Saving for School the Coverdell Way
The Coverdell Education Savings Account is a tax-privileged savings vehicle that
replaces and improves upon the old Education IRA (Individual Retirement Account).
Contributions are limited to $2,000 a year per child, which amounts to about
$166 a month. Bit by bit, those savings can accumulate into a tidy sum.
“In terms of the $2,000 a year, that is sufficient for most families to pay for
college if you start early enough,” says Mike Arnow, a certified public accountant
and certified financial planner in Glendale, Wis.
The chief feature of the Coverdell account is that it shelters investment growth
from the tax collector. That means that savings set aside in such accounts — plus
the earnings they make — are fully available for qualified school bills.
Besides protecting earnings from taxes, Coverdell accounts offer investment flexibility,
transferability, and tax-free withdrawals to cover education costs such as books,
tuition, and room and board. And, they’re not just for college kids.
“The Coverdell could be used at any school, public or private, and even for grammar
school and high school,” Arnow says. They’re also available for students with special
needs, regardless of their age.
Coverdell contributions must stop when the child reaches 18, and the account must
be spent on schooling by the time the beneficiary reaches 30, unless the student
has special needs. Otherwise, the earnings could be subject to income taxes as well
as a 10% penalty.
However, unused portions of the Coverdell account may be transferred to a relative
— a sibling, niece, nephew, even cousin—to keep the education savings in the family
and avoid tax penalties.
To establish a Coverdell Education Savings Account, call 800.897.6991
or come in to the Credit Union.