Have you been diligently socking away money in a 529 plan for your children's college fund?
You're ahead of the game. But many age-based 529 plans keep money in stocks even when Junior is just a few years from moving into a freshman dorm. So shift at least half of your stash into a principal-protection option, which can include stable-value funds, money-market funds, or even bank CDs.
If your current 529 doesn't offer principal protection, swap it for Ohio's College-Advantage 529 or the Utah Educational Savings Plan; both have FDIC-insured investment options. (Note: This might not make sense if you got a state tax break on the original contribution and would have to pay some or all of that money back.) See savingforcollege.com for details.
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By Carolyn Bigda, Beth Braverman, Veronica Crews, Ismat Sarah Mangla, Peter Valdes-Dapena and Penelope Wang - Last updated October 27 2011: 1:39 PM ET