Show Clients How Rising College Costs Don’t Have to Cost Them… Even If their Child Doesn’t Qualify for Financial Aid Their Retirement
In addition to saving for retirement, many people who have children (or grandchildren) will also oftentimes set aside at least some amount for future college tuition costs. Over the past decade or so, though, the price tag for higher education has literally skyrocketed.
According to the College Board, the average annual cost of tuition and fees at a public university (for the 2014-2015 school year) was more than $9,100 for students from in the state, and nearly $22,600 for out-of-state attendees.
If considering a private university, the cost is even more, running on average $31,231 (also for the 2014-2015 year). Then, when you add in the cost of housing, books, and meals – and multiply that by four years – you could easily be looking at a six-figure sticker price.
For many, trying to juggle saving for retirement and a child’s college can be overwhelming. And, if life should take an unexpected turn, as it sometimes does, all bets could be off in terms of accumulating anywhere close to what a child needs for future tuition costs.
While many people have turned to “traditional” methods of saving for higher education via options like a 529 plan, these accounts can actually fall short in several areas. For example, even though the money in this type of account is allowed to grow tax-deferred, having a 529 college savings plan could end up hindering a student’s ability to tap into other sources of financial aid.
Money that is in a 529 plan can also be subject to the constant ups and downs of the market. So, while a parent or grandparent may be regularly making contributions, just how much will be available when it is needed is a big unknown.
On top of that, the money that is stored in a 529 college plan is only allowed to be used for what are deemed as “qualified education expenses.” These can include:
- Room and board
However, access to 529 plan funds is only available without penalty if the child attends an “accredited” U.S. college or university. According to the IRS, an accredited educational institution refers to a “college, university, vocational school, or other post secondary educational institution that is eligible to participate in a student aid program that is run by the U.S. Department of Education.” So, if a particular trade school or another type of unaccredited education option is chosen by the student, they’re out of luck if they want penalty-free access to their 529 savings plan funds.
Likewise, if the child opts not to further his or her education at all, the money from a 529 plan can be taken out of the account – but income tax would be due on the withdrawal. In addition, the parent (or other 529 plan account holder) may also be liable to pay back taxes if state tax deductions were taken over time, in addition to a possible 10% penalty on the plan’s earnings.
There is a better way, though, for parents (or other individuals) to accumulate tax-advantaged funds for a child’s college, while at the same time maintaining much more control, flexibility, and assurance that money will be available to the student – even if the account holder is no longer here. This is by using life insurance.
With the purchase of a permanent life insurance policy – specifically whole and universal life – the policy holder is often provided with guaranteed returns, along with the ability to build up the account on a tax-deferred basis.
In fact, there are actually some life insurance policies that utilize a “tiered” system when providing returns in the cash value component. In this case, the more money that is put in to the policy, the better the rate of return can be.
Unlike the more restrictive 529 plan, should the child decide that a college or university just isn’t for them, the money can remain in the policy’s cash value account and continue its tax-advantaged accumulation.
Plus, if the unexpected should occur and the insured passes away, funds from the policy’s income-tax free death benefit can provide financial assurance that money will still be available for the child’s education.
One of the biggest mistakes clients can make is not looking into alternative sources of funding for a child’s or a grandchild’s further education. Showing people that they have options that can put their future, and that of their family, first can be invaluable, in addition to providing them with security, regardless of what events take place down the road.
Contact us and we will show you the system that thousands of insurance advisors are already using to generate a significant amount of income, while also providing their clients with more flexible higher education funding options.