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The Short Answer

Can I Use a Roth IRA to Pay for College?

Here are the pros and cons of using Roth IRAs for college savings.

Question: Can I just use a Roth IRA for college savings and not worry about opening a 529? If my child doesn't go to college, I can use the Roth IRA as extra retirement savings.

Answer:  It’s true that you can use a Roth IRA for college expenses, but it’s better suited as a retirement savings vehicle. Retirement is filled with uncertainty--we don’t know how long we'll live or whether we'll be in good health. A well-fed retirement account is the best way to hedge these risks.