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Saving for College

Should You Save for Retirement or Pay for College?

Should You Save for Retirement or Pay for College?

Your kids are about to go to college. Your retirement's round the corner too. If you don't have enough time and money to reach your ideal financial goals for both college and retirement, one goal will need to take priority. By Paula Pant.   When you hold your first child for the first time, 18 years sounds like a long time. You assume you'll be able to save for college in that length of time. After all, it's almost two decades away, right?   Not really. Life's other expenses...more

5 College Savings Plans that Could Save You Money

5 College Savings Plans that Could Save You Money

If you’ve got kids, it’s time to start planning for their education — even if they’re still in diapers.   The cost of a college education these days (average yearly tuition for 2013-2014) ranges from $8,000 for in-state public college students to $30,000 for private college students, and historically rises faster than the level of inflation. Given that harsh reality, your best strategy is to develop a savings plan early — as in, by your child’s first...more

Budgeting and Your College Student

Budgeting and Your College Student

Many students will first handle money without parental supervision during college. To help keep costs down and avoid conflicts, you may want to develop a budget to guide your child's spending. As you go through the process, consider the following: Firstly, consider all potential expenses, including travel, entertainment, food, clothing, phone calls, periodicals, computer expenses, medical and dental expenses, and insurance. Develop a preliminary budget for the first couple of months of...more

Tips for Your College Education Fund

Tips for Your College Education Fund

No one disputes the fact that the cost of a college education is high. For the 2004-05 school year, the average annual cost of a four-year public university is $14,640 and for a four-year private university is $30,295 (Source: Trends in College Pricing, 2004). While those prices are sure to increase in the future, that doesn't mean you should just give up and ignore the entire subject. There are a number of strategies to help you fund that college education: Start investing as much as you...more

Withdrawing College Funds

Withdrawing College Funds

Once your child starts college, you'll want to use funds set aside for college to maximize tax advantages as well as your financial aid awards. Which investments should you withdraw first - money from personal savings, Section 529 plan assets, or funds from Coverdell education savings accounts (ESAs)? How will those withdrawals affect education deductions and credits for tax purposes? And then, what impact will all of this have on your financial aid award? From a financial aid...more

Planning for College Costs? Be Sure to Do Your Homework

Planning for College Costs? Be Sure to Do Your Homework

Most people agree that an investment in a college education is money well spent. But finding the money to pay for escalating education costs is not easy. According to The College Board, the cost of putting a student through college rose at a rapid pace again this year, averaging $27,516 a year at private, four-year schools and $11,354 at four-year public colleges. And if that figure isn't sobering enough, consider this: By the time today's newborn enters college, a four-year degree at a public...more

Dueling Goals: Saving For College and Retirement

Dueling Goals: Saving For College and Retirement

Back in the "good old days" when people tended to have children at younger ages, they were able to take important financial goals like saving for retirement and educating their kids one at a time. Now, as the baby boomers have popularized the trend of starting families later in life, it's not uncommon for people to face these two daunting goals simultaneously. If you are among them, here are some ways to prepare for when you will start tapping both nest eggs. Start investing for both goals...more

How do You Plan to Save for College?

How do You Plan to Save for College?

If the sounds of high school Pomp and Circumstance seem far away for members of your family, hold onto your mortarboards. The cost of a college education is rising and showing no signs of decreasing. According to the College Board, the average public university tuition and expenses grew 14.1% to $4,964 annually for the 2003-04 school year. If you have future college students in your family, saving for college now can help make paying for college easier. Two popular ways to save for college...more

529 Savings Plans: A Flexible Way to Save for Higher Education

529 Savings Plans: A Flexible Way to Save for Higher Education

As if saving isn't difficult enough, setting aside money for college has become an added challenge for many parents and grandparents in recent years, as the cost of higher education continues to rise. In fact, with the price tag for a four-year degree expected to increase 165% for both public and private institutions by 2020, according to a recent study by the College Board, meeting education savings goals can be downright overwhelming. Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code allows states...more

Save Wisely for College

Save Wisely for College

Education funding is a hot topic these days. With the average cost of college soaring, families are coming to realize that they had better start saving sooner rather than later. In the past three decades, public college tuition has increased steadily, while tuition and fees at private schools have skyrocketed nine-fold'to the point where price of a four-year education, plus room and board, at a moderately priced private school can top $100,000. With yearly increases at many schools far...more

Gifting to Children

Gifting to Children

Today, there are a number of ways to save for higher education. Parents can take advantage of pre-paid college plans, Section 529 plans and Coverdell Educational Savings Accounts (formally the Education IRAs) to name a few. All of these plans have both strengths and weaknesses. Custodial Accounts also have strengths and weaknesses. Unlike the Coverdell Educational Savings Accounts and Section 529 Plans, money can be withdrawn without a 10 percent penalty when the distribution is not used...more

College Saving -- Down to the Wire

College Saving -- Down to the Wire

Tassels, caps, gowns and football season  these are the sights that trigger high school students' dreams of college, but they can alsopoint to a financial nightmare for parents facing college costs. According to 2013 estimates from CollegeData and other sources, the average cost of public college stands at above $20,000 a year, and nearly double that for a private university! How do families handle these costs? There is no miracle solution for financially strapped parents with only a few years...more

Section 529 Savings Plans

Section 529 Savings Plans

Section 529 savings plans are state-sponsored college savings plans to which anyone can contribute money on behalf of a beneficiary. Contributions are invested according to options directed by the state. Here are some pros and cons to help you prepare for saving for your childs education with these plans. Pros: Money can be used for any college in the U.S. Savers may get state tax breaks for contributions. The IRS provides for tax-free distributions for qualified expenses (tuition, fees,...more

The Pillars of Education Planning

The Pillars of Education Planning

An ever-stressful topic among parents is how to accumulate sufficient resources to meet their children's education funding needs. Ideally, the accumulation of resources for education costs should be based on an investment strategy that incorporates fundamental investment planning principles. Before an investment strategy is formulated a parent may wish to address three basic issues that may be critical to successful planning: control of investment assets, financial aid concerns,...more

The Pillars of Education Planning

The Pillars of Education Planning

An ever-stressful topic among parents is how to accumulate sufficient resources to meet their children's education funding needs. Ideally, the accumulation of resources for education costs should be based on an investment strategy that incorporates fundamental investment planning principles. Before an investment strategy is formulated a parent may wish to address three basic issues that may be critical to successful planning: control of investment assets, financial aid concerns,...more

Crash Course On College Savings Plans

Crash Course On College Savings Plans

Investing education dollars in a tax-free, state-sponsored 529 college savings plan may be a no-brainer. Choosing the right plan can be a brain-rattler. More than 70 plans exist nationwide, and investment options seem to multiply daily. Fees and expenses also vary widely, and signing up for a plan is only the first of many crucial decisions. Here are a few things to consider. Selecting a plan: All 529s carry several layers of costs, with fees for enrollment, account maintenance, and...more

529 Plans ? A Tax Advantaged College Savings Program

529 Plans ? A Tax Advantaged College Savings Program

Is it possible to secure a tax-advantaged college savings plan that has no age restrictions? How about no income phase out limits if I make a good living? Do we have to be penalized with those pesky residency requirements? One more thing, can I use the plan to pay for more than just tuition? An increasingly popular way to save for higher-education expenses and the answer to the above wish list could very well be a 529 plan. In case you don't know, 529 plans are also referred to as qualified...more

States May Offer the Key to Meeting Education Costs

States May Offer the Key to Meeting Education Costs

Every spousal financial relationship is unique. Through the years, couples develop their own systems for handling financial matters. Sometimes it is one partner's responsibility to manage all finances, sometimes the other's and sometimes a combination. Whatever the situation, certain information should be shared. Couples should consider mutual responsibility for and knowledge of: Retirement plans: Take time to fully acquaint each other with employer retirement benefits. Both partners...more

An Innovative and Powerful Way to Save for Higher Education

An Innovative and Powerful Way to Save for Higher Education

With the cost of college tuition and expenses rising at a higher pace than the rate of general inflation, planning for a child's education is one of the most important financial decisions one can make. In the past, many concerned investors have used tools such as Education Savings Accounts, mutual funds, and custodial accounts to save for their children's or grandchildren's college education. While these methods are certainly better than not investing at all, they do contain certain...more

Five Ways to Cover College Tuition

Five Ways to Cover College Tuition

There is no escaping the fact that college costs are rising. According to the College Board, a not-for-profit membership organization composed of more than 4,700 educational organizations, the average annual tuition at four-year private universities is $20,082, up 6% from last year, and $5,132 at four-year public universities, up 10.5% from last year. As the deadline nears for paying the fall semester's college tuition bill, you might be trying to figure out which assets to tap for the...more

College Savings Plans: The Benefits of a 529 Plan

College Savings Plans: The Benefits of a 529 Plan

Do you know what a "529" college savings plan is and how they work? If you?re concerned about investing enough money to send your children to college, it's critical you know about this new, powerful way to save for higher education. 529 plans, named for a tax code section, were started several years ago as state prepaid tuition plans. Today, 529 plans are usually categorized as either prepaid programs or savings programs, although some plans have elements of both. Section 529 prepaid...more

Interpreting 529 Plan Expenses

Interpreting 529 Plan Expenses

529 plans have many benefits, ranging from the fact that the owner, not the beneficiary controls the assets to the fact that earnings grow tax free from federal taxes and withdrawals for qualified education expenses are free from federal taxes through 2010. However, one reason many investors have not more readily utilized 529 plans is due to the extreme difficulty in understanding, calculating and comparing total plan expenses. Many of these plans? expenses and cost structures are not very...more

529 Savings Plans: King of the College Funding Accounts or 2nd Tier Option?

529 Savings Plans: King of the College Funding Accounts or 2nd Tier Option?

In just about any publication you read, from newspapers to magazines, "experts" are hailing the unmatched benefits afforded to you for education savings through a 529 Savings Plan. From the possibility of state tax deductible contributions, to high contribution limits, to tax-free distributions, the 529 Savings Plan turns water into wine. Most "experts" would not only have you believe that these accounts are the end all, be all of education savings vehicles, but that you have some form of...more

ACA and Job Lock

ACA and Job Lock

By Justin Stoltzfus January 15, 2014 The media is all over the Affordable Care Act, mostly because of intense political drama. Reports on the number of applicants signed up, the strengths and weaknesses of various state exchanges, and the "he said, she said" of website administration are getting a lot of attention, from the Internet to cable news. However, fewer analysts are looking at the long-term effects of the ACA. We can reasonably assume that, over time, more people will buy...more

Legacy Moves: Planning Your Business's future

Legacy Moves: Planning Your Business's future

By James O'Brien January 15, 2014 When you build a business, you're not simply fulfilling a vision while earning a living; you're also creating a legacy. It's your legacy, and it's something to pass along. Enter succession planning: the process of preparing to hand over your company to future leaders whom you trust will care for it. Let's look at how you should start preparing for your company's future management. The best succession: five ways to prepare Succession planning is...more

Good News for College-Bound Students: Fees Dropping in 2014 for 529 College Savings Plans

Good News for College-Bound Students: Fees Dropping in 2014 for 529 College Savings Plans

By Justin Stoltzfus. Those who want to put money into a?529 college savings plan?should know about how these kinds of investment opportunities have been revamped and improved during recent years. Now, some of the newest reports on these useful investment vehicles for higher education show that the costs of many of these plans are coming down significantly. A Jan. 10 piece in?U.S. News & World Report?goes over the details of how higher education experts are seeing costs go down for a...more

The Pillars of Education Planning

The Pillars of Education Planning

An ever-stressful topic among parents is how to accumulate sufficient resources to meet their children's education funding needs. Ideally, the accumulation of resources for education costs should be based on an investment strategy that incorporates fundamental investment planning principles. Before an investment strategy is formulated a parent may wish to address three basic issues that may be critical to successful planning: control of investment assets, financial aid concerns,...more

The Pillars of Education Planning

The Pillars of Education Planning

An ever-stressful topic among parents is how to accumulate sufficient resources to meet their children's education funding needs. Ideally, the accumulation of resources for education costs should be based on an investment strategy that incorporates fundamental investment planning principles. Before an investment strategy is formulated a parent may wish to address three basic issues that may be critical to successful planning: control of investment assets, financial aid concerns,...more

Five ways to cover College Tution

Five ways to cover College Tution

There is no escaping the fact that college costs are rising. According to the College Board, a non-profit composed of more than 4,700 educational institutions, the average annual tuition is $30,094 for four-year private universities and $8,893 for four-year public universities. Thats a hike of 14% and 27%, respectively, over the past five years. As the deadline nears for paying the fall semester's college tuition bill, you might be trying to figure out which assets to tap for the...more

An Innovative and Powerful Way to Save for Higher Education ? The 529 College Savings Plan

An Innovative and Powerful Way to Save for Higher Education ? The 529 College Savings Plan

With the cost of college tuition and expenses rising at a higher pace than the rate of general inflation, planning for a child's education is one of the most important financial decisions one can make. In the past, many concerned investors have used tools such as Education Savings Accounts, mutual funds, and custodial accounts to save for their children's or grandchildren's college education. While these methods are certainly better than not investing at all, they do contain certain...more

Crash Course on College Savings Plans

Crash Course on College Savings Plans

Investing education dollars in a tax-free, state-sponsored 529 college savings plan may be a no-brainer. Choosing the right plan can be a brain rattler. Finance experts can point to hundreds of options for 529 savers, considering their investment class, location and strategy, and investment options seem to multiply daily. Fees and expenses also vary widely, and signing up for a plan is only the first of many crucial decisions. Here are a few things to consider. Selecting a plan: All...more

The Role of the Prepaid Tuition Plan -- and Some Helpful Things to Know in 2014

The Role of the Prepaid Tuition Plan -- and Some Helpful Things to Know in 2014

By Justin Stoltzfus March 3, 2014 In addition to the wide range of 529 college savings plans based on tax exempt status, there's an option commonly called "prepaid tuition," which often receives a "529" designation and presents an alternative for college savings. Prepaid tuition 529 plans work differently from tax free 529 plans and come with different kinds of risks and rewards. How prepaid tuition plans work Families looking at higher education investment...more

7 Financial Tips Every College Student Should Know

7 Financial Tips Every College Student Should Know

By Paula Pant Wiseradvisor Contributor College is an exciting time, but it's also an expensive time. With the average debt for graduating seniors hovering around $29,000 (according to CNN), every incoming freshman should be taking a crash course in College Finances 101. So before you hit the books, study up on these seven essential tips to get a handle on your finances and get the most out of your college experience, for the lowest cost possible. 1. Know Your Financial Aid Options Most...more

Tailor Finances To Fit Your Stage In Life

Tailor Finances To Fit Your Stage In Life

The media offers a lot of advice on picking the best stocks, but not enough is written about selecting the best strategies based on your age and stage in life. In her book How Much Is Enough? Balancing Today's Needs With Tomorrow's Retirement Goals, certified financial planner Diane McCurdy offers some excellent advice that can help you judge your progress and determine whether you are on track. Ages 20 to 35: This is the time to take risks and use your youthful energy to chase your...more

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