What client trends does a full-service, fee-only RIA firm and fiduciary see in terms of college financial planning?
This article features an interview with Martin Federici, Jr., CEO of MF Advisers, Inc. Based in Dallas, Pennsylvania, and Jensen Beach, Florida, MF Advisers specializes in wealth management, investment advice and financial planning. Martin has served as a financial advisor since 2005, and has his series 65 and his AAMS professional designation. In addition to MF Advisers, he is also the CEO of MF Tax & Accounting. Additionally, Martin is active in social media (LinkedIn, Twitter, Youtube, Facebook, Pinterest and Quora) and leverages a monthly newsletter to engage current and potential clients. Prior to MF Advisers and MF Tax & Accounting, Martin worked with Edward Jones as a financial advisor for five years. You can learn more about Martin Federici, Jr., at http://mfadvisers.com/. Last but not least, thank you Steve for your time, insight and support for working with me on the article. Please read the question and answers to learn about his perspective on college financial planning, and hope that the article provides you with an opportunity to learn more from your peers.
Question 1 (Paul Curley, Editor of the 529 Dash): What is working for you in terms of college financial planning?
Answer 1 (Martin Federici, Jr., CEO of MF Advisers, Inc.): For us, using the PA 529 Investment Plan for many of our clients (majority are located in PA) when they indicate a desire/goal to save for college expenses. Of course, we estimate the costs and what it would take to fund the goal (whether the goal is to pay for all or some percent of college expenses).
Question 2: How do you integrate college savings into your discussions with a client?
Answer 2: In the initial fact-finding meeting, discussing if clients have children and how important saving for college is as a financial goal to them. We then explain the various options that could help them to achieve said goal.
Question 3: How can product providers and states better support you?
Answer 3: Providers and states could do a better job of outlining any clear tax benefits that the clients could benefit from by using their product (depending on the state the client lives in and the state’s 529 plan rules). Make it easy to find that type of information when doing a search on the internet, which would increase their business (and ours) and ultimately satisfy more clients.
Question 4: What do you see as trends in clients using 529s?
Answer 4: Hopefully the trend will skew towards more overall use of 529s in the U.S. because the recent stats I’ve seen say many consumers are woefully unaware of 529s as an option for college savings - which is very sad considering how beneficial these plans can be to those looking to save in an effective manner for college.
Question 5: Are there any questions that we should have asked?
Answer 5: You could ask if this financial advisor always acts as a fiduciary for his clients (I do), and I am only compensated by fees (no commissions).
Editor’s Final Note: Thank you Martin Federici, Jr for your time and insight for this article. Also, I would like to provide a special thank you to the readers for learning from your peers, for your support and your engagement.