Time it takes: 35 minutesA state 529 college savings plan is the best way to invest for your kid's higher education. With one check, you can buy a diversified portfolio that becomes more conservative as your child nears school. See Money Magazine's guide to 529s in every state (link below).
Stick with your local 529 if it's a Money pick. But if your homegrown options are fee-laden and offer no local tax breaks, go with the Utah Educational Savings Plan (800-418-2551; uesp.org). Click on the Forms tab and download the program description and "form 100." Figure on 15 minutes to read, 19 minutes to fill out the agreement, one minute to fax.