Thinking about going back to school? You're not alone. The National Center for Education Statistics estimates that 4 million people over age 35 are enrolled in degree-granting institutions. And many more are taking continuing education classes or attending vocational or trade schools.
But no matter what type of secondary education you pursue, one of the biggest decisions you'll have to make is how to pay for it.
Be your own beneficiary
You already know that 529 plan accounts can be used to pay qualified higher-education expenses for your children, but you may not realize that you can also save for your own education with a 529 account. There aren't any restrictions on who can be the beneficiary of a 529 account, so you can open one for yourself.
Even if you want to start school right away, investing your money in a 529 plan may make sense because the money that you invest has the potential to grow tax-deferred while you're in school. Your withdrawals will also be tax-free if you use the money for qualified higher-education expenses.*
If you go back to school and there is money left over in a 529 account that you opened for your child, you can make yourself the beneficiary of the account by completing your plan's Beneficiary Change Form.
If you go back to school and there's money left over in a 529 account that you opened for your child, you can make yourself the beneficiary of the account by completing your plan's Beneficiary Change Form. That way if your child has graduated from college or has decided not to pursue higher education, you can use money in the account to pay for your own education. You can also continue to contribute to the account while you're in school.
Review your investments, make changes
If you use an account that was previously for another beneficiary, review the plan's investment options based on your investment time frame. You may have chosen an age-based portfolio for your child, but that may not be appropriate for your needs.
Although federal law states that you can only move money within your account twice per calendar year, you can also move it when you change the beneficiary.
So whether you open a new account or change the beneficiary of an existing account to yourself, using a 529 plan to pay for your higher education is a smart choice.