Saving for College – Which Investment is Right for You? Part V ESA and Custodial Accounts

By: Abigail Warren, Fall 2017 IAC Student Intern

This final part to the college savings series covers two alternatives to 529 Plans – Coverdell Education Saving Accounts (ESAs) and Custodial Accounts.  While both accounts offer more investments options than 529 Plans, each one has distinct characteristics. Continue reading

Saving for College – Which Investment is Right for You? Part IV – “The Expense of Saving,” 529 Plans and Fees

By Abigail Warren, Fall 2017 IAC Student Intern

We all know the saying, “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.”  Well, unfortunately, that also applies to investing money for college savings. 529 plans come with fees that vary between states, within plans, and among investment options.  For the most part, 529 prepaid tuition plans come with enrollment and administration fees.  On the other hand, most 529 college savings plans charge enrollment fees, annual maintenance fees, and asset management fees, which vary among investment options.  Some plans also have a deferred sales charge, that you pay when you withdraw the money.

Among broker-sold plans, fees include “front end-loads” you pay up front as commission and “back-end loads” or deferred sales charges, that you pay when you withdraw the money.

Annual distribution fees are an additional fee that generally goes to the broker, and can range from .25% to 1% of your investment.  Fees in a broker-sold account vary depending on the share class.  For more information on the share class, including fees, and questions to ask before investing in a 529 plan check out this from the SEC.

Continue reading

Saving for College – Which Investment is Right for You? Part III – 529 College Savings Plans

By Abigail Warren, Fall 2017 IAC Student Intern

529 college savings plans are qualified tuition plans. FINRA describes these plans as tax- deferred where withdrawals are tax-free as long as you use the money for “qualified education expenses”.   Qualified education expenses are much broader under 529 college savings plans than prepaid tuition plans, and include expenses such as tuition, books, supplies, room and board, computers, printers, and software.  Adults and children, alike, can benefit from a 529 college savings plan, and you can use these plans for college or graduate school.  You can also transfer money tax free to a child, a beneficiary’s sibling, or a spouse.

Continue reading

Saving for College – Which Investment is Right for You? Part II – 529 Plans Prepaid Tuition Plans

By: Abigail Warren, Fall 2017 IAC Student Intern

Interested in 529 Plans?  529 Plans are a popular choice, however, determining which plan is right for you can be a daunting task.  These plans get their name from the section of the Internal Revenue Code that authorizes them – Section 529.  Two basic types of 529 Plans Exist – 529 Prepaid Tuition Plans and 529 College Savings Plan.  All states have one at least one type of 529 Plan, and many have both.  Some private colleges and universities also sponsor prepaid tuition plans.  Being fully informed can ease the stress of picking a plan that meets your needs and goals.

Continue reading

Saving for College – Which Investment is Right for You? Part I – The Basics

By Abigail Warren, Fall 2017 IAC Student Intern

Getting an education in today’s society is paramount.  The College Board reports in Education Pays 2016, that a college education is associated with healthier lifestyles, and adults with higher levels of education are more active citizens and more involved in their children’s activities.  While most desire a college education, paying for college can be difficult due to high tuition costs.  Fortunately, many investments tailored specifically for education expenses exist, as well as other options that might be more suitable investment vehicles for some.  Among these options are 529 Plans, Education Savings Accounts, Custodial Accounts, ABLE Accounts, and Savings Bonds.

Continue reading

Using the Law to Combat Social Injustice

By: Roma Amin, Fall 2017 HeLP Clinic Student Intern

Social injustice is an unfortunate and inevitable consequence of our modern society. However, I believe the law can be used to create an equal playing field because it provides equitable solutions for individuals in otherwise inequitable positions. Over the course of two semesters in the HeLP Clinic, I have witnessed how the law can be used to help families in need, but also how it can sometimes be a barrier for those families.

Continue reading