The ScholarShare 529 College Savings Plan is offering a $100 bonus when you open a new account by 9/30/23 and deposit $1,000+ within 10 business days of establishing the account. Your $100 matching deposit will arrive by 1/31/24. The ScholarShare 529 account must be open with a non-zero balance to receive the bonus.

Compared to all 529 plans nationwide, the ScholarShare 529 is a solid overall plan with reasonable costs (official plan of California, run by TIAA-CREF), making it a good option for those without specific in-state tax incentives. See here to compare 529 tax benefits across all 50 states.

I find that having an open 529 plan is a great way to redirect various gifts from friends and family (like grandparents) so that the money doesn’t just get spent mindlessly and then forgotten. If someone gives them a gift card, I just put the equivalent value into the 529 and spend the gift card myself. Since by the time they really understand money it will have been 10 years since birth, it can been a good lesson on how steady saving and investing adds up. Finally, opening a plan and making any contribution also starts the 15-year clock on potential future 529-to-Roth IRA rollovers.

This specific bonus is also interesting due to the limit of “one (1) Matching Deposit per new ScholarShare 529 account per unique accountholder/beneficiary combination.” That means a couple with three children could open six accounts for $600 in total bonuses. It would also require a significant upfront deposit, but many families are already setting aside $100+ each month per kid for future college expenses.

  • Spouse 1 + Child 1
  • Spouse 1 + Child 2
  • Spouse 1 + Child 3
  • Spouse 2 + Child 1
  • Spouse 2 + Child 2
  • Spouse 2 + Child 3

If you have multiple 529 accounts from different state plans/managers, know that you can later transfer the balances and merge them into each other, although there may be a modest amount of paperwork required each time.

Fine print:

Offer Description: The ScholarShare 529 College Savings Plan (“ScholarShare 529”) is a 529 college savings plan administered by the ScholarShare Investment Board (“SIB”), an instrumentality of the state of California, and managed by TIAA-CREF Tuition Financing, Inc. (“TFI”). To receive a $100 matching deposit (“the Matching Deposit”), eligible individuals must (a) open a new ScholarShare 529 account (for a new beneficiary) online at between September 1, 2023 at 12:01 AM Pacific Time (PT) and September 30, 2023 at 8:59 PM PT with an initial deposit of at least $1,000 to be contributed and invested at the time the new ScholarShare 529 account is opened. The initial $1,000 deposit must be received within 10 business days after the account is established. The Matching Deposit will be made to the eligible ScholarShare 529 account on or before 8:59 PM PT on January 31, 2024. To receive the Matching Deposit, the ScholarShare 529 account must be open with a dollar balance greater than zero on the day the Matching Deposit is made. Limit: one (1) Matching Deposit per new ScholarShare 529 account per unique accountholder/beneficiary combination.

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ScholarShare 529 College Savings Plan: $100 Bonus Per Accountholder/Beneficiary Combo from My Money Blog.

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