The Latest Corporate Benefit: the 529 Plan

The 529 plan is coming to the workplace.

 

To make it easier for employees to save money for college, more companies are adding 529-plan perks to workplace-benefits packages. Some employers allow workers to fund these college-savings vehicles automatically via payroll. Others kick in matching contributions. The goal is to make saving for college akin to saving for retirement by providing some of the same incentives that encourage workers to contribute to 401(k) accounts.

 

We have absolutely seen an uptick in both interest and numbers of employers offering college-savings plans in the workplace, says Kris Spazafumo, a vice president at American Funds, whose CollegeAmerica 529 plan is the countrys largest by assets under management, according to Morningstar.

Although 529 perks are not yet a common employee benefit, CollegeAmerica says its corporate-sponsored accounts have been expanding in number at a rate of about 5% annually over the past five years. Similarly, Ascensus Inc., which provides administrative services for more than 30 529 plans across the U.S., says the number of employers participating in payroll direct deposits across the plans it manages rose to more than 12,000 last year from just over 11,000 in 2014.

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