If you’re a parent thinking of your child’s future, then one of the things that you’re probably considering right now is your kid’s college education. Of course, it depends on their choice whether they want to go to college or not, but preparing for it should still be on your list of priorities.
A college education is one of the major expenses that most parents deal with. So, while it’s still early, saving for your kid’s college education should be on your to-do list. Unfortunately, tuition fees for college are rising, and it has no sign of stopping.
If you’re considering a college education for your kid, it might be in your best interest to look for ways to save for their college education. Luckily, there are some strategies that you can opt for; here are some of them.
A 529 plan is a tax-advantaged savings plan that you can use for future education expenses. Originally, 529 plans only included secondary education, but it has expanded to college and even graduate school in recent years. As a result, this savings plan will grow tax-deferred, and it even has tax-free withdrawals if you spend your savings on qualified expenses, mainly for educational purposes.
There are even prepaid tuition plans that you can use to pay for a university of your choice. So, you don’t have to pay out of your pocket the moment your kids go to that university. What’s great about prepaid tuition plans is that they lock on today’s rates, so you don’t have to worry about the rising college rates in the future.
Anyone can open a 529 account, but they are mostly opened by parents or grandparents while having their kids or grandkids as the beneficiaries. In some states, the account holders of the plan are eligible for a state tax deduction. There are two types of 529 plans: savings and prepaid tuition plans.
We already talked about the prepaid tuition plans, so let’s discuss savings plans.
Savings plans are the most common account when it comes to 529 plans. In this plan, the account holder will contribute money, which will then be invested in funds that they can choose. How your plan will grow will depend on how the funds will go in the future.
Wait, aren’t Roth IRA accounts used for retirement? Well … yes and no. Yes, they are mainly used for retirement, but you can also use them for other purposes, like college funding. The question here is: “Should a Roth IRA be used for a college education?” So let’s talk about the pros and cons of using it for Roth IRA:
Pros. One of the main pros of using a Roth IRA for a college education is that it isn’t limited to a single beneficiary. Also, since you’re putting a tax on the money you contributed to your account, you don’t have to pay taxes once you withdraw it. Another thing is that when you withdraw money early for qualified educational expenses, you won’t have to pay early penalty fees. You still have to pay the income tax, though.
Cons. One of the things you have to consider as a parent is that you can’t directly contribute to this account when you’re over the income limitations. And even if you’re eligible to contribute, the limit is low. One of the worst cons is that Roth IRA distributions you want to spend for educational expenses will be categorized as untaxed income on the next free application for federal student aid (FAFSA).
Home Equity Loans
There are a lot of lenders out there that are offering loans to finance specific things. For example, CreditNinja offers online personal loans that you can use for general expenses. You also can go to traditional banks for business financing. However, if you’re looking for a loan that you can take for college expenses, then look no further than home equity loans.
Let’s talk about their pros and cons:
Pros. The collateral will be your home for this loan, which makes it a secured type of loan, easing up your approval process. Also, home equity loans tend to have a fixed interest rate, which is hard to find for private loans. And if you’ve built a significant amount for your equity, you can borrow larger amounts to pay for college. So, in this case, building up equity can technically be your way of saving for your kid’s college education.
Cons. Of course, if you fail to pay back a home equity loan, you risk losing your home. Also, home equity loans have a strict repayment plan, unlike federal student loans, which have different options.
Most of the options discussed above are safe bets, except for the home equity loans because you can lose your house after all. However, all of these options can help you pay for your kid’s college education in the future. And if everything goes according to plan, you’ll never be worried again for your kids when they go to college.
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