No. of Recommendations: 0
Hi RAD,

It sound like a 529 isn't the good deal it once was.
I'm not sure they were *ever* all that much of a good deal.

Unless I can & would foot the entire bill for college for a grandchild, I do need to be cognizant of the financial aid issues.
Absolutely! Any advanced education plan needs to work in such a way it is sure not to eliminate options. Unfortunately, virtually all the traditional and qualified plans do exactly that; eliminate options for various aid, subsidies, and even scholarships.

I'm beginning to wonder about various strategies. I have no reason to think I won't live to my 80s(but those of you who know me know that I know there can be surprises). I can see making any grandchildren the beneficiary of a segregated investment account with a custodian/trustee.
Other thoughts ?

The strategy of structuring indexed universal life contracts for education plans is often superior. It can be owned outside the FAFSA calculations, keeping all potential alternative funding sources available... it grows tax-deferred... it's spendable tax-free... but one thing better than all the traditional plans is that there is no specific usage requirement! You won't be penalized for using it at a non-traditional educational resource, or even for no educational purpose at all.

It outperforms traditional mutual fund and index buy & hold strategies in virtually all cases, and that's ignoring the fact it has a life insurance death benefit that comes along for the ride with the financial performance.

Of course, there is a 'catch'... although it outperforms the financial alternatives on a risk-weighted basis, not everyone can get it. Someone (doesn't have to be the person putting up the money necessarily... but someone appropriately related with insurable interest) must be pass insurable underwriting.

BTW, when its designed for financial performance, it doesn't matter if its written on the life of a single, healthy young person, or a cross-underwritten pair of lives of older seniors (even ex-smokers.) The actual financial performance comes out roughly the same, the only difference is how much minimum death benefit comes along (by IRS mandate) with the amount of money getting built into the performance.

Something to look into.
Dave Donhoff
Leverage Planner
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