Why choose this option? If you have a child with potential, and you have the ability to save even a little bit of money for his or her education, doing it now could make a lifetime’s worth of difference to your child later. Investment flexibility- With a Coverdell savings plan, you will often get much more flexibility in your investments, as compared to a 529 plan. Coverdell Advantages over a 529: Coverdell allows you to self-direct your investments, so you can direct the investments like a brokerage account. https://www.wsj.com/articles/coverdells-vs-529-accounts-the-winner-is-11556898137. Many parents prefer this method because it allows their child to focus on school instead of worrying about their expenses. Are they essentially brokerage accounts that are not subject to taxes on withdraws? This restricts the wealthier from contributing to this type of account. For risk-averse parents who are sure that their child will attend college in state, the prepaid tuition option provides definite security. Withdrawals from a Coverdell ESA or 529 plan for qualified expenses can be taken federal tax free, as well. The most common one is an income tax deduction for contributions to the plan, which can be very valuable if you reside in a high-tax state like New York or Massachusetts. One disadvantage of ESA plans is that you and any other contributors, such as grandparents, can only invest $2,000 per year for each child. Thus they are like a Roth. This allows you a lot more flexibility with the funds instead of only using them for college. This also applies to any interest or other earnings in the account if you use the withdrawals for qualified educational expenses. The two most popular tax-advantaged college savings plans are Qualified Tuition Programs, commonly known as QTPs or 529 plans, and the Coverdell Education Savings Account. The other is that in addition to college expenses, Coverdells can be withdrawn tax-free to pay for a broad range of K-12 expenses, while 529 plans are limited to K-12 tuition.
Contributions to a Coverdell ESA start to phase out at a modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) level of $110,000 ($220,000 if married filing jointly) for 2016. “At most, only 5.6% of your assets will be considered available to help pay for college costs, which means most of your savings will be protected within the formula,” Ms. Fontaine says. There's also income limits for contributions and also age limits.
There are a couple of ways to do this. In addition, most states will guarantee your child’s tuition even if the investments in your account turn out to be real losers. If I do this, will it make it easier for my children to win financial-aid awards, all else being equal? College only- As the name implies, this particular savings account can only be used for college expenses. The content on this site is provided for informational purposes only and is not legal or professional advice. Education Tax Benefits: Can They Help You Pay for College? Due to that restriction, ESAs aren’t the best route if you’re getting a late start in saving for college costs.
If you establish an account for Ted but he wins a full tuition golf scholarship, you can roll the money over to an account for Susie, who didn’t make the cut in soccer. Unlike the prepaid tuition option, the savings option does not lock in today’s tuition price. So don't count on it, but ask your tax pro if you get to that point. Both 529 plans and Coverdell accounts permit tax-free rollovers to family members. How’s Your ETF Portfolio Doing? Withdrawals from both accounts are tax-free if they are used to pay for education expenses, and they are taxable if they are used to pay for something else. With a 529 plan, the account must be in your name, not your child’s. Second, each Coverdell kid can only receive account contributions of $2,000 each year, even if multiple accounts are established in his name. Meanwhile, each beneficiary can receive only $2,000 each year in Coverdell contributions, a problem if you’d like to contribute more or if multiple family members each want to contribute. The 529 college savings plan was setup through federal IRS regulations, and its primary advantage are its associated tax benefits. How to Move Coverdell Money Into a 529 Plan, Coverdell vs 529: Understanding the Differences, The Basics of a Coverdell Education Savings Account, The Differences Between a Coverdell and a 529, Subscribe to news about Financial Planning, Start Up Business Tips: 3 Ways to Get Financing, Choosing between Money Market Accounts and CDs, Business Start Up Help: 4 Reasons to Form an LLC. Should College Savings Be in My Child's Name. My take? This works for any family member of the beneficiary, including the beneficiary’s spouse, children, step-children, foster children, grandchildren, sisters, brothers, nieces, nephews, parents, aunts, uncles, first cousins, and even in-laws. “For some families, this provides the comfort in knowing that even if one child does not use the full proceeds of a 529 account, unused moneys can be transferred to another child without a tax event,” Ms. Feirstein says. This gives you more control and flexibility. The savings option is more freewheeling than the prepaid tuition option. How can divorced parents avoid being penalized by the financial-aid rules?
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