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I Enrolled In A Maryland 529 Plan

I’ve talked in the past about the Maryland 529 plan and today I pulled the trigger and enrolled. In Maryland, you get up to a $2,500 deduction each year on your state income taxes (if you contribute $2,500 to the plan) if you are a Maryland resident. It’s not a tremendous amount of money back in our pocket considering it’s a 4.75% tax ($118.75 rebate) but since I’ll be spending money on education in the future anyway, $118.75 for something I should be doing anyway makes it just icing on the cake. Plus ultimately it’s a hundred bucks and that’s not trivial, it’s just seems small percentage-wise.

In Maryland there are two programs, the Maryland Prepaid College Trust and the Maryland College Investment Plan, the latter of which is managed by T. Rowe Price. I’m doing the Maryland College Investment Plan because it gives you more flexibility in terms of where the money can be spent and I figure my kids are all going to be little geniuses and going to the most expensive private school that’s located the farthest away from where we’re living at the time. Whether or not they’re going to be geniuses probably has nothing to do with the expense or distance factor, but I can still dream and Murphy’s Law says the second half of that statement is an absolute certainty.

Signing up for the plan was trivial and took a maximum of ten minutes. I went to College Savings Plan of Maryland [3], located the Enrollment form for the Maryland College Investment Plan, and was signed up in about five minutes. You simply need to decide on a username, pick a six digit pin, then open up an account. I’ll be naming myself as both the Account Holder and the Beneficiary, as I don’t actually have any kids yet. You can always rollover the account to another beneficiary without tax penalty if the recipient and the original beneficiary are in the same family. If they aren’t, there are some tax penalties.

After setting up an account comes the time to fund it. Simply mail a check or money order of at least $250 and the account is up in a jiffy. You’ll have to specify which funds to put it in but that was pretty simple.

Fee-wise, Maryland was pretty good and they’re getting close to the next tier of assets, $2B, when the fees fall even farther. I was pretty surprised to learn that the fees are related to the assets in its control, something you never see with mutual funds or things like that. In fact, because they had so many accounts and over $1B in assets that they took away the application fee ($75) and lowered a few other fees.

If you’re thinking about a Maryland 529, I’d read over this Disclosure Statement and FAQ [4]. It’s pretty comprehensive and written in easy to understand language so you won’t have to wade through lawyer-speak.

(Photo: lednew [5])