Education Planning in Maryland
College Funding in Ellicott City, Columbia & More
When planning for college, it’s important to have all the information needed to make the most financially sound decisions. Pursuing higher education is an investment in your family’s future and at Geier Asset Management, we want to be sure you have everything you need. Our experienced team can help by conducting an analysis of your finances and running projections to help determine how much money you will need to fund an adequate college education for your children. Based on these projections, we will help you decide which funding scenario is the best for your situation—be it a lump sum or monthly contribution. Once the fund has been established, we will invest the contributions and manage them regularly.
Planning for Education in Maryland
Section 529 College Saving Plans
Section 529 plans offer tax-free growth if the funds are used towards post-secondary education—including tuition, room and board, supplies, etc.—and they can be passed from generation to generation if the funds go unused. In addition, beginning in 2018, 529 plan funds can be used towards elementary or secondary school tuition (up to $10,000 per year per beneficiary). Other benefits of these plans are potential state income tax deductions for the account holder and the reduction of the account holder’s taxable estate. There are no restrictions on who is eligible to contribute money on behalf of the beneficiary. The favorable gift tax treatment of 529 plans makes them a good estate planning tool.
For more information on Section 529 college saving plans, contact Geier Asset Management.
Prepaid College Trusts in Baltimore
A prepaid college trust will lock in future college tuition prices at today’s rates and can only be used for tuition. These plans offer a potential state income tax deduction for the account holder. If the student attends an in-state public college, the plan pays the tuition and required fees. If attending a private or out-of-state college, the plan typically pays the average of in-state public college tuition, and then the family will have to pay the rest. These plans involve no risk to the principal and are often guaranteed by faith and credit of the state.
Contact Geier Asset Management to learn more about prepaid college trusts in Maryland.
Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMAs)
UTMAs are brokerage accounts for children under the age of majority (18 or 21). This type of account allows donors to transfer income-producing assets to children, who typically are in lower tax brackets. They provide a vehicle for gifts to be given to a minor but are subject to the annual gift tax exemption limits. UTMAs are inexpensive to operate and offer increased flexibility for the account holder. While not specifically designed to finance a college education, many investors use UTMA’s for this because the funds become available to the child at age 18 or 21 and are more tax efficient along the way.
Geier Asset Management can answer any questions you may have on UTMAs. Contact us today.
How Geier Asset Management Assists in the College Planning Process
College planning is a significant component of the financial planning process. While the 529 plan is our preferred savings mechanism, there are many other things to consider when planning for college:
- How much should I contribute monthly to reach my goal?
- How should I allocate the funds?
- Should I make adjustments regularly, and if so, how will I know what to do?
These are some of the questions that we address in our college planning analysis. Projections are run based on factors such as the current cost of college, inflation rates on tuition, and estimated rates of return. From there, our financial planning advisors will devise a plan that will identify the amount required and the estimated return needed to achieve your college funding goals. We’ll actively manage the 529 accounts for our clients, making regular adjustments based on current market conditions and the time horizon until the funds are needed. College planning is crucial for the long-term success of your loved ones. We are happy to handle the strategic planning and investment management, while utilizing the best college savings account available: the 529 plan.
College costs can’t continue to skyrocket as they have over the years. But the cost of an education will always be a major budget item for most parents. Start planning now—our financial planning advisors in Howard County, including Ellicott City and Columbia, can help! Contact Geier Asset Management today.