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A 529 Plan is a college savings account that is funded by after-tax dollars. However, money invested in a 529 Plan grows tax free. Beneficiaries of the account (college students) can withdraw the funds contributed (and the interest earned) without paying taxes, as well, as long as the funds go towards approved education-related expenses.

Every state has their own 529 Plan, but you don’t have to use your state’s plan if you’d prefer to house your college savings elsewhere. Investments are set up with a risk profile according to your child’s graduation timeline, meaning investments in your 529 Plan get “less risky” the closer to graduating high school they are.