Editor's Picks

– News
– Research
– Data
– Events
– ABLE Act Column
– Quote of the Week

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.

PR Newswire, “Sixth annual Edward Jones study finds two-thirds of Americans still do not know what a 529 plan is”
Bloomberg, “Student debt is eating your household budget.” Editor’s Take: New York Times also covered the story. Together, they reemphasize the importance of college financial planning only continues to increase.
EFC Plus, “Financial aid reductions due to Trump’s 2018 budget proposal.” Editor’s Take: While the proposal will change, you and your clients will need to rely more on saving and paying efficiently as opposed to Federal funding. Help your clients protect against the uncertainty by actively planning for future higher education expenses with your clients.
Morningstar, “Ways to Pay for College If Your 529 Isn’t Enough”
Youtube, “College savings innovation makes 529 gift cards fun and easy” by John Hupalo of Invite Education and Wayne Weber of GiftofCollege.com. Editor’s Take: Also, John Hupalo of Invite Education interviewed Dr. Peter Mazareas on 529 College Savings Plans in a video here. Listen, learn and enjoy.

Last Week’s Most Read Article:
529 Insiders, “Perspectives: Question and answer with David Carlson, author of Hustle Away Debt and founder of Young Adult Money

Research: Survey Stats on the Go

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

79% of high school students report that cost is an important deciding factor in their college selection.
73% of parents report that paying for college is there top financial concern. Editor’s Take: Have the college financial planning conversation with your clients, as it is a pressing issue for them.
62.4% of student that go to four-year public colleges graduate in four or less years. Editor’s Take: You should help your clients over save for the cost of a four-year degree, as it may take them five or more years to graduate and they may go to graduate school.
53% of high school and college graduates receive cash as gifts at graduation.
46% of parents report the largest surprise expense for college is textbooks and supplies. Editor’s Take: Textbooks and supplies are a qualified expense for 529s, and read the 529 Insiders article on qualified expenses here.
40% of recent college graduates report that student loans negatively impact their ability to save for retirement.
25% reduction in state funding per student from 2000 to 2016. Editor’s Take: This means that the likelihood of your client’s receiving state scholarships or grants to attend public universities will decrease, and the net price to attend state run schools will go up. Therefore, have the college financial planning discussion as the small percentage that receive a scholarship or grant will decrease.
10.6% of U.S. household debt is student loans.
9% of adult Americans regret having too much student loan debt.

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.

March 2017 Quarterly 529 Market Sizing Data
– 13.3 million accounts invested $289 billion in assets in 529 savings and prepaid plans 
– 12.2 million accounts invested $266 billion in assets in 529 savings plans 
– 1.1 million accounts invested $23 billion in assets in 529 prepaid plans
– 7,286 accounts invested $25.5 million in assets in ABLE (529A) accounts

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.

529 Conference Agenda Updates:
Suzanne Bertolett, Senior Regional Counsel – Enforcement Department, FINRA – Florida District Office, has been confirmed as a panelist of the “Regulatory and Legislative Update” session.
Stephen Jobe, Director of College Savings Business Management at Legg Mason, has been confirmed as a panelist of the “The Future of Product Strategy” session.
Dan Rauenzahn, College Savings Product Manager at T. Rowe Price, has been confirmed as a panelist of the “Effective Direct-Sold Marketing Strategies” session.
Daniel Durazo, USA Director of External Communications at Allianz Global Assistance, has been confirmed as a panelist of the “Effective Direct-Sold Marketing Strategies” session.
Registration for the event is now open.

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.

News, Research & Resources:

Consumer Reports, “ABLE accounts can help people with disabilities save tax-free.” Editor’s Take: Thank you Penny Wang for sourcing Strategic Insight’s ABLE account data, and much appreciated. Timely article with quotes by ABLEnow, National Disability Institute and Special Needs Alliance. Read today.
The Hill, “Let’s enable parents of special-needs kids to set money aside for lifetime care”
JD Supra, “Families can use a tax-advantaged ABLE account to save for disability expenses”

List of Open Programs:
529 Insiders
Legislative Update: 529 Insiders on “ABLE 2.0″ 
Product Training Primer:
529 Insiders
Market Data: Strategic Insight – 7,286 accounts invested $25.5 million in assets in ABLE (529A) accounts as of March 31, 2017
Industry Events: Strategic Insight ABLE Summit 2017 on September 13, 2017 at the JW Marriott, Orlando Grande Lakes

Please contact Paul Curley at paul.curley@strategic-i.com if you are seeking a speaker for an upcoming event.

– Dimensional Fund Advisors Annual Defined Contribution Conference, “Comprehensive Financial Wellness Panel” with Paul Curley, CFA, at the The University of Chicago Booth School of Business Gleacher Center in Chicago, Illinois on July 13th from 2pm to 3:15pm.

Quote of the Week

“Among families with college-bound kids, only 68 percent are putting away money towards that goal in any type of savings plan, while only 32 percent are using a 529 plan, says Paul Curley, director of college savings at Strategic Insight, a financial research firm. One reason that so few parents use 529s is that only 41 percent know what 529s are and how they work, according to Strategic Insight.”
– Consumer Reports, “Time to Boost Your 529 College Savings Plan”, May 2017

Read more
May 29th, 2017
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