Author Topic: Roth IRA or 529  (Read 1333 times)


  • Magnum Stache
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Roth IRA or 529
« on: August 22, 2015, 01:07:55 PM »
We do plan to pay for four years of university for our daughter but I had originally planned to cash flow that and only put money in a 529 once we maxed out all of our retirement vehicles but someone mentioned something today that made me reconsider.
We are in NY so we pay a pretty high amount in state taxes but NY state will allow us to take tax credit for money in a 529.  We have about $3800 in 5.25% bracket and if I took the money we had planned to put into the Roth (only $1500 a year), we'd save $78/year for two years.  Is that worth it? 


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: Roth IRA or 529
« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2015, 07:39:27 PM »
I think the savings you're considering are so minimal that I wouldn't do it for that reason alone.

First, I would absolutely make sure you're maximizing your tax advantaged retirement accounts.  This will help you minimize reportable income when doing the FAFSA down the road.

I think your question also raises another "philosophical" question about retirement savings versus college savings.  I've always been of the mind that nobody else can save for YOUR retirement, so it's important to make that a priority.  I am also not naive about the cost of college education, but I would find a way to put retirement savings first.  I guess the question is, "What corrective measures are there if you undersave for retirement versus your child's education?"  If you undersave for retirement is there an alternative course of action for you?  What about your health?  How long do you really want to work?  (My guess is, less than the average if you're on this site.)  If you undersave for your child's education, there is aid.  There is work (and your child has years ahead to do it).  There are options (less pricey community college to four year route, or less pricey public universities.)  Here's a scenario, what if you fail to save enough for your retirement but then your health fails?

Let me just reiterate that I understand the cost (and value) of education -- my spouse works at a college.  But, there are options and quite a few more than some families are willing to accept/think about -- even when money is tight.