The best-laid plans of college savers can go awry.
No big deal. There are options, should the original reason you started saving in a 529 plan disappear.
Experts agree that 529 plans, tax-advantaged investment funds that can be used for education costs, are one of the best ways for you to financially prepare for your child's college years. If you start saving at your son or daughter's birth, about a third of the savings goal will come from earnings alone, said Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of SavingForCollege.com.
Kim Lankford, contributing editor at Kiplinger's Personal Finance and an expert on the plans, said she often hears from people who have run into a situation in which they need to find a Plan B for their 529 account.
Perhaps the child for whom they were saving decides to forgo college or develops an illness or disability along the way that makes attending impossible.
Others will find themselves needing to repurpose a 529 plan because their child won a full-ride scholarship to their college or was accepted into a military service academy, where the cost of tuition is covered.
"It's a nice problem to have," Lankford said. "But they wonder what their options are."