Investing for K–12 goals

Consider our individual portfolios when investing for your K–12 goals. With this do-it-yourself strategy, you’ll select your own investments and manage your portfolio over time.

Keep in mind these considerations

Using 529 plans to save for a child’s K-12 education presents investors with scenarios that are very different from saving for college with 529 plans.

  • Spending patterns

To pay for the K-12 years, you’ll be withdrawing money from your 529 plan over a much longer time frame than you would to pay for college.

  • Time horizon

You won’t have as much time to save for a K-12 education before you start withdrawing as you would if you’re saving for college.

3 tips for choosing your K-12 investments

  • Determine when you’ll need the money to pay for education expenses.
  • Choose your investments based on when you’ll need to use portions of your savings and your comfort level with risk.
  • Revisit your asset allocation each year to see if you have the same risk tolerance and time horizon. Reallocate your investments if necessary.

An example of how you may invest $100

Let’s say you have $100 to invest, and your main concern is assisting with higher education. So you decide to split your contribution into $75 for college and $25 for any K-12 tuition expense (i.e. high school). You might consider allocating your contributions this way based on your risk tolerance:

  • $75 in an age-based option designed for saving for higher education.
  • $25 in an individual portfolio based on your child’s age and when you’ll need to start using the money toward their education.

Choose the right investments for your goal

  1. If your goal is 2 years away or less

If you'll need your money within 2 years, your main priority may be preserving your principal. Consider low-risk investments that are easy to access.

MOST 529 offers the Interest Accumulation Portfolio as an option to consider for pursuing these short-term goals.

Learn more about our Interest Accumulation Portfolio

You can also click here to see what other investment options are available in the plan

  1.  If your goal is more than 2 years away

If you won't need the money for more than 2 years, you can consider additional investment options. Some types of investments offer greater potential to earn more toward your goal, but they also carry greater risk.

Our investor questionnaire makes it easy to get asset allocation recommendations in just a few minutes by answering some simple questions about your time frame, risk preferences, and financial situation.

Complete the investor questionnaire (Please note that if you open the link to the questionnaire, you'll be leaving the MOST 529 website and visiting the Vanguard website.)

Once you’ve gotten your recommended asset allocation, there are 2 ways to select investment options for your MOST 529 account:

  • If you prefer an all-in-one choice with a mix of investments, consider one of the plan's multi-fund individual portfolios that best aligns with your risk tolerance – and when you’ll need the money to pay education expenses.
  • If you'd like to build your own portfolio, select from the plan's individual portfolios to create the asset allocation you're comfortable with. The individual options cover all major asset classes—stocks, bonds, and short-term reserves.

To learn more about your options click here for the Prices and Performance

Don't forget to review your investments

Because investing in individual portfolios is a do-it-yourself strategy, it's a good idea to review your portfolio regularly to make sure it's still in line with your goals, time horizon, and risk tolerance. You may want to consider annual reviews as you get close to making tuition payments since you may be taking money out more frequently for K-12 expenses.


  • You can only move money from 1 portfolio to another twice a year.
  • Your portfolio won't automatically become more conservative over time.
  • You should revisit your allocation periodically, especially if there are changes to your savings time horizon, risk tolerance, or personal situation.