Is your 529 savings plan in the red? Tuition may still be due

As for savers with younger children, they should avoid panic and realize they have plenty of time to recover from any current losses, experts say.

Market downturns are simply part of the college saving experience, Kantrowitz said. During any 17-year period, he calculates, the stock market typically will suffer at least three corrections (considered a drop of 10 percent) and one bear market.

Still, in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, around 10 percent of investors liquidated their entire 529 accounts, and 20 percent switched to less risky assets, Kantrowitz said. (He surveyed the savers in 2010).

“These investors missed out on the economic recovery,” he said.

What’s more, savers who are far away from sending their children to college should view the moment as an opportunity to buy stocks on the cheap, Clemons said.

“As the parent of 8-year-old twins, I’ve kept my kids’ 529s entirely in equities, and will likely add more to their plans in the first week of the new year,” he said.

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