The Hartford announced a series of changes to its college-savings program, including a new business relationship with Upromise Inc., and new age bands in the age-based portfolios for the Smart 529 plans.
According to the company, Upromise will allow financial advisors and account holders to access a “user-friendly” interface that will allow them to tailor their college savings plans to suit their needs. “Our research shows beneficiaries' college savings experiences remain relatively unchanged in the early years, but that risk tolerance changes rapidly as the college years approach, ” said Jeffrey Coghan, director of 529 college savings plans at The Hartford in an email response to On Wall Street. “We made these changes to give financial advisors and their clients access to an innovative Web-based platform to monitor and manage their 529 accounts.”
Upromise will assist families in earning money for college from daily spending like gas and groceries. “These features can help increase college savings with everyday purchases through the Upromise service, and gift contributions from family and friends through [another service called] Ugift,” said Coghan. “Advisors can also benefit. Clients can refer their family and friends to their advisor through Ugift.”
When Upromise and Smart 529 accounts are linked, the funds are automatically transferred periodically, which will accumulate into college savings over time.
In addition to these upgrades, Hartford realigned the age bands within the age-based portfolios. So number of new age bands increased from four to five, and are constructed with the following ages: 0-8, 9-13, 14-15, 16-17, and 18+. “We realigned the age-bands and added an additional one for very precise equity/fixed income allocations in response to this research. We believe that this will help Smart 529 account holders save for college more effectively,” said Coghan.