1) College is Expensive
According to the College Board the average tuition for a 4 year private education is $39,518 per year. The average cost of a 4 year in- state public education is $17,860. Either way, it’s a lot of money.
Looking at these numbers many parents get discouraged and do nothing. This is a big mistake. Start where you are. Put away some money for college. Have it taken out of your checking account automatically every month. If you don’t see it, you won’t miss it.
Many commentators are questioning the value of college now. After spending all of this money, it’s difficult for many graduates to get a job. Some statistics seem to support this. However, as the economy improves and unemployment declines this situation will change. In order to compete in this marketplace people will need to have marketable skills. This could be a 4 year degree, a 2 year degree or perhaps graduating from a technical school. Without some formal education after high school it appears to be very difficult job market.
2) Prepay 5 Years
An individual can gift up to $14,000 per year to an unlimited number of people without having to file a gift tax return or pay a gift tax. With the 529 plan however there is an additional option. With the 529 Plan you can fund 5 years of annual gifts, $70,000 ($14,000 X 5) in one year. A spouse could fund the same amount making the gift $140,000. For these gifts to stay out of the donor’s estate, they would need to live the succeeding 5 years. Getting these assets out of their estate earlier however allows these funds to appreciate longer for college.
3) Keep Control of the Assets
When a 529 Plan is opened there is what is known as the account holder. This is typically the parent or grandparent that is funding the account. There is also what is known as the successor account holder. This is the person who would assume all the rights of the original owner if something happens to that owner. The final party on the account is the beneficiary. This is typically the child (or grandchild). The account holder has complete control over the account. No distributions can be made from the 529 plan without the account holder authorizing it.
Will you open a 529 College Savings Plan?
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