COLLEGE SAVINGS 101

Savingforcollege.com

10 things you can learn about saving for college from Game of Thrones
http://www.savingforcollege.com/articles/10-things-you-can-learn-about-saving-for-college-from-game-of-thrones

Updated: 2015-04-08

by Kathryn Flynn

What can Jon Snow, Sansa Stark and Tyrion Lannister teach you about planning for college? Find out in this fun Game of Thrones slideshow.

WARNING: Contains spoilers, along with some very useful college savings tips!

Start slideshow

Photo credit: Someecards.com

"A Lannister always pays his debts"

1. What You Borrow, You Must Pay Back

  • If you plan on borrowing to cover college costs, you need to be aware of the consequences of missed payments.
  • Delinquencies of at least 90 days will hurt your credit score.
  • Default occurs after 270 days of missed payments and can lead to wage garnishing, collections or withholding of tax refunds.

7 things you may not know about student loan repayment

Photo credit: Screenrant.com

"They’re growing fast"

2. Start Saving With a 529 Plan as Early As Possible

  • Like dragons, children grow quickly and the time for college will be here before you know it.
  • A 529 plan is an investment account, which means the earlier you start saving, the more time you have for compound interest to accrue.
  • A family with a newborn baby who starts saving $250 per month will have over $97,572 when it’s time for college, but a family who waits until their child is eight years old and makes the same $250 monthly deposits will only be able to save $41,424 (assuming an investment return of 6%).

[INFOGRAPHIC] College Savings Timeline

Photo credit: HBO

"It happens in my dreams"

3. We Can’t See Into the Future, But There Are Tools to Help Plan For It

Six calculators to help you plan for college

Photo credit: thepreociousurchin.com

"It's the family name that lives on"

4. 529 Plans for Estate Planning

  • Contributions to a 529 account between $14,000 and $70,000 can be treated as made over a five-year period for gift tax purposes.
  • With this strategy, you can significantly reduce the size of your taxable estate while funding a grandchild’s college education.
  • With a simple beneficiary change, you can pass on leftover funds to future generations, creating an educational legacy for your family.

Before you open a grandparent 529 account

Photo credit: HBO

"The Iron Bank is always glad to be of service"

5. Be Sure to Apply for Financial Aid

  • After you fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA), the school will determine your Expected Family Contribution (EFC).
  • Savings in a 529 account are reported as parental assets on the FAFSA and are assessed at a maximum rate of 5.64%, which is more favorable than a student’s assets, which are assessed at 20%.
  • Be sure to review your financial aid package carefully – around 38% of awards are given in the form of loans, which need to be paid back.

5 things to know about 529s and financial aid

Photo credit: Dorkshelf.com

"We could establish a dynasty that would last a thousand years..."

6. You Don’t Have to Be Rich to Start a College Fund

  • Many 529 plans offer automatic investment options with minimum monthly contributions as little as $25 a month.
  • Earnings in a 529 account grow tax-free over the life of the plan, and withdrawals are not taxed as long as they are spent on qualified education expenses.
  • These federal tax advantages, combined with possible state tax deductions, can really help boost modest savings over time.

[PODCAST] Getting started with a 529 plan

Photo credit: Allmenmustlift.wordpress.com

"He will be a better king than Joffrey"

7. 529 Plans Allow for Beneficiary Changes

  • If the original beneficiary is not able to use all of the funds in a 529 account, consider changing the beneficiary to another family member.
  • Most 529 plans allow you to change the beneficiary of the plan once per year.
  • The account owner will retain control of the account, regardless of the beneficiary change.

How to effectively save for college when you have multiple children

Photo credit: Fanpop.com

"A little lady shouldn’t play with swords"

8. 529 Funds Don’t Have to Be Used for Traditional College

  • If your child heads down a different path from what you originally intended, you might still be able to enjoy the tax benefits of your 529 plan.
  • Qualified education expenses include tuition from any eligible post-secondary institution, including trade and vocational schools and international colleges.
  • If the child decides to attend a U.S. Military Academy and you need to make a non-qualified withdrawal, the principal portion can be withdrawn tax-free and the earnings portion will avoid the 10% penalty tax and only be subject to income tax.

5 types of students who benefit from 529 plans

Photo credit: Nerdist.com

"Growing up at Winterfell, all I ever wanted to do was escape..."

9. You Don’t Have to Use Your Home State’s Plan

  • 529 plans are operated by the states, but you can invest in almost any state’s plan, no matter where you live.
  • In most cases, your child will be able to attend college in any state, regardless of the plan you choose.
  • However, when shopping for a plan, you should always check your home state’s plan first to see if they offer any tax breaks for residents.

Does this 529 rule leave you scratching your head?

Photo credit: Toobworld.blogspot.com

"You know nothing, Jon Snow"

10. Use the Resources Available to Effectively Plan for College

  • Get in the know - Savingforcollege.com offers tools like calculators, discussion forums, videos and other content packed with helpful advice on preparing for the costs of higher education.
  • You can also research and compare different 529 plans from almost every state.
  • If you wish to consult a professional, some financial advisors are very knowledgeable on 529 plans, and can even help with scholarship and financial aid questions.

You’re saying my financial advisor can help me pay for college?

Photo credit: Screenrant.com

What can Jon Snow, Sansa Stark and Tyrion Lannister teach you about planning for college? Find out in this fun Game of Thrones slideshow.

WARNING: Contains spoilers, along with some very useful college savings tips!

Start slideshow

Photo credit: Someecards.com

"A Lannister always pays his debts"

1. What You Borrow, You Must Pay Back

  • If you plan on borrowing to cover college costs, you need to be aware of the consequences of missed payments.
  • Delinquencies of at least 90 days will hurt your credit score.
  • Default occurs after 270 days of missed payments and can lead to wage garnishing, collections or withholding of tax refunds.

7 things you may not know about student loan repayment

Photo credit: Screenrant.com

"They’re growing fast"

2. Start Saving With a 529 Plan as Early As Possible

  • Like dragons, children grow quickly and the time for college will be here before you know it.
  • A 529 plan is an investment account, which means the earlier you start saving, the more time you have for compound interest to accrue.
  • A family with a newborn baby who starts saving $250 per month will have over $97,572 when it’s time for college, but a family who waits until their child is eight years old and makes the same $250 monthly deposits will only be able to save $41,424 (assuming an investment return of 6%).

[INFOGRAPHIC] College Savings Timeline

Photo credit: HBO

"It happens in my dreams"

3. We Can’t See Into the Future, But There Are Tools to Help Plan For It

Six calculators to help you plan for college

Photo credit: thepreociousurchin.com

"It's the family name that lives on"

4. 529 Plans for Estate Planning

  • Contributions to a 529 account between $14,000 and $70,000 can be treated as made over a five-year period for gift tax purposes.
  • With this strategy, you can significantly reduce the size of your taxable estate while funding a grandchild’s college education.
  • With a simple beneficiary change, you can pass on leftover funds to future generations, creating an educational legacy for your family.

Before you open a grandparent 529 account

Photo credit: HBO

"The Iron Bank is always glad to be of service"

5. Be Sure to Apply for Financial Aid

  • After you fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA), the school will determine your Expected Family Contribution (EFC).
  • Savings in a 529 account are reported as parental assets on the FAFSA and are assessed at a maximum rate of 5.64%, which is more favorable than a student’s assets, which are assessed at 20%.
  • Be sure to review your financial aid package carefully – around 38% of awards are given in the form of loans, which need to be paid back.

5 things to know about 529s and financial aid

Photo credit: Dorkshelf.com

"We could establish a dynasty that would last a thousand years..."

6. You Don’t Have to Be Rich to Start a College Fund

  • Many 529 plans offer automatic investment options with minimum monthly contributions as little as $25 a month.
  • Earnings in a 529 account grow tax-free over the life of the plan, and withdrawals are not taxed as long as they are spent on qualified education expenses.
  • These federal tax advantages, combined with possible state tax deductions, can really help boost modest savings over time.

[PODCAST] Getting started with a 529 plan

Photo credit: Allmenmustlift.wordpress.com

"He will be a better king than Joffrey"

7. 529 Plans Allow for Beneficiary Changes

  • If the original beneficiary is not able to use all of the funds in a 529 account, consider changing the beneficiary to another family member.
  • Most 529 plans allow you to change the beneficiary of the plan once per year.
  • The account owner will retain control of the account, regardless of the beneficiary change.

How to effectively save for college when you have multiple children

Photo credit: Fanpop.com

"A little lady shouldn’t play with swords"

8. 529 Funds Don’t Have to Be Used for Traditional College

  • If your child heads down a different path from what you originally intended, you might still be able to enjoy the tax benefits of your 529 plan.
  • Qualified education expenses include tuition from any eligible post-secondary institution, including trade and vocational schools and international colleges.
  • If the child decides to attend a U.S. Military Academy and you need to make a non-qualified withdrawal, the principal portion can be withdrawn tax-free and the earnings portion will avoid the 10% penalty tax and only be subject to income tax.

5 types of students who benefit from 529 plans

Photo credit: Nerdist.com

"Growing up at Winterfell, all I ever wanted to do was escape..."

9. You Don’t Have to Use Your Home State’s Plan

  • 529 plans are operated by the states, but you can invest in almost any state’s plan, no matter where you live.
  • In most cases, your child will be able to attend college in any state, regardless of the plan you choose.
  • However, when shopping for a plan, you should always check your home state’s plan first to see if they offer any tax breaks for residents.

Does this 529 rule leave you scratching your head?

Photo credit: Toobworld.blogspot.com

"You know nothing, Jon Snow"

10. Use the Resources Available to Effectively Plan for College

  • Get in the know - Savingforcollege.com offers tools like calculators, discussion forums, videos and other content packed with helpful advice on preparing for the costs of higher education.
  • You can also research and compare different 529 plans from almost every state.
  • If you wish to consult a professional, some financial advisors are very knowledgeable on 529 plans, and can even help with scholarship and financial aid questions.

You’re saying my financial advisor can help me pay for college?

Photo credit: Screenrant.com

 

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