Financial Advising for College Saving Planning
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Why College Savings Planning Matters
Soaring Educational Costs
The escalating expenses of higher education underscore the need for proactive financial preparation.
Alleviating Financial Strain
Families and students grappling with financial burdens find relief through prudent savings strategies.
Empowering Future Scholars
Early planning empowers aspiring scholars to ensure access to quality education without compromising finances.
Minimizing Student Debt
Strategic savings planning minimizes the reliance on student loans, setting the stage for a debt-free educational journey.
Tailored savings plans provide flexibility, accommodating various educational paths and unforeseen challenges.
Investing in Tomorrow
Investing in college savings today cultivates a brighter future and enables students to focus on learning rather than financial stress.
Our Approach to College Savings Planning
At Lewis CPA, with over 25 years of experience serving families in Chicago, Illinois, and nationwide, we bring comprehensive expertise to the realm of financial advising for college savings planning and tax incentives. Our approach is built upon a solid foundation of financial planning and strategic tax strategies to ensure that every family's aspirations are met with careful consideration and precision.
We understand that each family has its own set of financial goals, circumstances, and dreams for their loved one's education. This is why we prioritize a tailored approach that takes into account the unique situation of every client. By thoroughly assessing your financial standing and understanding your educational aspirations, we create a personalized education savings strategy that aligns with your vision.
Key Services We Offer
Personalized Savings Strategies
Craft tailored savings plans aligned with your financial goals. Analyze your current situation and projected costs to create a plan that ensures your family's educational aspirations are met.
529 Plan Guidance
Explore the advantages of 529 plans for tax-efficient savings. Our expertise helps you select the right plan and manage contributions to ensure a solid foundation for your loved ones' education.
Maximize returns while minimizing tax impact. At Lewis CPA, our approach to investing includes strategies that optimize gains and reduce capital gains taxes, preserving more of your savings for future educational needs.
Financial Aid Optimization
We can help you navigate the complex world of financial aid with confidence. Benefit from our guidance on FAFSA and CSS Profile, ensuring you secure the maximum aid eligibility for your family's educational journey.
Risk Management and Asset Protection
Shield your savings from market uncertainties. Our strategies protect your investments from volatility to ensure your hard-earned assets remain dedicated to funding your children's education.
Regular Review and Adjustments
Stay on track with ongoing monitoring and adjustments. We consider changing circumstances to fine-tune your savings plan, guaranteeing optimal results and adaptability over time.
Secure Your Future Today: Plan for Education Tomorrow
Empower your loved ones with a bright future. Take the first step towards an education savings plan today and make a lasting impact.Contact Us!
Common Educational Savings Options
College expenses add up. There are several common education savings plan account options available to help families save and plan for their children's education expenses:
529 Savings Plans
- 1. State-sponsored plans that offer tax-advantaged savings for qualified higher education expenses, including tuition, room and board, textbooks, and other college expenses;
- 2. Earnings grow tax-free, and withdrawals are also tax-free when used for qualified education expenses;
- 3. Can be used for both college and K-12 education costs.
Coverdell Education Savings Accounts (ESAs)
- 1. Tax-advantaged accounts that allow individuals to contribute up to $2,000 annually per beneficiary;
- 2. Similar to 529 college savings plans, earnings grow tax-free, and withdrawals are tax-free when used for qualified education expenses.
Custodial Accounts (UGMA/UTMA)
- 1. Uniform Gifts to Minors Act (UGMA) and Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA) accounts allow minors to receive and manage gifts or assets;
- 2. Funds can be used for any purpose, including education, but become the child's property once they reach the age of majority.
Education IRAs (Individual Retirement Accounts, Now Called Coverdell ESAs)
- 1. Previously known as Education IRAs, these accounts are now known as Coverdell ESAs;
- 2. Allow individuals to contribute up to $2,000 per year for each beneficiary;
- 3. Similar to ESAs, earnings grow tax-free, and withdrawals are tax-free when used for qualified education expenses.
Roth IRAs for Education
- 1. While primarily designed for retirement, Roth IRAs allow penalty-free withdrawals for qualified education expenses;
- 2. Contributions to a Roth IRA can be withdrawn at any time without penalty, but earnings are subject to certain rules for education-related expenses.
Prepaid Tuition Plans
- 1. State-sponsored plans that allow families to prepay for future college tuition at today's rates;
- 2. Some plans have residency requirements or limitations on where the funds can be used.
- 1. These accounts are designed for those with disabilities and their families to save for disability-related expenses, including education;
- 2. Earnings grow tax-free, and withdrawals are tax-free when used for qualified disability expenses.
Taxable Investment Portfolios
- 1. Families can also save for education using taxable investment accounts, such as brokerage accounts;
- 2. Earnings are subject to capital gains taxes, but there's more flexibility in how the funds can be used.
Employer-Sponsored Education Benefits
- Some employers offer educational assistance programs that provide employees with funds or reimbursement for education-related expenses.
Our College Saving Planning Process
Discuss your goals, financial situation, and aspirations to customize a plan that aligns with your family's vision.
Assess current savings, projected costs, and potential investment options to create a tailored strategy.
Develop a detailed savings plan, considering tax advantages, investment vehicles, and risk tolerance.
Allocate funds into diversified portfolios that balance growth potential and risk management.
Continuously review your plan, making adjustments based on market conditions and life changes.
Educational Funding Guidance
Advice on FAFSA, scholarships, and aid applications to maximize financial assistance opportunities.
Implement tax-efficient strategies to make the most of available deductions and credits.
Periodically assess your progress and adjust strategies to stay on track with your college savings goals.
Adapt your plan as circumstances evolve to ensure it remains aligned with your family's educational dreams.
Why Choose Us
Experience and Expertise
What is a 529 plan, and how does it work for education savings?
A 529 plan is a tax-advantaged savings account designed to help families save for future education expenses. A 529 college savings offers two main types: a prepaid tuition plan and a college savings plan. Prepaid plans allow you to purchase future college tuition at today's prices, while college savings plans provide investment options to grow savings over time. These plans are typically sponsored by states and educational institutions, and the funds can be used for qualified education expenses, including tuition, room and board, textbooks, and more.
What are the tax benefits of contributing to a 529 plan?
There are many tax benefits! Contributions to a 529 plan aren't federally tax-deductible, but they may be deductible at the state level in some cases. The major tax benefit comes from the tax-free growth of the funds within the account. As long as withdrawals are used for qualified education expenses, including tuition and other costs, the earnings are exempt from federal income taxes.
What happens to the money in a 529 plan if my child doesn't go to college?
If the designated beneficiary decides not to attend college or if there are excess funds, you have several options. You can change the beneficiary to another family member, use the funds for graduate school, or keep the account for future educational needs. If you withdraw funds for non-qualified expenses, you'll face income tax and a 10% penalty on the earnings portion.
What if my child receives a scholarship or financial aid? How does that affect the 529 plan?
If your child receives a scholarship or financial aid, you can withdraw an equivalent amount from the 529 plan without incurring the 10% penalty on earnings. However, you'll still owe income tax on the earnings portion of the withdrawal.
How does a 529 plan impact federal financial aid eligibility?
Assets held in a parent-owned 529 plan are considered parental assets on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Parental assets are assessed at a lower rate than student assets, which can have a positive impact on financial aid eligibility. However, distributions from the 529 plan may be counted as untaxed income on the following year's FAFSA and potentially affect aid eligibility. Make sure you understand the specific rules and consult with a financial advisor for personalized guidance.
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