PLANADVISER: What is the state of the college savings market-
Steve Dombrower: We’ve seen some good growth; many people
are saving. Nevertheless, families are saving in products that
could be sub-optimal for reaching their goal. For example, some
are utilizing a taxable savings account or an UGMA [Uniform Gift
to Minors Act] account in the child’s name. UGMAs can potentially cause problems down the road in terms of receiving financial
aid. So, while a lot of money is being socked away, less than a third
of it goes into 529 plans. But we continue to see that momentum
toward saving in 529 plans increase.
As for new accounts, most are being opened by the Millennial
generation. Generation X would be No. 2, Baby Boomers No. 3,
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and we still see growth from the Silent Generation. That’s great
news across the board.
PA: How else do you see ways to improve adoption of 529s?
What do you see as the future of increasing college savings?
Dombrower: Over the years, I’ve run into financial advisers who
have steered away from the 529 space because they don’t understand it; they think it’s more complicated than it is or has too many
fees. So adoption really comes down to education. It’s about organizations such as Ascensus continuously bringing resources to
the table for both financial advisers and consumers that will make
their research easier, or that point them in the right direction and
help them get started. We all know that getting started is key, and
Steve Dombrower, CFA, SVP of adviser strategy and investment
management at Ascensus talks to PLANADVISER about college savings
trends and the role of the adviser