Saving for College with

You’ve united your family by adopting your step-child as your own. Good on you! Now there are things to consider for the future of the child.  One huge one is college, no matter what their age might be at the time of adoption. It’s expensive, no question. Unfortunately, few families with minor children are currently saving money for college – or at the least, not enough. About half are setting aside money in a designated account, but most are saving less than $20,000 – that’s not going to cover very much. So, how can you be prepared to cover the cost of a higher education?

Here’s a scary thought. Families with young children can expect to pay more than $400,000 for a 4-yeardegree. Tuition has been increasing at about a rate of 7% per yearly. While you’re sitting down contemplating this, here are some things that can help.

Understand that any amount saved is better than nothing at all. And, the earlier families start planning and saving, the better. Let’s review reviewing some of the available college saving options, and some other methods families can use to save money to help pay for college that may not be as conventional.

One type of savings plan for college is called a 529 Plan. There are two types of 529 plans available. There is a very popular pre-paid tuition plan which lets parents lock in today’s college tuition rates at in-state public colleges and some out-of-state and private colleges. You would buy credits for tuition that can be used in the future.  Most plans are guaranteed by the state’s government, so there isn’t a lot of risk involved.

The second type of 529 Plan is a college savings plan. Here, parents invest in mutual funds and like kinds of investments. The value of the account will rise and fall with the market. Parents can invest outside of their home state and can use the funds at any college.  Most every state has a 529 Plan, researching the available options and comparison of features and benefits is a good course of action.

For more flexibility than a 529 Plan, a Coverdell Education Savings Account allows parents to save for educational expenses with tax-deferred growth, and usually has lower operating fees. Per the IRS as of 2020, contributions of up to $2,000 per year are allowed, assuming the parents meet the income eligibility requirements. Accounts may be set up for any child under the age of eighteen at any bank in the United States.

Some other opportunities to save for college are the Uniform Gifts to Minors Act (UGMA) and the Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA). They are custodial accounts that are set up for a child. There is no yearly contribution limit.  However, a custodial account could affect a child’s eligibility for federal financial aid because the account will actually be in the child’s name. When the child reaches the age of consent, 18 to 21 they will have full control of the money, including how it is spent.

There a few other options with which to attack the college fund, such as two types of savings bonds that are suited for college savings, the Series EE and the Series I.  These savings bonds offer a dependable, low-risk way to save for college that is backed by the government. The bonds can be procured online in any amount between $25 and $10,000 each.

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