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A section 529 college savings plan is specifically designed to give you the level of control you are seeking. Lots of people put investments in the kid's name (usually under the UTMA) to shift the investment income into a lower tax bracket but then have to worry about what the kid is going to do with it when they reach 18 or 21. In a 529 plan, you control the account for as long as you want and still get the income, tax-deferred, into the lower bracket. Others spend a lot of money on attorneys, accountants, and trust companies to establish education trusts as a way of maintaining some degree of control. But those are a pain and are irrevocable; a 529 plan is easy and is revocable.

If control of the money is an objective, it's hard to beat 529 plans.

Of course, a Roth IRA is a great thing too (and flexible enough for college education purposes)and in most cases should be where your first $2,000 go if you are eligible.

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