We Trust States to Promote College Savings. Why Not Retirement Savings?

One of the most popular ways to save for higher education is through a savings or prepaid tuition plan known as a Section 529 qualified tuition program, or 529 plan. Currently 49 states and the District of Columbia offer 529 plans. Thirty-three states give a state tax break to parents, grandparents or friends who contribute to a 529 account. Through these plans, the funds are managed by private-sector investors. This professional management, combined with a simple enrollment process, has spurred …

Time to Have That Talk With Your Children About Money

Whether your children are 14 or 40, if you are at or near retirement age you must have a conversation about money. The conversation should be age-appropriate, and designed not to frighten, but to inform. Still, 13-year-olds need to know how much college you can afford for them, and 30-year-olds should have a sense of how much money you will have to support yourself when you will retire and what kind of help you may need from them. Lots of …

New 529 Plan Created for People With Disabilities

Tax-friendly 529 savings plans no longer will be just for college. Legislation recently signed by President Barack Obama will allow states to set up similar savings programs to benefit those with disabilities without jeopardizing their federal benefits, such as Medicaid. Money invested in an Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) account — sometimes also called a 529A account — can be withdrawn tax-free to pay for qualified expenses, including education, housing, transportation, health care, employment training and legal fees. “It …

Grandparents and Parents Need a College Savings Plan

We are currently in the midst of completing the college search for one son and beginning the college search for our second son.  We’ve needed a crash course to keep up with the application and search process these days but the savings work had started years earlier.  While most of the work falls to the parents and the student, the whole process of saving for school is very much a multi-generational activity.      I’d like to share some of our lessons …

What Would You Sacrifice to Pay for Grandkids’ College?

I was so moved when I read a recent  article about baseball great Don Larsen, who is auctioning off the uniform he wore when he made history in 1956, pitching the only perfect game in a World Series. That uniform must be like the ruby slippers were to Judy Garland or the lunar space suit to Neil Armstrong or the pen John Adams used to sign the Declaration of Independence. OK maybe we won’t go that far, but seriously – …