In the last two decades, the cost of a college education has almost tripled. Many high school graduates who wish to continue their studies require a student loan to pay tuition, books and housing. Without government-sponsored loans, there would be fewer children in college.
However, student loans are a double-edged sword. While they help children to enter university, they also chain them with large amounts of debts. As a result of the loans, most college students graduate with an average debt of $ 36,000. Some students may have loans for three or four times that amount.
Starting your career can delay the transition of college graduates to adulthood. Trying to buy a house or start a family when you have thousands of dollars in loans is a challenge. The financial uncertainty of the situation is causing Americans to delay marriage and start a family.
Statistics show that it takes the average student about 21 years to pay off his student debt. This situation means that the average student is about 40 years old when he finishes paying his loan bill.
As a worried parent, you probably don’t want your child to have to deal with a mountain of debt after graduation.
When you start a savings account or an investment for your university career, it gives you an advantage in your adult life. Here are some excellent ways to generate savings for your child’s college education.
Read: 10 ways to save money as a family: complete guide
Open an account with a mutual fund
When you start saving for “your child’s education”, it is tempting to open a savings account attached to your online banking profile. However, we do not recommend that you take this approach. A savings account offers very little return, and you will not benefit from the effect of compound interest.
Compound interest means that you earn money on interest and the amount of capital in your account. As a result, the saver experiences exponential growth in his money after 10 to 15 years of making contributions.
The best way to take advantage of compound interest is to invest in a mutual fund. Mutual funds are investment vehicles managed by financial companies. These accounts group the money of the “investors” to increase the purchasing power of the fund. A money manager invests the funds in the account in a portfolio of bonds and shares in an attempt to obtain “Alpha” or profits obtained.
You pay an administration fee on your account that covers the expenses of the fund throughout the year. Most mutual funds pay you between 8 and 12 percent annually, depending on your risk tolerance and market conditions.
There is no limit on the amount you can invest in the fund, but all your earnings are subject to a capital gains tax. Therefore, it is better to calculate the taxable amount before making a withdrawal from your account.
Read: What is a mutual fund? And should you invest in one?
Open a Roth IRA account
The individual retirement account is a popular method to save for retirement in the United States. There are two types of IRA. The first is a traditional IRA, and the second option is a Roth IRA. The difference between the two IRA accounts comes in the tax obligations for the investor.
With a traditional IRA, you pay taxes on the final amount of your withdrawal. The IRS charges you depending on your tax category at the end of your career. With a Roth IRA, you pay taxes on your contributions, but your final withdrawal is tax free.
Therefore, a Roth IRA is a suitable investment vehicle to also save for your children’s college fund. Under normal conditions, the financial services company will not allow you to withdraw your money into your IRA until you are 59.5 years old.
However, there are certain exceptions to this rule. One of the stipulations of the contract states that you can withdraw funds from an IRA to pay for education expenses, such as a college degree.
An IRA works similarly to a mutual fund. The company groups the money of the investors and they use it to buy assets for the fund. However, with an IRA, you have exposure to a wider range of financial assets in your portfolio. The fund administrator may choose to include assets such as property portfolios, index funds and debt vehicles in emerging markets.
More about the IRA:
Take advantage of the 529 university accounts
529 college savings plans also work similarly to an IRA. These vehicles allow parents to invest their dollars after taxes in a diversified and low-cost fund. Parents can withdraw the tax-free money and use it to pay for their children’s college education.
Some 529 funds operate similarly to a 401 (k) plan. During the child’s formative years, the fund invests in riskier assets that are more difficult to liquidate. However, these assets often produce the highest returns. When the child reaches university age, the fund manager changes investments from high risk to low risk.
Low-risk portfolios may earn less as a percentage of earnings, but they are much safer. There is also less risk of losing money if there is a shock in the market. The 529 plans also offer parents some significant tax advantages as well. A 529 plan provides deferred tax earnings if parents use the money to pay for their children’s education.
Some states changed the law with the way 529 Plans operate. As a result, if your child does not want to go to college, you can withdraw the savings. However, you may also have to settle fines for early withdrawal.
Use a Coverdell savings account
Coverdell savings accounts are a viable alternative to using a 529 Plan. The Coverdell and 529 plans allow parents to make payments to the facility using after-tax dollars. As a result, any increase in your savings is tax free. The IRS will not charge you any capital gains tax on your final withdrawal, as long as you use it to finance education costs.
Coverdell ESA offers more space to define the terms of a qualified expense for a withdrawal. While the fund covers tuition costs, it also allows you to withdraw for other education expenses. Coverdell ESA may cover tutoring programs, uniforms and any additional K-12 costs, without a penalty being requested for your withdrawal.
The most significant disadvantage of a Coverdell ESA is the limited contribution. The government only allows parents to contribute $ 2,000 to the fund per beneficiary per year. It is also important to know that children over 18 do not qualify for a Coverdell ESA, and parents must withdraw the funds before the child turns 30.
Investigate prepaid tuition plans
A prepaid tuition plan offers parents an alternative to the 529 Plan. This vehicle provides a savings account for parents who are sure that their children will attend a state public university. The prepaid tuition plan allows parents to save for credits against tuition fees at a predetermined price.
Prepaid tuition plans retain the same tax advantages and parental protection as 529 plans. However, they do not have as much exposure to the stock market, which reduces the fund’s exposure to market volatility.
If your child decides to attend college out of state, then you may not get the full value of the funds or credits in the plan. As an example, if you bought a year of tuition at a Florida state school for $ 14,000 and now the cost of education is $ 20,000, your child gets a full year of college.
However, if they decide to go to school in New York, they get a return on investment of around $ 16,000, but they would not get the $ 20.00 for a school year. Similar to 529 plans, prepaid university tuition plans allow parents to change the beneficiary. However, you will have to pay a fine and a capital gains tax if you use the money for something other than education expenses.
Form a trust
Opening an educational trust is an option for parents who wish to send their children to college. When a person wants to maintain control of another person’s assets, they form a trust. With a trust, you eventually plan to deliver the assets or funds to the beneficiary of the trust. With a trust, you can make arrangements with your lawyer to release only funds for educational expenses.
By controlling the trust, you limit your child’s access to the funds, preventing them from acting irresponsibly with the money. Therefore, your child cannot use the trust to buy a new car or use it to go on vacation.
A trust is an agreement between the trustees (the parents) and the beneficiary (the children). Trusts also have a level of flexibility that makes them ideal for managing any other educational expense. If you open a family trust, the vehicle remains open, even after your death. This feature of trusts makes them viable for anyone who is looking to preserve their wealth and pay less in taxes after approval.
While trusts are a suitable vehicle for controlling assets, they will not generate any interest for your money. However, you can transfer your assets, such as your mutual fund, to the trust, protecting it from misuse.
Invest in index funds and ETF
Indexed funds and ETFs are self-managed investments that can be accessed through a full-service or discount broker. The funds traded on the stock exchange are funds established to track the price action of various assets and commodities. For example, there is an ETF that tracks the price of gold.
These funds give you direct exposure to movements in the markets, and you can invest as you wish. However, we do not recommend that you manage this type of investment yourself if you do not know what you are doing.
Learning to negotiate indices and ETF requires some experience, so you may have to attend an investment course to learn how to do it yourself. However, if you learn to trade these assets, you could benefit from market movements. Gold, oil and other commodities are popular ETFs with a lot of volume and interest from the investing public.
It is important to keep in mind that using ETF and indexed funds can be dangerous for your finances. If the market experiences a sudden collapse, it could lose a significant part of its funds. The returns are higher if you decide to self-manage your account, but a professional money manager will always do better than your best efforts.
More about ETFs and index funds:
Talk to a financial advisor
When you start a fund for your child’s college education, talk to a financial advisor. An advisor can help you adjust your budget to meet your monthly savings goals. They sit with you and examine the costs of college education and what you can expect to pay for when your child goes to college.
Advisors can help you adjust your savings rate to beat inflation. They give you a clear indication of the dollar figure that you need to save each month to reach your goal. Advisors are experts in finding areas when you need to reduce your expenses. By saving money on your monthly bills, you have more money to allocate to your children’s college fund.
Advisors can also recommend high performance mutual funds and other asset classes where you can grow your money.
More about financial advisors:
The final thought: start saving early
The sooner your child’s college fund begins, the better. It is better if you start saving as soon as you find out that you are pregnant. However, many people do not start saving for their children’s college until they reach high school. As a result, many children end up having to resort to student loans to make up the difference.
If you start saving early, you don’t have to make massive monthly contributions. Start the investment with $ 50 or $ 100, and slowly increase your contributions over time. If you follow this strategy, there will be enough money for your children to go to college and attend graduate school.
However, even if you start saving late, it is better later than ever. Give your child a financial advantage in life and help him with his college fund. By keeping them without debt in early adulthood, it gives them more opportunities.
Post views: 30