Like Retirement Planning, which has to commence long before you enter into retirement, Education Planning (for yourself or your children) needs to occur well before mature learners or young scholars are poised to embrace higher education. Luckily, there are a number of government-encouraged educational planning tools that are available to individuals and families.
Why Education Planning is Important
It’s not just about understanding America’s higher-education landscape. It’s how individuals and families use that information, to navigate that landscape, that ultimately matters. Without a clear plan in place, chances are that a generation of eager learners will either not know which educational opportunities to pursue; or they’ll lack the financial resources to pursue an educational path that leads them to the career of their choice.
Without prudent educational planning, individuals and families are often left scrambling to manage and fund the higher-educational aspirations of their own or that of their families. Our professionals have helped countless young men and women and their families make socially and financially-informed decisions about their education plans.
What We Can Do For You
We’ll help you take the guess-work out of planning for future educational needs – whether it’s for yourself or for a family member (child, ward, grandchild). We do this by creating a forward-looking financial plan of estimated education costs and expenditure. Our team will help you put tax-advantaged strategies in place that are in accordance with a myriad of Federal and State laws.
There are a number of Educational Savings Accounts (ESAs) and Educational Savings Plans (ESPs) available to Americans. And while some ESPs allow you to set up an unlimited number of accounts, not all expenditure incurred is “qualified” under every plan – the rules might differ. Our Educational Planning professionals will help you make sense of some of those ESAs, including:
- 529 Plans: Also called “qualified tuition plans”, these are state or educational institution-sponsored tax-advantaged savings vehicles meant to encourage individuals and families to save for the future education costs of a beneficiary (child, grandchild).
- Prepaid Tuition Plans and Educational Savings Plans: These are two variants of 529 Plans that we’ll help you understand. While Prepaid Plans allow you to purchase credits or units towards future educational costs, Educational Savings Plans are like an investment savings account, but where funds are designated solely for future educational expenses.
Both variants of the 529 Plan have specific guidelines and rules that are sometimes difficult to understand and follow. Our professionals will help you make sense of it all when deciding which of these are right for you and your family.
- Coverdell Education Savings Accounts (Coverdell ESA): These are educational savings that can be built over time using a custodial or trust structure. The sole purpose of such an account is for paying approved educational expenses on behalf of a designated beneficiary to the account.
Navigating the ESA landscape: We’ll help you decide which of these ESAs are ideal for your needs. For instance, some contributions might not be deductible, while other ESA accounts are income-tested – you are only able to set them up based on income thresholds.
Prior to investing in a 529 Plan investors should consider whether the investor's or designated beneficiary's home state offers any state tax or other state benefits such as financial aid, scholarship funds, and protection from creditors that are only available for investments in such state's qualified tuition program. Withdrawals used for qualified expenses are federally tax free. Tax treatment at the state level may vary. Please consult with your tax advisor before investing.