Editor's Picks

– News
– Research
– Data
– Perspectives
– Events
– ABLE Act Column

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

News: Article Round-Up

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

PLANADVISER, “PLANSPONSOR Data Reveals 529 Savings Trends.” Editor’s Take: Thank you for encouraging retirement plan advisers to extend their business model to college financial planning, and for quoting me in the article.
WealthManagement.com, “Elite college prices now exceed $70,000 a year.” Editor’s Take: The story successfully explains why college financial planning is an issue for affluent clients, and therefore why you can add value in the process. Thank you Lynn O’Shaughnessy for writing the story, and presenting at Strategic Insight’s 529 Conference 2016.
Washington Post, “The alarming consequences of co-signing your child’s student loans.” Editor’s Take: Advisors should help their clients understand the pros and cons of co-signing student loans.
PLANADVISER, “Debt Is Millennials’ Biggest Issue
LinkedIn by Zach Scott, Wealth Management Associate with Clearfront Advisory, “Saving for college – calling all retirees, especially grandparents!” Editor’s Take: Timely topic that provides two options for grandparent-owned 529 assets, and read our article on 529s and intergenerational wealth planning here.

Research: Survey Stats on the Go

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

54% of Millennial’s report that their top financial concern is student loan debt, which ranks the issue as the most pressing for Millennial’s mind share.
47.1% of firms offer to tuition reimbursement programs, while 2.2% offer student loan repayment programs for recent graduates.

Data: Market Sizing Update

Here is the latest market data by Strategic Insight that can be used by the media and other organizations, and contact Strategic Insight for more information and commentary on its proprietary data, research, events and digital publications.

December 2016 Quarterly 529 Market Sizing Data
– 13.1 million accounts invested $275 billion in assets in 529 savings and prepaid plans
– 12.0 million accounts invested $252 billion in assets in 529 savings plans
– 1.1 million accounts invested $23 billion in assets in 529 prepaid plans
– 4,064 accounts invested $14 million in assets in ABLE (529A) accounts

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Perspectives: Interview with Martha Savery, Director of Public Affairs with MEFA

What is Martha Savery’s perspective on college financial planning, financial aid and 529s?

This article features a transcript of a video interview with Martha Savery, Director of Public Affairs with Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority (MEFA) from Day 1 of the 529 Conference 2016. At the event, Martha taught the “Lifecycle of Planning, Saving & Paying for College” session at the ‘529 Essentials’ pre-conference seminar at the 529 Conference 2016. The session covered the importance of college financial planning, saving and 529s, and the impact of savings on financial aid and expected family contributions (EFC). Additionally, the session covered the Federal financial aid process, and provided an overview of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Lastly, the session provided a comprehensive approach to paying for college with several examples to teach the key points of the session. For over thirty years, Martha has distinguished herself as an expert in financing higher education helping countless students and families successfully navigate the complex and challenging journey to and through college. Martha has held numerous leadership positions across financial aid and admissions departments at leading public and private institutions in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, including Harvard Graduate School of Education where she spent a number of years. In her role as the Director of Public Affairs at the Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority, Martha is responsible for the Authority’s external relations and outreach activities working with colleges, high schools, community based organizations and the Commonwealths College and Career Web Portal Your Plan for the Future. Martha is regularly quoted in the financial and education press and is a frequent presenter at state, regional and national conferences and seminars. You can watch the video on Youtube at https://youtu.be/tQ0ndiLgL-0, and learn more about Martha Savery and her organization at https://www.mefa.org/. Last but not least, thank you Martha for your time, insight and support for working with me on the interview, and we look forward to your presentation at the 529 Conference 2017 as well. Please read the question and answer to learn about her perspective on 529s and financial aid, and hope that the article provides you with an opportunity to learn more from your peers.

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Events: 529 Conference 2017

When: September 11-13, 2017
Where: JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes
Overview: The 529 Conference is a highly interactive and educational industry gathering where you’ll meet and network with the entire 529 ecosystem. Using a 360-degree perspective, the conference drills down into the most significant trends and challenges facing the industry today and includes critical conversation and debate surrounding the latest legislative developments, product innovations, investment options, distribution strategies, marketing initiatives, consumer trends, regulatory announcements and much more.

Optional sessions are available in conjunction with the 529 Conference to offer attendees additional education and training. The pre-conference ‘Essentials Seminar’ provides an understanding of the granular details of 529 plans in a constantly evolving market, and the post-conference ‘ABLE Session’ provides insight and networking into successfully implementing ABLE accounts.

Winnie Sun, Managing Director and Founding Partner of Sun Group Wealth Partners, will present on the “Advisor Perspective: Top Producer’s Panel” at the 529 Conference 2017. In the meantime, please join Winnie and I at the next #WinnieSun TwitterChat on Wednesdays at 2pm ET.
Paul Snow, Principal of Snow Financial Group, will present on the “Advisor Perspective: Top Producer’s Panel” at the 529 Conference 2017. In the meantime, please read the 529 Insiders interview with Paul Snow here.
Kolby Smith, CFP, Wealth Management Associate with Plante Moran Financial Advisors, will present on the “Engagement Strategies for the Independent RIA Channel” panel at the 529 Conference 2017.
– The session description for the “Engagement Strategies for the Independent RIA Channel” panel has been added to the online agenda.
Registration for the event is now open.
2017 529 Media Kits are now available

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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:
Providence Business News, “529A helps disabled save.” Editor’s Take: Matthew Neyland, Director of Investments with SK Wealth Management, provides his perspective on how 529s compare to ABLE accounts, and factors to consider when using the accounts. 
Kiplinger, “Savings accounts for special-needs children.”
DeSoto Times-Tribune, “ABLE act bill on way to Gov.”
Brazil Times, “Achieving a better life experience for disabled Hoosiers.” Editor’s Take: Two estate planners provide a primer on ABLE accounts.

Data: 4,064 accounts invested $14 million in assets in ABLE accounts as December 2016, according to Strategic Insight.
Events: ABLE Summit 2017 on September 13, 2017 at the JW Marriott, Orlando Grande Lakes

List of Open ABLE Programs:
– Alaska: Alaska ABLE Plan
– Florida: Florida ABLE United Program
– Illinois: Illinois ABLE
– Iowa: IAble
– Kansas: Kansas ABLE
– Kentucky: STABLE Kentucky
– Michigan: MiABLE
– Minnesota: Minnesota ABLE plan
– Nebraska: Enable Savings Program 
– Nevada: ABLE Nevada
– North Carolina: NC ABLE
– Ohio: Ohio STABLE Program
– Oregon: ABLE for All Savings Program
– Oregon: Oregon ABLE Savings Plan
– Rhode Island: RI’s ABLE
– Tennessee: ABLE TN
– Vermont: Vermont ABLE
– Virginia: ABLEnow

** Editor’s note **

Please be aware, we are transitioning the 529 Dash newsletter to a new service provider. The new domain will appear as 529conference.strategic-i.com, so please make any necessary adjustments to spam filters, preferred sender lists, etc. Thank you!

March 13th, 2017
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