Here’s another 529 bonus that’s pretty easy to grab. (See Ohio 529 $50 bonus.) The FDIC-insured version of the CollegeInvest College Savings plan is currently offering a $50 bonus if you deposit $50 of your own money and set up automatic transfers. There is no minimum balance, and the terms only require a $1 monthly transfer for 6 consecutive months. Effectively, double your $50 to $100 in 6 months.
This is one of the several 529 plan options for Colorado, and you do get a state tax deduction for your 529 contributions if you’re a Colorado resident (subject to recapture if you don’t use it for a qualified expense). One that caught my eye was the stable value version that is paying a 2.84% rate for 2011.
Plan Review. This bank version itself is pretty bare, and is intended for people who want to invest very conservatively in FDIC-insured accounts. There are only two options: (1) a 1-year CD paying 0.30% APY, and (2) a savings account paying 0.05% APY on balances up to $20,000. Even if it’s tax-deferred… yuck. If you are currently in college or have a really short timeframe, then you could just grab this bonus and take a qualified withdrawal soon afterward. Otherwise…
Take advantage of plan rollovers. I’ve opened a lot of 529 plans for the bonuses over the years, and I enjoy trying out each new service. Some have surprisingly good online interfaces (Ohio), while others are shockingly bad (Oregon circa 2007). But the good thing is, it’s pretty easy to roll over funds from one 529 to another existing plan. You usually just have to fill out a rollover form.