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529 vs Roth IRA for College

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  • 529 vs Roth IRA for College

    Wife and I just had a newborn. Never too early to start thinking about paying for college so I looked into my work 401k. I have a Megabackdoor Roth IRA option at work. My state gives no deduction for 529 plans.

    I'm leaning toward using the Megabackdoor to pay for college because of flexibility. If the time comes we can cashflow college awesome. I can just let the money sit in the Roth for retirement vs 529 I'd have to use it.

    My wife and I have quite a bit of space in our retirement accounts (401ks, backdoor roth, money purchase pension plan, and defined benefit plan) where we don't necessarily need to use the Megabackdoor Roth space for retirement.

    Any thoughts or glaring holes in the plan?

  • #2
    You might want to read the Pro/Con WCI and I did last year.
    Our passion is protecting clients and others from predatory and ignorant advisors. Fox & Co CPAs, Fox & Co Wealth Mgmt. 270-247-6087


    • #3
      Once you get the money into the Roth IRA how are you planning to access the money (beyond the contributions) to pay for college?

      Or will your kid be going to college when you're already 60 y/o?


      • #4
        If available funds are limited and you're having to pick between the two, but would prefer to simply pay for college out of your future earnings if possible, then yeah it doesn't make a lot of sense to create a giant 529 that won't get spent.  Really thread should be titled 529 vs Roth IRA vs cash flow for College which I think is what your question is.

        I have a new baby and so far have not found the 529 particularly compelling.  And I live in Louisiana which has arguably the best 529 plan in the country.

        IMO the concept of saving for 17 years to pay for college in year 18+ is a little bourgeois.  It's definitely a good and responsible thing but honestly I plan on being able to just write a check for those costs as they come due.  If my kid goes to a state school or a military academy or something, there's likely going to be a big overfunding of the account, and would be multiplied over multiple children.  Further, creating a big balance in the account will likely encourage me and my children to overspend tremendously on undergrad.  I understand it can be passed around and up and down and whatnot, but you're tying up a substantial amount of money for a very limited purpose over a very long time.  If I could blast this money out on grade school expenses I'd be all over it.

        Again I think they're a good thing, but I'm focusing on other avenues of saving before I worry about funding 529s.