What if your child doesn’t want to go to college? Although this isn’t really an option for many people, college is still one of the best financial investments you’ll ever make for your child. Over the past few decades, the cost of college has risen, while the earnings potential after graduation has remained relatively flat. And now, the future carries a cost of over $1 trillion in student loan debt, which will burden the economy for generations. And while personal savings may be a great option for your child, there are much easier ways to set aside money for college. You could also use your college savings to save for retirement, buy a house or use it as a piggy bank.
I have three kids, and while I’m a little biased since the oldest is a college student and the other two are still in high school, I’ve seen the struggles families face as they try to save up for their children’s future plans. There are all sorts of financial roadblocks—ranging from buying a house, paying for college tuition, and saving for retirement—that make it hard for families to plan ahead.
You probably thought your kid would be thrilled with your decision to place him or her in an expensive private college. You may have even promised to foot the bill for it. But now that the boy or girl has actually started classes, you’re not so sure about it. Your son or daughter comes home with stories of a tough first year in a difficult major. Worse still, the idea of spending four years in school fills them with dread.
It’s been normal for parents to save for their children’s college education during the last 60 years or so. However, things have changed, and with them, our financial situations — and expectations — have evolved as well. Even if they don’t want to go to college, you may need to put money down for the future. After all, he or she may have professional goals that do not need a college diploma but do necessitate financial resources.
A college diploma no longer guarantees a good future for your kid, and the thought of perpetual student loan debt may be demoralizing. Furthermore, there are many professional and employment opportunities that do not need college education.
What If Your Child Isn’t Interested in Attending College? How to Put Money Aside for the Future
You’ll almost certainly want to put money down for your child’s future. But, if you don’t want to go to college, what are your options? Here are a few suggestions.
To save for the future, consider a UGMA or UTMA.
A UGMA or UTMA account is one method to assist your kid start saving now so that they can make their own financial choices later. You must act on behalf of children since they are not permitted to sign contracts on their own to buy stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and other securities. You may do it with these two cars until they reach adulthood.
- The Uniform Gifts to Minors Act, or UGMA, was enacted in 1956 and modified in 1966. It enables you to give your kid a tax-free gift (up to a specific amount) without having to appoint a trustee or establish a trust fund. UGMA accounts are permitted in all states.
- A UTMA is somewhat wider in that it may contain non-financial assets including artwork, real estate, and intellectual property in addition to financial assets. UTMAs are permitted in several states, but not all.
Although there are no gift taxes on these accounts, they are not tax-deductible for you. When your kid reaches the age of majority, these accounts become their own to use as they see fit.
Establish a savings account.
It’s customary to establish a savings account for your children so that they may save for college, but there’s no need to limit your ambitions to the scholastic realm. You may also assist them in saving for other objectives, such as purchasing their first vehicle or having a down payment for a home down the road.
A savings account will not yield you much interest, but it will enable you to set away money on a regular basis for your children to use when they need it. You may also establish a joint savings account with your children that they can co-own, including them directly in the process and teaching them the importance of saving.
Assist them in establishing credit.
You may not think of establishing credit as a method to save, but it is if you look at it in the right manner. The better your credit, the larger the loan your kid may get for a significant buy in the future, and the more money you’ll save (yes, save!) by keeping interest rates low.
When your kid reaches the age of majority, you may educate them how to establish credit by creating a joint credit card account with them. They may also apply for a student credit card that is connected to a protected account. Regardless of whatever choice you pick, educating your kid to manage credit properly may help them travel, start a company, or pursue another ambition.
Make a withdrawal from your Roth IRA.
Because Roth IRAs are intended for retirement, any interest earned before the age of 5912 is subject to a 10% tax penalty. However, the penalty does not apply to the principle (your original investment), which you may withdraw for any reason, including retirement. It might, for example, be utilized to assist your children.
However, you should be aware that there will be less money in your retirement account to generate interest if you do this. You may need to do something different to supplement your retirement savings in this situation. Any choice you make about your retirement should be part of a larger strategy.
Purchase a deposit certificate.
You may buy a CD, or certificate of deposit, which grants your bank the right to use your money for a certain length of time (and a penalty if you take it out early). It might last six months, a year, or even five years. The bank gives you interest in exchange for allowing you to utilize your money during that time.
CDs bought from federally insured institutions are secure since they’re covered up to $250,000.
Put money into it.
You may invest the money you would have spent on your child’s college fund in the stock market instead. First, thoroughly consider your choices. If your kid is old enough, go through everything with him or her so they understand how their money will be used. To determine your best choices, speak with a financial adviser.
Purchase savings bonds.
Savings bonds are government-issued bonds that are sold for less than their face value and are intended as long-term investments. They earn interest for a certain length of time, typically 15 to 30 years, after which they may be redeemed for their entire value. (It’s not uncommon to have to wait many years to redeem them.)
Government bonds have long been a popular method of saving for college, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use them for other purposes.
These are some of the options you have for saving money for your children, even if they decide not to go to college. This isn’t always an issue since students now have more educational and training choices than ever before, including apprenticeships and online courses.
If your children choose this path, you’ll be able to spend more of your money on helping them get a solid start in life – without having to worry about books, tuition, or student debts. This is how (and why) you should put money aside for the future.
My name is Ann Lloyd, and I am a new MBA graduate student. I’m pursuing my degree online while also working as a marketing intern. In my free time, I’m working on the Student Savings Guide, a blog on living a frugal lifestyle. Although the book is geared at students and new graduates, everyone may benefit from the advice.
( Photo by Rinjani Trekking )
The financial aid process is not for the faint of heart. It can be stressful and confusing. It can seem like a maze of red tape and complicated forms, but the truth is it really isn’t that hard. There are some things you can do that will make it less painful for both you and your child, and help make it less stressful for both of you.. Read more about how to save for college in 10 years and let us know what you think.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the options for 529 plan if child doesnt attend college?
529 plans are designed to help you save for college expenses. If your child doesnt attend college, the plan will be used for other purposes such as retirement or a home purchase.
How can I save for my childs college late?
You can save for your childs college by starting a 529 plan. This is an investment account that will grow tax-free and allow you to withdraw money from it without paying taxes on the earnings.
What is the best way to save for childs college?
The best way to save for a childs college is by saving as much as you can and investing in the stock market.
This article broadly covered the following related topics:
- what happens to 529 if child gets scholarship
- 529 plan rules
- unused 529 funds
- 529 plan withdrawal rules
- 529 plan withdrawals not for education