When it comes to financial products like insurance or investment bonds, most understand their benefits and strategic applications. However, there’s a lesser-known player that deserves some attention: Education Bonds. These bonds offer a blend of tax advantages, flexible investment strategies, and wealth transfer capabilities that set them apart from their counterparts.
Recent innovative product design means Education Bonds offer an enticing strategy that not only caters to education funding but also embraces diverse financial needs.
How are they similar?
Let’s delve into the similarities between Education Bonds and their more familiar cousins, Investment Bonds. Just like their counterparts, Education Bonds are tax-advantaged investment products, built upon the foundation of investment-linked life insurance contracts. The key features they share include:
• The ability to invest as a lump sum or through regular savings plans.
• Tax-paid investments with a maximum rate of 30% (potentially lower for certain options due to certain deductions) benefiting individuals on higher marginal tax rates.
• For investment bond-type withdrawals made from the earnings in the first 10 years, investment bond tax rules apply.
• The option to switch investment choices at any time, and
• The tax-free distribution of proceeds to beneficiaries in the event of the Bond Owners’ death.
How Education Bonds Differ – what you must know?
Where Education Bonds truly shine is in their uniqueness. Designed specifically to tackle the mounting costs of education, these bonds offer flexibility not found elsewhere. Not only can they accumulate funds for educational expenses, but they also provide the freedom to withdraw capital for non-education needs without triggering any tax events.
The magic lies in the design of Education Bonds. Education Bonds consist of two components: a capital component and earnings component.
This structure allows for the withdrawal of capital from the Education Bond at any time, for any purpose, right from the very first day the Bond is opened. It’s a level of flexibility that surpasses traditional investment bonds and the confines of superannuation.
Valuable Education Tax Benefit
This design also unlocks a valuable tax benefit, allowing withdrawals for eligible education expenses to be met with an ‘Education Tax Benefit.’ Essentially, the Bond issuer passes on the tax deduction benefit they have already paid on those earnings back to the Bond. It’s like receiving a financial bonus while investing in a loved one’s education journey.
Imagine this scenario: A withdrawal of $10,000 is made from the earnings component of an Education Bond to cover school fees. The Bond issuer pays an Education Tax Benefit of $3,000 back into the Bond Owner’s account, effectively reducing the earnings component of the Bond by only $7,000.
When an Education Benefit is claimed, it becomes taxable income for the Education Beneficiary, not the Bond Owner, and is subject to their marginal tax rate. Importantly, where the funds invested in the Education Bond come from sources like a death benefit, estate of a deceased person (including a will, estate, or testamentary trust), or in the event of the bond owner’s death, minors, who are education beneficiaries can receive favourable tax treatment similar to that of adults. Depending on the beneficiary’s age and the source of the funds, the education benefit has the potential to be tax-free for the recipient.
Multiple beneficiaries? Not a problem! Recent innovations in Education Bonds, allow the appointment of multiple education beneficiaries under a single (family) bond, ensuring the Bond can provide for the educational needs of an entire family, whether they be your client’s own children, grandchildren, or even non-family members. This means it is no longer necessary to set up an individual bond for each (grand)child within a family; beneficiaries can be added after establishing the Bond with ease, without resetting the 10-year rule. This means clients can avoid paying multiple fees on multiple bonds and the investment income earned in one bond can be optimised.
This legal structure, taxation and other features can favourably position the Bond as a tax-effective, low-maintenance alternative to family, discretionary and testamentary trusts (created under your Will) in meeting your education funding objectives.
The ‘off-the-shelf’ simplicity of family bonds makes them ideal as against creating small trusts and they can be superior on tax, administrative efficiency and cost grounds.
Wealth Transfer with Bond Guardian feature
Education Bonds go beyond being mere investment vehicles for education expenses. They offer an extra layer of estate planning benefits, providing a tax-effective means to pass on wealth. With ‘Will-like’ nomination features, you can designate beneficiaries to receive the bond benefits tax-free upon your passing. Furthermore, the option to appoint a Bond Guardian ensures that your wishes will be followed even in your absence, granting you peace of mind that your legacy will endure.
In today’s ever-evolving financial landscape, Education Bonds offer unique flexibility and tax efficiency. With an extensive menu of professionally managed investment options to choose from, these bonds allow you to align with your client’s investment philosophy and cater to their unique needs and preferences. It’s like having a tax-effective ‘Family Trust’ at your disposal, without the cumbersome compliance costs associated with traditional trust structures.
Whether your clients are focused on meeting their child’s education funding needs, planning for the future of their family, or seeking a robust and tax-effective investment strategy, Education Bonds offer a solution that goes beyond funding education costs alone. With greater flexibility and a broader range of benefits, Education Bonds may just be the answer.
Discover the exciting possibilities of Futurity Education Bonds and explore the incredible tax benefits they offer. For more information, visit here.
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