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What are the different kinds of Education Savings Accounts


There are numerous kinds of savings accounts that can be utilized for your child’s education costs in the future. The 529 College Savings Plan and the Coverdell Education Savings Account are two of the most popular options. There is additionally the UGMA or Uniform Gift Minors Act that are custodial accounts to ensure funds are delivered directly to the student. Discover the differences to take into account regarding these savings options below: 

The Coverdell Education Savings Account Option

Coverdell Education Savings accounts are great because they allow the money to be spent for elementary through college education – a much larger range than other plans. It has an annual contribution limit of $2K per year. There is a tax advantage as well: after-tax dollars are used; however, money in the account accumulates tax-free and there are zero taxes on the distribution when it is used for education purposes. 

The investment choices are extremely flexible. The portfolio can be reallocated like an IRA as often as one prefers. There are Distribution Restrictions such as any education expense from elementary to college that qualifies and possibly preschool depending on state laws. The IRS does not include it specifically; however, certain states consider preschool to fall under the elementary umbrella. Discuss your case with a local tax professional to determine where your plan falls instead of making any assumptions regarding preschool.

Once the child turns eighteen years old, the Coverdell account control is given to the student. They can do whatever they want with the funds including paying a penalty to withdraw them.

Details On the 529 College Savings Plan

The 529 college savings plan is a positive choice since it enables folks to save more money. Note that it can only be used for college or higher education expenses. The after-tax money grows tax-free in the account and if it is withdrawn for qualified 529 plan higher education expenses there will be no taxes upon distribution. 

The 529 annual contribution limit varies by state, ranging from 100K to 350K with no income restriction. This option has stricter investment choices and there is only an option to rebalance the portfolio two times each year. The cash in terms of distribution restrictions is limited to expenses for secondary institutions only. The money is always in control of the parent as they serve as the permanent holder of the account. 

UGMA Custodial Account Specifics

This account is an investment account that is also suitable for minors. It does not specifically need to be used for education savings. This means there are not any specific rules for how the money can be utilized. The UGMA is a custodial account that is created to provide gift assets to minors.

These accounts may be Uniform Transfer to Minors Act accounts or also UTMA accounts. The provided assets have the designated child as the owner. As the child owns the assets, their ability to receive financial aid in the future may be impacted. For estate and tax reasons, this kind of account benefits the giver. They will avoid any income and estate tax on the assets as they are paid instead at the child’s tax rate.

There are no distribution restrictions. The account custodian may sell the assets at any time for any reason for the benefit of the child. Depending on the state, once the child reaches 18 or 21 years, they can sell the assets as well if desired.

What Is the Best Kind of Education Savings Account? 

With such a variety of education savings plans, you may be wondering which is the best kind. Since Coverdell’s are capable of being utilized for every education expense, they are a wonderful option. Although, some folks are concerned about how their kids will use the cash once they take control of the account. These concerns can be avoided with a 529 Plan. This option enables wealthier individuals to save for their children’s secondary education. The UGMA is another flexible choice since the funds can practically be used in any matter and have no restrictions regarding educational use. 

Some individuals cannot qualify for financial aid because they have assets held in a UGMA. While most are grateful for the monetary gifts bestowed on their accounts, there may be unforeseen consequences later.

Some people choose to use a regular savings account to save for post-secondary education. Then they can write a cheque when the time arrives. This option provides flexibility to utilize the funds as needs arise from childhood through to college. Encouraging kids to apply for scholarships can also help decrease the overall costs.