Baby wins $529 savings

Published 10:48 pm Thursday, May 30, 2013

By the time she was even a day old this week, little Paris Taylor already had more money saved for college than a lot of high school seniors have.

The tiny bundle of joy born to Keara Watts and Travon Taylor was the lucky baby born closest to 5:29 p.m. on May 29 at Sentara Obici Hospital, making her the recipient of a $529 savings account from the Virginia529 College Savings Plan.

Mom Keara Watts holds her daughter, Paris Taylor, who won a Virginia 529 college savings plan by being the baby born at Sentara Obici Hospital on Wednesday closest to 5:29 p.m.

Mom Keara Watts holds her daughter, Paris Taylor, who won a Virginia 529 college savings plan by being the baby born at Sentara Obici Hospital on Wednesday closest to 5:29 p.m.

Of course, Paris knew nothing of her fate as her mom accepted visitors on Thursday. She drank formula in the arms of a nurse, burped dutifully when patted on the back and managed to keep from crying long enough to pose for some pictures.

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Watts, however, said she is excited that Paris, who was born at 3:12 p.m., has a head start on saving for college.

“They told me a little bit about it when I was in labor, but of course I wasn’t paying attention,” Watts said. She got more information about it on Friday morning, when things were a little quieter.

Paris has two older siblings, so money for college might be in short supply by the time she’s 18. Watts said she plans to add money to the account over the years.

Babies at 20 participating hospitals around the state won the savings accounts from the Virginia529 College Savings Plan on Wednesday, which was celebrated as National 529 College Savings Day. The event is meant to bring attention to the importance of saving for college, particularly through tax-advantaged plans like a 529.

Research shows a majority of parents believe it is important for their children to attend college and yet do not save regularly, if at all, for higher education costs.

“There’s a disconnect between the value of education and the reality of covering the costs,” said Mary G. Morris, chief executive officer of Virginia529. “Virginia529’s mission is to help families find ways to make college more affordable and accessible.”

Virginia 529 plans allow parents and future college students to contribute to accounts that grow free from state and federal income taxes when used for qualified higher education expenses. Virginia taxpayers get deductions on their state income taxes for their contributions.

Folks who missed having a baby on Wednesday still can enter to win a $5,000 contribution to a new or existing Virginia529 account through 5 p.m. Friday by visiting www.virginia529.com.