What's your dream? How do you envision spending your time when you retire? Will it be that year-long trip to Tuscany you've discussed for a lifetime? Finally opening that little teahouse on the lakeshore? Curling up with a library full of good books? Whether your dream is spending time in the garden or exploring the world, now is the time to start planning ahead.
Since 1904, life expectancy in the United States has been steadily increasing. Those of us who are 65 years old today are expected to live on average an additional 20 years...and we all want those years to be as financially comfortable and stable as possible.
Retirement plans are the predominant and often best method for people to accumulate savings for retirement. There are numerous types of retirement plans, but all the plans offer some combination of tax advantages and other incentives.
Retirement Plan Types
Individual Defined Benefit
Individual Defined Benefit
Government & Public
Financing a college education is a lot like buying a home. There are several ways to pay for it: save, pay as you go, borrow, let someone else pay or a combination of these. All of these options can play a part in making the college dream come true.
Smart planning is the key--and the time to begin is right now. Whether the child in your life is thirteen years old, ten months, or due any day now, it's never too early to start planning. If you feel overwhelmed by the thought of the costs that will be involved in your child's education, remember that the earlier you begin saving towards those costs, the longer your money can work for you. Making the right moves with your money right now can make a big difference. Even though financial planning is very personal, professional advice is often needed.
These days, college isn’t just a dream, it’s practically a requirement. And it’s also getting more and more expensive. However, there are several options and choices available to help your children or grandchildren explore and enjoy the advantages of higher education.
Your American Eagle Financial Consultant can help you to determine the college savings plan that’s best for you. He or she can help you decide what investments are most likely to help enhance your return while maintaining a risk level with which you are comfortable. After all, the goal is to maximize your savings, and help your dreams come true.
What You Should Know
Take advantage of tax benefits.
The tax benefits offered by college savings vehicles can greatly affect how much you accumulate for your child's college education. Tax-free growth is a powerful benefit and can make a difference in the value of your account—enabling more of your college savings dollars to be used towards college education expenses.
Know how flexible and accessible your assets are.
What happens to your college savings if your situation changes, you have a financial emergency, or your child gets a scholarship? The answers vary based on the college savings vehicle you chose. Ownership, control of assets, and account flexibility are important factors that should weigh in to your decision-making process. College savings plans also vary in the treatment of non-qualified withdrawals, from not allowing early access to complete penalty-free liquidity.
Consider income restrictions and contribution limits
With the rising cost of college, it’s important to start investing early and regularly to prepare financially for college. High contribution limits allow you to save greater amounts towards college expenses, and income restrictions often dictate who can use each plan.
A 529 plan is an investment plan operated by a state and designed to help families save for future college costs. As long as the plan satisfies a few basic requirements, the federal tax law provides special tax benefits to you, the plan participant (Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code).
Income Tax Breaks
529 plans offer valuable income tax breaks. Although your contributions are not deductible on your federal tax return, your investment grows tax-deferred, and distributions to pay for the beneficiary's qualified college costs come out federally tax-free. The tax free treatment was made permanent with the Pension Protection Act of 2006.
Contributor Stays in Control
Another advantage of the 529 plan is that the contributor stays in control of the account. The named beneficiary has no rights to the funds, with very few exceptions. You, the contributor, decide when withdrawals are taken and for what purpose. Most plans even allow you to reclaim the funds for yourself any time you desire, no questions asked. However, the earnings portion of the "nonqualified" withdrawal will be subject to income tax and an additional 10% penalty tax.
In addition, a 529 plan is among many than can provide a way to save for college. Once you decide which 529 plan to use, you complete an enrollment form and make your contribution (or sign up for systematic deposits). That’s all there is to it. The ongoing investment of your account is handled by the plan, not by you. Plan assets are professionally managed either by the state treasurer's office or by an outside investment company hired as the program manager.
Everyone is Eligible
Finally, everyone is eligible to take advantage of a 529 plan, and the amounts you can put in can be substantial. Generally, there are no income limitations or age restrictions.
As with all tax-related decisions, consult your tax advisor. Withdrawals for expenses other than qualified education expenses are subject to income tax and an additional 10% penalty on earnings. You should consider a 529 Plan's fees and expenses such as administrative fees, enrollment fees, annual maintenance fees, sales charges, and underlying fund expenses, which will fluctuate depending on the 529 Plan invested in and the investments chosen within the plan. You should also consider the inherent risks associated with investing in 529 Plans such as investment return and principal fluctuation, which will also vary based on the investments made within the plan. More information is available in each plan’s official statement. The official statement should be read carefully before investing.
Financial Planning encompasses the comprehensive treatment of estate planning strategies, income, expenses, assets and liabilities, stock options, and federal and state taxes over the life of an investor. For such important work, you need a dedicated and trusted consultant who will work with you in a relationship based on trust and confidence to develop a plan designed to reach your goals for retirement, college, and more.
LPL Financial, financial consultants, have at their fingertips a suite of financial planning tools to help them best serve you, no matter how diverse your needs.
To learn more about the role financial planning can play in your life, try one of our financial calculators. Financial Planning offered through LPL Financial.
American Eagle Financial Services is a full-service organization with the financial strength and depth of resources to handle virtually any investor’s needs. Our broad offering of investment solutions is delivered through a comprehensive range of products and strategies that includes mutual fund wraps, multi-strategy accounts, and separately managed accounts.
Underlying our distinctive culture is a commitment to providing consistent and competitive investment management. We believe that consistency – in our investment processes, research, performance, and client services – is the foundation of our asset management excellence.
LPL Financial, a Registered Broker/Dealer and Registered Investment Advisor, utilizes a variety of money managers for investment solutions. The use of these money managers is dependent on the asset value, investment style, and investment objectives for each individual investor.
Securities offered through LPL Financial, member FINRA/SIPC. Investment Advisory Services offered through LPL Financial, a Registered Investment Advisor. Insurance products offered through LPL Financial or its licensed affiliates. American Eagle Financial Credit Union and American Eagle Financial Services are not registered broker/dealers and are not affiliated with LPL Financial.
Not NCUA Insured
No Credit Union Guarantee
May Lose Value
The LPL Financial representative associated with this website may discuss and/or transact securities business only with residents of the following states: Connecticut.