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US College versus UK University

US College versus UK University

Old May 9th 2016, 10:55 pm
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Default Re: US College versus UK University

Originally Posted by sparkleandglitter View Post
A
I've heard that some UK unis are now introducing liberal arts degrees, which is an interesting development.
I thought these were similar to the old combined honours degrees, I may be wrong.
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Old May 9th 2016, 10:58 pm
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Default Re: US College versus UK University

Originally Posted by malch View Post
It really is too late and 529 plans are rubbish, IMO.

1. They mainly come with limited investment choices and high management fees.


2. They immediately reduce your eligibility for financial aid.

We're using a Roth IRA as an instrument to save for our youngest's college education and it has numerous advantages over a 529. However, you would need to evaluate this carefully in the context of your specific situation since there are a lot of issues and variables to consider.
I find your idea interesting. I was thinking of doing the same thing, but financial planners and the State keep stuffing 529 down my throat. From what I have read a roth IRA is much more flexible, you just don't save the tax going in. However I believe the is no tax to pay when you take it out and can be used to buy first house, education and retirement.
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Old May 9th 2016, 11:10 pm
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Default Re: US College versus UK University

Originally Posted by mrken30 View Post
I find your idea interesting. I was thinking of doing the same thing, but financial planners and the State keep stuffing 529 down my throat. From what I have read a roth IRA is much more flexible, you just don't save the tax going in. However I believe the is no tax to pay when you take it out and can be used to buy first house, education and retirement.
A Roth is still a retirement plan, and you have to be -- I believe -- at least 59-1/2 to be able to withdraw without paying tax.
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Old May 9th 2016, 11:35 pm
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Default Re: US College versus UK University

Originally Posted by Nutmegger View Post
A Roth is still a retirement plan, and you have to be -- I believe -- at least 59-1/2 to be able to withdraw without paying tax.
You would think from the name. But this is one quote I found on bankrate " The Roth IRA can multitask by working toward retirement and college savings goals."

And then to add to the anxiety about being able to save for kids college, investments in the plans can be volatile.
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Old May 9th 2016, 11:36 pm
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Default Re: US College versus UK University

Originally Posted by mrken30 View Post
I find your idea interesting. I was thinking of doing the same thing, but financial planners and the State keep stuffing 529 down my throat. From what I have read a roth IRA is much more flexible, you just don't save the tax going in. However I believe the is no tax to pay when you take it out and can be used to buy first house, education and retirement.
The value of a 529 plan depends to a large degree on where you are resident, particularly on the level of state income tax you pay. There are now several providers who provide reasonably flexible plans with low fees, the obvious example being Vanguard, though I believe some states require you to use their approved plans to get the full tax advantages, and some of these approved plans may still have limited choices and higher costs.

We actually have one for each of our kids, even though there is no income tax in Texas. A Roth IRA is not an alternative for us because we are already using that using that for retirement (strictly this is a backdoor Roth, as our income is too high to contribute to a Roth).

That said, the eligibility for financial aid is a concern.
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Old May 10th 2016, 1:23 am
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Default Re: US College versus UK University

means tested financial aid is for people who really are poor. I'm talking parents working 2 jobs and the kid with a job. You'll fill out the FAFSA form thinking that it's a complete waste of time for anyone approaching a middle class lifestyle.

However, most colleges use the FAFSA for their own financial assessments and so it can be useful. In our experience, money is given out to bright poor kids first and then to above average clever, richer kids next. The college is still your best bet for any financial help if your kids are clever. If they want your kid then you can most certainly bargain with a couple of colleges over money.
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Old May 11th 2016, 1:13 am
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Default Re: US College versus UK University

Originally Posted by steveq View Post
Then again, when you have always known what you want to do, dicking around with minor subjects is just a waste of time, effort, money, and detracts from what you need/want to study instead.
That's how I felt too - I studied a language and have no regrets about pursuing my degree in the UK having seen the level of fluency achieved when its a major vs a UK style degree. Also, I was quite happy to drop science and maths quite early (after GCSE) - teenage me didn't want to do them at Uni.
But not everyone likes the focused approach - it's just a case of finding what works for the individual student (some friends had no idea what they wanted to do!)
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