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  1. Hi all! I have a nephew heading off to his first year in college, and I've got about a decade before my singleton will be doing the same. In the process of searching up 403bs, 457s, 401ks, and IRAs I also started reading up about 529s and just discovered that we do have a Hawaii-based option. It's not pre-tax, but it is tax-deferred on the earnings for federal/state taxes. Hilariously to me, after all the fuss with trying to find 403 providers with the lowest fees and ERs, the HI 529 investment options are all Vanguard. Apparently we have age-based options and we also have a small selection to build our own portfolio. One can also make a smaller initial investment instead of Vanguard's minimums if purchasing from them directly. Where our 403/457s initally go through National Benefits, the 529 goes through a company called Ascensus Broker Dealer Services. So many onion layers.
  2. Hi all, I'm hoping that someone on here might be able to offer some advice for me. You've been so helpful in the past! I have two children (one is 5, the other 6 months) and I'd like to start saving for college for the older one. It will be modest for awhile, maybe as low as 25 or 50 dollars a month, until we can increase our contributions. I've been looking into 529 plans, but I have some unanswered questions and general confusion about the best way forward. Vanguard has an attractive 529 plan (low ERs, big surprise there), but there you need to invest $3,000 at the outset. We don't have that kind of cash lying around, so I've been looking at other options. My state (NH) has a plan, the "UNIQUE College Investing Plan," which has a lot of underlying investments - none of which are Vanguard funds. The ERs range from .05-1.43, but the minimum initial investment is only $50. The other option I've been looking into is Vanguard's "College Savings Iowa 529 Plan." This has an asset-based management fee of .26 (about 10 points higher than Vanguard's regular 529) and a minimum initial contribution of $25. So, here are my questions: 1) Out of the three plans I've looked into, does anyone see one of them as clearly a better bet than the others? ​2) For anyone who has traveled down the 529 road before - what am I missing? There seems to be hundreds of different plans out there. Anyone have a good experience going with something different? ​3) There is a confusing paragraph in the FAQ about the Iowa 529. Does anyone understand what this means? "Keep in mind that you do not actually own shares in the underlying funds. Instead, you own portfolio units of the College Savings Iowa 529 Plan, which means the returns for a particular portfolio may vary from the returns of the underlying funds." 4) Could I squirrel money away into the NH state 529 plan, or the Vanguard Iowa 529, and - when the balance exceeds $3,000 - transfer that money into a Vanguard 529? 5) Can you invest in a 529 plan from any state, even if you are not a resident there? Any downside for me choosing a state plan that is not based in New Hampshire? 6) Would anyone else out there be interested in hearing Dan, Scott, and company devote an entire podcast to 529 plans? They've been referenced in other episodes, but I would benefit greatly from an in-depth look at college planning and 529 plans. Just curious. I would LOVE any help that anyone on here could provide. I've read as much as my brain can handle, and now I'm feeling stuck. Thanks! Erich
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