If you have friends or relations with young children, consider starting or contributing to a 529 College Savings Plan. It’s a great way to fund a future education and, let’s face it, really young children often enjoy the box and wrapping more than the gift.
So, if you want to give a child something they’ll always remember, starting a college fund may fit the bill. It’s a gift that may also benefit the parents. The College Board reported the average cost of tuition, fees, room, and board for in-state students attending a public four-year university is expected to be about $20,000 for the 2016-17 school year. At that rate, the average cost for four years of college would be about $80,000. Since two-thirds of students received financial aid during the 2014-15 school year, the following example estimates out-of-pocket college costs at $60,000.
Consider the cost of each option for this fictional family:
- Borrowing to pay for college: The Smiths borrow $60,000 to pay for 18-year-old Joe Smith’s college tuition. The interest owed is 5 percent per year. Over the next 10 years, they repay the principal, plus about $16,400 in interest. By the time Joe is 28, and the loan is repaid, his undergraduate degree will have cost about $76,400.
- Saving to pay for college: Alternatively, the Smiths could open a 529 Plan account for Joe Smith when he was born. If his family contributed $2,100 a year to the account and earned 5 percent each year, at age 18, Joe would have about $62,000 for college. His family would have contributed about $37,800 and earnings in the account would have contributed about $24,200.
The difference in the amount this fictional family would spend on college is about $38,600.
529 plans offer other advantages, too. Any earnings plan accounts grow federally tax-free, and distributions are tax-free as long as the money is used for qualified college expenses. Many states offer tax deductions or tax credits for 529 plan contributions, as well.
Any adult can open a 529 plan and fund it on behalf of a child. Once the account has been established, parents, grandparents, relatives, and friends can contribute. If you would like to learn more, contact your financial professional.
http://www.finaid.org/calculators/loanpayments.phtml (or go to https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/peakcontent/+Peak+Commentary/11-21-16_FinAid-College_Loan_Calculator-Footnote_7.pdf)
http://www.moneychimp.com/calculator/compound_interest_calculator.htm (or go to https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/peakcontent/+Peak+Commentary/11-21-16_Moneychimp-Compound_Interest_Calculator-Footnote_8.pdf)