Get an Online Associates Degree in Business Using Your Kids' 529 Plan

Online Associates Degree in Business

Paying for college is a challenge. In fact, college rates are constantly on the rise. One way that parents anticipate the chore of paying for college is to invest in a 529 plan for their child. However, sometimes things happen and the 529 goes unused. Do not let it go to waste! You can use your child's unwanted 529 plan to get your own online associates degree in business, or any other degree, learning skills that can improve your performance at work or even help you open your own business.

The Rising Rates of College

College tuition is a very expensive investment, and that is without even considering books, transportation or living expenses. According to various news sources, college tuition has risen over 400 percent in the past 30 years, while the average family income has increased only about a third of this amount. In short, a college education is not only expensive, but every year it takes up proportionately more of a parent's income. Even a simple two year online associates degree in business could end up costing tens of thousands of dollars in the near future. For some, this seems to make college out of reach. But for other parents, they have managed to use foresight and a little discipline to set aside money steadily for their child in a 529 college savings plan.

Enter: The 529 Plan

A 529 college savings plan is an investment vehicle which allows a parent, guardian or anyone to put money into a special 529 account. Inside this account the money is invested in mutual funds, stocks or other investments, and earns interesting (hopefully). This account is owned by the adult who opened it, yet it must include a designated beneficiary who is anticipated to go to college. The money then grows continuously as the child matures. Once the child is ready to go to college, the money can be withdrawn from the account interest free to pay for any eligible college expenses such as tuition, books and transportation.  

Get an Online Associates Degree in Business with Your Unused 529 Plan

Opening a 529 for your child is a great way to help them save for the future. The one glitch can come if your child decides not to go to college for some reason. If this happens, and you try to withdraw your money, you will experience hefty penalties and taxes, eating away as much as 40% of the earnings in the account. Fortunately, there is a better option. While a 529 plan limits the owner to using the money for education, it does allow you to change beneficiaries to anyone who is related to the original beneficiary. That means you can give your 529 money to a sibling or cousin - or, you can use the money to earn your own online associates degree in business, in fact, you can use it for any degree that you want!

So if you find yourself with an unused 529 plan, pause to think if you might want to go back to school yourself. Whether it's an online associates degree in business, a PhD in leadership, or even a certificate in basket weaving, you may find the experience enjoyable and profitable. Of course, there are advantages and disadvantages of distance learning education, so be sure you take time to research your decision thoroughly.

Did you finance a 529 for your child, only to have them not use it?

Share your experience.