Nissa and I are still in the midst of purchasing our first home, dealing with mortgage brokers. While looking at some financial information today, I found myself researching college savings plans. We don’t even have plans for having children yet, but it already looks like we’re off to a great start for our future children’s college savings. Maine is one of the best states to live in when it comes to saving for college. State tax laws allow for a state tax deduction of up to $250 per beneficiary, no matter which state’s program we decide to use. Plus, we aren’t limited to using just one state’s plan. So, we could begin investing in Maryland’s College Investment Plan and take advantage of their low fees, low minimum contributions, and great funds managed by T. Rowe Price and count $250 per year towards our Maine state taxes. At the same time, we can take advantage of Maine’s NextGen College Fund and reap the benefits of being an in-state resident by getting grants and matching contributions. That’s like free money! Take that Matthew Lesko!
There is a lot more great information out there about college savings. Check out How Stuff Works’ guide to 529 Plans for a good overview. Then use the wisdom of the folks at Kiplinger to find the best 529 Plan for your needs.
In other news, we met with a loan officer from Nissa’s credit union (Navy Federal) on Monday. They offered us a great deal based on our current financial situation situation. We don’t have enough money on hand to make a 20% down payment on they kind of house we want, but Navy Federal has some great 100% financing programs. The money we had saved for a smaller down payment can now be used to pay some origination fees and points on the loan to get us a great interest rate (lower than my parents’ rate, I’ve discovered). Plus, since Navy Federal is so large, they don’t require mortgage insurance! That’s a savings of $135 a month right there. If we were to get a loan for $180,000, we’d have a monthly mortgage payment (including taxes and home insurance) that is slightly higher than our current rent yet still within our budget. That would get us a nice house that we’d actually own! No more lying in bed grumbling that the heat isn’t on, we’d control it. It would be ours. We’re hoping to meet with a realtor Nissa knows sometime next week to begin searching for our home.