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Another College Fund question

I know the mutual funds give you more flexbility but you have to pay taxes on them when you withdraw the money.  It is my understanding that with the 529's you have to use them for college, otherwise the money gets taxed like any other investment (like the mutual funds)--so if you went to Europe on either investment you still pay that tax.  I know the BIG downside of 529 is that you can only change your investments once a year....which this year could be a problem.

So my question is, has anyone run the numbers to figure out what you need to put in and what the market needs to do in order to pay for multiple college educations in say...18 years?  I would assume that since taxes are 35% on investments the 529 ends up being better.

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