Podcast Episode 18 – Interview with Joe Hurley of KettleRidge Farms and THE 529 Plan Maestro

529 Plans are a wonderful asset that doesn’t’ get enough credit. It is the ONLY account that you can control AND have it not included in your estate.

It’s amazing actually.

But most people seem to just see it as a way to help little Jonny for college. Yet, as of the new tax bill, 529 plans have expanded in potential. So much it can’t be overlooked.

The growth is tax free IF, yes IF, used for qualified educational expenses which no longer is solely higher education. You can use 529 plans for private school now, college or high school or whatever.

529 plan assets are NOT included in the FAFSA for student loans either. Distributions are, be advised, but even those distributions can be planned for. In fact, I’d argue don’t even take a distribution until the kid no longer will apply for financial aid.

529 plans have gift tax benefits too. I won’t go into those here, i do in the video, but gift tax concerns are SO overblown for the VAST VAST majority of people it’s not even worth typing the words, actually.

Worst case scenario is that grandma funds a 529 with say $75,000. It grows the $100k and it turns out she is in bad shape and actually needs the money.

She still controls it, remember, so she takes a distribution to pay for fixing up her home to put it on the market.

She will pay tax and a 10% on that 25k gains. No tax or penalty on the principal. ANd that’s it.

That is literally the worst case scenario. Yet the best case scenario is the entire amount grows like a weed, is tax free, she still controls AND it’s out of her estate.

No other account has that same level of flexibility. None.



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In this episode, it is my pleasure to chat with Joe Hurley. Some of you probably know Joe Hurley from his amazing work in the 529 field.

Joe literally wrote the book on 529 plans. His is an amazing story actually of how he found something of interest, researched it, found very little on it and decided to write a book about it.

In the process of researching the book, Joe became the pre-eminent expert of 529 plans and then went on to start the SavingForCollege.com website.

Joe’s book “The Best Way to Save for College: A Complete Guide to 529 Plans” is STILL a must read for anyone interested in learning the rules of college savings plans.

Yet, Joe decided to leave all that behind and go into farming, full time. Here is an accountant by trade and later a successful entrepreneur. Well-known in the advisory space, certainly making decent money, leaving it all behind to farm maple syrup and honey on a 70 acre farm in Rochester, NY.

Tell me that’s a story you don’t want to hear!

You can find Joe’s farm here:
Definitely contact him for a tour of his operation.

Don’t forget, YOU can “adopt a maple” too. Go here for more info.

KettleRidge Farms is part of a CSA, as many smaller operations are.

A CSA is a Community-Supported Agriculture organization.  LocalHarvest.org explains:

Here are the basics: a farmer offers a certain number of “shares” to the public. Typically the share consists of a box of vegetables, but other farm products may be included. Interested consumers purchase a share (aka a “membership” or a “subscription”) and in return receive a box (bag, basket) of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season.

I’m a HUGE fan of CSAs. I’m also a huge fan of Farmer’s Markets too. And I highly encourage you to get involved in your local CSA or your farmers market or both.

Just go down one Saturday and it’s such a delight the people you meet.  Remember, these are BUSINESS PEOPLE, trying to run a business.  So, get to know them indeed. Chat them up.  Get on their mailing lists, etc. But don’t hog their booth.  They are trying to turn a profit.

On a side note, I mentioned in the interview how I’ve bought quarter and half cows.  These are the folks I purchase from here in Georgia. Indian Creek Farms.  Visit their website and give them a shot at earning some of your business. You won’t be disappointed.

When it comes to the “Beyond Organic” movement, you are not going to find a better operation than Joel Salatin’s Polyface Farm out in Staunton, VA.  Joel has written a ton of books on his farming methods and serving humanity while serving God too.  Just a great operation.

I listen to Diego Footer’s Permaculture Voices Podcast quite a bit.  Ironically, and I just noticed this, Diego originally hails from Rochester, NY.  Interesting. Maybe something in the water up there that drives people to farming?

I’m also a HUGE fan of Darby Simpson with GrassFedLife.co  

One of these days I’m going to make the trek to his Indiana farm and take one of his classes.


Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Jack Spirko of The Survival Podcast.  Probably the best podcast on the web.  5 days a week of insane education of so many topics I can’t begin to describe.

Whoa, I almost forgot!  The lady who edited my book, Nicole Sauce, of Living Free in Tennessee!  Check her out too!

So many people and groups just trying to better their communities all over the country.  If you want Maple syrup or honey, and live in Rochester, go see Joe Hurley.

If you living in Topeka, Kansas. Find your local producers.  They’re out there and they need you!

Hope you enjoy the podcast folks.  Thanks!

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