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529 Plans: No Longer Cool?

More and more people are starting to realize that the “Emperor (529 Plans) has no clothes.” And that cash value life insurance as a college savings tool is a better option…

“Brian Solik switched. The former stockbroker, a father of five in Toms River NJ, stopped funding the three 529 plans he’d set up for his oldest kids in 2008 when the plans suffered large losses in the stock market’s crash. Now, as an independent financial adviser and founder of Wealth Preservation Strategies, he prefers using the cash value of life insurance policies for college savings – a strategy he learned about after leaving the brokerage industry.

A big reason for the switch? Some life policies allow quite conservative investments, he says. “Since my oldest child will be going to college in four years, I don’t want to incur any more investment losses to our family’s college savings.”
Special thanks to Mastery Member Charlie Donaldson for sending this link…


The Last 401(k) Generation?

(Reuters) – Will the baby boomers be the only generation to retire with 401(k) plans? It could happen. Last week many of the nation’s biggest thinkers on retirement got together in a Senate hearing room to discuss the future of pensions and retirement. There were representatives of unions, employers, financial services providers, government agencies and consumer groups. And the only thing they all seemed to agree on was this: The 401(k) plan has been sort of a failure.

Those are strong words, and probably overstate the case. Current and future retirees now have some $4.3 trillion for retirement that wouldn’t be there if it weren’t for their 401(k) and other defined contribution accounts, so it’s hard to declare them a complete failure.


Colleges Obsess Over Rankings; Students Shrug

When U.S. News & World Report debuted its list of “America’s Best Colleges” nearly 30 years ago, the magazine hoped its college rankings would be a game-changer for students and families. But arguably, they’ve had a much bigger effect on colleges themselves.

Yes, students and families still buy the guide and its less famous competitors by the hundreds of thousands, and still care about a college’s reputation. But it isn’t students who obsess over every incremental shift on the rankings scoreboard, and who regularly embarrass themselves in the process. It’s colleges. It’s colleges that have spent billions on financial aid for high-scoring students who don’t actually need the money, motivated at least partly by the quest for rankings glory.