About 529 Plans
A 529 plan “is a tax-advantaged savings plan designed to encourage saving for future college costs.” 
New Tax Law Expands 529 Use
The recent tax overhaul bill expands parents funding options to pay for private elementary and high school tuition.
Specifically, the new bill enables one to dip into a 529 plan to pay for any private school  – not just colleges. For example, if you have a large stash of cash in a 529 saved for college but the realities are that your youngster is struggling at school this might be worth exploring. After all, if college is at risk because of present challenges a private school might be able to help.
Should I Raid My 529?
Raiding college savings funds to pay for lower school tuition isn’t something to be done lightly. However, it is an option now and one being worth aware of if you are considering private school for your child.
Before doing so it is worth stepping back and considering three things.
- First, carefully monitor and learn about your expenses for a month. Observe your actual expenses not what you think they should be in the future. Can you still save for college or pay for some colleges based on your current situation or with some viable adjustments? And what will happen if the tax law changes again in a few year? Will you still be able to pay?
- Second, with our kids it is easy to panic. Get rationale. Can some less drastic changes at school or at home help with the issues? Are charter schools or other public schools (yes, you have to move) an option? What is the full spectrum of options – and which qualify as good enough?
- And finally, after the the rational exploration in steps one and two (and some meditation), follow your heart. Specifically, what do think you wish you had did 20 years from now? Do that and make it work by being the grown up.
If your family determines that private school is for you and you are going to raid the 529 plans to make it happen, immediately become a reader of this blog (paying-for-private-school.com) and the many other excellent financial management blogs out there. We can help.
- “An Introduction to 529 Plans.” SEC Emblem. December 04, 2017. Accessed December 30, 2017. https://www.sec.gov/reportspubs/investor-publications/investorpubsintro529htm.html.
- Hobbs, Tawnell D. “Losing Students, Private Schools Try to Change.” The Wall Street Journal. December 29, 2017. Accessed December 30, 2017. https://www.wsj.com/articles/losing-students-private-schools-try-to-change-1514557437.
We are fan(atics) for Amazon’s Echo technology. It is a low cost way to replace radios, clocks and ipods with a single device.
However, this morning (March 12th 2017), our Echo dot did not automatically adjust to daylight savings. Alarms went off an hour late and there was a stern set of inquiries asked of Alexa, including the all important “Alexa, what are the laws of robotics? ”
After much searching for a solution we started fidgeting with the thing and found that going to the Alexa application and switching the time zone to Amazon time adjusted the device time to match the correct Eastern Standard Time. This shouldn’t work (as Amazon Time should be Pacific Time since they are based in Seattle) but it did. Until the bug is fixed on the server side this is a work around for our fellow east coast folks.
To try this on your Amazon Echo dot,follow these steps:
- Start the Alexa Application on your tablet or computer
- Navigate to the Home->Settings area.
- Find the list devices of devices section.
- Select the device you want to modify and click on it or tap it.
- Find the section under General called Device Time Zone area.
- Use the menus to select US and Eastern Standard Time for the time zone combinations.
- Wait 30 seconds
- Test it buying ask the device the time. Confirm the time is correct and matches the day light savings time.
The America and Eastern Standard Time zone combination is the one that doesn’t work. If that fails for you the American and Amazon zone also gave me the correct time.
Perhaps a bug fix will come out in a few days. Recommendations on better ways to do this are encouraged and welcomed in the comments.
Last month the Washington Post reported that D.C. has more high-performing charter schools than ever.
A benefit of private schools is the ability to select a school that matches your child’s needs and your value system and for the school to do the same. And a charter system is an excellent alternative to fee based private school. It has many of the advantages; open competition, selection
Old School House Sign – Source: Wiki Commons
and flexibility for the teachers and administrators.
If you find you can’t afford a private school consider getting in the lottery for a charter school education instead.
On Tuesday November 8th, Donald Trump was elected the 45th president of the United States by winning the required electoral college votes with a separation of only 112,000 votes.
It was a contentious election cycle with harsh words and harsher accusations flung by all parties.
Despite which side you were in favor of it is clear that the election was close, complex and nuanced.
Thomas Jefferson once said that “An educated citizenry is a vital requisite for our survival as a free people.”
An educated citizen starts with the education of children where a diversity of thought and training only enriches the discourse. Your job, with the help of others, to educate your children.
If you are considering, or already sending, your children to private school – great job! On paying for private school we discuss motivations, financial approaches and the down sides of electing to send your child to a private school.
By Ali Zifan, via Wikimedia Commons