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Expert suggests three plans to help save for college

PHOENIX — Your child may be young now, but someday they’ll be heading off to college. You probably need to start saving money now to pay for it.

Mike Sullivan of the Take Charge America Consumer Credit Counseling service is suggesting three plans that might help you save.

One is called the 529 plan, which allows you to save up tax free earnings for high learning.

“It can be mutual funds or CDs, whatever your state happens to offer,” Sullivan said. “You can contribute every year. In most states, including Arizona, you get some kind of a tax benefit for your donations.”

Sullivan said another savings plan is called Coverdell. It used to be called an education IRA.

“There’s a smaller limit as to how much you can put into a Coverdell,” Sullivan said. “But there’s also a little more flexibility even than a 529 plan. If you’re only saving small amounts, say a couple of thousand dollars a year, I personally think it’s just as good as a 529, maybe even a little bit better.”

The third savings plan is the Roth IRA.

“It’s not really a college savings vehicle, it’s a retirement savings vehicle,” Sullivan said. “But you can withdraw your contribution for higher education purposes without a penalty.”

When asked which plan he would personally choose, Sullivan said the 529 plan is the best for people who can sock money away for their kids’ college.

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