by Curtis Burkholder
As we continue to discuss ways to have an “Impact” with our time, treasure, and talents, we wanted to highlight that tomorrow is “National 529 Day”! This day was established to focus on the importance of planning and saving for college – through what is known as the 529 plan. By utilizing a 529 plan, you can help impact someone’s educational life. As you know, education can be expensive. The 529 plan is an excellent way to purposefully plan to save for an individual’s education – whether that be your child, grandchild, or another special child in your life. If you do not know what a 529 plan is, you are not alone! Keep reading to learn more about how these accounts can be a helpful and impactful tool when saving for college or K-12 private education.
The 529 plan received its name because it was authorized in section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code. It does not actually have anything to do with the May 29th other than it’s a great date to highlight this plan! The 529 is a college savings plan that allows individuals to save for college on a tax-advantaged basis without paying federal taxes on its growth – but only if it is used for qualified higher-education expenses. A few years ago, the tax laws were updated to allow families to use funds toward a private elementary or secondary education-up to $10,000/year per beneficiary.
If you contribute funds into a 529 account and the original beneficiary does not need the funds for their education, the beneficiary can be changed to another family member. This provides flexibility in funding and planning for education expenses as funds can be transferred between different siblings as well as down their family line.
It is also important to understand the tax treatment of 529 accounts. There are tax advantages for contributions into a 529 account. Each state has established their own plan with an investment company so you will receive a state tax deduction for any amount that you contribute into a 529 account. However, if you live in Pennsylvania, you may claim a deduction for a contribution to any state’s 529 plan. This means that you have a wide range of investment providers to choose from for the 529 account. This also means that you can contribute to 529 accounts for your grandchildren even if they live out of state.
Another important element to consider is how 529 distributions are treated from a tax perspective. If the funds are used for qualified education expenses, there are NO taxes due on the distributions. However, if the funds are not used for qualified education expenses, the earnings of the non-qualified distributions will be subject to income tax and a 10% federal penalty tax.
Almost anyone can open a 529 account including parents or grandparents. No matter who opens a 529 account, anyone can contribute to the account for the student. If you have grandchildren, you can contribute to their college education by establishing a 529 plan for their benefit or using one that is already established. This can also be useful if your grandchildren attend private school, as you can help cover the cost of their education and get a state tax deduction for any contributions made into a 529 account. The funds in the 529 account can then be withdrawn to be used to pay for the private school tuition.
Hopefully, you have gained a better understanding about 529 plans, as well as the advantages to using them. If you wish to learn more about 529 accounts and how they can be used for your children or grandchildren with great impact, please contact our office and we would be happy to discuss this with you in greater detail. Happy National 529 Day!
Securities America and its representatives do not provide tax advice; therefore, is is important to coordinate with your tax advisor regarding your specific situation.
by Curtis Burkholder
Have you ever considered how your life may impact future generations? Does your heart burn with a passion for a cause? Today, I want to briefly share the story of one individual who impacted many generations.
Recently the team at Bare Wealth Advisors read Gospel Patrons and discussed it weekly. Gospel Patrons is a book about generous people who funded the work and ministries of other people in history. This book specifically highlights the story of three individuals and their financial supporters. The book tells the stories of the impact they had in their world at the time and how many continue to impact us today. One of these stories is the story of George Whitefield (1714-1770).
You may have heard of Whitfield before as many people know him as one of the founders of Methodism as well as a preacher during the Great Awakening, but some parts of his story are not as well known. Whitefield had a financial backer known as Lady Huntingdon who helped to fund his ministry. Lady Huntingdon became widow at the age of thirty-nine and used her financial resources for eternal purposes.
Whitefield had a preaching style that was unique and uncommon for his time. He was known for speaking of spiritual things as being real. In stark contrast to sermons of the day that were often read and were dry, Whitefield’s sermons were passionate, biblical, and joyful. Often Whitefield would preach twice a day seven days a week. He also tried something that had not been tried in England at the time, preaching outside.
Amid drawing large crowds to hear him speak on both sides of the Atlantic, Whitefield also faced opposition. He regularly had rocks, dirt, and even eggs thrown at him. He was almost stoned to death in Ireland, two people attempted to murder him while he slept, and others tried to distract him and his listeners. But despite the opposition, he continued preaching.
By the time of his death at age fifty-five, he had preached at least 18,000 sermons averaging over ten per week-more than 500 sermons a year for thirty-four consecutive years. In his will, he left everything to Lady Huntington who had supported his ministry.
Through Lady Huntingdon’s support and Whitefield’s tireless preaching, they influenced many in both England and America. It is estimated that over 80% of those living in the American colonies at the time heard Whitefield preach. This provided a common theological framework that influenced the nation for many generations. Between both England and America, it is estimated that over ten million people heard his sermons.
As we reflect on the life of Whitefield and what he accomplished, it is amazing to consider what he did without our modern transportation or sound projection systems. Considering this, I encourage you to reflect on everything that we have, and to think about your talents, time, and the resources God has given you. How may God want to use you to impact not only this generation but future generations. It may not be an easy road, but through perseverance may you accomplish the dreams and desires God has placed within your heart.