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Pondering Parent Q & A


 Q:

Can I tap into my retirement savings to pay for my child’s college education?

—Pondering Parent

  

A: Dear Pondering:

If your kids will need financial assistance, beyond student loans, to pay for their college education, it’s vital that the way in which you choose to save will not negatively impact their qualification for such assistance. To this end, while you can use your retirement funds to pay for college expenses, this can affect your child’s eligibility for various need-based financial aid programs.

Retirement funds withdrawn to pay college expenses are reported on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as additional income. Consequently, when using retirement funds, the expected family contribution used from FAFSA will be higher, which will therefore reduce your child’s chances of qualifying for financial assistance.

Consult with us as your Personal Family Lawyer if you choose to tap into your retirement...

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3 Critical Considerations For How To Save For Your Child’s (or Grandchild's) College Education—Part 2

If you have started to save for your child or grandchild’s college education, it’s worth considering whether to use a 529 plan, an education savings account, or an irrevocable trust. 

 

Last week, in part one of this series, we discussed 529 plans and education savings accounts, which are both popular options for saving for college education. One of the main reasons for their popularity is their tax-saving advantages. The money you contribute to a 529 account grows on a tax-deferred basis, and withdrawals are tax-free, provided they are used for qualified education expenses, such as tuition, room and board, and other education-related fees.

 

That said, one of the downsides of 529 plans is that they come with strict limits on how you can use the funds (for education-related expenses only), and they also have a limited range of options for how you can invest your funds, primarily in various mutual funds. For these reasons, 529 plans and ESAs aren’t...

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3 Critical Considerations For How To Save For Your Child’s (or Grandchild's) College Education—Part 1

If you have started to save for your child or grandchild’s college education, it’s worth considering whether to use a 529 plan, an education savings account, or an Irrevocable Trust. 

 

Here’s what we think you should consider as you decide: 

 

First, consider whether you want your offspring to have broader options than just the traditional college experience. 

 

Since the start of the pandemic, college enrollments have declined by over one million students over the past two years, and with college tuition getting more and more expensive, many students are considering alternatives to the traditional higher education path.

 

Gap years, travel, trade programs, and online training are replacing the traditional college education path for many, and if you want that to be an option for your children or grandchildren, you should be aware that the traditional college savings plans may not be the right fit for your family.

 

Instead,...

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