By Francesca Nelson, Public Affairs Officer – Maryland 529
November 21, 2016

Thanksgiving:  A day for people to come together for food, football, family and friends.  It’s the time of year for reflection and to give thanks. There are so many things I’m thankful for, including my loving parents and good health. I’m grateful that I successfully earned my undergraduate and graduate degree without having to take out student loans. Entering the “real world” without the burden of loan payments has given me the freedom to plan for my future financial needs. Wouldn’t it be nice if every college graduate could say that? cspn-blog_20161121_f-nelson_image

I also consider myself fortunate to be in my current position where I build awareness about Maryland’s 529 plans that help families save for future college costs. This Thanksgiving is the perfect occasion to discuss 529 plans and investing in your child’s future college education.

One great way for family and friends to help save is to make a gift contribution to an existing 529 account or open a 529 account for a loved one. Most 529 plans offer different gift contribution slips designed for special occasions like birthdays, graduations, and holidays. Some even offer the ability to download a gift certificate that can be presented to the child receiving the gift contribution. A 529 gift contribution may not be as exciting as the latest toy or electronic device, but it is a gift that a child will never outgrow and will always appreciate. And just think — you won’t have to fight the crowds at the mall!

Many states offer special state tax incentives for account holders AND gift givers. For example, Maryland recently passed a tax deduction extension which now allows all contributions, from both account holders and gift givers to be eligible for the state income tax deduction, in comparison to only the account holder qualifying for the state income tax deduction. This is a fantastic addition to gift giving and should encourage more people to invest within a 529 plan! Be sure to check with your state’s 529 plan to see what tax benefits may be available to account holders and their gift givers.

So when you’re sitting around the dining room table enjoying your Thanksgiving feast, please take time to thank those who are helping make college more affordable for your child.

Wishing you and your loved ones a happy Thanksgiving!

About the author:
Francesca Nelson is the Public Affairs Officer for Maryland 529, formerly the College Savings Plans of Maryland which offers both a 529 prepaid tuition program and a directly-sold 529 savings plan. Together, the plans have more than 201,210 beneficiaries with investments of more than $5.1 billion as of June 30, 2016.