The Hartford today launched its 529 plan, dubbed SMART 529. Sponsored by West Virginia, the plan allows investments in individual mutual funds, static portfolios, and age-based portfolios.

West Virginia residents are able to invest directly into the plan. Nationwide, SMART 529 is available only through financial intermediaries.

Low minimums of $500 for initial investments (even lower for state residents) and the range of risk tolerance options for investors broadens the marketing potential for SMART 529. "With the different options offered in this plan, there will be a comfortable level of investing for every parent," said John Perdue, West Virginia’s state treasurer, in a statement.

Until the launch of the 529 plan, West Virginia offered only a prepaid college plan.

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