May 29 is a lucky day for babies born in South Carolina.
To spread the word about the Future Scholar 529 College Savings Plan, State Treasurer Curtis Loftis has special gifts for babies born on 5/29.
“We make it a fun day just for marketing,” Loftis said. “What we do is we say that any baby that’s born in a hospital in South Carolina is eligible for a $529 Palmetto Baby Grant. And it’s privately funded. It’s not tax money.”
Loftis and his staff will visit newborns and their families at hospitals throughout South Carolina on Tuesday as part of the PalmettoBaby program. The annual program provides a privately-funded $529 grant to each baby born in South Carolina on May 29 to put toward a Future Scholar account.
“We’ll show up at a couple of them and go by and talk to them and make sure they’re aware of it,” he said. “We’ll set the account up. We fund the account and it’s ready for the family and friends of this young baby to have people put in their tax-deductible contributions.”
Loftis said he enjoys meeting the families and the mothers seem to recover quickly from childbirth.
“They all look great. You’d be surprised,” he said. “And the husband’s standing there and they’re all so happy because here they have a kid, and the kid’s been alive maybe 20 or 30 or 40 minutes and he’s already got a net worth. So it’s a lot of fun. They enjoy it.”
The 529 college savings plan is a tax-deductible way for parents to save for the costs of higher education. Funds can be used at thousands of universities and colleges nationwide, including technical schools.
“It’s the smart and easy way to save for college,” Loftis said. “They could put some money in the plan. There’s a tax deduction. The money grows as its invested tax-free. And when money is pulled out for approved educational expenses, it’s tax-free again. So, in a way, you beat the tax code three different times and that makes it so easy to save for college.”
“I’ve made helping families save for college a priority since I took office in 2011. Now, we have more than 150,000 accounts enrolled in Future Scholar, with $3.4 billion in assets managed,” Loftis said. “Tuitions are very high. South Carolina is a state where tuition is higher than most states. So you’ve got to save a lot of money.”