Indiana, PA - Indiana County

SMART MONEY: State-sponsored 529 plan may play a part in savings

by on July 20, 2014 1:50 AM

DEAR BRUCE: Can you explain to me what a 529 plan is and how it works? I want to make sure my daughter has enough money to attend college when that time comes. — Reader

DEAR READER: The 529 is a savings plan with tax incentives operated by your state. There are good ones and bad ones. As far as making certain your daughter has enough money to attend college, the 529 may very well be part of her future, but it’s going to take some research on your part to learn what the 529 plan offers, how much you can expect to receive and so forth.

The information is out there, and it’s worth putting the effort into this research. You do not have to use only the plan your state offers. You can and should investigate other plans.

DEAR BRUCE: I recently got married for the first and last time. We currently live in an apartment. It seems now it’s too small. We are thinking about purchasing our first home. Neither one of us have ever owned a home.

My question is, do we qualify for first-time home buyers’ status? And if so, where do we sign up for it? — Fred

DEAR FRED: Congratulations! The fact that you never owned a home doesn’t mean a thing. As far as qualifications are concerned, the major factors are how much money you owe, how much money you have to put down, and how much you are earning. These may seem like huge mountains to climb, but in fact, they really are not.

Make an appointment at your local bank and speak to a loan officer. Be sure you have all of your facts at your disposal: income, debts, savings, etc. All these variables can and should be considered. Take your time and get all the facts before purchasing. This is a very important step and should not be rushed.

Send questions to Questions of general interest will be answered in future columns. Owing to the volume of mail, personal replies cannot be provided. The Bruce Williams Radio Show can now be heard 24/7 via iTunes and at It is also available at
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