Quick Answer: Are 529 Accounts Worth It?

Are 529 plans worth it?

Many people saving for college choose 529 plans as their investment vehicles, and that’s for good reason.

529 plans offer tax advantages that can help you allocate even more dollars to education expenses.

There are a variety of plans available, and you’re not limited to just your own state’s plan..

What happens to 529 if child does not go to college?

If assets in a 529 are used for something other than qualified education expenses, you’ll have to pay both federal income taxes and a 10 percent penalty on the earnings. (An interesting side note is that if the beneficiary gets a full scholarship to college, the penalty for taking the cash is waived.)

Is it better for a parent or grandparent to own a 529 plan?

— Instead of opening a 529 themselves, grandparents can contribute to a parent-owned 529 plan, which reduces eligibility for need-based financial aid only up to 5.64 percent of the net worth of the assets. — Grandparents can open an account and reap any state tax deductions for themselves.

Can I use my child’s 529 for myself?

Regardless of your age, you can set up a Section 529 plan for yourself to fund educational expenses now or in the future. … You can apply the funds for tuition, books, fees and even a computer, as long as it is used to further your studies.

What is better than a 529 plan?

A 529 savings plan is one of the best ways to save for a child’s college education, but there are alternatives. … Custodial UGMA and UTMA accounts can be used for purposes other than education. Roth IRAs have tax advantages similar to 529 plans and they don’t count as assets for financial aid purposes.

Why is a 529 plan a bad idea?

A 529 plan could mean less financial aid. The largest drawback to a 529 plan is that colleges consider it when deciding on financial aid. This means your child could receive less financial aid than you might otherwise need.

How much can you withdraw from 529 per year?

​529 Participants may take up to $10,000 in distributions tax free per beneficiary for tuition expenses incurred with the enrollment or attendance of the designated beneficiary at a public, private, or religious elementary or secondary school per taxable year.

Do I have to report 529 on fafsa?

A 529 college savings plan account that is owned by the student or the student’s parent must be reported as an investment asset on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Distributions from such a 529 plan are not reported as income on the FAFSA.

Can fafsa check your bank account?

Does FAFSA Check Your Bank Accounts? FAFSA doesn’t check anything, because it’s a form. However, the form does require you to complete some information about your assets, including checking and savings accounts.

Do I need 529 for each child?

While it’s technically possible to use one 529 plan for multiple children, rather than making things simpler, it actually makes them more complicated. From beneficiary rules to investment strategies to ultimate fairness, having a separate 529 account for each child is the preferred way to go.

Is a 529 plan better than a savings account?

529 plans offer a greater return on investment along with the greater complexity and greater risk of loss. Other important benefits of 529 plans include better financial aid and tax treatment of the savings.

Does having a 529 hurt financial aid?

The 529 plans owned by college students or their parents count as assets and reduce need-based aid by a maximum of 5.64 percent of the asset’s value. … However, withdrawals from a 529 plan held by the non-custodial parent will be assessed as income against financial aid, just like those held by grandparents.

How much savings is too much for fafsa?

— G.N. Money in a savings account counts as an asset on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and may affect eligibility for need-based student financial aid. Most personal finance experts recommend keeping 3 to 6 months salary in an emergency or rainy day fund.

How much should I put into 529 plan each month?

For a child born this year, parents should save at least $250 per month for an in-state public 4-year college, $450 per month for an out-of-state public 4-year college and $550 per month for a private non-profit 4-year college, from birth to college enrollment.

Can you lose money in a 529 plan?

If you invest in a 529 college savings plan, and that plan puts your money in a variety of investments as most do, you can lose money. That’s because these investments, ranging from stocks to bonds, can go down in value. It’s just like your retirement accounts.

Do I need receipts for 529 expenses?

You don’t need to provide the 529 plan with evidence that you will be using the money for eligible expenses, but you do need to keep the receipts, canceled checks and other paperwork in your tax records (see When to Toss Tax Records for more information), in case the IRS later asks for evidence that the money was used …

Can I buy a computer with 529 funds?

Can you use 529 funds to buy a computer? … Savings can indeed be used to buy a computer or pay for internet access as a qualified higher-education expense. An iPad used for college would also qualify, as would any related peripheral equipment, such as a printer.

What are the pros and cons of a 529 savings account?

What Are the Pros and Cons of Using a 529 Plan?Advantages of Using a 529 PlanDisadvantages of Using a 529 PlanTax benefitsFunds must be used for educationLow maintenanceLimitations on state tax benefitsHigh contribution limitsNo self-directed investmentsFlexibilityFees1 more row•Jan 23, 2020

What is the average return on 529 plan?

According to the Financial Research Corporation, a typical 529 plan offered through a state has an average annual fee of 0.69%, whereas a 529 sold through a broker has an average annual fee of 1.17%. Although the difference may seem negligible at first, it adds up.

How much should I put in a 529 plan per month?

Choosing a 529 plan could mean a much lower monthly contribution since the money grows over time. With a 529 plan, solid monthly contribution amounts for a child born in 2017 would be about $165 for a public in-state school, $260 for public out-of-state, or $325 for a private university.

Which 529 college savings plan is the best?

The Best 529 PlansCollegeAdvantage (Ohio)my529 (Utah)Bright Start (Illinois)Invest529 (Virginia)NY’s 529 College Savings Program (New York)