Getting Educated About Self-Directed Education Savings Accounts
Thoughts of college are in the air at this time of year, with PSATs, SATs, ACTs and other tests. High school juniors are deciding where to apply to school and seniors have decided where they’ll enroll in the fall.
While college is an exciting time for students, it can be a bit stressful for parents when it comes to making those tuition payments. Even with financial aid, there are plenty of expenses to cover and in many cases, the financial aid does not go far enough.
That’s where Coverdell Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) come in. Many parents and grandparents set up these accounts when a child is born, and contribute to the ESA annually to build up savings to pay education-related expenses. The 2019 annual contribution limit is $2000 per beneficiary (contributed up to age 18), which can be invested and earn tax-free income.
Here are some of the benefits that ESAs have to offer:
- Coverdell ESAs are tax-advantaged so long as the money in them is used to pay for education expenses—which are not limited to higher education only; the funds may be used for qualified elementary and secondary school expenses as well.
- If the distribution is less than the beneficiary’s qualified education expense, the beneficiary (student) will not owe federal income tax.
- The money is considered the beneficiary’s money when applying for federal student aid, which may reduce the amount of student aid the student receives.
- The funds in the account can be used by the beneficiary up to age 30 or be rolled over to another plan.
Self-directed ESAs – the flexible way to build up education savings
Did you know that when ESAs were first introduced in 1997, they were called Education IRAs?
And did you know that, like all other types of IRAs a Coverdell ESA can be self-directed, so that the funds can be invested in alternative assets?
A Coverdell ESA that is opened with a custodian of self-directed retirement plans—like Next Generation—can include the same types of nontraditional investments as other self-directed plans. That way, if the stock market tumbles, the account provides a hedge through the use of those nontraditional investments, such as real estate, precious metals, private equity, notes, and more. Parents or grandparents who already have the knowledge and experience with these types of investments can apply that experience to the student’s education savings through self-direction—and help grow their contributions over time.
Think of the high school graduation gift you could give your child or grandchild years from now, with a self-directed ESA that has grown in value through nontraditional investments. At Next Generation, we offer a plethora of resources to learn more about Coverdell ESAs and the benefits of self-direction. Because client education is so important to us, we’re here to answer your questions about self-direction as a savings strategy—for education expenses or retirement. Contact Next Generation at 1.888.857.8058 or email NewAccounts@NextGenerationTrust.com if you need assistance.
Alternatively, you can sign-up for a complimentary educational session with one of our representatives.
You Could Work a Little Longer to Build More Retirement Savings—or Invest More Creatively through Self-Direction
Did you know that by working six months longer, workers can reap significant Social Security compounding benefits? A Stanford University economics professor, John Shoven, says that older people who are behind on their retirement savings goals can catch up pretty well and increase their retirement standard of living by working just six months longer (and paying into Social Security).
In his paper, “The Power of Working Longer,” Shoven showed that postponing retirement by just three to six months is equivalent to saving an additional percentage point of earnings for 30 years. Plus, for individuals who are in their mid-60s, working just one month longer is equal to saving ten more years for retirement.
Shoven’s study is geared toward people ages 62 to 69 who have a retirement plan but have saved less money for retirement than they desire, have an annual income up to about $200,000 and who rely largely on Social Security during their retirement years. His model used an inflation-adjusted rate of six to eight percent real returns and assumed a safe strategy of investing mostly in bonds.
However, even with higher risk factored in, Shoven found that working slightly longer was still the better way to raise retirement income. Those extra months enable individuals to contribute more to their retirement plans while also boosting Social Security benefits by continuing to pay into the system.
Working a couple of years longer than originally anticipated—say, retiring at age 66 instead of 64—provides even more income when factoring in contributions to both one’s retirement plan and Social Security. Of course, as with any financial planning around one’s retirement age and when to claim Social Security benefits, it’s always best to consult a trusted advisor.*
Invest smarter—and make self-direction work for you
If working longer than originally planned isn’t for you, but investing in alternative assets is, you can boost your potential retirement savings with a self-directed IRA. If you start early enough (or are able to make additional catch-up contributions later on), and you are comfortable making your own investment decisions, self-direction can work for you in a number of ways:
You can build a more diverse retirement portfolio that is not dependent on stocks, bonds and mutual funds – or subject to stock market volatility
- You can include nontraditional investments you may already be investing in outside of your existing retirement plan (such as real estate, precious metals, unsecured or secured loans, private equity)
- You’ll enjoy the same tax advantages of regular IRAs – tax deferred or tax free earnings, depending on the type of account you use
So, you can keep that original retirement date on your calendar and start putting a broader array of investments in your retirement plan with a self-directed IRA. Next Generation makes setting up and funding your new account easy with our helpful starter kits, and our team is here to answer your questions about this type of retirement strategy. Contact Next Generation via email at NewAccounts@NextGenerationTrust.com or call us at 1.888.857.8058 or email NewAccounts@NextGenerationTrust.com.
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*Next Generation Trust Company (“NGTC”) does not review the merits or legitimacy of any investment. NGTC does not endorse or recommend any companies, products, services or investments. NGTC does not provide any financial, legal or investment advice.
If the services of NGTC were recommended by any third party, such persons or entities are not in any way affiliated with NGTC. All information provided is for educational purposes only. All parties are encouraged to consult with their professional advisors prior to making any investments.
Next Generation Services (NGS) is a third-party administrator of self-directed retirement plans, located in Roseland, New Jersey. NGS handles all the back office administration, record keeping, mandatory reporting, and transaction support. Accounts are named with Next Generation Trust Company as the custodian and holder of assets, for benefit of the individual account.
NGS does not review the merits or legitimacy of any investment. NGS does not endorse or recommend any companies, products, services or investments. NGS does not provide any financial, legal or investment advice.
If the services of NGS were recommended by any third party, such persons or entities are not in any way affiliated with NGS. Next Generation Services is not a “fiduciary” as defined in the IRC, ERISA, and/or any applicable federal, state or local laws. All information provided is for educational purposes only. All parties are encouraged to consult with their professional advisors prior to making any investments.
Stock Market’s Got You Down? Consider Alternative Assets as a Retirement Plan Pick-Me-Up
The stock market’s performance in early February likely has many savvy investors thinking about alternative (“alt”) funds as a hedge against market volatility. According to FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) alt funds might invest in assets such as global real estate, loans, start-up companies and unlisted securities that offer exposure beyond traditional stocks, bonds and cash.
Luckily, you can replicate what alt funds are doing by establishing a self-directed IRA and investing in your choice of non-publicly traded alternatives.
There are many alternative assets that investors may include in their self-directed retirement plans as a way to diversify their retirement portfolios—and build retirement wealth with nontraditional investments they already know and understand.
- Interested in being someone’s angel investor?
You can include private equity in your self-directed IRA.
- Do you already invest in precious metals like gold and silver?
Your self-directed IRA can own them too—as long as they’re stored and held at a depository.
- Thinking of investment property?
Your self-directed retirement plan can invest in rental property, office buildings, multi-family housing, warehouses, raw land, rehabs and more.
- Does someone you know need a loan to pay for college?
Your self-directed retirement plan can make that loan and earn tax-advantaged interest as the borrower repays it.
These are just some of the myriad ways you can include nontraditional investments in a tax-advantaged retirement plan. And, when you open a self-directed IRA with Next Generation Trust Company, you get complimentary education, full account administration, transaction support and asset custodial services under one umbrella.
If you’re interested in perking up your portfolio with alternative assets you already know and understand, check out our Starter Kits to open an account and sign up for our monthly newsletter for timely tips. Have questions? Contact our team at Info@NextGenerationTrust.com or 1.888.857.8058
Did you miss our last Self-Directed Webinar?
Last Thursday, Next Generation Trust Services had the pleasure of working with Wen Hsu of Keller Williams, NYC and Tony D’Anzica of Dynamax Realty and Manhattan MLS, Inc to produce an informative webinar regarding real estate trends and using your retirement plan to make these purchases.
In case you missed this educational self-directed webinar session you can access the recording of this hour long seminar right here! Covered within this webinar are the following topics:
Manhattan Real Estate Investment Trends
Real Estate Investment Strategies
Buying Real Estate in Your Retirement Plan