doctors want to know how to save for their kids college

The Best Way To Save For Your Kid’s College

Did you know that over $1 trillion dollars have been saved for college education and nearly 70% of that is saved in a checking or savings accounts? Wow! With several options out there, it can be overwhelming to understand what is available and how to narrow down the best options for your kiddos. Today we talk with Abby Chao from College Backer. We discuss the pros and cons for Coverdell, UGMA (Uniform Gift to Minor Act) and 529 accounts.

With each state pretty much having their own plan, we highlight a few 529 plans that are our top recommendations based on some general assumptions.

If you want to save for your kid’s education but have no idea how or are confused by all the different plans out there, then this show is a must listen.

We discuss the pros and cons for Coverdell, but first, what is a 529?

One major takeaway from this episode is around expense ratios within the 529 plans. The expense ratios range between 0.2% to 1.3%. That is a massive gap between a bad 529 plan and a best in class 529 plan so make sure you really analyze the cost of the 529 before you start funding it for the next 10-18 years.

College Backer makes it easy for parents and grandparents to save for college in a more social way. They give you a personal link that will allow you to share with family and friends that will allow them to donate directly to your kid’s college 529.

Best 529 plan?

I previously had been using Fidelity NH’s plan prior to making the switch to CollegeBacker and now I have set up an account and a link for both of my kids, Wyatt and Ruby. When its time for gifts, I have told my family to make a small contribution to the account instead of getting them toys that they will break or stop using within a few months.

College Backer was kind enough to give all listeners a $25 match into the account. I encourage you to sign up for an account today.

WHAT YOU WILL LEARN:

  • Pros and Cons for Coverdell, UGMA (Uniform Gift to Minor Act) and 529 accounts.
  • Which accounts could affect obtaining financial aid and which accounts don’t.
  • Choosing your state’s plan or going elsewhere.
  • Top 529 plans recommendations based on some general assumptions.
  • What is a 529 and do you need one?
  • Our take on the cost of college growing at 6% OVER inflation.
  • Why time is your best friend when saving for college.
  • What happens if you overfund a 529 plan?
  • Using 529 funds on more than just tuition.

Don’t Forget to Add to Your Toolbox, Get Involved and Help. Here’s how:

If you enjoyed this episode, I’m sure you would enjoy reading this: What is a 529 College Savings Plan and is it Worth Opening?

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Full Transcript: The Best Way To Save For Your Kid’s College, a 529

Ryan

Do you want to save for your kids’ education but have no idea how? Are you confused by all the different plans out there? Get ready for a deep dive into the best ways to save for college.

Ryan

Hey, hey what’s up everyone? Thank you so much for joining me today. I’m really excited to bring you this episode where we talk all about the different ways that you can save for your kids’ college education. I get this question asked a lot. In fact, it’s the number most viewed blog post on my website where we talk about what is a 529, and should you open one? I thought, you know what? Let’s have an expert come in and talk all about the different options of ways to save for college.

Today we are in Abby from collegebacker.com. I am thrilled to have her on. She’s got an extensive background in finance with a very specific focus in the education sector. She said that she dreamed of starting her own tech firm. I think Abby and her co-founder have done an amazing job so far in building out this amazing tech platform that really helps all families save for college.

The 529 makes it easier for parents and grandparents to save for college in a more social way.

What they do is they make it really easy for parents and grandparents to save for college in a more social way. They give you a personal link that will allow you to share it with friends and family, to put on Facebook, or whatever, that’ll allow people to contribute directly into your kids’ 529 plan.

I actually set up an account for both of my kids. Right now it’s around Christmas time, and instead of Christmas gifts that are toys they are not going to use I’m telling all my friends and my family, instead of buying them these junk toys, no offense, but stuff that they don’t really need, go make a small contribution into this account instead. I give them the link, for my son it’s collegebacker.com/wyatt, that’s my three year old son, Wyatt. Within a few clicks they are going to be able to contribute directly into his account. It’s amazing tech. I absolutely love it. I can’t believe someone hasn’t created it yet, but I’m happy that they did.

The crazy part about all this is that they really do want to stick to their mission of helping all families save for college. The way that they set up their fees and structures is really represented in that. It’s a donation based payment system, so you pay what it’s worth. That’s right. You literally could pay them nothing. I know you are thinking it. We all are, I even told them a thousand times over, Abby you got to charge for this, but it’s all based on donations. You can give anywhere between $0 and $10 a month. I think everyone should at least pay a dollar.

I think it’s amazing tech and I know that when we set up our kids’ accounts that we are going to be paying for it. I’m sorry, Abby again, for giving you such a hard time about it, but I absolutely that they don’t charge an asset based fee on this. Typically, what you see when you think of robo advisors like Betterment, and Wealthfront, and I kind of almost view CollegeBacker as this robo advisor platform but different, because they are only looking at 529s, but they don’t charge an asset based fee to set this up.

They have this real nice system and software that helps do all this for you and sets it all up, but they are going against the grain, and that’s what I love about it, is they are a flat fee type service model. Again, it’s all based on donation. I absolutely love what they are doing here. Like I said, I’ve moved my kid’s 529s over to this plan. Abby was kind enough to give all the listeners, all of you guys a $25 match into the account if you go to collegebacker.com/financialresidency. I encourage you guys all to go up and sign up for an account today.

I’ve also created a freebie that I’ll be putting in the Facebook group, the Financial Residency VIP Community for all the community members to check out. If you haven’t joined us at the community yet, go do it right now. It’s free, it’s easy to join, we have lots of great content, and there’ll be a ton of stuff coming out in 2018 made exclusively for the group.

Before today’s show, I want to make sure to announce this important disclaimer. I’m a financial planner and a fiduciary for my clients, but let’s be honest, I don’t know you or anything about you. This show is for educational purposes only, and shouldn’t be taken as legal or financial advice. Please consult your attorney, CPA, or your fee only financial planner before you take any action or make any important financial decisions.

Here is this week’s digestible tip.

Ryan

This week’s digestible tip is all around IRAs. While I’m not going to go crazy into the different types and everything with IRAs, I want you to know that you need to be maxing out your IRA if that’s possible. If you can’t contribute directly into a Roth because of income limits fund $5500, which is the cap for this year into a traditional, and then you are going to backdoor or convert it into a Roth.

If you don’t have your IRA already open yet, make sure you open it during the calendar year.

If you don’t have your IRA already open yet, make sure you open it during the calendar year of 2017. You’ll still have a few months into 2018 to get the full fund in, to get that full $5,500 in and contribute in, but if it’s not open during this calendar year, you essentially lose the chance.

Right now if you don’t have one, go open up a traditional Roth IRA depending on if you can actually make the contributions directly into the Roth or not, and open it today, get it funded, even with 100 bucks, and that way you buy yourself at least a couple of more months to get it fully funded.

Abby, thank you so much for being on the show, I’m really excited to have you here.

Abby

Ryan, thank you so much for inviting me. Excited to chat today.

Ryan

Let’s talk about saving for college and all the different options that are out there. I wanted to kind of jump in at a base level and say there is a couple of different ways that people can save for college. I know we are going to talk a lot about 529s in this show, but I was hoping if you could talk about the other different options and maybe a quick pro and con of each one before we go a little bit further into 529s.

Abby

Absolutely, and I think that when it does come to saving for college, I know there are a lot of options out there, and a lot of times folks start the research process, realize there are so many options, get a little bit confused or overwhelmed and then kind of abandon ship. I want to just say for anybody who has started this process and has been overwhelmed, hopefully this podcast is an opportunity to simplify the whole thing.

Because I don’t know if you know this Ryan, but there are about $1 trillion saved for college today, and shockingly 70% of that is in checking or savings accounts. There are definitely better options out there, don’t let the paradox of choice stop you from making the right decision and using one of these really smart options to save for college. Don’t default into the checking or savings account.

If you’re not going to use a checking or savings account, what should you use?

If you’re not going to use a checking or savings account, what should you use? There are 529 plans out there, you can think of that as like a Roth IRA but for college and we’ll talk a lot more about that, that’s generally what we would recommend because it is a tax advantaged investment account and it’s also quite flexible and designed for college, specifically.

Another option that is really commonly used is called a Coverdell or an educational savings account and this is really going to be helpful if you are planning to send your kids to private school for K-12, because you are allowed to use it on K-12 education, but the big limitation here is that there are income limits and there’s also a contribution limit. So you can only put in around $2,000 a year and it could be even less if you’re a high income earner.

If you are primarily saving for college and not for K-12 private school, then a Coverdell might be too limited for you and a 529 plan in contrast is going to have a lot more flexibility and it’s going to not have those income limits and contribution limits, so the 529 might be a better option for you.

Another structure that folks sometimes use is called an UGMA, which stands for The Uniform Gifts to Minors Act, and that essentially is a trust account or a custodial account that you’re going to set up for your child that is not necessarily focused on education, actually, and you’re basically just putting together a group of assets that you’re gifting to your child.

There are some significant drawbacks with this though, because that gift is going to automatically be transferred to your child’s control upon age 18 or 21, and that means that the child is going to have full control of those assets. They might spend it on education or they might spend it on something else and it’s also going to have some negative financial aid consequences, compared to those other plans that I mentioned.

So these, for financial aid purposes are going to be considered student assets and that’s going to have a really significant impact on financial aid.

Ryan

And that’s both the Coverdell and the UGMA, correct?

Abby

So the Coverdell I believe is typically considered a parental asset as well because it’s controlled by the parent until it is dispersed, but the UGMA is going to be considered a student asset because it does transfer into the child’s name.

Ryan

And they can use the UGMA account for literally anything. It’s not earmarked for just specifically student education costs. They could literally go buy a new car or whatever they want with it.

Abby

Exactly.

Ryan

As they become of age, this is not something that you can pull back and say, oh, just kidding.

This is the distinct difference between a 529 and a UGMA.

Abby

Exactly right, and so in contrast, if you are looking at a 529, you as the parent maintain control, so if your child is 25 and has finished college and you still have money in there, you can actually change the beneficiary to a different child and say, okay, my first child didn’t need that money anymore. I’m going to spend the money on a different child, whereas with the UGMA, you would not be able to do that, because that gift already belongs to that first child.

Ryan

You think it’s pretty obvious that as we talk about the couple different options here, that 529 plans are generally the way to go when we’re saving for college tuition. And so I’d like to go a little bit further on talking about 529s and so one of the questions I get asked all the time is, should I go with my state’s plan or should I go with any state’s plan? How does that technically work and then we talked a little bit about deductions on taxes and things like that.

So if you can kind of start from the hierarchy here, what do you? Do you have to choose your state’s plan?

Abby

Yeah, absolutely, so let me back up a little bit and just give a brief overview of what a 529 is and how they’re offered. So as I mentioned, a tax advantaged investment account for college, you can think of it as a Roth IRA, so you put in post-tax money and then the growth is completely tax-free and the withdrawals are tax-free as long as you’re using them for higher education.

So this is a great benefit that every family should be thinking about when they are thinking about how to pay for college. One of the big confusing points as you’ve identified Ryan, is that 529 plans are actually offered by each individual state and sometimes also by financial advisors. So California has their own 529 plan, New York has their own, Illinois has their own, every state has their own 529 option, and then you can also go to Fidelity to get a 529 or a Charles Schwab or a couple of these other guys as well.

So there are a ton of different options out there, however, even though each state has their own 529 plan, you don’t necessarily have to choose your own state’s plan. And so this means that you have a lot of different options, of course, some states do want you to use their in-state plan and so they may offer an incentive for you to be saving for college and that incentive usually comes in the form of a tax deduction.

So for example, I’m originally from Illinois, if I am an Illinois resident and I use the Illinois 529, then I can take an income tax deduction on my state income tax for any contributions made to that plan. But it varies state by state, so this can get pretty confusing, pretty fast, and so my general recommendation would be first, check out whether your state has an income tax deduction. If they don’t, then it means that you can choose any plan and you should basically just go out there and figure out what the best plan for you is.

If they do have a state income tax deduction, then ask whether that income tax deduction is only for your state plan or for any state plan. So for example, if you’re a resident of Pennsylvania, there is a state income tax deduction, but you can take that deduction on contributions to any state plan. So if you live in Pennsylvania, you could be using the California or Texas or Utah 529 and still take that income tax deduction.

An income tax deduction on a 529 varies by state.

So check if your state has an income tax deduction, check if that income tax deduction is only for your specific state plan, and then if it is only for your specific state plan, then definitely take a good hard look at that state plan and if it seems like a good option, go for it, take advantage of the deduction. But if not, you do have all these options out there and you can choose the one that’s best for you.

Ryan

That’s amazing points there and one of the things I’m going to do is I’m going to create a little freebie here for listeners, and if they want to go get this little freebie that we’re going to be creating, it’ll be in the financial residency VIP group in Facebook. So make sure you guys check that out, talking about all the different states that offer deductions and I know that all the states unfortunately have different pros and cons, so it’ll be a pretty extensive freebie in there that you can go download.

One thing I wanted to say Abby, off what you’ve just talking about, is that not all states are created equal, like these 529 plans, they all have different investments with different expense ratios and pricing structures. So even if your state does have a deduction, but let’s just say your state has horrible investment choices and high expense ratios, it actually might be better over time to choose a different states plan that has lower expense ratios and higher quality investments.

And that’s something that as the consumer you have to kind of dig into and understand a little bit more, but not all states are unfortunately, created equally.

Abby

That’s absolutely true and in the world of 529 plans, there is also a really wide range in expense ratios, so the best-in-class out there typically, are charging around 0.2% on the assets, whereas some of the more expensive plans can easily be over 1%. So the typical adviser sold plan is around 1.3%, actually, for the average, so you definitely want to take a good hard look at the different options out there or get a little bit of help with the research if you need it, to make sure that you’re choosing a great 529 plan.

Ryan

Absolutely and I’m about to ask you what are some of the plans you might recommend people look at? And just because we’re recommending some plans in very general advice, that doesn’t mean that these are the absolute best plans for your specific scenario. But I’m curious Abby, what are your maybe top one or two or three 529 plans that you would recommend?

 

Abby

It does depend on your individual situation, of course. If I can just do a very quick plug at CollegeBacker, we do help you identify right plan, so you’ll give us a little bit of information about you and your family, and then we’ll make a recommendation based on that to point you towards a 529 plan that we think is going to work great for you.

Look for something that’s more close to that best-in-class ratio of 0.2% as an expense ratio, roughly.

But a couple of the things that you want to think about when you’re considering which 529 plan to choose is, first of all, definitely take a good look at those fees. We’ve already talked about what the range of fees can be, so look for something that’s more close to that best-in-class ratio of 0.2% as an expense ratio, roughly.

You also want to make sure that they have stable management and there hasn’t been any drama in the way that the oversight of those investments has happened. You want to look for recognizable low expense ratio funds that are underlying the investments, so that might include Vanguard, which of course is probably everybody who listened to your podcast and knows about.

But a couple of the plans that we are definitely excited about, we’re big fans of the Utah educational savings plan, so they have been a leader in the industry for probably the past decade or more, consistently have low expense ratios and great management. I think I mentioned I’m originally from Illinois and the bright star college savings plan has actually been promoted by Morningstar as one of their new gold plans, so that’s exciting for my home state, that does offer a tax deduction. So it’s great that Illinois residents have a fantastic option while also taking advantage of that tax deduction. And then there are a number of other 529 plans as well. Virginia has generally had a solid one, Nevada also has a solid one that is Vanguard associated as well.

Those are a couple of the ones that we’ve looked at. I think New York also has a very low fee plan and so on. What about you, Ryan? What do you think?

Ryan

Prior to meeting you guys, I had been putting my kids into Fidelity’s plan, which is New Hampshire’s plan and that’s because they offer … where I can basically do the three fund to portfolio where we’re looking at total stock, total bond and total international stock. And they have really low expense ratios inside there, and while it might not be for everyone and I wrote an article that I’ll link to in the show notes on which 529 college savings plans that I liked, but that was one of them.

And then I did like Utah’s plan as well and they’re more friendly to advisors, their system is easy to use and I’m probably in the minority here that I don’t believe you need an advisor to help you manage your 529, to set it up and to start it. I think someone can easily do this and with the introduction of CollegeBacker, which is one of the reasons I’m so excited to bring you guys on is you’re even making this process simpler.

I’d like you to just chat a little bit about what CollegeBacker is and what CollegeBacker does and then more importantly, if you could give us just a minute or two plug on yourself as well, so if you don’t mind.

There is a website called CollegeBacker that makes it easy to save for college.

Abby

Absolutely, CollegeBacker is a website that’s all about making it really easy to save for college, especially with support from family and friends. So if you’re a parent, you can go to collegebacker.com and as I mentioned, you can of course put in a little bit of information and get a recommendation for what a great 529 plan might be.

But we actually also help you open the account and help you manage the account. So once you’ve put in your information, you will not only get a recommendation for the 529 plan specifically, but you’ll also get a recommendation for the investment portfolio within the 529 plan and we’re an SSE registered investment advisor, so we manage all of that for you essentially.

And then on top of that, I also mentioned that we want to make it really easy for you to do this with support from family and friends. So we’ll also give you a custom link that might be collegebacker.com/abby or rather your child’s name and then you can share that link at … Christmas is coming up, so that is a great occasion. We also see a lot of birthday parties on CollegeBacker. You can share that link in advance of the event and ask family and friends to make a contribution to the college fund, instead of more toys and clothes and other gifts.

So it’s really easy for the grandparents to set up a recurring monthly contribution or for family and friends to do a one-time gift. We even accept credit card and debit cards, so it’s really as easy as sending an Amazon gift card or buying something off any other online website. But instead of just being a toy that might be forgotten in a couple of weeks or clothes that are going to be outgrown in a few months, it’s actually a gift that’s going to grow over time because it’s going to be invested in that 529 plan, along with your other savings.

That’s the overview of CollegeBacker and would love to help your family save for college, and then as for me, a little bit of my background, I’m originally from Illinois, always had this dream of starting my own tech company. Moved out to California to pursue that, studied business and had a career in finance and management consulting before I ultimately decided to take the leap.

I was fortunate enough to meet my co-founder while I was working as a consultant specifically in the education industry actually, so I was working with K-12 school districts and I was also working with various philanthropists and foundations about how to improve our education system here in the U.S. And I met my co-founder, Jordan, who had started working on this idea and I just immediately realized that this is a very simple concept of let’s make it super easy for families to save for college, and let’s make it super easy to rally a team of people of friends and family to help support that journey.

The average college grad earns about a million dollars more in their lifetime than a non-grad.

But this is a big idea that I think is really important for our society today. The cost of college is set to double again in the next 10 years, but meanwhile we know college is valuable, the average college grad earns about a million dollars more in their lifetime than a non-grad, so we as a society have to work on and that we as individual parents all have to work on too, and I just couldn’t believe more in the mission.

Ryan

I love it and so one of the things to touch on why I really wanted you to come on is, I love the idea that we can just chat about 529s. There’s been tons of confusion around it and to kind of shed some light and to kind of give another experts opinion on it. I really do appreciate you coming on and talking about it.

But the other thing is that I love what CollegeBacker is doing, it’s giving families the ability to share this savings for future education in a really simple manner. And I mentioned before that I don’t believe advisors really have to be managing 529 products and that your SEC registered and all that but that isn’t what you guys do. You guys are providing a platform that allows people to share this with friends and family and it’s all based on donation, correct?

Abby

That’s exactly right, the way that we think about saving for college is yes, it’s important that you have the smart investment choices and that you are choosing a great 529, but the real bottom line is making sure that it’s really easy for you to save more. A lot of people just don’t get started because it’s confusing, as we discussed earlier, and so we just want to build this system that makes it really easy for other people to give directly into the fund.

And then as far as the way that CollegeBacker supports itself, as you mentioned, it’s all about making sure that our users, our clients are really seeing a lot of value in the product and that they want to support CollegeBacker. So if you’re a parent on CollegeBacker we ask you to actually choose your own fee, so it’s zero to $10 a month, you can change that fee at any time. So maybe if you’re just getting started or budgets are tight, you set that fee to zero to start, just to get your feet wet, and then over time when you realize that hey, CollegeBacker has helped me save a few hundred dollars at Christmas and grandma and grandpa are starting to put in that recurring monthly subscription and it’s really value to me and my family, then you can go ahead and change that monthly fee.

Ryan

I love it that you guys are donation based and I did tell you before the call that I think you guys should charge at least $1 a month. Everyone who’s saving can afford $1 a month, so if you guys end up using it, you should pay them $1 a month at least. I like that you guys are donation based and it’s not AUM based, which is what every advisor always wants to charge on is AUM, and the idea that you guys are flat fee, basically zero to $10 a month or I should say, $1 to $10 a month, I really like that.

CollegeBacker’s mission is to help every family save.

Abby

It’s definitely something that we thought a lot about Ryan, because we are in an industry where almost everything is based on AUM, but I think from CollegeBacker’s perspective, our mission is to help every family out there save. And so this is a way where no offense, but I do think that for most financial advisors, charging based on AUM inevitably means that you have to look for clients that have a little bit more AUM to manage. Or a little bit more money to manage and we wanted to make sure that every family out there, whether you’re saving $100 or $1,000 or $10 or $20 or $50,000, we’re able to provide you the service.

Ryan

Absolutely, I love it and it’s one of the things that … I am a flat fee financial planner, so I totally get the concept.

And now it’s time for the curbside consult.

Ryan

First question I have is with the cost of college tuition on the rise, growing at 6% over inflation in pretty much recent years, can this rise continue and what effect does this really have on how much people should be saving for their kids’ education?

Abby

So it is definitely true that the rising cost of college is pretty scary and from my personal perspective, I think that as a society this is not a sustainable trend if we want the U.S. to continue to thrive just as an economy and on the global scale, as I mentioned. Having a well-educated workforce is really important for our country.

For that reason, I am optimistic and hopeful that as a society, we figure out ways to make higher education more affordable, whether that’s going to look like traditional higher education and for your universities that we have today or whether it’s going to take a lot of other forms. I don’t know, I think it’s really important that we address that in the long term, but I do also think that as a parent today, we can’t get too concerned about some of these macro trends that are going on around us. And it’s easy to look at those things and say, oh my God, this is unsustainable, I’d better do nothing and I don’t think that’s the right reaction.

I think that the better reaction is to say, okay, there’s definitely stuff going on out in the wider world, but I have an enduring belief in the value of higher education or continuing education, no matter what, my children are probably going to benefit from having some additional skills and having the money to invest in themselves. And for that reason, I’m going to start doing what I can to save for my child’s education.

And it may look different in the future, a year or two ago, the U.S. Department of Education was working on a pilot program where they actually expanded some of the categories of institutions that qualified for federal financial student aid, which also means that you can spend your 529 dollars there. So I think that the world is changing and there may be some additional options in the future, but I would not let that uncertainty prevent people from acting now and starting to save as soon as they can. Because time is your best friend when it comes to saving for college.

The eighth wonder of the world is interest keeps compounding and hopefully it’s working in your favor, but long-term investing is clearly the right path.

Ryan

I absolutely agree and time is your best friend. The eighth wonder of the world is interest keeps compounding and hopefully it’s working in your favor, but long-term investing is clearly the right path. And I asked that question because my wife and I both went to the University of San Diego, it’s a private school and when we first started, it was around 22,000, 23,000 something like that. When we finished, it was even more expensive, closer to 30.

And when I put in one of these calculators in one of my financial planning softwares to look at my son and daughter, who are three and one, it said that their cost of tuition was going to be something like 150,000 a year. And I’m going, how in the heck is that going to be sustainable for everyone? I know it’s a college school and … but all colleges are growing it massively over what inflation is, so I appreciate your answer. I love the answer.

The second question I have here and it’s the last question I have for you is, are there any tools or calculators out there that can help determine how much someone would need to save for their kids’ education and the concept of, they don’t want to over fund the account and really, what would happen if they did over fund a 529 account?

Abby

So there are plenty of different calculators out there and tools out there to understand this question and of course, at collegebacker.com, we have our own calculator, so I’m going to selfishly direct you to collegebacker.com and you can go in and punch in numbers about how old your child is and what your aspirations are for what type of school they would go to and also how much of the college education you would like to aspire to fund.

But as far as your question on over funding the account, luckily, there are some flexibilities built in with a 529 plan already. So it hopefully can address a couple of those concerns. So one of the most common concerns is, what if my child gets a scholarship? I’m saving a ton of money and let’s say my child is brilliant and gets a full ride and they don’t need any of that money. Am I stuck, have I saved for nothing, essentially?

And the answer is no, a 529 plan is actually designed to be supportive of scholarships, so if your child earns the scholarship, you can withdraw the amount of the scholarship without any penalties. So you can go ahead and spend that money on another purpose. Of course, I would also remind folks that there’s a lot more to college costs than just tuition. You can also use 529 funds on room and board, on books and even computers. So even if your child gets a full tuition scholarship, you still might want to use that 529 money for something else.

But then the other question is, even with the scholarship rule, what if I just have extra money left over after my child has completed their four years of whatever school they went to? Am I stuck and what do I do with that? So first I would say, congratulations, you’re a great saver and so that’s a very good problem to have, but you still have options.

You can also use 529 funding on other forms of higher education.

You can also use 529 funding on other forms of higher education. So if your child is considering graduate school or something else, you can use that money for other forms of higher education. And then you can also change the beneficiary. So if you have a second child who is going to school, then you can transfer the 529 funds into the second child’s name. If you want to go back to graduate school or get some other education, you could even transfer it back to yourself and use that money on some form of higher education. It is true that if you don’t use the money for anything that is higher education related, then you will have to pay taxes on the gains and a 10% penalty on those non qualified withdrawals.

But remember, that like a Roth IRA, you can actually always withdraw the principal of that account without any taxes or penalties. So there is quite a bit of flexibility built into the 529.

Ryan

I love it, thank you, that was a great explanation. I actually didn’t realize that CollegeBacker had a cool calculator out there that did all that. I don’t mind the shameless plug there. It’s all good. I like what you guys are doing, that’s why I had you on the show and I know that there was one special offer that you had for listeners and so I’d like you to let them know.

Abby

As I mentioned, time is on your side when it comes to saving for college, so it’s important to get started today or as soon as you can, and to help that a little bit, we wanted to offer all of your listeners a $25 match if you sign up for CollegeBacker. So to get that, just go to collegebacker.com/financialresidency and then sign up, share the information about you and your child, we will give you the recommendation and once you make your first $25 contribution, you will also receive a $25 contribution from CollegeBacker. So we hope that makes it just a total no-brainer decision to get started saving for your kids’ college in time for Christmas. And hopefully, you can raise a little bit of money for your child’s college fund over the holidays as well.

Ryan

I appreciate that, you doing that for listeners and full disclosure, there’s nothing coming back to me or Financial Residency. This is for you guys that CollegeBacker is doing to just match the first 25 bucks, so that’s really on you guys, and really generous of CollegeBacker and I appreciate that, Abby, for doing that and thank you so much again for being on the show.

Abby

Thank you for inviting me Ryan, it was a privilege to be able to talk about this stuff.

Ryan

That was an awesome action-packed episode with Abby from collegebacker.com. I received so many questions about saving for your children’s education and exactly how to do it and what’s involved in it, that I was really excited when Abby agreed to be on the show. And again, thank you again, CollegeBacker, for providing a match to all of you, all the listeners. So if you want that $25 match that goes directly into your kid’s 529, go to collegebacker.com/financialresidency and sign up today.

Next week, my wife and I, Taylor, will be recording our conversation around our goals and our visions for 2018. This is the right time of year when we really reflect and look back on what happened last year in 2017, what’s going on in our lives and what we foresee and what we’d like to happen in the upcoming year.

We’ll be going through the three important questions and maybe even some other inspirational exercises that we normally do around this time, and I’m really excited that she’s going to come on the show and allow me to record our conversation between us. I can’t believe she actually said yes, so I’m excited. Hopefully you guys are all going to enjoy what we talk about, kind of get to see behind the scenes of not only what I do with my clients at Physician Wealth, but also to get to know my family a little bit more.

So thanks so much for listening and being a part of the community. Again, make sure to sign up on the free Facebook group, financial residency VIP community and come interact with all of us. Thanks again, and I’ll see you guys in the next episode.

 

Ryan Inman