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The College Solution: A Guide for Everyone Looking for the Right School at the Right Price by Lynn O’Shaughnessy

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49. A 529 Primer

I look at them (expensive 529 plans) and think, “Are people out of their minds? Why would they put their money in them?”

—Ilene Malitz, former Georgetown University finance professor

If 529 college savings plans seem confusing, you may feel better after you hear the experience of a Harvard University professor. Or then, maybe you’ll feel worse.

During an interview, Susan Dynarski, an associate professor of public policy at Harvard University, once told me that she had to abandon her work on a comparison study of 529 plans. Why? Because she concluded it was too hopeless. The expenses and fees were structured so differently it defied comparisons.

An Ivy League education isn’t necessary, however, to conclude that Darwin’s survival ...

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