Jill Schlesinger of CBS MoneyWatch joins us this week to answer your letters. Plus, Personal Finance Sr. Producer Paddy Hirsch chimes in to answer a few questions about the show and search for a host.
Many letters have come to us asking about Tess Vigeland, the former host of Marketplace Money. Hirsch reminds listeners that Vigeland left the show in November and since then, Marketplace Money has been on the hunt for a new host. However, finding the perfect voice for a program about personal finance takes time and we want to get it right. Until then, Hirsch makes a plea for patience and hopes that listeners have been enjoying the rotation of fill-in hosts including Barbara Bogaev and David Lazarus.
Now, onto your personal finance questions. Amy from Alfred, Maine, wants to contribute to a college savings account for her niece and nephew. She wants to set up a 529 account -- an education savings plan designed to help families set aside funds for future college costs -- for the kids (since their parents would have a difficult time setting one up themselves).
"If you're not setting up a way to put away tons and tons of money, you can also look into the Coverdell, which can be used for secondary school, if there's going to be some private school potentially, a little bit more flexible. But let's say you want to do the 529. There is no problem. You can own this account. You, Amy, own the account, and make the beneficiary your nieces and nephews. You do need their Social Security numbers, but that's all you do need," says Schlesinger.
She suggests that Amy take a look at the website SavingForCollege.com to help explore different 529 plans.
"What you'll likely find if you want to buy a 529 or open an account in a state where you don't reside, then there's lots of options. Utah has a very good plan. There's no residency requirement there. Nevada has a very good plan. So you should look around and check that out. As you say, there is no obligation to necessarily send your kids to school in that place and it can be moved pretty easily among siblings," says Schlesinger.
For more advice on converting to a Roth IRA and advice on how to ride out market lows, click play on the audio player above.