GUEST COLUMN: A Gift that Keeps Giving

Published 4:00 am Sunday, November 20, 2022

By Treasurer David McRae | Guest Columnist

I know it’s not yet Thanksgiving, but the fall decorations have already been cleared from most store shelves and replaced with Christmas stockings, trees and treats. Yes, the holidays are certainly upon us.

And while there is much joy in this season, there is often a degree of pressure to find the perfect gift for everyone in our lives. But read a bit further and perhaps we can find a way for your State Treasury to help out this Christmas.

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If you’d like to beat the rush at the mall and the endless scrolling on Amazon, consider funding a 529 College Savings plan instead.

529 plans make it easy and affordable to plan ahead for the cost of higher education. They are flexible too, able to be used for nearly every level and type of schooling you can think of! Use it for K-12 private school tuition, for instance. Use it for a technical or trade school. Use it at community college. Use it at a four-year college or university. Use it on tuition. Use it on books. Use it on computers. Use it on room and board…. You get the point. These funds have a wide range of applicability, making them a good idea regardless of your child or grandchild’s interests.

What’s more, these accounts often provide tax advantages to the account owner, compounding the financial benefits and making it a great investment for many grandparents this holiday season.

Here in Mississippi, you have three options when it comes to using the 529 savings system. The first option is an MPACT Plan. This plan allows you to lock in today’s tuition rates and prepay for your child or grandchild’s college. With tuition rates rising nearly every year, this can produce tremendous cost savings for you and your family. (Pro Tip: If you have out-of-school grandchildren who would like to go to school in Mississippi, this is a perfect option for you.)

The second option is opening a MACS account. These accounts start with a contribution as small as $25. From there, your investment has the opportunity to grow through interest. Once you’re ready to use it, the money can be applied to almost any education-related expense.

The third option is a combination of MACS and MPACT. Use MPACT to save on college tuition and MACS to pay for every other educational expense!

If I’ve piqued your interest, good. Please visit Treasury.MS.gov/CollegeSavings to learn even more now.

But if you remain skeptical because you are one of those who love watching their grandchildren rip open the wrapping of a new gift, know there are plenty of ways to be creative when sharing the news. Consider tucking the announcement into a new book or wrapping it up with a trip to a college town of their choice!

We hope you consider a 529 as part of this year’s gift-giving. Talk about it as a family during Thanksgiving festivities and reach out to my team if you have any questions at all. Regardless of how you choose to package this gift, know that a college savings plan is a gift that will keep on giving for years and years to come.

From my family to yours, have a safe Thanksgiving.

Mississippi Treasurer David McRae is the 55th Treasurer for the State of Mississippi.