Baby wins college savings

Published 9:27 pm Thursday, June 1, 2017

A Memorial Day baby at Sentara Obici Hospital is starting life ahead of the college-cost curve.

Caress Smith holds her son, Asiyah Perry, earlier this week. Asiyah was born on May 29 and won a $529 college savings plan.

Asiyah Perry, the newborn son of Caress Smith, won a $529 Virginia529 college savings account by virtue of being the baby born closest to 5:29 p.m. on May 29 at Sentara Obici Hospital.

The annual promotion by Virginia529 also gave similar awards at 18 other hospitals across the state.

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“It really was a surprise when they came and told us,” said Smith, who is 23. Asiyah is her firstborn. “Just to find out they did something like that was really nice.”

Asiyah was born at 7:13 p.m. on Monday. Smith said she had a fairly quick delivery for her first baby, which may have improved Asiyah’s standing to win the savings plan.

“I do want him to grow up and have some type of career, so that’s even more motivation,” Smith said.

The promotion was part of Virginia529’s 529 College Savings Day, which aims to bring attention to the importance of saving for higher education through tax-advantaged 529 plans. The college savings initiative is celebrating its 20th year this year.

When parents open a Virginia529 account, that can select from multiple investment portfolios, as one would for a retirement account. The account earns interest, but specific returns are not guaranteed. Family and friends can contribute to the accounts, and they can be started at any time.

Earnings on the savings in 529 accounts are free from state and federal taxes when used for qualifying higher education expenses. Individual taxpayers in Virginia also enjoy an income-tax deduction of up to $4,000 per account, per year.

Adults can also use 529 accounts for education.

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