large amounts: An eGift starts at $25. Gifts made by check can be for any amount.
GET STARTED THIS MONTH!
Need some inspiration? See how Future Scholar is helping families like yours meet the real-world challenge of saving for college.
Treasurer Loftis sat down with these Future Scholar parents to get their best advice for you: