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529 College Savings Plans: All 50 States Tax Benefit Comparison (Updated 2019)

Updated for 2019. When choosing a 529 college savings plan, you can open a 529 plan from any state. However, each state can vary widely in what they offer in terms of tax deductions and/or matching grants. 16 states offer no tax break on contributions and 7 states give you the same tax benefit no matter which 529 plan you pick. The remaining 27 states do offer some sort of tax benefit, so you’ll have to weigh your in-state benefits against the superior investment options from an out-of-state plan.

Morningstar has just published their 529 College-Savings Plan Landscape report for 2019, which included a state-by-state summary of the tax benefits:

They also have a new article When It Comes to 529s, How Good Is Your State’s Tax Benefit? that helps to quantify how good the tax benefit is, in terms of how many years of investment expenses it offsets for a theoretical household. More years (darker blue) is better:

These days, for the most part, if your state offers a tax benefit, it’s worth sticking with your in-state 529 plan as long as you are choosing the low-cost index fund “autopilot” options. The formerly “bad” plans have gotten closer the rest of the pack. You might still prefer another state plan for a specific investment option, I suppose.

They also updated this chart that quantifies tax benefits for a hypothetical family with a $60,000 income.

If you really like another state plan, you can look into their “recapture” rules as to what happens if you roll over your assets to another state plan later down the road after your initial contribution. Sometimes you can wait out the recapture period and then roll funds over to a better state 529 plan for free (once every rolling 12 months).

Again, if your state has no special tax break or it does “tax parity” – meaning it offers the same tax benefits for any 529 plan – then I would simply choose from this list of best nationwide 529 plans.

CIT Bank Savings Builder $300 Deposit Bonus – Both New and Existing Customers

CIT Bank has a new Savings Builder Account deposit bonus. You can get up to a $300 cash bonus depending on deposit amount, and it is open to both new and existing customers. The bonus is on top of the interest rate, currently 1.85% APY (as of 11/12/19) at their top tier for qualifying accounts. Here are the details.

New deposit bonus details. For new customers, you must first open a new account with at least $100 and promo code Bonus19 at this link. If you already had an existing account as of 10/4/19, you need to first officially enroll in this offer via the “Let’s get started” button at this link for existing customers. After doing that:

  • A new deposit of $25,000 to $49,999 within 15 calendar days of your open/enrollment date will get you a $150 cash bonus.
  • A new deposit of $50,000+ within 15 calendar days of your open/enrollment date will get you a $300 cash bonus.

New accounts will have to maintain this balance for 90 calendar days. However, existing accounts will only have to maintain this balance for 30 calendar days. The shorter holding period for existing customers is nice, but remember it has to be additional money new to CIT Bank. This is their definition of “starting balance” when measuring new deposits for existing customers:

The balances of all the customer’s individual Savings Builder accounts, any joint Savings Builder accounts in which the customer has ownership, if not already enrolled in the bonus promotion by another joint owner as of October 3, 2019.

They will deposit your bonus within 1 to 5 business days after the Funding Period, but it will be on hold (can’t withdraw) until 7 days after your minimum holding period of 30/90 days to make sure you satisfy the requirements.

Effective APY. Here are the effective interest rates you could get as either a new or existing customer:

  • For a new customer earning either the $150 bonus on $25,000 or $300 bonus on $50,000, which also qualifies you for the 1.85% APY rate, that works out to a total 4.25% APY for 90 days (2.4 + 1.85).
  • For an existing customer earning either the $150 bonus on $25,000 or $300 bonus on $50,000, which also qualifies you for the 1.85% APY rate, that works out to a total 9.05% APY for 30 days (7.2 + 1.85).

It’s always nice to stack a cash bonus on top of an already competitive interest rate. This promotion is scheduled to last until December 31st, 2019. There are no minimum balance fees, no monthly service fees, no inactivity fee.

Savings Builder high interest qualifications reminder. This a unique savings account with two ways to qualify for their highest interest rate tier. You need ONE of the following in each Evaluation Period:

  • Maintain at least one single monthly deposit of $100+, OR
  • Maintain a balance of $25,000+.

Everyone earns the top tier rate for the first monthly “Evaluation Period”. Then, if you meet one of the requirements listed above during the first Evaluation Period, you’ll earn the top rate for the next monthly Evaluation Period. If you don’t meet a least one of the requirements, you will receive the base interest rate during the next Evaluation Period. They have an indicator in your online account that confirms that you have qualified.

One option that I did is to set up an automatic monthly transfer from my checking account to this account for $100 and satisfy the requirement on auto-pilot. (I can always transfer additional funds in or out as needed.) More details in my previous full review.

Bottom line. CIT Bank has a new Savings Builder Account deposit bonus. You can get up to a $300 cash bonus depending on deposit amount, and it is open to both new and existing customers. The bonus is on top of the interest rate, currently 1.85% APY (as of 11/12/19) at their top tier for qualifying accounts. These types of bonuses help me earn higher interest rates even when rates are dropping.

TopCashBack: Spend $11.96 at Walmart, Get Stuff + $21.96 Back (New Members)

TopCashBack.com rebates you back a percentage of your purchases made through online stores like Macys.com or Walmart.com. There are many such cashback portals, but TopCashBack promises to rebate you 100% of all commissions earned. If you are going … [Read the rest]

Morningstar Top 529 College Savings Plan Rankings 2019

Investment research firm Morningstar has released their annual 529 College Savings Plans analyst ratings for 2018. While the full ratings and plan analysis for every individual plan are restricted to paid premium members, the vast majority are … [Read the rest]

Buy $100 Netflix Gift Card, Get $10 Amazon Credit (Expired)

Update: I would check the link in case it comes back in stock, but it shows as expired now. Sorry, thought it would last longer! Amazon has a Netflix gift card promotion where if you buy a $100 in Netflix gift cards, you will receive $10 Amazon … [Read the rest]

SoFi Money $50 Cash Bonus / SoFi Invest $100 in Free Stock / $100 Direct Deposit Bonus

Referral bonus updated, look for direct deposit bonus. SoFi ("Social Finance") is expanding from students loans into a cash management and stock brokerage account. Both are competitive and modern app-first products, but enter a crowded field. To … [Read the rest]

Top 10 Best Small Business Credit Card Bonus Offers – November 2019

Updated November 2019. Do you have small business income or work as an independent contractor? Uber/Lyft, Amazon, eBay, Etsy, Airbnb? You are eligible to open a small business credit card, which keeps your personal and business expenses separate. … [Read the rest]

Top 10 Best Credit Card Bonus Offers – November 2019

Updated November 2019. That space in your wallet or purse is more valuable than you think. Credit card companies are fighting it out, offering strong perks and $500+ value for a single card during the first year to encourage you to apply and try it … [Read the rest]

Chase United Explorer Card Review – 65,000 Bonus Miles Limited-Time Offer + Annual Fee Waived First Year

New limited-time offer. The United Explorer Card is a Chase-issued credit card that offers unique perks on United Airlines including free checked bags and expanded award seat availability for redeeming miles. Right now, there is also a limited-time … [Read the rest]

Target Veterans Day: 10% Off Coupon For Military Until 11/11

Back for 2019. Target is offering a 10% off discount coupon for active duty military, veterans and their spouse and/or dependent children. Offer is valid for a single use at Target and Target.com through Nov 11th. A nice gesture of appreciation … [Read the rest]

Sam’s Club 1-Day Sale, Saturday 11/9 : Gift Cards 30% Off Face Value

Back for 2019. Sam's Club is having a one-day sale on Saturday, November 9th. There are the usual discounts on huge TVs and the latest Apple products, but what caught my eye was that all of the "Extreme Value" gift cards that are usually $40 for … [Read the rest]

Open Enrollment Checklist: HSA, HCFSA, DCFSA, Disability Insurance, Life Insurance

We just finished our open enrollment paperwork, and like many other workers we faced a long and confusing list of instructions. They tried to distract me from the increased health insurance premiums by adding a bunch of optional "perks" like … [Read the rest]