With Five Years to Go

It's time to start shifting some money to fixed-income securities for safe keeping.

If you're more or less on track with your savings, shift about half your investments into a bond fund or zero-coupon bonds with staggered maturities so a portion of them will mature as each year's tuition bill comes due.

Savings-bond returns are too small to waste your money on when you're saving long term, but with five years to go you could use savings bonds for the fixed-income portion of your portfolio if your adjusted gross income is less than $86,400 (filing jointly). At that threshold any earnings used for college tuition and fees will be totally tax-free.

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