My kids are 11 and 14. I've neglected to save any money for college for them, but I want to start now. I live in Maryland.
I understand that 529 college savings plans are usually the best way to go. They provide a hedge against rising tuition costs. But unfortunately I cannot afford to make the sizable monthly payments for kids of this age.
Instead I would like to sock away money on an ad-hoc basis as I can afford it. That might not be every month. For now, I would like to start by putting away $5000.
What is a good vehicle for me to use? Can I put money away in a investment plan that allows me to deduct the deposited amount from my adjusted gross income? Can I withdraw it to pay their college tuitions without getting hit with penalties, fees and creating tax liability at the time of withdrawal?