Editor's Picks

– Interview with Spencer Sherman, Founder and Executive Chairperson of Abacus Wealth
– News: Article Round-Up
– Research: Survey Stats on the Go
– Data: Market Sizing Update
– ABLE Act Column
– Events: 529 Conference 2017: Save the Date
– Recruiter’s Corner

529 Dash, Required Reading for Your 529 Education: The goal of the 529 Dash is to address the specific needs and concerns of advisers, accountants and estate planners who sell and service families and institutions in the college financial planning process by providing industry relevant news, product training and best practices. Building upon the product training and trends will be our editorial insight, market data and research. Also, the 529 Dash will provide opportunities for you to learn from and network with your peers based on real life case studies and forums such as the Strategic Insight 529 Dash LinkedIn Group. By reviewing these success stories on college financial planning from your peers of advisers, accountants and estate planners, the barriers to supporting your clients and building your book of business will be reduced.

Please Read, Engage and Share.

Paul Curley, CFA
Editor-in-Chief of 529 Dash
Director of College Savings Research
Twitter: @PaulCurleyBC
LinkedIn: Strategic Insight 529 Dash LinkedIn Group

Interview with Spencer Sherman, Founder and Executive Chairperson of Abacus Wealth

How does the founder of a growing RIA and author of “The Cure for Money Madness” integrate college financial planning into his discussions with clients?

This article features an interview with Spencer Sherman, Founder and Executive Chairperson of Abacus Wealth, and Author of “The Cure for Money Madness” (Random House). While Spencer is based in San Francisco, California, Abacus Wealth has more than 40 employees in six locations including Los Angeles and Philadelphia, and manages over $1 billion in assets for over 700 clients in 35 states. You can learn more about Spencer Sherman and Abacus Wealth at the website of https://abacuswealth.com/. Last but not least, thank you Spencer for your time, insight and support. Please read the question and answers to learn about his perspective on college financial planning, and hope that the article provides with you an opportunity to learn more from your peers.

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News: Article Round-Up

Here is what you need to know from stories released this week.

New York Times, “Cuomo proposes free tuition at New York state colleges for eligible students.” Editor’s Take: Under the proposal, the Excelsior Scholarship would pay tuition at New York state and community colleges for families within the state that earn less than $125,000. Currently, the proposal would only cover the tuition portion of higher education related expenses. As such, assets in 529s would still be able to pay for the broader set of qualified expenses such as room and board if registered as a student at least half-time, fees, books, supplies, computers, peripheral computer equipment, computer software, internet access and other types of higher education related equipment that are not covered by tuition. Therefore, advisers should continue to help families save for future higher education expenses.
CNBC, “The next victims of the student debt crisis: mom and dad.” Editor’s Take: The student loan debt crisis is underestimated, as it typically does not include or take into account the loans taken out by parents to pay for their children’s education.
Wells Fargo Advisors, “529 college savings plans – help your grandchildren and get tax and estate plan opportunities.” Editor’s Take: 1-pager providers a graphical example of how to remove $700,000 from a grandparent’s estate, and read our article on the topic of intergenerational wealth planning here.

Top Clicked Article from Prior Week’s 529 Dash:
WealthManagement.com, “Using retirement money to pay for college.” Editor’s Take: The article compares 529s to retirement investment products for the goal of college financial planning, and read our article on the topic here.

Research: Survey Stats on the Go

Here is what you need to know from data and research released this week.

70% of families with 529 plans earn less than $150,000 per year. Editor’s Take: Thank you Goldwater Institute for sourcing Strategic Insight’s 529 data and research.
69% of Americans that set a financial goal for 2017 plan to save more. Editor’s Take: The first step in college financial planning is saving, and an increase in overall saving rate will drive growth in demand for college financial planning as investors seek to maximize and grow the assets in an efficient manner in terms of tax, financial aid and estate planning.
15.7% of parents earning $120,000 or more per year take on education related debt to pay for their children’s education. Editor’s Take: Advisers have an opportunity to guide their clients to efficiently save, pay and repay the cost of higher education, even when clients come from higher income households.

Data: Market Sizing Update

This section provides the latest market sizing data of the 529 industry as of 3Q 2016, and provides a breakout of the overall industry by 529 savings plans and 529 prepaid plans.

3Q 2016 Quarterly 529 Market Sizing Data
– 13.0 million accounts invested in $272 billion assets in 529 savings and prepaid plans as September 2016
– 11.9 million accounts invested in $248 billion assets in 529 savings plans as of September 2016
– 1.1 million accounts invested in $24 billion assets in 529 prepaid plans as of September 2016

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ABLE Act Column

This section will cover this week’s top legislative updates, product developments, news and resources relating to ABLE accounts, which are tax-advantaged savings accounts for certain individuals with disabilities and their families. After-tax contributions grow tax deferred, and distributions from the accounts are tax exempt when used for qualified expenses.

Article Round-Up, News and Resources:
L.A. Parent, “ABLE plans let those with disabilities set financial goals.” Editor’s Take: Primer article that includes quotes by David Bell, outreach director for the ABLE for All Savings Program.
Scott Alan Turner, “529 ABLE plans: saving for children with disabilities.” Editor’s Take: Primer article that covers the who, what and how from the perspective of a personal finance blogger.
IRS, “Tax benefit for individuals with disabilities: IRC section 529A.” Editor’s Take: A fundamental resource to product training on ABLE accounts.

List of Open ABLE Programs:

ABLE for All Savings Program
Alaska ABLE Plan
Florida ABLE United Program
Nebraska Enable Savings Program 
Ohio STABLE Program
Oregon ABLE Savings Plan
STABLE Kentucky

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Events: 529 Conference 2017 - Save the Date

The 529 Conference 2017 will take place from September 11-13, 2017 at the JW Marriott Grande Lakes in Orlando. Updates to the agenda will be announced in this section below. In the meantime, please save the date.

529 Conference 2017:
2017 529 Media Kits are now available

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Recruiter's Corner

Please email job descriptions that would be of interest to the readership of the 529 Dash to Paul Curley at paul.curley@strategic-i.com.

Raymond James, 529 Plans Internal Product Specialist in Saint Petersburg, Florida
The Hartford, West Virginia SMART529 Consultant in Charleston, West Virginia

January 9th, 2017
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