529 Comparison

Oregon 529 College Savings Plan

The Oregon 529 College Savings Network includes two programs from which to choose.

  • Oregon College Savings Plan
  • MFS 529 Savings Plan

The Oregon College Savings Plan is geared to people who wish to do their own investing without the assistance of a financial advisor. The plan is managed by TIAA-CREF and offers fifteen investment portfolios, including:

  • Aged-Based Portfolio
  • Multi-Fund Portfolios
  • Single-Fund Portfolios
  • Principal Protection Portfolio
The Aged-Based Portfolio is attractive to those investors who don't want the hassle of moving funds around to meet changing timelines. As the beneficiary grows closer to college age, the account funds will automatically be moved from aggressive investments to more conservative in three year increments. For children 0-3 years the funds are invested in 70% equities and 30% bonds. By the time the beneficiary reaches 18+ years, the funds will be invested in 65% bonds and 35% money market. Bear in mind that even the money invested in the money market isn't guaranteed or FDIC insured, so your balance can vary up or down, depending on market conditions.

The Multi-fund Investment Portfolios provide you with the opportunity to invest using multiple funds which will tend to lessen the risk over time and allows you to choose an asset allocation that appeals to your investment strategy. These include:

  • Aggressive Target Allocation Portfolio
  • Moderate Target Allocation Portfolio
  • Conservative Target Allocation Portfolio
  • Diversified U.S. Equity
  • Diversified International Equity
  • Diversified Fixed Income
  • Balanced Index

Then there are the Single-Fund Portfolios which, as the name suggests, each use a single underlying mutual fund for their investment basis.

  • U.S. Equity Index
  • International Equity Index
  • Social Choice
  • Inflation-Linked Bond
  • Fixed Income Index
  • Money Market

Finally, for those with a short time frame until college or those who wish to invest very conservatively, there is the Principal Protection Portfolio which is subject to a funding agreement issued by TIAA-CREF Life which guarantees principal plus a certain interest rate...however even this is not absolutely guaranteed, but is subject to the ability of TIAA-CREF Life to be able to make the payments.

The MFS 529 Savings Plan is a 529 program managed by MFS Investment Management and is open to investors only through financial advisors. There are three paths you may choose from, including Aged-based, an Allocation Approach which automatically allocates, diversifies, and rebalances your investments and a Customized approach which lets you choose from among eighteen various MFS mutual funds. As you may notice, the choices are similiar to the College Savings Plan, but the funds differ since TIAA-CREF handles one and MFS Investment Management the other.

Your investment in the Oregon 529 College Savings Plan will grow federal tax-deferred. 529 owners who are Oregon taxpayers can deduct up to $2,120 per year ($4,240 for joint filers) from their Oregon State income tax return. Qualified withdrawals will also be Federal and state tax free. While you don't need to be an Oregon resident to open an Oregon 529 account, you should check with your home state first to see if they have tax and other benefits that would be advantageouus to you.

For more information on Oregon's 529 plan options, visit http://www.oregon529network.com/.