Once you’ve determined how much it could cost to send your children to college, your next prudent step is to develop a systematic investment plan that may help you to accumulate the necessary funds.
What are your funding options? Which would be appropriate for your situation? We’ve listed several below, along with a brief description of each.
Universal life insurance policies build cash value through regular premiums and grow at competitive rates, subject to change. These policies carry a death benefit. In addition to providing cash to your heirs in the event of your death, this death benefit gives universal life insurance policies their tax-free status. Money can usually be withdrawn from these contracts through policy loans, often at no interest. Access to cash values through borrowing or partial surrenders can reduce the policy's cash value and death benefit, increase the chance that the policy will lapse, and may result in a tax liability if the policy terminates before the death of the insured. Policy loans or withdrawals will reduce the policy's cash value and death benefit. Additional out-of-pocket payments may be needed if actual dividends or investment returns decrease, if you withdraw policy values, if you take out a loan, or if current charges increase. There may be surrender charges at the time of surrender or withdrawal and are taxable if you withdraw more than your basis in the policy. Any guarantees are contingent on the claims-paying ability and financial strength of the issuing company. The cost and availability of life insurance depend on factors such as age, health, and the type and amount of insurance purchased.
Zero-coupon bonds represent the ownership of principal payments on U.S. government note or bonds. Unlike traditional bonds, zero-coupon bonds make no periodic interest payments. Instead, they are purchased at a substantial discount and pay face value at maturity. The value of these bonds is subject to market fluctuation. Their prices tend to be more volatile than bonds that pay interest regularly. And even though no income is paid, the inherent interest is still taxable annually as ordinary income.
Mutual funds are established by an investment company by pooling the monies of many different investors and then investing that money in a diversified portfolio of securities. These securities are selected to meet the specific goals of the fund. The value of mutual fund shares fluctuates with market conditions so that, when sold, shares may be worth more or less than their original cost.
Mutual funds are sold by prospectus. Please consider the investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses carefully before investing. The prospectus, which contains this and other information about the investment company, can be obtained from your financial professional. Be sure to read the prospectus carefully before deciding whether to invest.
529 college savings plans are state-sponsored plans that offer higher contributions than Coverdell IRAs along with tax-deferred accumulation. Once withdrawals begin, they are tax exempt as long as the funds are used to pay for qualified higher education expenses.
As with other investments, there are generally fees and expenses associated with participation in a 529 college savings plan. In addition, there are no guarantees regarding the performance of the underlying investments in 529 college savings plans. The tax implications of a 529 college savings plan should be discussed with your legal and/or tax professionals because they can vary significantly from state to state. Also note that most states offer their own 529 college savings plans, which may provide advantages and benefits exclusively for their residents and taxpayers. These other state benefits may include financial aid, scholarship funds, and protection from creditors.
Before investing in a 529 college savings plan, please consider the investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses carefully. The official disclosure statements and applicable prospectuses, which contain this and other information about the investment options and underlying investments, can be obtained by contacting your financial professional. You should read this material carefully before investing.
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