How do you manage to pay for that? Heard of the 529 Plan? It takes its name from the section of the IRS Code that stipulates its requirements and advantages. Not a bad plan, in that you deposit money from your take-home-pay (yes after you've had your taxes withheld) into an account that, from then on, will grow without tax obligations IF . . .
That is a big IF.
- If you do not need it for something else urgent and expensive.
- If those education costs line up with the approved list of expenses.
- If your children attend college and spend all of the 529 account.
- If your plan does well in the stock market.
- If, when you need the money, the market isn't having a major correction.
- If you do not mind paying a hefty penalty plus the tax owed if an if happens.
Let's just say, for the sake of conversation, you dodge all of that. There is still the small matter of once you spend the money for approved college expenses, that's it. All gone. Account balance zero.
You managed to save $100,000 for each child. Each child now has a college diploma and is looking for work, getting married, sprouting your grandchildren, trying to buy a house and all of those hundreds of thousands of dollars you had scrimped and sacrificed to save poof! -- are gone.
What if, instead of filling up that college savings tank full of money, and then draining it dry, you could have collateralized those funds?
What if your children, who earned the diploma, helped pay that all back as part of their future retirement?
In other words, what if your hundreds of thousands of dollars could have kept compounding interest while you used them as collateral to pay the expenses of a college education?