Back to School: Time to Review Your College Fund and Estate Plan

529 College Savings Plan

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The end of summer brings mixed emotions for many parents. As kids head back to school, it’s the perfect time to ensure that you have adequately funded your child’s college education and addressed any open issues in your family’s estate plan.

Here are some essential estate issues that warrant your attention:

1. Retirement Planning and Life Insurance: Consider what would happen to your family if you were to pass away before retirement. Ensure your retirement plan is on track and that you have a life insurance policy in place to support your family’s needs. Prepare for potential gaps in financial needs versus available assets in the event of premature death or disability. Long-term disability insurance (LTD) can be invaluable in such circumstances.

2. Planning for a Spouse’s Death: Evaluate the impact of your spouse’s unexpected passing on your family’s financial situation. Even if you have sufficient assets, there may be a need to hire additional help for the kids. Create a plan to address this scenario.

3. Mortgage and Estate Documents: Review your mortgage to ensure it meets your needs and will be paid off in the event of your death. Update your will and trust documents and seek referrals if necessary.

4. Retirement Plan and Beneficiary Forms: Make sure your retirement plan is comprehensive, covering not just financial aspects but also hobbies, living arrangements, and travel desires. Also, update beneficiary forms on your retirement accounts to reflect your current preferences.

5. Business Exit Strategy: If you own a business, devise a clear exit strategy. Your business is likely your most significant asset, and planning for its future is crucial.

6. Consult with Your Financial Advisor: Sit down with your financial advisor to review all the above aspects. They can guide you in making informed decisions and ensure your estate plan aligns with your financial goals.

Now, let’s discuss College Funding:

One of the most popular ways to save for college is through a 529 plan. Don’t hesitate to seek contributions from grandparents, who can either add to an existing plan or open a separate one for your children. College costs can be substantial, ranging up to $60,000 per year before considering scholarships, loans, and grants. Ensure you are maximizing your 529 plan contributions. When choosing a 529 plan, focus on available funds and risk tolerance, as California accepts various options.

Here are some staggering annual college costs for certain universities:

  • Columbia University: $64,524
  • University of Southern California (USC): $63,468
  • Northwestern University: $62,391
  • Claremont McKenna College: $60,480
  • Duke University: $62,688

While in-state tuition in California may be more affordable, remember to factor in living, housing, and food expenses, which can exceed $16,000 per year.

The key to successful Estate and College Planning is to collaborate with your Advisor and create a comprehensive checklist to cover all necessary aspects. Remember, this is an ongoing journey, not a one-time destination.

By reviewing your estate plan and college fund regularly, you can ensure your family’s financial security and make well-informed decisions for the future. Please don’t hesitate to reach out for more information at 925-314-8503 or elliot@prosperityfinancialgroup.com.

All my best,

Elliot Kallen

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