Fact vs. Fiction: 529 Savings Plans and Coverdell Education Savings Accounts

Mon, 10/07/2019 - 11:45am

About this blog:

  • Sarah Ruef-Lindquist, JD, CTFA

    Sarah believes sound, thoughtful planning is a gift we give ourselves, our families and our community.

    She is a lawyer and seasoned non-profit executive who has worked with dozens of organizations, individuals and families as a philanthropic advisor and senior trust officer. She holds the Certified Trust and Financial Advisor certification and FINRA Series 7 and 66 registrations through Commonwealth Financial Network. Sarah and her husband live in Camden. The Financial Advisors of Allen and Insurance Financial are Registered Representatives and Investment Adviser Representatives with/and offer securities and advisory services through Commonwealth Financial Network, Member FINRA/SIPC, a Registered Investment Adviser. Allen Insurance and Financial, 31 Chestnut Street, Camden, ME 04843. 207-236-8376.

Fiction: The money I put into a college savings account will hurt my child’s chances of receiving financial aid.

Fact: Funds that a parent puts into a 529 savings plan or Coverdell Education Savings Account that are owned by the parent have a low impact on a student’s financial aid package. When these types of accounts are owned by the parent, only a portion of the balance—up to 5.64 percent—is factored into the student’s Expected Family Contribution on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This is a much lower rate than the 20% that is assessed on student-owned assets. You should be aware, however, that distributions from a grandparent-owned 529 plan will be considered untaxed income to the student, with 50 percent of the distribution included in the FAFSA. So, if grandparents do own a 529 plan for the benefit of the child, they may want to consider reserving those funds for the last two years of college, as the FAFSA uses the prior-prior year’s tax return to complete the income questions.

Securities and advisory services offered through Commonwealth Financial Network®, Member FINRA/SIPC, a Registered Investment Adviser.

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