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Next hot thing in 529 college savings plans? Robo-advice

May 12, 2016

Twenty years after Section 529 plans were created to help families save tax-free for the high costs of college, the industry is poised to welcome a new player: the robo-adviser. Digital advice providers are predicted to be the next platform...

Obama daughter set for gap year before Harvard, but it's not for everyone

May 2, 2016

A gap year such as the White House announced Malia Obama will take after graduating from high school next month and before she starts at Harvard University in 2017 can benefit some young adults along their scholastic journey. Or, it can be a...

College debt is a burden to all

May 1, 2016

Outstanding college debt now exceeds $1.3 trillion, a burden not only for the students who are on the hook to pay it back, but their families and the entire nation. Once students graduate, the loans they must start paying off crowd out spending...

College savings plans to lobby for unlimited investment changes

March 10, 2016

The college savings community is pushing Congress to tweak the 20-year-old legislation that created tax-advantaged 529 plans, to allow for unlimited investment changes. Today account holders can make only two investment adjustments a year to...

States working on new savings accounts for disabled families

February 29, 2016

Alabama's treasurer Young Boozer took up the chairmanship of the College Savings Plans Network at the start of the year, just as he and other state officials were trying to deliver a new tax-advantaged savings plan for disabled children. Mr....

Help women tackle their larger student debt burden

February 12, 2016

Women have yet another financial concern that weighs more heavily on their shoulders than on men's. College-educated women are taking a longer time paying off the debt they incurred to attend school, new research has found. In 2012, working...

How student debt is clouding future retirement income

February 3, 2016

Student debt levels have have mushroomed, and Americans have saved little for retirement. The relationship between those two things is not obvious. So just how does having a big slug of student debt actually hurt the ability to prepare for a...

529 college savings plan tricks and traps

December 30, 2015

Section 529 college savings plans offer investors the great benefit of avoiding federal taxes on the growth of contributions (and some offer state tax incentives) as long as the assets are used to pay for eligible college expenses. But investors...

Is your 529 college plan one of the four with Morningstar gold?

October 20, 2015

Four college savings programs took home the gold from Morningstar Inc. in its latest review of 529 plans — the same four that ran away with the top rankings last year. The top spots went to Alaska's T. Rowe Price College Savings Plan, managed...

Adviser explains why and how to move to a retainer model

October 6, 2015

Scott Kahan concluded 13 years ago that the amount his financial advisory business charged clients shouldn't change based on market performance, which is what occurs when client fees are based on assets under management. The adviser, founder...

Advisers still aren't taking advantage of the opportunities, benefits 529s can provide clients

September 23, 2015

Advisers are likely familiar with the growth in popularity in 529 college savings plans. Nationally, 529 assets now exceed $235 billion. You may also be familiar with the reasons advisers cite for not introducing these plans to clients, such...

529 plans adding more conservative investment options

September 15, 2015

Hoping to stave off concern from college savers that 529 accounts are too vulnerable to stock market volatility and expected interest rate hikes, some plan managers are switching up the investment choices available to advisers and investors....

Obama executive order requires use of earlier tax returns on college aid forms

September 14, 2015

Families should be able to estimate sooner how much they'll need to come up with to send students to college under a change President Barack Obama announced Monday. The move will allow families to use income data from two years before the student...

Fears about rising college costs present an opportunity for advisers

September 6, 2015

The burgeoning cost of college isn't just a strain for low and middle-income families. Affluent Americans are wrestling with how to pay for higher education, too. People from all income levels are being forced to take out more loans to pay for...

The latest 529 college savings plan data

September 6, 2015

Americans continue to save for steep college costs through tax-advantaged Section 529 savings plans. Virginia's CollegeAmerica plan, an adviser-sold program managed by merican Funds, remains the nation's largest with nearly $50 billion in assets....

Robo takes first steps into crowdfunding for college savings accounts

September 1, 2015

FutureAdvisor, the retail robo-adviser that BlackRock Inc. acquired last week, not only manages college savings plans, now they help clients raise assets for the accounts via crowdfunding, too. With FutureGift, investors start a "campaign" with...

Biggest factors impacting what clients pay for college

August 14, 2015

It is not just the sticker price of a college that determines what the overall cost will be for a client's child. Merit and need-based financial aid can lower the cost, but interest on loans and the ever present Tax Man can drive the cost up...

Advisers should address these legal issues before clients' kids head to college

August 11, 2015

Even before packing the laptop and the XL twin sheets, parents with kids heading off to college for the first time should make sure they have taken care of a few legal housekeeping issues. Among the documents that families should consider securing...

Help clients kick kids out of the house without feeling guilty

August 7, 2015

Financial advisers can strengthen their relationships with clients by helping them get the millennials in their lives out of their homes. Having an adult child move back home temporarily can be a bonding experience between parent and child....

The tax risks of clients' overfunding their 529 savings plans

July 17, 2015

Here's a typical scenario that happens in my world. A high-earning family walks in the door and wants to begin their retirement and financial planning process. The family is prepared, highly educated and committed to developing and sticking...

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