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Doing the Math on 529s: Tax Benefits vs. Fees

It’s tempting to consider only taxes when using a 529 college savings plan.  They’re important but shouldn’t be the only factor, especially when deciding what state plan to use.

All 529 investors get some tax relief because there are no federal taxes on the plans if the assets are later used on higher education. More than 30 states also offer additional tax and other benefits to residents who save in the plans. Five states –- Arizona, Kansas, Maine, Missouri and Pennsylvania –- extend those benefits to residents who invest in any 529 plan, in-state or out-of-state.

All those tax savings make 529 plans a good choice for many families. But it’s also important to consider the fees on the plans. (Fortunately for investors, those fees have dropped significantly in recent years.)

But as The Wall Street Journal reported, “the average fees tend to be higher than their mutual-fund counterparts, according to Morningstar, which recently started rating 529 plans.

So knowing what fees you’ll pay is especially important if you are saving for a child who is fairly young right now, says Andrea Feirstein, managing director of AKF Consulting Group in New York, which advises states and public authorities that administer 529 plans.

For example, last year, Ms. Feirstein ran the numbers on the New York 529 college saving plan when the fee on the direct sold plan was still .49%. She found that despite a generous state tax benefit, New Yorkers –- especially high earners -– could potentially get better returns in an out-of-state plan with lower costs. (New York couples who invest in the plan get up to a $10,000 deduction on their New York state taxes.)

Ms. Feirstein calculated that a family that makes a $10,000 contribution to a plan with a .28% fee could earn $650 to about $2,130 more over 18 years than if that money was invested in a plan with a .49% fee. (That assumes annual returns ranging from 4% to 12%.)  Vanguard, the New York plan provider, has since lowered the fee to .25%. Among the online calculators that can help figure out how to maximize your state tax benefits–factoring in fees– is at the John Hancock website.

And as this SmartMoney.com story, “10 Things 529 Plan Providers Won’t Tell You,” points out, there’s plenty more to understand about 529s (including the fact that often, target-date investment options aren’t exactly on target).

Readers, have fees eaten into your 529 gains? How have you balanced the tax advantages and fee structure?

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    • By WebOsPublisher

      [Archive] Trojan Hunter 4.0 RC 1Beta is out other anti-trojan software
      Trojan Hunter 4.0 RC 1Beta is out [Archive] – Wilders Security Forums
      Wilders Security Forums > Security Products > other anti-trojan software > Trojan Hunter 4.0 RC 1Beta is out
      PDA
      View Full Version : Trojan Hunter 4.0 RC 1Beta is out
      tosbsasAugust 24th, 2004, 06:17 PMTrojanHunter 4.0 RC (Release Candidate) 1 is available for testing. Please read this entire post before deciding whether or not you want to try it.
      TrojanHunter 4.0 RC1 download:
      misec.net/test/TrojanHunter4RC1.exe
      TrojanHunter 4 has an entirely new, next-generation file-scanning engine. It may (probably will) still generate some false positives. If you encounter any, please post your scan report as a reply to this thread so that the false positives can be fixed. You should not clean any trojans that are found
      with this RC as the detection could be a false positive! You have been warned. Please post about all bugs and other issues that you encounter in this new version.
      If you are not a licensed TrojanHunter user you should be aware that installing the RC will start your 30-day trial period.
      What’s new in TrojanHunter 4?
      —————————–
      – Code-based signatures! All signatures are now entirely code-based which makes them very, very strong. There is no way to hex-edit a trojan to avoid detection, short of decompiling the trojan, altering it in very specific locations and recompiling it. Most people who can do that would probably just write their own trojan.
      - Install-Time Updater allows trial users to update the detection rules during installation.
      - Ability to view and delete detected NTFS Alternata Data Streams
      - Improved startup time
      - TrojanHunter Guard’s tray icon now automatically re-created after Explorer crashes
      - LiveUpdate handles several updates per day.
      - New custom scan option: Scan selected folders
      - Smaller ruleset files.
      - Bug fix: "Loading trojan icons" dialog would hang after running LiveUpdate on some systems.
      Ruben
      rerun2August 24th, 2004, 09:59 PM- Quote: "- Code-based signatures! All signatures are now entirely code-based which makes them very, very strong. There is no way to hex-edit a trojan to avoid detection, short of decompiling the trojan, altering it in very specific locations and recompiling it. Most people who can do that would probably just write their own trojan." -
      Does this work against runtime-packed files?
      Andreas1August 25th, 2004, 06:22 PM- Quote: "Does this work against runtime-packed files?" -
      Specifics about the new engine will be published when the release is finally out. As of now, you will have to try for yourself, or find one who will do it for you (can’t help you there, tho, sorry). But personally, I would assume that "next generation scan engine" pretty much looks like something of this sort.
      Andreas
      ———-August 26th, 2004, 04:23 AM- Quote: "Does this work against runtime-packed files?" -
      How should it? Sorry but it doesn’t work against runtime-packed files…
      And TrojanHunter can only unpack some upx packed files.
      InfinityAugust 26th, 2004, 05:14 AMI believe they can unpack zip files and winrar too. from their guard. and they uses stronger signatures, what the … that may mean.
      ———-August 26th, 2004, 05:33 AMi mean pe file packers, like upx, aspack etc.
      InfinityAugust 26th, 2004, 05:48 AMthe only at that does this is ewido…
      illukkaAugust 26th, 2004, 06:52 AMactually its now RC2
      forum.misec.net/board/TrojanHunterBeta/1093462002
      InfinityAugust 26th, 2004, 07:15 AMYes, we were aware of the update Illuka but at the time of writing this whole thread, there was no mention of the second release.
      and for keeping us updated, we have the update area ;D
      this was going to be a good thread, so I hope this can continue a little further.
      controlerAugust 26th, 2004, 07:39 AM"If you are not a licensed TrojanHunter user you should be aware that installing the RC will start your 30-day trial period."
      Which basicly means, if you have ever installed any other version of Trojan Hunter you will not be able to install and use this new version without reformating your hard drive lol
      Bruce
      InfinityAugust 26th, 2004, 08:54 AMwhich is quite normal I guess, 30day trial, even for beta…nowadays.
      Peaches4UAugust 27th, 2004, 11:24 PM??? ::) :(
      rerun2August 29th, 2004, 12:24 AM- Quote: "Specifics about the new engine will be published when the release is finally out. As of now, you will have to try for yourself, or find one who will do it for you (can’t help you there, tho, sorry)." -
      I contacted Magnus 2-3 days ago with my inquiry and provided him with a link to this thread. I did not receive a reply yet (but hopefully one will arrive soon), or better yet a reply in this thread from him.
      - Quote: "Sorry but it doesn’t work against runtime-packed files…
      And TrojanHunter can only unpack some upx packed files." -
      I had a similar feeling that the files would have to be unpacked in some way for there to be any benefits from the code-based signatures. Do you think the same goes with files that are encrypted? Like with morphine or something?
      Overall strong code-based signatures sound very promising, I just find the following quote a little confusing…
      - Quote: "There is no way to hex-edit a trojan to avoid detection, short of decompiling the trojan, altering it in very specific locations and recompiling it. Most people who can do that would probably just write their own trojan." -
      Code-based signatures sound like they would be effective against hex-edited trojans, so i am not really arguing about that point. But if one were to pack the trojan and encrypt it, would that not be easier/require less knowledge than decompiling, altering, and recompiling?
      I do not mean to sound like i am bashing TH. I wuld just like to know a little more about it. TH hasn’t been discussed here in awhile, and with this new release maybe it is a good time to get to know TH better (particularly in the area of detection).
      ReGenAugust 29th, 2004, 04:42 AM- Quote: "
      Code-based signatures sound like they would be effective against hex-edited trojans, so i am not really arguing about that point. But if one were to pack the trojan and encrypt it, would that not be easier/require less knowledge than decompiling, altering, and recompiling?" -
      This may be true. But eventually the ‘working code’ has to end up in memory, and that’s where TH’s real-time memory scanner – TH Guard – would kick in (operates much the same way as BoClean).
      I’m sure there’ll always be ways of disguising files from file scanners. Security software is nearly always playing catch-up against new techniques developed to aid hackers. But catch-up is better than standing still.
      Every new advance in programs like TH to prevent casual script kiddies from seeing my data is a good step forward in my books.
      TrojanHunter 4 currently unpacks almost all versions of UPX and some basic packers like Lamecrypt and Noodlecrypt, plus Magnus has indicated that the unpacking engine will be expanded once TH4 is released.
      rerun2August 29th, 2004, 02:43 PMGood to hear ReGen, thank you for the info :)
      lynchknotOctober 29th, 2004, 01:49 AMlol – yep, installed and ready to beta test but my trial is up!
      HandsOffOctober 30th, 2004, 07:03 PMcontroler -
      can you elaborate on,
      ""If you are not a licensed TrojanHunter user you should be aware that installing the RC will start your 30-day trial period."
      Which basicly means, if you have ever installed any other version of Trojan Hunter you will not be able to install and use this new version without reformating your hard drive lol
      Bruce
      I guess you might think that a beta program tester is in a manner of speaking performing a service to the program developement, and/or that he or she has not evaluated the full version and certainly should be entitled to evaluate the full program before deciding wether to buy. Well…I agree. To software developers in general: You can’t have it both ways! It’s a beta program, or it is a commercial program with or without a free trial period.
      That said, Trojan Hunter 4.0 full version is out and it looks very good so far. Just one labeled "possible trojan" that i believe is legit program, and very fast with ease of use, and resident trojan guard feature. It spotted 4 trojans in an old archive volume. they were files i thought i had detected and deleted in the past, but knowing me, i later restored them with a restore having completely forgotten the trojans. Anyway, this is my 30-day trial.
      (BTW, I actually attempted purchasing TD3, but their website could not process the transaction, which does not inspire a whole lot of confidence in me. I have written them, but it is the weekend so I cant expect an answer for a while – Trojan Hunter by way of contrast uses "Kagi" to process their orders. By sheer coincidence I bought the Flaming Pear "Creative Pack" just last week through Kagi. I must say they were the epidemy of efficiency. By the time I checked my email the receipt and s/n were there. Some people think that’s too much to expect, I guess).
      - HandsOff
      azumi21October 31st, 2004, 07:07 PM- Quote: "the only at that does this is ewido…" -
      hmm interesting, perhaps I should give Ewido another look.
      jaytNovember 1st, 2004, 09:49 PMAbout false positives–I just downloaded the evaluation copy of Trojan Hunter 4. and installed it and ran it. It found a copy of Steve Gibson’s Leak Test.exe which I had in my Downloads folder and identified it as a Trojan and offered to clean (rename) it for me.
      This is just for your information.
      InfinityNovember 2nd, 2004, 06:40 AMthe fact that trojanhunter sees leaktest as a possible malware doesn’t say anything to me and it is sure a false positive. leaktests should not be flagged as malware cause the only thing they do is to test your firewall…
      just my two cents here.
      ronjorNovember 2nd, 2004, 07:02 AM- Quote: "About false positives–I just downloaded the evaluation copy of Trojan Hunter 4. and installed it and ran it. It found a copy of Steve Gibson’s Leak Test.exe which I had in my Downloads folder and identified it as a Trojan and offered to clean (rename) it for me.
      This is just for your information." -
      Leak test exhibits trojan like behaviour.
      I believe some anti-trojan programs have removed that definition from their database.
      grc.com/lt/faq.htm
      vBulletin® Copyright ©2000-2012, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
      Copyright ©2002 – 2012, Wilders Security Forums

    • By WebOsPublisher

      [ROM] MIDNOTE 3.3 Codename "B&G" (LP6 ICS FULL Working and ITALIAN QUALITY) 04/13/12 Galaxy Note Samsung Galaxy Note GT-N7000
      п»їп»ї
      [ROM] MIDNOTE 3.3 Codename "B$G" (LP6 ICS FULL Working and ITALIAN QUALITY) 04/13/12 | Android – Ice Cream Sandwich Forums
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      [ROM] MIDNOTE 3.3 Codename "B$G" (LP6 ICS FULL Working and ITALIAN QUALITY) 04/13/12
      3135 posts / 0 new
      Log in or register to post comments
      Last post
      Mon, 04/16/2012 – 15:19
      #2982
      Joe momma
      Offline
      Joined: 04/16/2012 – 15:13
      For some reason after I did a clean install of 3.3 midnote, I can’t see text in my internet browser and facebook. Why does it do this? Anyway to fix it?
      Top
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      Mon, 04/16/2012 – 15:19
      #2983
      energie
      Offline
      Joined: 03/24/2012 – 23:52
      Originally Posted by prasad.adam В 
      Blue.
      Sent from my GT-N7000 using Tapatalk 2
      then its themed version not the stock one.
      stock has green icons.
      Its the theme im pretty sure!
      Maxicet go fix it
      Top
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      Mon, 04/16/2012 – 15:19
      #2984
      waynecw
      Offline
      Joined: 04/16/2012 – 15:04
      Originally Posted by energie В 
      Im almost sure Note doesnt work for ppl using themed version of the rom
      Sent from my GT-N7000 using XDA
      Yes, thanks for this, flashed stock theme and it works now, finally… Phew I can sleep in peaceful mind now.
      Top
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      Mon, 04/16/2012 – 15:19
      #2985
      majeeed
      Offline
      Joined: 04/16/2012 – 15:19
      Originally Posted by hara74 В 
      put the 4 files into system/apps
      set permissions and rebooted
      but still fc at SNote
      the rest is ok, like smemo and lite and screencapture without fc
      +1
      me too ..
      Top
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      Mon, 04/16/2012 – 15:19
      #2986
      kk6513
      Offline
      Joined: 04/16/2012 – 15:19
      Originally Posted by waynecw В 
      Yes, thanks for this, flashed stock theme and it works now, finally… Phew I can sleep in peaceful mind now.
      great
      Sent from my GT-N7000 using XDA
      Top
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      Mon, 04/16/2012 – 15:19
      #2987
      Ahmun_Ra
      Offline
      Joined: 03/25/2012 – 05:57
      Originally Posted by energie В 
      then its themed version not the stock one.
      stock has green icons.
      Its the theme im pretty sure!
      Maxicet go fix it
      Are you saying that the new smemo works only with stock theme? Or the smemo fix?
      I have the themed 3.3 and the stock one FC but the fix works flawlessly
      Top
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      Mon, 04/16/2012 – 15:19
      #2988
      prasad.adam
      Offline
      Joined: 03/01/2012 – 20:25
      Originally Posted by kk6513 В 
      i am using stock theme.
      Sent from my GT-N7000 using XDA
      Stock Samsung tw theme?
      Sent from my GT-N7000 using Tapatalk 2
      Top
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      Mon, 04/16/2012 – 15:19
      #2989
      energie
      Offline
      Joined: 03/24/2012 – 23:52
      only works on stock rom theme, the one with green icons on status bar.
      I mean new S note LP6
      Top
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      Mon, 04/16/2012 – 15:19
      #2990
      kk6513
      Offline
      Joined: 04/16/2012 – 15:19
      Originally Posted by prasad.adam В 
      Stock Samsung tw theme?
      Sent from my GT-N7000 using Tapatalk 2
      yes
      Sent from my GT-N7000 using XDA
      Top
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      Mon, 04/16/2012 – 15:19
      #2991
      energie
      Offline
      Joined: 03/24/2012 – 23:52
      sent a pm to Maxi, hope he willfix it asap
      I like the blue theme
      Top
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    • A million thanks for posting this informatoin.

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    • it’s easy – the Utah state plan invests in index funds, you can pick the mix of stocks/bonds and
      type of stock funds – and the expense ratio is the lowest of all the 529s. If you’re a believer
      in index funds this is the best plan for you by far. They continue to lower their fees on
      a regular basis

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