Perspectives Blog

Ahead of the trends – Washington update on retirement savings initiatives

Columbia Management Learning Center , | July 31, 2014

Various federal government initiatives, including tax reform, will impact the way Americans save for retirement. Trends to watch include enforcement, pension de-risking and participant empowerment measures. Staying current on changes can help you identify critical retirement savings decision points. Retirement security is the financial issue that is most disconcerting to Americans.* Likewise, the current administration has concluded the U.S. i…

Capture five tax benefits with a 529 college savings plan

Columbia Management, Investment Team | March 21, 2014

…ment. A college education for a child or grandchild. These are aspirations most of us can relate to. Fortunately, there are tax incentives available to help you pursue these substantial financial goals. In the case of college savings, 529 plans offer distinct tax advantages over other college savings vehicles. With a 529 plan, parents, relatives and friends can help fund a significant portion of a loved one’s future college expenses and at the sa…

Half-time report on the U.S. consumer

Marie M. Schofield, CFA, Chief Economist and Senior Portfolio Manager | July 28, 2014

…in the last recovery and about 5% in prior recoveries. The more miserly gains in income leave the consumer little scope to advance their discretionary spend, absent the debt channel. A continued fall in inflation is unlikely, savings rates are already meager and the Fed’s wealth effect to boost spending is impaired without some support from rising income. More encouraging is a recent pickup in job gains which, if sustained, should help broaden ag…

Five college savings myths set straight

Columbia Management, Investment Team | August 6, 2014

For college savers, 529 plans offer various tax benefits, flexibility and control. 529 account owners have a choice of state plans, regardless of residency or income level. 529 account beneficiaries can use funds at any eligible educational institution and for a number of expenses in addition to tuition. A 529 college savings plan is one of the smartest ways you can save for college, offering tax benefits, flexibility and control. Unfortunatel…

Saving for college — What’s the real cost of waiting?

Columbia Management, Investment Team | September 16, 2013

Just a few years’ delay in saving for college can dramatically increase the monthly savings needed to meet education funding goals. Early saving for college can reduce the burden of borrowing and pressure on current income when the child attends college. A “Cost of Waiting” calculator can help you see just how much it could cost you for each year you wait to start saving. Given the skyrocketing cost of higher education, saving for college can…

Could a 529 plan help you pay less for college?

Columbia Management, Investment Team | May 22, 2014

College savings plans offer an important tool for managing the cost of higher education. Saving in advance could offer a significant cost savings compared to taking loans during college. Use our 529 Savings vs. Loans Calculator to run your own personalized estimate. Saving for college early on can greatly benefit you in the long run. By saving in an investment vehicle such as a 529 college savings plan, you may be able to avoid relying on loan…

Hanging in

Marie M. Schofield, CFA, Chief Economist and Senior Portfolio Manager | September 20, 2013

…ement spending. With the continued reluctance to use credit and little ability to tap into home equity to support spending, wages are a key determinant this cycle for consumer spending. Some cushion has been found by reducing savings, but this has limits, particularly with savings rates now very low. Spending follows wages and it will be difficult for retail spending to gain much traction with the tie to shallow compensation trends. The chart bel…