George Schott of Legg Mason is excited about the changing tide in the 529 college-savings universe. With the recent news of a surge in usage by investors, Schott believes that opportunities are plentiful for high-net-worth advisors to build their business by unlocking the hidden potential of 529 college-savings plans.

Case in point: Schott, the director of College Savings at Legg Mason, tells the story of a landscape architect client of one of the financial advisors on the firm's Scholar's Choice College Savings program platform. Theclient sought assistance from his advisor in opening a $40,000 college savings account for his nephew. In the process of meeting with the client and opening the account, the advisor learned the client had plans of his own: He wanted to go into golf course management. The financial advisor explained that the architect could fund his own education and recommended a golf course management program at North Carolina State at Raleigh, which qualified for 529 funds. At the end of the visit, the client not only opened an account for his nephew, but also opened another $40,000 account to pursue his dream.

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