As college costs rise, parents across the country are increasingly turning to 529 college savings plans to help fund their childrens' tuition with the tax-free earnings on their after-tax contributions. But given the difficulty that most American families are having saving for retirement, some advisors are simultaneously questioning whether these plans are the right choice for lower- and middle-income families, while also extolling their virtues as a powerful estate planning tool for the wealthy. It's not exactly the purpose that Congress had in mind when it created them. In our cover story, contributing writer Dave Lindorff looks into how advisors are leveraging 529s for clients today and the pitfalls that may await.
In "Getting Clients off the Sidelines," Mason Braswell, our associate editor, tackles a problem that all advisors are wrestling with-how do you get your clients to invest some of that cash they're sitting on? Sure, they're steaming that they missed the latest rally (at least it looks that way now), but that kind of thinking begins to border on market timing and no long-term good can come from that. Braswell talked to advisors about how to change client attitudes and get them into the market.
Our always knowledgeable Mutual Fund Focus contributor Jeff Tjornehoj from Lipper explains, the huge popularity of loan participation funds. Once as solid an investment as you could find, these funds are now potentially beginning to sag under the weight of their own success. He's offering a deep-dive on why they may be a good investment, as long as you heed some warnings. Given the recent fines that FINRA levied against Bank of America and Wells Fargo for improperly recommending these funds to clients, it's a read you can't afford to miss.
Lastly, I'd like to say that I am thrilled to be the new editor-in-chief of On Wall Street. I'm immensely proud of the opportunity to be part of this team of indefatigable colleagues and experienced contributors. I look forward to hearing your inputfor better and worseas we refine and expand our coverage over the months to come, always with the goal of giving you the analysis, ideas, perspectives and insights that will help you do your job better. We've got some exciting things in the works. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org, via Twitter at @onwallstreet, the On Wall Street group on LinkedIn and via Facebook.com/OnWallStreet.