By Leisa Zigman I-Team Reporter

St. Louis (KSDK) - State Treasurer Clint Zweifel announced Wednesday that Missouri'sMOST 529 Advisor Plan ranks number one in the nation for the third consecutive quarter.

"It's great news and our plan is performing better than any other state in the nation," said Zweifel.

The independent websiteSavingForCollege.com ranks Missouri's advisor plan first and Illinois 14th. Advisor plans are purchased through a broker and typically come with a fee.

According to Zweifel, 90 percent of Missourians don't use a broker. Most people purchase the plan directly either by phone or online, and when you look at the performance for those purchasing directly, it is a much different story.

According toSavingForCollege.com the one year performance ranking for the directly sold 529 plans ranks Illinois sixth, and Missouri 19th.

The three year performance rankings are much worse. Illinois ranks 31st, Missouri ranks 32nd out of 50.

Zweifel argues lower investment costs are more important for the average investor. And, he says when you look at costs for these index based funds, Missouri ranks sixth in the nation.

He adds advisor based plans are different then the direct sales and are set to beat the market. The direct plans have age-based options that get more conservative as a student gets closer to college. Still, he says, the direct purchase plans still meet market expectations.

Finally, he says if you invest $50 per month from the time your child is born for the next 18 years that investment will grow to about $17,000, based on a five percent return. The529 program is a tax-free investment.

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