Thank you, COUNTRY Financial for teaming up with MDM to share new ways to utilize a 529 Plan to make educational planning for our kids easier.
If you are anything like me when you hear about saving for your kid’s education you think you have all the time in the world to do so, resulting in pushing it off another year. Plus if your kids are anything like my 3 and 5-year-old, they are basically baby geniuses and will probably get a full ride to an Ivy League School by the time they are getting learners permits. Wishful thinking, right? Saving early on for child’s education has never been more important than now due to some recent changes in the 529 Savings Plan.
A recent provision expands the benefits of a 529 Savings Plan to include tax-free distributions to pay for K-12 expenses. Before this provision, 529 Savings Plan offered tax-free earnings growth and tax-free withdrawals when the funds were used to pay for college only. Families can now withdraw up to $10,000 per year tax-free for private elementary through high school.
According to Private School Review, the average private elementary school average is $9,263 per year and the private high school average is $14,017 per year so this is a perfect way to start saving. Now I realize as a new mom you are probably thinking, I have no idea whether or not I plan on sending my kid to private school. But if you are one of the ones that know private schooling is in your future this is def something that you should think about. But plans change and thankfully if you begin investing and choose to change education type at least you know this can also then be used to cover college as well.
Benefits of a 529 Savings Plan
Not only can you get a tax deduction or credit for contributions (33 states offer a direct state tax deductions for your contributions) making this a much better choice than using a traditional savings account or worse, retirement account to pay for school. Plus your earnings grow on a tax-advantaged basis, and when you withdraw the money, it is tax-free if the funds are used for qualified education expenses. Plus as shown here, ANYONE can contribute to your plan. Time to start updating Birthday Invitations with account details.
What Can a 529 Savings Plan Be Used For
Tuition and fees for Private Elementary School, Middle School, and High School as well as and College.
Then for post-secondary education only it can be used for books, supplies, computers and related equipment and services, room and board, and any equipment for special needs to use. When speaking of room and board, 529 Savings Plan can be used to pay for rent for students who do not live on campus, as long as the student is enrolled at least half-time.
You can always withdraw money from a 529 Savings Plan for any reason, but if the withdrawals are non-qualified, you may be subject to paying a penalty and taxes on any earnings.
Each plan has a beneficiary which can be re-assigned by the Account Holder at any point as well. Say one of your children gets a full ride, reassign it to another child or to anyone else related to the child, such as parents, grandparents, first cousins, aunts, and uncles. I am not advocating you putting your dreams on hold while your child chases theirs, but change that beneficiary to yourself and go back to school to get that degree you have been dreaming of. There are so many options, it is really a no-brainer.
I am so thankful for Partners like COUNTRY Financial that help navigate these unfamiliar territories. Parenting is hard enough and it takes a village.