Editor's Picks

– News
– Research
– Data
– Perspectives
– Webcasts
– Events
– Presentations
– 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.

ThinkAdvisor, “Trump Education Department Now Allows Big Collection Fees on Defaulted College Loans.” Editor’s Take: Student loan debt collectors will be able to charge up to an additional 16% on the entire outstanding principle and interest amounts when an account is in default. This new guidance raises the urgency and importance of college financial planning as a means to reduce or remove student loan debt in the paying for college process. If your clients are not prioritizing college financial planning, this may be the news that finally raises the eyebrows.
Financial Advisor Magazine, “IRS concern over identify thieves could delay college aid.” Editor’s Take: Despite the best efforts to automate some of the financial aid application process, the enhancements may be delayed due to concerns over identify theft. In the interim, financial advisors can add value to their client relationships by supporting them through the application process.
WealthManagement.com, “Strategies for reaching millennial investors.” Editor’s Take: Advisors should consider hosting student loan repayment presentations to engage with client’s grandchildren and friends as a means to protect and build their book of business.
Lexology by Nixon Peabody, LLP, “Grandparent-­funded 529 plans and their effect on Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).” Editor’s Take: An overview of FAFSA, grandparent owned 529 assets and ways to best navigate the potential pitfalls.

Last Week’s Most Read Article:
NJ.com, “Lump sum vs. monthly investment for 529 plan.” Editor’s Take: Matt Masterson, CFP, with Regent Atlantic, provides his perspective on the question.

Research: Survey Stats on the Go

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

97.6 rating was announced in the Michigan consumer sentiment report as of March 2017, compared to 96.3 in February 2017. Editor’s Take: While consumers are more optimistic and therefore may be more apt to spend, interest rates are expected to continue to rise which increases the cost of borrowing to pay for higher education in the future. Therefore advisers need to ensure families save and save efficiently in their college financial planning process as a means to reduce the student loan debt burden when interest rates rise in the near future. Have the college financial planning discussion today. 
30% of stressed working Americans report debt as a major problem, compared to 12% of those who are not stressed. Editor’s Take: The benefits of helping your clients through college financial planning and therefore lower levels of debt go beyond money to also psychological benefits. Therefore the benefits of financial planning and college financial planning are higher than previously calculated due to the additional benefits that cannot be easily quantified.
13% of working Americans report that they are not saving more due to debt. Editor’s Take: College financial planning will help your clients reduce or eliminate the need for student loan debt, which will create a success loop towards more savings in the future. Help your clients improve their financial stability and wealth cycle by having the college financial planning discussion today.
2% of high school student athletes receive a full-scholarship. Editor’s Take: 2% is very low compared to a much higher percentage that rely on “full rides” to pay for higher education. Advisors can add value to clients by helping them to actively create a realistic financial plan to save and pay for college, as opposed to relying passively on scholarships and student loans.

Data: Market Sizing Update

Here is the latest market data by Strategic Insight that can be used by the media and other organizations. 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

Read more
Perspectives: Interview with Wayne Weber, Chief Executive Offer and Founder of GiftofCollege.com

What is Wayne Weber’s perspective on 529 gift cards and their ability to solidifying college financial planning as a family goal to achieve together?

This article features a transcript of a video interview with Wayne Weber, Chief Executive Offer and Founder of GiftofCollege.com from Day 1 of the 529 Conference 2016. At the event, Wayne presented on the “Effective Direct-Sold Marketing Strategies” panel at the 529 Conference 2016, and moderated the “Financial Advisor Perspectives on Selling 529 Plans” panel in prior years. Since 2008, Wayne has been building Gift of College into the powerful social savings platform that it is today, and has been able to get college savings gift cards in retailers across the nation including Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” US. You can watch the video on YouTube at https://youtu.be/LwdRURGa7Kw, and learn more about Wayne Weber and his organization at https://www.giftofcollege.com/. Last but not least, thank you Wayne for your time, insight and support in working with me on the interview, and we look forward to learning more about marketing strategies at the 529 Conference 2017. Please read the question and answer to learn about his perspective on 529s and gifting, and hope that the article provides you with an opportunity to learn more from your peers.

Read more
529 Webcast: Develop an Effective College Funding Strategy (1 CE Credit)

When: Wednesday, March 29, 2017, 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. EST

What: Do your clients think using a 529 plan will hurt their chances of receiving financial aid? Increasingly, families are looking to their trusted Financial Professional to assist them in developing a complete college funding strategy. Join Paul Curley of 529 Insiders and Stephen Jobe of Legg Mason for a live webinar focused on arming advisors like you with the information you need to help your clients plan for and pay for future college costs.

‘529 Essentials’ Learning Objectives include:
– Understanding 529 Benefits and Financial Aid Impact
– Explaining the 4 Types of Financial Aid
– Demystifying the Financial Aid Eligibility Calculation
– Five Steps to Successful Savings

Register here.

Read more
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.

Updates to the Agenda:
Richard Polimeni, Director of Education Savings Programs with Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Chair of College Savings Foundation, will present the “Marketing and Distribution Strategies-View from the Wirehouses” session at the 529 Conference 2017. For a sneak peak, you can listen to Rich explain how to prepare for college in the following radio interview.
Chuck Ranney, Vice President of Mutual Funds and 529 Plans with Ameriprise Financial, will present the “Marketing and Distribution Strategies-View from Independent and Regional Channels” session at the 529 Conference 2017. We look forward to his perspective from leading the distribution strategy and relationship management for over $190 billion in mutual fund and 529 plan business.
Registration for the event is now open.

Read more

This section provides as list of upcoming live in-person presentations, and please contact Paul Curley at paul.curley@strategic-i.com if you are seeking a speaker for an upcoming event.

– NAPFA, “Everything you wanted to know about 529 plans (Using them with holistic fee-only planning)” by Paul Curley, CFA, in Edina, Minnesota, on May 9th from 5pm to 7pm. This in-person live continuing education presentation is designed for advisors, but the general public is welcome. Register here.

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.

Round-Up of this Week’s News, Data, Research, Events and Resources:

USA Today, “Sesame Street welcomes Julia, a Muppet with autism”
Strategic Insight: 4,064 accounts invested $14 million in assets in ABLE accounts as of December 31, 2016.

#DSWORKS Employment Conference on April 3 at the Westin Arlington Gateway Hotel in Arlington, Virginia.
NDSS Buddy Walk On Washington Advocacy Conference on April 4 and 5 at the Westin Arlington Gateway Hotel in Arlington, Virginia, and on Capitol Hill. Editor’s Take: Paul Curley will attend, and hope to see you there.
Strategic Insight 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

Read more
** 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 27th, 2017
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