Investing in a Houston 529 Plan is one of the smartest ways to prepare yourself for the inevitable. With a 529 plan, you’ll be ready for the year when your child begins applying for colleges. Even the application process itself can be quite expensive. Application fees can range anywhere from free to over one-hundred dollars. As if you needed any indication that a college education is a hefty, albeit very much worth it, expense. By investing in an education savings plan, such as the 529 Plan, early, you may be able to rest easy later in life. Even if you can’t cover 100% of your child’s college expenses with the savings alone, you’ll be in a much better position than if you’d have saved nothing.
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There are many different ways to pay for your child’s education. Of course, each of these methods has its own benefits and drawbacks.
You can always tell your child to foot their own college bill. However, we can think of better ways for your child to spend his or her time. Earnings from work-study or out-of-school employment are generally subject to the same taxes as any other job. Therefore, all of the money they earn won’t even go towards paying for their education. Furthermore, time spent focusing on entry-level employment is the time that could have been spent developing higher-level skills or doing internships.
Working might teach your child humility, patience, or a strong work ethic. However, there are many other ways to develop those same skills. Besides, perhaps a much better lesson to teach them is that saving today pays off in a major way.
Cutting College Expenses
For some families, the key to making college affordable is to face a lower bill. That could mean any number of things. For example, attending community college can slash thousands off of tuition. Other ways to cut costs include commuting and living at home, opting for a cheaper meal plan, and renting outdated textbooks. In some cases, you’ll notice that costs aren’t really “cut,” they’ve just been shifted to another part of the budget. In other cases, the time commitment isn’t worth the money you save. And choosing a university to attend solely based on cost is often a regretful decision, especially for the student. The lack of enthusiasm to attend school could result in other costly expenses later down the line, such as repeated classes. While cutting college expenses may seem frugal, you have to make sure it’s not just stressful.
At face value, scholarships, grants, and other types of “free money” don’t seem like a bad idea. And they aren’t. The more money you get from another party to pay for your child’s tuition and school expenses, the better. However, you have to be just as careful when it comes to scholarships and grants because there are often strings attached. For one, scholarships awarded by a college are usually only for that university. If your child decides to attend another school, they can’t use that scholarship at their new college of choice.
Additionally, some schools simply deduct additional scholarships from the amount they award. For example, say Awesome University awarded your child $10,000, and your child earns 10 Super Cool External Scholarships for a total amount of $5,000. There’s a chance that Awesome University will deduct its award amount to $5,000. As a result, your child still only has $10,000 in scholarship money, despite taking the time to apply for all those external scholarships. As you can see, scholarships are great, but perhaps they shouldn’t be the end-all-be-all when it comes to paying for your child’s education.
Last but definitely not least, student loans are favorite amongst college students. Not favorite as in “preferred,” but in terms of being one of the most popular ways to cover college expenses. Student loans are a relatively easy way to amass large amounts of money in a short period of time. However, the same could be said about the incurred debt. With high-interest rates on top of a high dollar amount, many people find themselves stuck with student loan debt for decades after graduation. If possible, student loans should be avoided or minimized as much as possible. Even if your child expects to earn a high salary right out of college, balancing living expenses with paying off debt can prove to be a long-term struggle.
Invest in a 529 Savings Plan
To be fair, the amount you save for your child’s education can never be certain with a 529 Savings Plan. Whenever you invest, the exact amount that you’ll have at the time you need it can’t ever be known. However, investing has shown to produce satisfying returns over the long-term. That being said, the best time to save for your child’s college expenses is before they even enroll in pre-school. The longer you have between the time you start investing and the time you need the money, the better.
The great thing about a 529 Savings Plan, however, is that you aren’t restricted to spending it on college expenses. As long as the money is used for a qualifying educational expense, at any grade level, it can be spent without being taxed. Therefore, you can save as much as you’re comfortable with, without being worried that you might need the money sooner than you thought. Furthermore, the account managers at Potter Financial will help you make wise investments and withdrawal decisions. And when the matter of taxes does come up, we can connect you with tax-preparers who have direct experience with investment taxes.
Call Potter Financial!
We hope that you can now see why a Houston 529 Plan is a great way to save money for your child’s higher education. To paint an even clearer picture of how much you could possibly gain, call Potter Financial via (713) 972-1316 or contact us online. We’ll be happy to lay out a financial plan for you before setting up your education savings accounts. Additionally, we’ll make sure to give you important information about the plan you choose to take. With these tax-advantaged plans, you’ll be able to save for things such as room and board on top of tuition, so contact us as soon as possible. Furthermore, learn more about our financial services by clicking here.
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