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Maximizing Your 529 Plan: New Opportunities with Roth IRA Rollovers

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When planning for higher education expenses, many families turn to 529 Plans for reliable savings. What is a 529 Plan? It offers families the benefit of tax-free growth on investments, provided the funds are used for qualified education expenses.   

However, it is not uncommon for students to graduate without utilizing the entire balance of their account. In the past, this scenario left families with limited options: either transfer the remaining funds to a family member for their education or withdraw the money and face income tax consequences.  

Recognizing a need for more flexibility, the SECURE Act 2.0 in 2024 introduced a change that allows unused money from 529 plan funds to be rolled over into a Roth IRA. What is a Roth IRA? It is a retirement savings account where contributions are made with after-tax dollars. Upon retirement, qualified withdrawals, including any earnings on the invested funds, are distributed tax-free.   

Having a rollover option makes it attractive for long-term savings, and the SECURE Act 2.0 change provides a great opportunity for beneficiaries to reallocate their savings toward retirement, ensuring that no money goes to waste. 

529 plan


How do I take advantage of the rollover?  

  • The 529 Plan should have been in existence for a minimum of 15 years. 
  • Each year’s conversion cannot exceed the annual Roth IRA contribution limit (For 2024, the limit is $7,000 for individuals under age 50 and $8,000 for those over age 50).  
  • The beneficiary of the 529 plan must be the Roth IRA account owner and have earned income equal to the amount of that year’s rollover.  
  • The total amount a beneficiary can roll over from a 529 to a Roth IRA during their lifetime is limited to $35,000.  

This rollover strategy offers graduates an excellent opportunity to begin their retirement savings early by diversifying their investment strategy and providing future tax benefits.   


Can this rollover benefit me in different ways?  

Estate Planning: Roth IRAs have advantages in estate planning as they do not require minimum distributions (RMDs) during the original account holder’s lifetime, allowing the accounts to remain tax-deferred. This enables a more tax-efficient transfer of wealth to children or other family members, as the beneficiaries who inherit these accounts do so income tax-free.  

Tax Efficiency: Converting 529 funds to a Roth IRA without facing penalties or immediate tax consequences enhances overall tax efficiency and reduces the burden of nonqualified distributions.  

Investment Opportunities: Roth IRAs often offer a wider range of investment options, allowing for potentially higher returns and better alignment with individual investment strategies.  


Maner Wealth is Here to Help!

The transition from a 529 Plan to a Roth IRA can be complex and confusing, but it also offers opportunities for maximizing your financial strategy. At Maner Wealth, our team of financial planning experts is here to assist you with any questions regarding this transition. Whether it’s investment advice, financial management, or long-term planning, we are committed to helping you make informed decisions to secure your financial future.   

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