On Wednesday, Eric Schmitt made his first stop in Sedalia since being sworn in as Missouri Treasurer last month to help more Missourians learn about investment accounts.
Schmitt was visiting Sedalia to meet with Sierra Bullets President Pat Daly as the company has announced a new employee benefit related to MOST 529 college savings accounts, which the Missouri treasurer oversees.
Schmitt told both Daly and the Democrat that MOST 529 and the ABLE program are a “primary focus for our administration.”
“We’re being very deliberate about getting out and promoting the things that we do, especially the 529 and ABLE stuff, we want to make people aware of it,” Schmitt told the Democrat after his visit. “We want to increase the number of accounts that are open on the 529 MOST side, but make people aware — it’s amazing the number of places I talk about ABLE accounts and no one’s heard of that.”
A 529 college saving plan is a type of investment account citizens can use for higher-education savings, usually sponsored by a state, according to MissouriMOST.org.
VIEW FULL STORY
“A bipartisan bill has been introduced in the House to make it easier to save money in 529 college savings plans and accounts aimed at helping families with special needs children.
HR 529, sponsored by Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Kan., and Rep. Ron Kind, D-Wisc., would encourage companies to help employees start up either of these accounts and contribute to the plans by offering businesses tax incentives to do so. It also would remove limits on the number of times per year investments in the accounts can be changed, which currently stands at twice a year.
Funds saved in 529 college savings plans, which are named after the Internal Revenue Service code that created them, could be used to pay back student loans or be donated to charity without tax consequences, under the proposed bill.”
LOS ANGELES – Treasurer John Chiang announced today that his office has become the first in the nation to offer gift cards – a popular stocking stuffer used by nearly 93 percent of American consumers – as a way of helping Californians give the gift of college.
The cards are arriving in 96 Toys “R” Us stores across California just in time for the holidays. Treasurer Chiang forged the partnership with the largest standalone toy store chain in the world to offer the pioneering new product. The cards will also be available at Babies “R” Us, an affiliate of Toys “R” Us, which offers an assortment of products for newborns, infants, and toddlers.
“There is no more time-tested solution to poverty, crime, or income inequality than to make college education an affordable possibility for every child who seeks one,” said Chiang. “Faced with skyrocketing tuition, we must empower Californians to save, invest, and plan for their children’s futures.”
By using a familiar product in an innovative way, never before has it been this easy for relatives, friends, or even a parent’s employer, to help kids save for college.
Saving for college is critical, state educators agree.
“The University of California and the State are doing all they can to ensure that a college education is affordable through financial aid programs, but saving for your child’s education is a prudent financial decision,” said UC President Janet Napolitano. “Saving for future education expenses through 529 college saving programs like ScholarShare is an essential part of preparing our future generation of students.”
“One of the best ways a parent, grandparent, friend, or relative can help children achieve their college dreams is to begin saving early for college expenses,” agreed State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson.
“Opening or contributing to a 529 ScholarShare account for a child is a great way to do that because earnings from funds in the account are not taxed if the money is spent on college expenses.”
The gift cards allow families and friends to contribute to college savings accounts with California’s highly-rated Scholarshare 529 plan in three easy steps:
- Parents or guardians register the child, linking an existing or new ScholarShare 529 plan.
- Friends and family can then contribute by purchasing physical or digital gift cards at any California-based Toys “R” Us or Babies “R” Us retail store or online at www.scholarshare.com * The gift cards can then be redeemed at ScholarShare.com/redeem and GiftofCollege.com, where funds are then transferred directly to the recipients’ plan.
A recent study by the Journal of Children and Poverty, concluded that kids with savings accounts in their names are seven times more likely to attend college than children without such accounts.
“Thanks to our Toys “R” Us partnership California families now have an easy and convenient way to build a college nest egg and a realistic path to helping their children earn a college degree without saddling them with crippling debt,” Chiang said.
About the ScholarShare 529 College Savings Plan
Named for the section of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) code under which they were created, 529 plans offer valuable tax advantages. Contributions are made with money that has already been taxed. Once funds are placed in the account, investment earnings, if any, are not federally or state taxed, if withdrawn to pay for qualified higher education expenses.
California’s 529 plan is called ScholarShare. Accounts may be opened with as little as $25. ScholarShare has no annual account maintenance fee, no income limit and offers a high maximum account balance.
ScholarShare, which is governed by a board chaired by Treasurer John Chiang, is ranked as one of the top-rated 529 college savings plans in the country by Morningstar, an independent investment research firm. ScholarShare currently holds over $6.9 billion in assets in more than 278,000 accounts as of 9/30/16.
View Full News Story
He’s chairman of the Public Education Committee but Utah State Senator Lyle Hillyard, R-Logan, is also preparing bills on other kinds of issues prior to the start of the 2017 session in January.
Hillyard says he is working on a so-called Unclaimed Property Bill. He says he was told by State Treasurer Damschen Condemns that each year between $25 million and $50 million is turned over to the state from unclaimed property and they are able to turn back between $5 million to $10 million to those who should have the money.
“A parent may have a bank account that they opened, they die, and the children don’t know about it,” says Hillyard. “They have a life insurance account, quite typically people have a health insurance plan that will have a life insurance policy with it.
“If they die the children or the heirs don’t know that dad had this credit card account, and in the credit card account there was a life insurance policy.”
Hillyard says the Treasurer showed him a list of six pages of names of Cache Valley residents he was hoping to help in his endeavor.
The senator says he does not expect the marijuana issue to occupy as much of the legislature’s time as it did in the last session.
View Full Story: https://goo.gl/ct7NBE
WORCESTER – With last month’s national election signaling a likely move away from the concept of free higher education, state Treasurer Deborah Goldberg on Thursday said college savings programs like her office’s SeedMA initiative are now “more important than ever.”
Ms. Goldberg made her comments at a roundtable discussion on college costs and financial literacy at Clark University, where she answered questions from about a dozen attendees for about an hour. One of the participants, a student at Clark, asked the treasurer what she thought about free college, an idea that gained traction in the past year thanks to Democratic leaders like President Barack Obama and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.
“I was for that,” Ms. Goldberg said. “But I’m afraid we’re going backwards right now. Now the kinds of programs we’re doing are even more important.”
Ms. Goldberg specifically was referring to the SeedMA program, which debuted as a pilot in Worcester this year. The initiative encourages parents of young children to save for college by giving each kindergartner in the city an initial $50 donation to open a 529 college savings account.
The treasurer’s office opened enrollment for the program to Worcester families in the summer. Deputy Treasurer Alayna Van Tassel said the treasurer’s office plans to release initial sign-up numbers soon.
“For year one, they’re certainly meeting our expectations,” she said.
View Full Story
“PROVIDENCE, R.I. — In the aftermath of an overhaul, Rhode Island’s CollegeBound savings programs won medal-level ratings this week from Morningstar, the Chicago data giant that tracks mutual funds, stocks and other investment securities.
Morningstar gave a silver rating to the CollegeBound Saver program and a bronze rating to CollegeBound 529 on Tuesday when it announced the best 529 college savings plans for 2016.
“The state overhauled both plans in July 2016, replacing former program manager AllianceBernstein with Invesco and Ascensus,” Morningstar wrote. “[CollegeBound Saver] offers extremely low fees for Rhode Island residents — the plan’s primary investors — earning it a Silver rating.”
Previously, Morningstar ranked the programs at the bottom among peers, due to high fees and poor investment performance, according to a news release issued by General Treasurer Seth Magaziner.
During his first year in office, Magaziner replaced AllianceBernstein and secured some of the lowest fees of any 529 plan in the nation for Rhode Islanders, the release says.”
View Original Story – https://goo.gl/7BbgRZ
The College Savings Plans Network released it’s mid-year review of 529 plan activity this month, celebrating the success and solidifying the importance of the 529 college savings plans.
Read the full report here.
Treasurer Deb Goldberg has her eyes set on Worcester as one of the state’s most under-banked cities and she won’t rest until incoming kindergartners start seeing dollar signs.
Goldberg’s $eedMA program, overseen by her newly-formed Office of Economic Empowerment, aims to increase the percentage of public school students who graduate from college in the city of Worcester, while subsequently combating the distrust and stigmatization of banks. The program will provide a $50 deposit in a tax-advantaged investment plan for any Worcester Public Schools kindergartner who chooses to participate. The 529 plan, managed by Fidelity Investments, requires no broker fee and provides a selection of investments that parents may choose from.
When asked about her decision to establish this initiative in Worcester, Goldberg said she recognized the city’s passion and commitment to its residents.
“Working together with partners from every sector, the city is more than ready to handle the task of leading the charge on college savings,” she said. “Each and every group has embraced their role as ambassadors for $eedMA, and the response has made us confident in the program’s success. This collaboration will ensure that every eligible family in Worcester will have the opportunity to take advantage of this exciting program.”
It seems implausible that Worcester residents would turn up their noses at the notion of a hassle-free college savings account complete with a $50 investment, free of charge. However, between 15-20 percent of Worcester residents remain under-banked or unbanked, meaning they either do not maintain a balance in their checking account or they rely on check cashing services that charge fees running upwards of 5 percent.
Dangers of falling into one of these two categories come full throttle for young families when faced with the reality of college savings. According to the Corporation for Enterprise Development, “Low and moderate income children with $500 or less in savings were three times more likely to enroll in college than children with no savings, and four times more likely to graduate.”
View Full Story
Columbia — Today, South Carolina Treasurer Curtis Loftis signed letters returning $988,740.35 in unclaimed property to South Carolinians.
The money was found by the Unclaimed Property Program at the South Carolina Treasurer’s Office.
“I want every South Carolinian to be aware of our unclaimed property program and our commitment to connecting citizens to the property they rightfully own,” said Treasurer Loftis. “It takes just minutes to find out if you or your business has money waiting to be claimed.”
The State Treasurer’s Office serves as custodian of more than $500 million in unclaimed property and holds it in safekeeping for the citizens of South Carolina. Examples of unclaimed property include dormant bank accounts, uncashed checks (including paychecks), unclaimed insurance proceeds, forgotten utility deposits, uncashed dividend checks, abandoned and matured U.S. Savings Bonds, as well as unexchanged shares of stock.
We encourage you to click here to see if the State Treasurer’s Office is holding unclaimed property for you or members of your family.
Original Story: http://treasurer.sc.gov/newsroom/more-than-$985,000-in-unclaimed-property-returned/
“A penny saved is a penny earned,” goes an old American adage. But if you’re a person with a disability who receives some form of public benefits, things aren’t as simple as Benjamin Franklin made them out to be.
Instead, limits on assets as low as a few thousand dollars for public benefits programs pose a challenge for people with disabilities because too much money in the bank could affect their eligibility for programs.
“It’s a game they play. They have to spend money because losing access to the benefits is critical,” said Kathleen Kleinmann, executive director of Tri-County Patriots for Independent Living, or TRIPIL, an advocacy group based in Washington.
Kleinmann was among the advocates across the state who welcomed the passage of a state law last week that makes some people with physical and intellectual disabilities eligible for tax-free savings accounts that allow them to put aside money to cover expenses related to their disability – including assistive technology, personal assistance services and health care – without losing their eligibility for public assistance.
Kate Blaker, volunteer coordinator for TRIPIL, said that when they’re available, the new accounts also could be used to cover education and transportation.
“This isn’t about helping people save for luxury vacations,” said Brenda Dare, independent living supervisor for TRIPIL. “It’s about helping people save for their basic needs.”
View Full Story: http://www.observer-reporter.com/20160425/advocates_for_those_with_disabilities_praise_new_savings_accounts