Broker Check

College Savings Plans

Saving for college doesn't require a specialized savings vehicle. You can invest in college using a brokerage account or keep cash in a savings account. You can consider particular savings accounts like 529 plans for college savings. These are tax-advantaged accounts and are beneficial when saving for college. Understanding the restrictions and rules of a 529 plan is critical for your saving journey. Read this quick guide for more insights:

529 Plans

Like most parents, you want your child to receive an exceptional higher education. However, it's essential to understand that this may come with a hefty price tag. The costs for college continue to grow, meaning parents who want the best for their children should plan early. This is where 529 plans come into play. Here are critical reasons you want to consider these accounts.

Possible contributions tax breaks: When you invest in a 529 plan, chances are you may receive a state income tax deduction. Not all states may provide contribution breaks, and a state in which you don't pay taxes won't give you a break. Understand this before choosing your plan.

Potential options for high-return investments: Every state has its options. This depends on the plan you might choose. For example, you can opt for stock funds or other investment types. This can allow your contributions to grow, and you can beat the increasing college cost.

Tax-free increment for education: A 529 plan offers you a tax advantage for education savings. You can stash money and increase it tax-free. After withdrawing cash qualified for education, you don't need to pay taxes on the increment. However, you need to spend your money on items meeting the plan's rules to avoid paying taxes.

Coverdell Education Savings Accounts

These accounts are comparable to 529 plans. For example, they provide tax-free withdrawals and investments. This occurs when you spend the cash on qualified expenses for your education. Apart from college expenses, a Coverdell Education Savings Account can also consider particular K-12 purchases.

Coverdell Savings Accounts function similarly to Roth IRA accounts. They allow for yearly non-deductible contributions to a chosen investment account. The account grows without federal income taxes, and if everything goes well, it becomes completely tax-free. You need to meet particular requirements for the years you want to make contributions and when taking withdrawals.

Uniform Gift to Minors Act

The Uniform Gift to Minors Act allows a minor to get a gift without the intervention of a trustee or guardian. These gifts may include fine art, real estate, royalties, patents, and money. The account ensures that an appointed custodian or the gift giver manages the receiver's account until a certain age. Also, it ensures minors won't get tax consequences upon receiving gifts up to a specific value.


What if My Beneficiary Receives a Scholarship?

If the beneficiary receives a scholarship, you can withdraw the money without paying a 10% penalty. Note that you'll pay taxes on earnings. Before you decide to withdraw the money, you want to check whether it's eligible for college expenses without tax.

Are there Age or Income Limitations for Participating in a 529 Plan?

Typically, 529 plans have no age limits. As long as you're of legal age, you're free to start 529 plans and services as a beneficiary and account holder. Any age is okay if the expenses go for qualifying K-12 tuition or post-secondary education.

What Are the Most Common Investment Options Offered by Section 529 savings / Investment plans?

If you want more from your 529 plan, you can access a broad range of investment portfolios, including:

Index portfolios: These track a broad market benchmark performance. They provide lower fees than most investment options.

Specialty portfolios: They hold a diverse mix of cash, bonds, stocks, and other investments. These are for investors looking for static investment.

Principal protected portfolios: They protect against the original investment losses. The returns are more stable.

Target enrolment portfolios: Involves a mix of cash, bonds, stocks, and other investment options.

Working with a Professional Advisor

College education can be expensive, but you can finance it with minimal issues if you know what needs to get done. One of the best ways to achieve this is by considering college savings plans. If you don't know how to get started, ensure you work with a qualified professional advisor to guide you throughout the process.