College costs are a growing concern for many future students, with tuition and room and board rates increasing steadily each year. Many of our clients have a desire to partially or completely cover the future college costs of their children, grandchildren, or other loved ones.
Fortunately, the government offers two tax-advantaged Section 529 college savings plans that we can help clients navigate, and, if applicable, manage.
- Prepaid tuition plans are purchased at a certain cost and provide guaranteed coverage for a certain amount of future tuition rates at in-state colleges (and can be applied to private or out-of-state public universities at an established “exchange” rate). These plans offer a hedge against future tuition costs.
- College savings plans are investment accounts that clients can contribute to and designed to be used for post-secondary education costs. Contributions are tax-deferred and avoid taxation entirely if they are used for qualified education expenses (which include tuition, as well as room and board for full-time students, and several other approved costs).
HOW WE CAN HELP
For clients interested in prepaid tuition plans, we can assist in deciding whether this is an effective solution for their needs and provide guidance and advice as necessary in establishing the plan and incorporating it into their long-term financial plan.
For clients who establish college savings plans, we can assist with selecting the specific plan (there are many plans that states make available to non-state residents), as well as providing investment selection guidance. College savings plans typically offer a limited range of mutual fund or index investment choices, and we can assist in allocating investment selections to best reflect the rest of the client’s portfolio. We provide portfolio statements that incorporate the client’s college savings plans and manage portfolio allocations based on the client’s total portfolio, including college savings plans.
We also offer analyses and guidance on anticipated future college costs and help clients develop an appropriate education contribution strategy while ensuring their own portfolio will continue to meet their needs. We can also help clients build education savings strategies beyond college savings plans, including the use of Trusts and Coverdell Education Savings Accounts.