August 1st, 2017
Congratulations, you just had a baby or know someone who did….is it too early to start thinking about saving for college? College costs are astronomical and are forecasted to only keep rising. However, there are ways to help save for these future expenses. A 529 college savings plan is a good place to start.
A 529 plan is a tax-advantaged savings plan designed to encourage saving for future college costs. 529 plans, legally known as “qualified tuition plans,” are sponsored by states, state agencies, or educational institutions.
The main benefits of 529 plans are the tax-free growth and tax-exempt withdrawals as long as the funds are used to pay qualified educational expenses. Depending on your circumstances, there may be additional benefits as well. Certain states offer an income tax deduction up to a set dollar amount for contributions made to their 529 plan in a given year. For example, in New York, a single taxpayer can get up to a $5,000 NYS income tax deduction, while a married couple who file jointly can get up to a $10,000 NYS income tax deduction if they contribute at least that much to a NY 529 plan in that calendar year.
In the event the beneficiary of a 529 plan doesn’t attend college or other qualifying higher education institution, the funds can be transferred to a 529 plan for another sibling or other family member. This can also be done if you have saved more than the actual expenses. A transfer between beneficiaries allows the tax-favored status to continue. If the kids do not attend college or there is excess for the parent and the funds are withdrawn, the appreciation will be taxed and there will be a 10% federal income tax penalty.
Anyone is able to contribute to a 529 plan, allowing family members and friends of the child to help save for college, even if the parents are unable to set aside the money themselves. 529 plans are included when calculating financial aid on the FAFSA form, and may be a consideration.
As you can see, there are many benefits to funding a 529 plan for your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, etc. Here at Frisch Financial Group, we are able to guide you through the process of starting a 529 plan to help put that child on the right path for future success!