College Savings Plans

Since I gave up sleep for Lent, I've had much more time to devote myself to more important things in life, like combing through the fine print of College Savings Plans.

I am finding that not all 529 plans are created equal. Louisiana  has the best deal, until you read the find print and find out you must be a resident of Louisiana to be eligible. Most states do not have a residency requirement for their 529 plans. So at that point you can just think of them as 50 different investment vehicles, and your main question is asking, "Which one is going to be the Toyota Prius of the bunch?" I want low fees and reliable performance. I also don't want to think about this too much over the next eighteen years, so some sort of monthly automatic investment would also be nice.

I've crunched the numbers and realized that I have a very simple financial choice to make: diapers or college. And now that my wife and I have decided to reuse the same diaper for the next two and a half years we have some money left in the budget to save for college.

I'd like to keep all my finances under one roof and go with Schwab's 529 plan out of Kansas. However, I'm not willing to pay the higher fees to do so. I can save nearly 90 basis points by going with a 529 plan from a state like California, Ohio or Iowa . California has a "Social Choice Portfolio" as one of its 529 investment options. It comes at a price of 30 basis points higher than its index fund option. This leaves us with the conundrum: I'd like to do the right thing, but can I afford to?

Disclosure:  Although we have a newborn in the house, I did not give up sleep for Lent on purpose. We are not reusing the same diaper. Although we have some friends who are using a cloth diaper service because of their concern for the environment. Kudos to them! My month old son has simply sharpened my use of sarcastic nonsense. Ohio or Iowa's plans may not be right for you. You have got to be crazy if you are going to take financial advice from a guy who gets as little sleep as I do. I am only blogging this process to motivate me to do something. Do your own homework, and enjoy the process.

Disclaimer: Nothing in this blog is meant to be specific financial advice or a recommendation to buy or sell. I do not give investment advice. Do your own research. Do not rely on anything in this weblog to make investment decisions.  Consult an investment professional familiar with your specific financial situation before buying or selling any security.