Savingforcollege.coms Family Guide to College Savings

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The savings in a Roth IRA grow tax-free. Once your child finishes school, the rest of the funds in the account can be reserved for retirement. But there are exceptions to this rule that allow early withdrawals due to certain circumstances. A Coverdell education savings account is an alternative to a plan. These accounts are designed to help families pay for college and cover elementary and secondary education expenses.

Both plans and Coverdell ESAs allow families to make contributions using after-tax dollars and savings grow tax-free. And for both accounts, withdrawals are tax-free as long as the savings are used to cover certain costs. In addition to tuition for primary and secondary schools, savings from a Coverdell ESA can cover uniforms, tutoring programs and other K expenses without triggering a penalty.

The biggest downside to Coverdell ESAs is the low contribution limit. Contribution limits for plans vary by program and by state, but allow families to set aside hundreds of thousands of dollars for their children. Contributions to a Coverdell ESA cannot be made for children over age 18, and all funds must be withdrawn by age A prepaid tuition plan is an alternative to a savings plan that may appeal to some parents. Designed for parents who are sure that their child will attend an in-state public university, this plan allows parents to simply pay for tuition credits in advance at a predetermined price.

Prepaid plans retain the same tax, financial aid and parental protections as college savings plans, but without being subject to swings in the stock market. Even if your child changes schools, there may be a chance to get a refund or transfer funds over. Typically, prepaid plans are available for students when they or their parents are residents of the state where the public college or university is located.

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But that leaves parents having to find a way to cover the remaining costs. Like college savings plans, prepaid plan holders can change beneficiaries at any time, but must pay a 10 percent penalty plus income tax on funds used for anything other than college tuition. Plus, there are no restrictions on how the funds may be used as long as they directly benefit the child. With plans, investment opportunities are limited and only cash contributions can be made. Contributions to UGMA accounts can be made using cash and investments like stocks and bonds.

Additional options for contributing to UTMA accounts include assets like art and real estate. A trust can be set up when an individual wants to hold assets on behalf of another person with the intention of eventually handing them over. A trust can give a beneficiary the person receiving the trust funds more flexibility. In addition to paying for school, the trust can indicate that the funds be used for other purposes. A trust can also be beneficial for individuals who want to transfer assets and minimize their estate tax burden. Whoever is passing along their assets could possibly find themselves paying income taxes.

Beneficiaries should prepare to pay income taxes on trust fund earnings. When an educational trust is created, the terms of the trust should indicate that the trust funds should be used to pay for education expenses. A bond is often called an IOU. An agreement is established so that one party loans money to another in exchange for the original deposit, plus interest when the bond matures. A Treasury bond is issued by the U.

Should You Use a 529 Plan to Save for College?

They can be purchased directly from the U. Treasury or through a bank or broker. Indeed, there are income limitations for high net worth individuals. The cost of college is steadily rising, but you might not need to save for the full amount. The apprehensions peaked in May. Tax-favored savings plans allow families to manage the cost of higher education, yet few people understand how they operate. May 29 marks College Savings Plan Day, shining a spotlight on a savings account that allows families to save after-tax dollars, have them grow tax-free and then use the money to pay for qualified higher education expenses — such as tuition, fees and books — on a tax-free basis.

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Two of 3 people recently polled by Edward Jones were unable to correctly identify a plan as a savings account for educational expenses. The financial services firm polled 1, people in April. When it comes to growing a savings account over time, every bit helps — from your own contributions to the cash your child gets for holidays and birthdays. More than 30 states offer their residents a state income tax credit or deduction for contributions to college savings plans, according to SavingforCollege.

Tax incentives aside, there is no requirement that you invest in your home state's plan. Be aware that even if the state you reside in will give you a good break for investing in its plan, you might find a better deal elsewhere if the costs are too high.

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Families can purchase direct-sold plans themselves or they can opt for advisor-sold plans through a financial professional. An advisor's expertise costs money.

How to Start a College Savings Plan - Personal Finance -

On average, advisor-sold plans had a fee of 96 basis points or 0. For instance, age-based portfolios offered in Utah's direct-sold my plan range from 0. However, even though the federal government permits these withdrawals, your state might not agree. In fact, a handful of states — New York , Oregon and Vermont —will hit residents with penalties or clawbacks of state tax breaks if those savers use dollars for K expenses.

How to save for college: 8 tips for getting started

Also, parents who start withdrawing money from their for K tuition are missing out on years of compounding interest. The proposed legislation would also allow savers to use their funds to pay for fees, books and supplies in a registered apprenticeship program. Sign up for free newsletters and get more CNBC delivered to your inbox. Get this delivered to your inbox, and more info about our products and services. Privacy Policy. All Rights Reserved. Data also provided by. Skip Navigation. Markets Pre-Markets U.

How Much Should You Be Saving

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The Best Ways to Start a College Fund

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