FitMoney Frequently Asked Questions
FitMoney, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in Massachusetts with a mission to provide public school students with the financial knowledge, skills, and habits to achieve financial security. FitMoney’s objective is to build and reinforce financial literacy skills through a cohesive curriculum for lower, middle, and high school. To augment classroom learning, FitMoney also helps schools develop real-world savings opportunities for students and families including access to 529 savings plans for college and career training.
FitMoney believes that financial capability relies on three important pillars:
- LEARN: Teach financial literacy early and reinforce yearly; support parents and teachers with resources to make smart financial decisions and be positive role models.
- EARN: Empower youth to earn, learn the value of money, and manage their financial futures.
- SAVE: Complement classroom learning with savings opportunities for students and parents.
Our “learn, earn, and save” pilot program started in 2016 in fourth grade in the North Andover, MA public school system. In the fall of 2017, FitMoney expanded to additional grades and school districts in the Greater Boston area. Over the next few years, we have an ambitious plan to grow across Massachusetts and other states as well.
How did FitMoney come about?
FitMoney was created by a group of educators, business executives, and parents who see the need for a more comprehensive and lasting approach to financial literacy. They came together to build a community-based model that can be delivered through the public school Common Core curriculum.
What communities is FitMoney targeting with its program?
FitMoney believes it is essential to our nation’s success to improve financial literacy for all youth. A lack of financial knowledge exists across socioeconomic profiles; therefore, FitMoney plans to expand across Massachusetts and several other states over the next few years and scale nationally longer term.
How do public schools deliver FitMoney’s financial literacy curriculum?
The FitMoney financial literacy program is unique. It is comprehensive because it will be reinforced from lower school through high school to incrementally expand students’ financial knowledge and to provide them with age-appropriate tools to develop sound financial habits. The program is designed to integrate into the Common Core and to be delivered in bite-size segments in the classroom. Students receive six to eight hours of financial literacy instruction during the school year, and the curriculum is flexible, so teachers can insert it wherever it works best.
Can you tell me more about FitMoney’s focus on earning?
As educators, parents, and working adults, we know that developing a strong work ethic early can empower youth to take ownership of their financial outcomes. FitMoney intends to incorporate at least one lesson plan in each grade that focuses on working and earning. Potential lessons include exploring career options, starting a business, and creating an economy system model in the classroom where students have jobs and expenses.
How does FitMoney encourage students to save for higher education?
FitMoney introduces 529 college savings plans as a tax-advantaged way for many families to save for college and career training, and to inspire them to consider higher education as an attainable goal. Currently, FitMoney offers students and families an opportunity to open a Utah Educational Savings Plan (UESP) 529 Plan account. FitMoney chose UESP, because UESP consistently ranks as one of the top 529 plans in the country on several metrics, has no minimum deposit or balance requirement, and is able to support FitMoney’s program goals.
What is the FitFuture Matching Account?
FitMoney currently offers a one-time $50 matching contribution to eligible families who open a UESP account and make deposits totaling at least $50 by the end of school year. The FitFuture Matching Account is the account in which matching funds are held by FitMoney and invested until they are transferred to the beneficiary’s account to pay for qualified higher education expenses.
What are funds in the FitFuture Matching Account invested in?
FitMoney invests matching dollars in a UESP age-based mutual fund portfolio. The portfolio starts out with a higher concentration in stock funds than bond funds and cash, but as your child grows older, the money shifts to increasingly conservative portfolios with higher concentrations in bonds and cash (short-term investments). This helps to reduce the risk of losses as college approaches.
Who is eligible for a FitFuture Matching Account?
A FitFuture Matching Account is available to certain schools and grades in Massachusetts where FitMoney has introduced its financial literacy curriculum. You will learn of your child’s eligibility through the school s/he attends. FitMoney hopes to offer similar matching contributions to other students as the program expands and as funding permits.
May my child qualify for a FitFuture Matching Account if there is already a 529 for my child?
Yes, eligible families can open a UESP 529 college savings plan account and may qualify for the $50 matching contribution regardless of whether they already have a 529 plan account. Only the new UESP account will be eligible for matching under this program.
How do I withdraw funds from my FitFuture Matching Account?
Once funds are withdrawn from a UESP 529 Plan to pay for qualified higher education expenses, FitFuture Matching Account funds will be transferred to the beneficiary’s account. There is no extra step involved.
Will my FitFuture Matching Account funds be taxed at withdrawal?
Distributions are not subject to federal income tax and generally not subject to state tax when used to pay for qualified education expenses of the designated beneficiary.
Do other states offer 529 plans?
Most states, including Massachusetts, have a 529 Plan. They all share the same federal income tax advantages. Some state plans offer additional tax benefits to state residents. For example, certain contributions to the Massachusetts 529 plan by a Massachusetts resident may be deductible on a Massachusetts income tax return (MA does not allow a deduction for contributions to an out-of-state 529 Plan, including contributions to the UESP plan). As mentioned earlier, FitMoney chose UESP because UESP consistently ranks as one of the top 529 plans in the country on several metrics, has no minimum deposit or balance requirement, and is able to support FitMoney’s program goals.
How do I open a UESP 529 College Savings Plan Account?
From FitMoney’s website you will click the “Enroll Now” button and be redirected to the Utah Educational Savings Plan website. In order to enroll, you must be 18 years or older and have a Social Security Number or ITIN (Individual Tax Identification Number) for you (the account holder) and your child (the beneficiary).
For more information about the FitFuture Matching Account visit: www.fitmoney.org/fitmoney-terms-conditions
For additional information about the Utah Education Savings Plan, please visit: uesp.org
For questions about the FitFuture Matching account, please email: email@example.com
Important Legal Notice
FitMoney does not provide legal, financial, investment, or tax advice, and the information provided in this document cannot be construed as such or relied upon for those purposes. You should consult your tax or other financial advisor regarding your particular tax or financial situation if you have questions about opening a UESP account.