Have a question about finance?
How do I select a college savings vehicle for my child? When should I start one?
529 College Savings Plans have become the most common and useful savings and investment vehicles for college expenses. 529 plans offer an opportunity for family or friends to contribute to tax sheltered (if used for qualified college expenses) funds earmarked for your children, or other family member’s education. They are powerful savings tools and should be started as soon as possible to take advantage of the benefits of both tax deferral and compounding of returns that can last for many years i.e. until your child, rela...
College savings can be a big expense for families and it is important for parents to plan ahead if they intend to take on this expense for their child. When parents or grandparents ask about college savings they are generally referring to the tax advantaged savings vehicles that have been set up or enabled by Congress. This category includes 529 College savings plans administered by the various states, Education savings accounts (ESA) and US Savings bonds.
Of the three, the 529 plan is usually the best option for familie...
Few investment questions have black or white answers, but this is one of the few. Assuming you are already contributing the maximum to retirement accounts like a ROTH, the best college savings vehicle is the 529 plan. Contribution limits are high, investment options are good if you choose one of the best plans, investment gains are tax-free if used for qualified education expenses, and there may be additional tax benefits depending on your state of residency. Self-directed plans are the most cost-effective. If...
College tuition, one of the single largest financial challenges for a family, can range from $8,500 (2012 average cost for in-state public tuition and live-at-home) to more than $40,000 (average tuition, room and board for a private university) annually. These costs have been rising at a rate far faster than inflation.
I advise clients to start making regular contributions to a 529-college savings plan at the birth of a child, but only after they have taken full advantage of all their retirement funding options. ...
There are a few different college savings vehicles that exist such as 529 plans and Coverdell Savings. IRA funds can be used for education, too. Some use government savings bonds. Others don’t even use accounts specifically designated for education and instead put education savings directly into investment accounts, real estate, or even collectibles.
Benefits of 529s, Coverdells, and IRAs are that gains in the accounts are not taxed as they grow. When used for qualifying educational expenses, the asset growth in these accounts is ne...
The most important advice to savor from this thread is to start early and save as much as you can. College is expensive. Today's Cost of Attendance at $25,000 to $40,000 (average - many are much higher) is a serious hit to the modest wealth of most American families ... and costs are still rising at over 5% per year.
Most advisors will tout 529 plans ... and they are good, with plenty of tax advantages so they can beat traditional investment accounts. They are flexible (if a student decides not to go to college, those funds can be allo...
The sooner you start, the longer time you have to let compound interest help you along the way.
There are two vehicles - one is your state's 529 plan. This allows the money to grow tax deferred.
The second would be a low cost, high cash value life insurance policy. If it is designed correctly, it will allow you to protect your child's education if you died before you completed the plan. But more importantly, it allows you to accumulated significant cash tax deferred to pay for his education.
So I would look at both methods and see which ...
College savings should include several different types of accounts - depending on your situation. Look to use your state 529 Plan - depending on tax deductibility and fees; then I would look to use a UTMA - an account in your child's name - taxed to your child - although the tax impact will likely be negligible; and then partially in your name. A lot depends on your tax bracket, age of the child, and the type of 529 plans available in your state.
- Ask a similar question
- Contact advisor
Have a question about finance?
- What expenses would a 529 plan cover?
- I am a non-citizen but I would like to open a 529 plan for my children who are US citizens. Is this possible?
- How much do I really need to save for my child to go to college?
- Can I afford to buy a house?
- What do I do about my son's school loans that I co-signed for?
Disclaimer: NerdWallet strives to keep its information accurate and up to date. This information may be different than what you see when you visit a financial institution, service provider or specific product’s site. All financial products, shopping products and services are presented without warranty. When evaluating offers, please review the financial institution’s Terms and Conditions. Pre-qualified offers are not binding. If you find discrepancies with your credit score or information from your credit report, please contact TransUnion® directly.
Additionally, this site may be compensated through third party advertisers. However, the results of our comparison tools, blog content and editorial reviews are based on objective analysis. For more information, please see our Advertiser Disclosure.