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Retirement vs. College

It seems that at every turn, there is something new to pay for. But the two most pressing financial matters in your life often include funding for your retirement and paying for your child’s college education. Saving for college, much like contributing to your retirement account can be performed over a long period of time. But what if you haven’t prepared for the financial responsibilities that come along with a college education? Below are a few things to consider when you are thinking about “retirement vs. college”.

  • It is wise to contribute to your 401(k), IRA, and 403(b) tax-sheltered annuities prior to funding your college savings account. If your employer is matching then you should absolutely be taking full advantage of your retirement accounts. In some instances, your retirement plans offer special tax advantages.
  • IRAs can be a great resource in helping you pay for a college education. Tax law allows you to pull from your traditional or Roth IRA for college expenses without incurring the 10% penalty for distributions prior to the age of 59 ½ but an income tax may apply.
  • Whatever you have contributed to your retirement accounts will not prevent you from receiving federal financial aid (unless you actually take distributions from them during the college years).

Preparing for the Future
Starting a retirement plan doesn’t have to wait until you’ve saved enough for your child’s education. Preparing for your future (and for the future of your child’s education) can often start at the employer level. If you haven’t done so already, look into any type of employee benefit plans your company provides. If your employer matches a percentage to a retirement fund such as a 401(k), it would be wise to contribute the maximum amount. Remember that this amount is pre-taxed. Consider other retirement options too. The earlier you start executing your retirement plan, the better position you will be in to fund your child’s college education.

Professional Accounting Services
At BatesCarter, we help businesses, non-profits and even individuals with accounting and tax matters that will ultimately shape their financial future. If you are searching for an accounting firm in Georgia to help with important financial decisions in your life, contact us today. We are uniquely experienced and trained to assist clients at every stage of growth, helping them reach their goals and build value, now and in the future. We look forward to exceeding your expectations. Always.