This was the title of a Wall Street Journal article a couple months back. At first glance, it seemed to me this should be no different than our 401(k) accounts which have all taken a beating over the past couple years. But there are two major differences. A 529 account typically has a target date, where you tell the sponsor when college starts, and the investments are adjusted accordingly. The second major difference is the finite ending date. You see, while a 60 year old may only have 2-5 years to the start of retirement, the end is a good 25 years away. When saving in a 529 account, since the funds may only be used for higher education, for most people withdrawals are only made over a 4 or 5 year period. So as this article suggests, a student 1-3 years from entering college should not have 40% of his funds in stocks, as the state of Oregon’s plan allocates. If you have a 529 account for your own child, check the prospectus and understand exactly how the funds are invested.