SMART529 Myth or Fact

Jul 17 2018

We worry about all the decisions we make concerning our children. Am I feeding them the best foods? Am I being too strict? Am I not being strict enough? It’s only natural to want the best for our kids, and to worry that we may fall short in providing for them. While only you know what is best for your children, we can help you make informed decisions on at least one aspect of your child’s future. Saving for their future education.

SMART529, West Virginia’s higher education savings program has three plans to choose from, so there is something to fit every family’s needs and budget. But before jumping into which plan may be right for your family let’s begin by sorting out some of the myths or facts often asked about SMART529.


SMART529 can only be used for college. 

THAT’S A MYTH: SMART529 funds can be used for technical school, vocational training and more!   


SMART529 can only be used in West Virginia.  

THAT’S A MYTH: Funds can be used at any institution around the country, and at more than 400 around the world.   


You can open an account for as little as $1.  

THAT’S A FACT: The SMART529 WV Direct plan, which is open only to West Virginia residents, or to account owners on behalf of West Virginia beneficiaries, has no minimum initial investment requirement, meaning it only takes $1 to activate an account.   


If you don’t use your SMART529 funds, you’ll lose them.  

THAT’S A MYTH: You can transfer SMART529 funds to a different beneficiary, or simply withdraw them.*   


My child can never withdraw from the SMART529 plan without my permission. 

THAT’S A FACT: The account owner (you) maintains complete control of the account, not the beneficiary.   


I can stop and start contributions as often as I like.



Now that we’ve sorted out a few of the myths from the facts, take a look at the three types of SMART529 plans to see which one may work best for your family. Not to mention the additional features and benefits of saving with SMART529, like federal and state tax features, and gift contributions! And be sure to take advantage of tools like the College Savings Calculator to help you make the best decision for higher education savings for your little ones.


*Funds withdrawn from a SMART529 plan for non-qualified education expenses may be subject to federal income tax penalties.

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