Editor's Picks

– 529 Conference 2016: Conservative Investment Strategies
– Article Round-Up
– Data & Research: Survey Stats on the Go
– 529 Conference 2017: Save the Date
– 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

529 Conference 2016: Conservative Investment Strategies

Due to daylight savings time over the weekend, hope you were able to enjoy the fall weather and came back to work today fully energized and ready to read the 100th issue of the 529 Dash e-newsletter. The 529 Conference 2016 at the JW Marriott Grande Lakes in Orlando featured a session titled, “Conservative Investment Strategies.” This was the fourth year in a row that the annual event highlighted an investment panel, but it was the first time that it focused on a theme such as conservative investment strategies. This year’s panel was moderated by Kay Ceserani, Managing Director with Pension Consulting Alliance and included the three panelists of Leo Acheson, Senior Analyst, Multi-Asset Strategies, Manager Research, Morningstar, Jim Diskin, Director, Stable Value, Prudential Retirement and Tiffany Spudich, Director, Client Relations, Capital Cities. This week’s article highlights a summary of their responses to the questions on trends in the typical spectrum of conservative options, the ripple effect of money market reform, the resurgence of stable value and Morningstar’s view on conservative options. This week’s article will provide market sizing, data, and insight from the panel discussion to help you grow and protect your book of business.

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Article Round-Up

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

J.P.Morgan,”College Planning Essentials 2016-2017.” Editor’s Take: Comprehensive 54-page flip book with data and charts. Have a look.
Fox 8, “Staples will give workers $3,600 to pay student loans.” Editor’s Take: Certain categories of employees at Staples will receive $100 per month for three years. A growing number of firms are providing employee benefits relating to college financial planning as a means to attract and retain top talent. Stay ahead of the curve by including in your corporate benefit discussions today.
Kevin Miller, CFP, with Berkshire Investment Group, “Office Space: 529, Coverdell or custodial account? How to choose.” Editor’s Take: Example of how you can leverage your local media to build your book of business with college financial planning. Read my version on Coverdells here and custodial accounts here.
Ashley Bleckner, CFP, “529 Plans: Your Most Pressing Questions Answered.” Editor’s Take: 529 Primer on 529s, and read my version here.
Bloomberg, “It’s about to get harder to seek student debt relief.” Editor’s Take: The value of college financial planning continues to rise.
CNBC, “How to select the correct 529 college savings plan.” Editor’s Take: Thank you for sourcing Strategic Insight in the story.

Data & Research: Survey Stats on the Go

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

40% of Americans feel they carry too much debt. Editor’s Take: Grow your book of business by solving the needs of target clients, including how financial planning with you will lower their reliance on debt. 
40% of those earning over $100,000 have less than $1,000 in savings. Editor’s Take: Advisers, accountants and estate planners have an opportunity to pivot demand driven by headline news for college financial planning to holistic financial planning.
27% of Americans owe student loan debt, and the average balance is $9,100. Editor’s Take: While the average college senior graduates with $30,100 in student loan debt, the average for all Americans is $9,100. This shows the longevity of the student loan burden.
18% of the average millennial’s income goes to paying off student loans. Editor’s Take: Advisers need to support clients throughout the college financial planning cycle including saving, paying and repaying the cost of higher education.

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.

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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.

Return on Disability, “A Path for ABLE Growth.” Editor’s Take: Informative white paper with commentary and data on how to structure the distribution of ABLE accounts, how to benchmark projected market growth and how to close the gap in understanding the consumer’s perspective.
UBS, “2016 year-end planning guide.” Editor’s Take: ABLE accounts were covered on page 5 of the guide, while 529 college savings plans were included on page 7.
– The fifth ABLE program was launched on November 1, 2016, by the state of Michigan with a label of “MiABLE”. Updated list of Open ABLE Programs below.

List of Open ABLE Programs:
Florida ABLE United Program
MiABLE (Launched November 1, 2016)
Nebraska Enable Savings Program 
Ohio STABLE Program

November 7th, 2016
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