If you’re like me, you’ve already done a lot of your holiday shopping, taking advantage of some great deals (and maybe picking up a few deeply discounted items for yourself!) but may need a fantastic holiday gift for your child.
I still have some holiday shopping to do, but honestly, I don’t want to just spend my remaining gift money on the latest technology or toys, which lose value (and usefulness) within a few years, or pile up around the house, getting forgotten.
Instead, I want to give meaningful gifts that last and will make a difference for someone, especially my own kids.
The Minnesota College Savings Plan
Did you know there’s an affordable gift that has the potential to increase in value with time? It’s the Minnesota College Savings Plan, Minnesota’s own state-sponsored, tax-advantaged 529 college savings plan. It’s a college savings account that’s open to any citizen or tax payer. You can open one for your own child or for a family member, or contribute to someone’s already existing plan.
Plus, many states offer a state income tax deduction or tax credit for contributions, so any Minnesota resident who gives money to a Minnesota College Savings Plan can save money on their taxes!
It’s Never Too Early to Start Saving for College
Of course the frugal mom in me is all for anything that gives you maximum value for your money. And the best way to get the most bang for your buck is to start early.
A 529 plan is intended to grow over time, and the earlier you start saving or contributing, the better.
Many families think they have time to save, especially when the kids are young and college seems so far away. But my kids are already halfway through their childhood at ages 10 and 8, so take it from me – kids grow up fast!
As we all know, college is not cheap, and the price is just going to keep going up around 5% each year as your child ages, so the more you can save over time, the better. But don’t be overwhelmed by the numbers. You don’t have to save 100% of your child’s cost of college! But the more you can save, the less you’ll have to rely on financial aid, loans, scholarship, and other types of aid.
It’s Also Never Too Late to Start Saving for College
While most know that it’s best to start early, it’s also never too late to start. The Minnesota College Savings Plan offers many savings options, including an Age-Based Investment Option, which takes into account the beneficiary’s current age and adjusts the risk level as they age. There’s also a Guaranteed Investment Option, which is ideal for shorter timeframes to save.
It’s Easier and More Affordable Than Many Think
Many parents think they need a lot of money to start saving for college. However, you can actually open a Minnesota College Savings Plan account with as little as $25, or $15 per pay period through payroll deduction! Plus it only takes about 15 minutes to open an account!
It can also be used for more than just tuition. It can be used for required fees, certain room and board costs, books, supplies, and technology costs, And the student doesn’t have to go to college in Minnesota. Funds can be used at most accredited colleges and universities in the United States — even certain colleges abroad.
The Minnesota College Savings Plan offers multiple ways of gifting a contribution easily for family members and friends.
“Gifting with the Minnesota College Savings Plan takes the hassle out of holiday shopping with easy-to-use contribution options,” said Jim Mandler, senior marketing manager for the Minnesota College Savings Plan. “Education is the gift of a lifetime and we want to help families place that gift under the tree this year, while also offering tax advantages for in-state relatives and friends.” Who doesn’t love a holiday gift for their child that also offers them a tax benefit?
In-state relatives and friends who contribute not only help families save for higher education, but also may be eligible for certain tax incentives. Minnesota residents, for example, can lower their state taxable income, regardless of their relationship to an account holder.
Joint filers are eligible for a deduction of up to $3,000, while single fliers can apply for $1,500 in deductions per beneficiary per year.
With the impending tax deadline on Dec. 31, 2018, the Minnesota College Savings Plan makes it easy to gift before time runs out for this year:
eGift, a secure, online way to ask for contributions, starts with every new account and is free of charge. In the course of a few minutes, account holders create a gifting code that’s shareable via email or social media. Once the code is sent out, contributors can donate to a specific account entirely online.
Mail it in
For one-time contributions, download and complete the gift deposit form. After that, mail both the form and contribution to the Minnesota College Savings Plan office.
Give Them the Experience of a Lifetime
I had a discussion with my kids recently about how glad I am that I went to college. It opened so many doors for me, I learned such valuable skills, and I made so many good friends, just to name a few things. As a result, I told my kids how important it is that both of them go to college when they grow up. I want them to have as many opportunities as they can, and going to college will not only give them that but will open their minds in so many ways. Helping to fund their college education – even just a small part of it – is such a valuable holiday gift we can give to our kids.
For More Information
For more information about the Minnesota College Savings Plan, tax benefits and gifting options, please visit mnsaves.org or call 1-877-338-4646.
(Disclosure: This post was sponsored by the Minnesota College Savings Plan. All opinions are 100% mine.)