Back to Basics Fun Educational Review – Part Five – Education Planning … The 529 – The Not to 529!

Welcome back to Part Five of our “Back to Basics” series .. we hope you’ve enjoyed the First Four which started with all about “The Emergency Fund” in Part 1 … with Part 2 being “Protection Planning” and Part 3 discussing All about Debt Planning or “The Good the Bad and the Ugly of Debt”, Part 4 Retirement Planning and now we happily bring you Part Five Back to Basics Education Planning!

As a reminder this is a high level Financial Planning Education like overview starting with the basics of and we will continue into advanced topics in order of Planning Importance.  

Did you notice we put Retirement Planning BEFORE Education planning? Do you recall in Part 3 in Debt Planning we said one of the few good debts are educational related debts ….We of course are not advocating Student debt/loans… but they are available in abundance and again not a bad debt. There are not retirement planning loans…. just saying!

Education Planning

Very similar to the most important parts of retirement planning, education planning carries many of the same qualities but with a few caveats:

  1. Start Early and if you do consider a 529 plan due to the tax free compounding features.
  2. With many states giving you a state income tax bracket break for your 529 contributions … making those states a green light to fund a 529 right up to the years a student is about to attend or is even attending –
    1. Planning Strategy– if you are very near the student using the 529, only fund the amount needed to get the deduction on the state level. Those residing in states where there is no state income tax deductions have far less benefits to the late funding/in and out of 529 state deductible contributions.
    2. Second Planning strategy– late funding plans of any type should be in VERY safe almost emergency funds like asset classes since their use will be so fast.
    3. Third Planning strategy– Do not overfund a 529 as if you do there can be stiff tax penalties for non-educational uses.
  3. Think of educational funds as fast use retirement funds, therefore make sure the allocations are very conservative as the child approaches use age.
  4. Make it easy for Grandparents and others to contribute to an Educational fund, we find other generations very frequently help with Educational Funding since they also know the importance, but may be more set in their retirement funds…

Education Costs are Increasing Fast

Not withstanding the above warning of overfunding a 529 plan, understand that higher education costs are rising very quickly as noted here in detail and be sure to plan accordingly … here is our favorite chart on the Growth of Student Loans:

Have a Great “Education Planning” Day!

John A. Kvale CFA, CFP

Founder of J.K. Financial, Inc.

A Dallas Texas based fee only

Financial Planning Total Wealth

Management firm.



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