College planning is an essential financial-planning strategy, as college costs are substantial enough to have the potential to compromise the parent’s retirement plans or produce burdensome debt for the college student. The costs can range from $100,000 for some local state-supported universities to $280,000 for many prestigious private schools. Most parents with pre-college age students range in age from 40 to 60 years old and most are concerned with how much college will cost. They are unsure of how much government aid they will receive. Some have set money aside in a 529 plan, state tax-free college bonds, or a prepaid tuition plan, but many have done little planning.
Counting the Costs of College
Helping determine college costs is easier than in the past. There are several online calculators to help with college planning which are even college-specific and can pin down the cost for the student’s intended school. These calculators also have the ability to consider the effect of inflation on costs for students with a number of years before they reach college age.
Importance of Time
Families that need help with college planning typically fall into two categories:
- Families that have five or ten years to plan
- Families whose children are on the doorstep of entering college
Each of these situations requires a different financial approach.
College Planning: When College is Years Away
For younger families there are few assets that have the flexibility and tax advantages of cash value life insurance. All of the alternatives mentioned before have limitations on when and for what purpose the money can be used. The cash value of life insurance can be used at any time for any purpose even if the student does not decide to go to a university.
This is a typical example and summary of college costs and timing for a younger family. State: CA, Husband age 53, Spouse age 49, Son age 12, Daughter age 10. The family’s desire is to send both to a four-year college in CA (public). They would like to have the funds to do this and a protective element in case one or both spouses die early.
Projected Yearly Costs
One possible solution is fixed indexed universal life insurance. Fixed index universal life insurance provides a death benefit to your clients’ beneficiaries. It can also help clients build accumulation value, which could be accessed through policy loans or withdrawals, for future needs such as supplemental college funding.
A well-designed Indexed Universal Life policy could potentially, in just six years, develop enough tax-free income to cover both students’ higher education. Most importantly, the potential solution is self-completing, meaning that even if the insured breadwinner dies early … the income tax-free funds would be available to help complete the strategy.
College Planning: When Classes are About to Start
The just-in-time college planning family has very different objectives. They have already accumulated assets. The husband and wife are in their 50’s their daughter is 17. Their primary concern is securing government support for their daughter’s education. They have $750,000 in various banks and assets. Their daughter would like to attend UCLA. They will need some of this cash to be liquid to cover costs over and above grants and scholarships.
With their current asset positioning, the family would not qualify for financial aid. When they complete the FAFSA form to apply for support they would need to declare the $750,000.
However, if the assets were repositioned into a life insurance policy, which is considered an important financial safety net for the family, those assets would not be included when filing the FAFSA and the family could potentially qualify for financial aid.
In addition to providing financial protection, permanent life insurance can provide accumulation potential to help supplement college costs as well as reposition assets to provide tax advantages and possibly allow someone to qualify for student aid.
As a financial professional, I consider these factors when helping my clients with college planning and retirement strategies.
My name is Kim Holland-Lyon, I have studied and worked in the financial planning industry for many years educating individuals through numerous programs to enhance their financial intelligence and practices, including estate planning. I am a SmartVestor investing pro. I hold several securities licenses and other certifications and designations to include Life, Health, Annuity, Long-Term Care, Identity Theft, Estate Planning and Real Estate. All of this knowledge enables me to offer comprehensive financial planning for my clients to help them prepare for financial independence and management of their investment portfolios.
Whether you have long term financial goals or short term financial goals, please contact me directly at 561-302-5153 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Article Credit: Bill Jackson J.D. CLU | October 02, 2019