Merrill Lynch manages the Maine NextGen College Investing Plan -- Client Direct Series 529 program utilizing BlackRock (including iShares), Franklin Templeton and MFS funds in its age-based and static options. In addition, the Principal Plus Portfolio and NextGen Savings Portfolio are offered.
- Summary: Merrill Lynch manages the Maine NextGen College Investing Plan -- Client Direct Series 529 program utilizing BlackRock (including iShares), Franklin Templeton and MFS funds in its age-based and static options. In addition, the Principal Plus Portfolio and NextGen Savings Portfolio are offered.
- Program type: Savings
- Telephone: 1-877-463-9843
- Web site: Click here to visit
- Program manager: Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated
- State residency requirements: None
- Maximum contributions: Accepts contributions until all account balances in 529 plans for the same beneficiary reach $380,000.
- Minimum contributions: With lump-sum contributions, the minimum initial contribution is $25; may be waived for Maine residents eligible for certain grants and the minimum subsequent contribution is $25. With the automatic investment plan, there is no initial contribution required but subsequent automated contributions must be at least $25 per month. All contributions must allocate a minimum of $25 per portfolio.
- Age-based investment options: The Age-Based Portfolios come in 2 series, one investing in BlackRock mutual funds and the other investing in iShare exchange-traded funds (ETF). Each contains 6 portfolios of underlying funds. Contributions are placed into the portfolio corresponding to the beneficiary?s age, and later reassigned to more conservative portfolios as the beneficiary approaches college age.
- Static investment options: Select from an MFS fixed-income portfolio, an iShares fixed-income portfolio, a Franklin Templeton balanced portfolio, an iShares Diversified Equity Portfolio, two BlackRock equity portfolios, the Principal Plus Portfolio or NextGen Savings Portfolio.
- Underlying investments: BlackRock, Franklin Templeton, and MFS. The Principal Plus Portfolio consists of one or more guaranteed investment contracts issued by one or more insurance companies, deposits in an interest-bearing FDIC-insured bank account at Bank of America, N.A., and to the extent approved by FAME, corporate fixed-income investments and/or similar instruments.
. The NextGen Savings Portfolio is comprised of an interest-bearing bank deposit account with Bank of America, N.A.
- Enrollment or application fee: None.
- Account maintenance fee: None
- Program management fees: None for the NextGen Savings Portfolio; 0.07% for the BlackRock Equity Index Portfolio (no state fee), 0.20% for the iShares portfolios (plus 0.05% state administrative fee), and 0.10% for all other portfolios (no state fee)
- Expenses of the underlying investments: Ranges from 0.10% to 0.72% (portfolio weighted average) in the age-based and static multi-fund portfolios, and 0.23% in the BlackRock Equity Index Portfolio. None for the Principal Plus Portfolio and NextGen Savings Portfolio.
- Total asset-based expense ratio: 0.00% - 0.82%
- Program match on contributions: New accounts opened for Maine residents are eligible for three one-time grants: a NextGen Initial Matching Grant of $200 if the account is opened since January 1, 2011 with at least $25; a NextStep Matching Grant which provides a 50% match on contributions up to $100 per year with a lifetime maximum of $1,000; and a NextGen Automated Funding Grant of $50 by choosing the automated funding option and making six consecutive contributions no less frequently than quarterly, and no less than $25 monthly.
Separately, the Harold Alfond College Challenge makes a one-time $500 grant available to all Maine babies to start a NextGen account before their first birthday, regardless of family income.
- State tax deduction or credit for contributions: Contributions to Maine AND non-Maine 529 plans of up to $250 per beneficiary per year are deductible in computing Maine taxable income for taxpayers with federal adjusted gross income of $100,000 or less (single or married filing separate) or $200,000 or less (joint or head of household).