3. Who's handling customer service? Experts say that before signing up for any 529 plan, parents should be aware of who will be answering their questions.
In some state plans, the investment management company—which chooses the investments—answers questions via their customer service line, O'Brien says. More often, the plan management company handles customer service. There are also cases where one company, such as Vanguard, handles both investment choices and customer service for some 529 plans.
Meanwhile, for adviser-sold plans, the individual chooses the financial adviser he or she would like to work with. The important skill any of these individuals should have is the ability to answer your questions in a way that you understand, Washo says.
"Whoever answers the phone should be able to answer questions about the plan or be able to direct parents to someone who can," O'Brien agrees. "The exception is if parents are comfortable choosing investment options and doing their own research."
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