This month we have one item we are sharing. It’s that important and that good. How do I know? At Hill Investment Group, we’ve been doing a series of morning Zoom calls for a few years now, and this piece from our own Charles Kafoglis is viewed as one of the best we’ve ever had. Charles won’t tell you this because he’s too humble, but his five-minute video is something everyone should see.
Why? It frames the magic of compounding in an easier way to digest and incorporate into your own life. Whether you are building towards financial independence or already there, I encourage you to watch our natural teacher, Charles Kafoglis, and his talk on “The Greatest Double.”
Summary of Topics:
- Example of doubling from one of Charles’s favorite teachers
- What it looks like to double every ten years
- Phases of life – learn, earn, adjourn
- The impact of the last double
- Do you have 3, 4, or more doubles?
Helping you save for your child’s education is one of our core planning services. It’s encouraging when parents come to us and want to start their first 529 plan, but confusion often arises if a second or third child comes into the picture.
Should we continue making contributions to our current 529 plan and divide the savings among all the kids? Or should we have a unique 529 for each kid and make separate contributions?
This is one of the most common questions I receive—and for good reason. The simplicity of maintaining a single 529 sounds like a decent option, but take a closer look and you’ll see having a separate 529 plan for each of your children is almost always more beneficial in the long run.
Let’s explore why.
Customized Investment Options
With one 529 plan, you’re confined to a single investment strategy for multiple kids. However, opening a 529 plan for each child enables you to fine-tune your asset mix to fit their individual needs.
For example: When saving for college, a 16-year-old might typically have a more conservative allocation than his three-year-old brother as funds are to be used sooner.
More Paperwork Down the Road
When you open a 529 account, you can only name one beneficiary. So what happens when you have two kids?
Let’s say your kids are two years apart. Typically, you’d tap into your 529 account when your eldest child heads off to college. But once the younger child starts college two years later, you’d have to change the name of the beneficiary…and back again if you want to allocate funds to your older child.
Bottom line: This name-changing can turn into a logistical nightmare. Separate 529 plans alleviate the headache and the extra paperwork.
Contributions to a 529 account that exceed $15,000 per year (or $30,000 for couples “sharing” gifts) won’t count against your lifetime exclusion and must be reported on a gift tax return. However, you can double your potential annual limit by opening a 529 account for each individual child.
Another advantage, depending on your state of legal residence, is that some plans offer state tax deductions for 529 contributions. Accordingly, multiple 529 plans may compound these tax advantages. We recommend that you consult a tax professional in order to maximize the benefit.
I get it: doing a cost-benefit analysis of 529 plans isn’t the most exciting way to spend a Saturday afternoon. Optimizing 529 plan structure is crucial for maximizing the value of your contributions—and setting your children up for success.
If you have any questions about 529 plans or other planning ideas, just drop me a line.
For the past 10 years, most US investors have been star managers without really trying. In our country, investor portfolios are typically US large-cap dominant, so while they are up this decade (and specifically this year with the S&P), they didn’t fare well the first decade of this century.
I recommend spending a few minutes with this piece from Dimensional. They took a look back at the stock market over the past 20 years. While the 2000s and 2010s have differed starkly in performance, collectively they have reinforced investing lessons on patience and discipline – the real stars! Read their synopsis at the link below.