DE529 Sees Improved Education Savings Plan Rating

Morningstar rating increased from Bronze to Silver in 2019

Following assessments and interviews, Morningstar, the nation’s premier plan rating group, has upgraded the DE529 plan from a Bronze to a Silver ranking. Delaware now joins an elite group of 13 Silver-rated plans.

“Through this elevated ranking, the leadership of the Plans Management Board and the hard work of our team are being noticed nation-wide for the service it provides residents,” said Treasurer Davis. “Being able to reduce our fees will make a big difference for participants and prospective plan-holders, and we hope to go for Gold in the future.”

A key component of Delaware’s high score was due to its administration – phasing out more expensive investment selections and adding a new offering of a blended investment option, which allows the accountholder to engage in both active and passive investment management. Additionally, DE529 is one of the lowest-cost educational investment options, and recently reduced administrative fees.

Morningstar conducts annual reviews of 62 plans, analyzing multiple categories within the given plan, as well as its management. Scores indicate a review of the plans’ investment options, management, contracted relationships, investment performance, and overall price of the plan. Only four plans receive a Gold rating from Morningstar.

Delaware’s 529 is a tax-advantaged savings plan that is available to the public, easy to open, and offer investment options so that savings may grow over time until they are used for associated costs including tuition, books, housing, apprenticeships and more. Learn more at 529.Delaware.Gov.


Bill Signing Promotes Savings in the First State

Senate Bill 143, signed today by Governor Carney, will increase savings plans education

 

Treasurer Colleen C. Davis, bill sponsors Sen. Trey Paradee and Rep. Krista Griffith, and children from Brilliant Little Minds Learning Academy celebrated today as Governor John Carney signed Senate Bill 143 into law. This legislation allows the Plans Management Board and the Office of the State Treasurer to increase awareness of the benefits of saving through the 529 Education Savings Plan and through ABLE Plans for those with disabilities.

Also joining the event were Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long, Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro, Secretary of Finance Rick Geisenberger, Rep. Mike Smith, Rep. Bryan Shupe, and members of the Delaware Department of Education and the Plans Management Board. The Governor and legislators talked about their own experiences with the savings plans and discussed the importance of the bill. Treasurer Davis asked the kids from Brilliant Little Minds Learning Academy what they want to be when they grow up. “Whatever you want to be when you grow up, you have to work hard in school and save your money to make it happen. I’m so glad that we could have young people here with us as we take this step towards expanding economic opportunity and educational attainment.”

Senate Bill 143 allows the Board to pursue methods of increasing savings plan enrollments outside of the high-income earning households that traditionally participate by allowing for incentive-based marketing. Possible avenues of promotion include a scholarship program or a match plan, as seen in other states. These options will be explored by the Board at future meetings. Additionally, new promotions aimed at increasing awareness of using 529s for adult educational attainment and for non-college costs, such as apprenticeship programs, will be integrated into future marketing efforts.

“The costs of education are skyrocketing, but national enrollments in 529 plans have gone down,” Treasurer Davis said. “In Delaware, we have worked hard to share the benefits of these plans with our residents and are continuing to see new enrollments. Our nearly 22,000 accounts represent growth of 4% over the last three years, and this bill will allow us to continue to expand. Like these savings plans, Senate Bill 143 is an investment in our future.”

“America is facing a crisis when it comes to saving money for the future,” said Sen. Trey Paradee, D-Dover, who works as a financial advisor. “Right now, 40 percent of U.S. adults don’t have enough savings to cover even a $400 emergency – a brutal fact, which is leaving too many families one missed paycheck from a financial nightmare. We need to be doing all we can to encourage people to take advantage of savings plans, particularly the favorable products offered by our state. This bill is aimed at raising awareness of those products and examining how we can better position them to help working families in need.”

“Given the daunting cost of college education, the state of Delaware needs to do everything it can to promote college savings. Delaware has made great strides in creating accounts for those for disabilities, which will allow them to save money without sacrificing services they depend on,” said Rep. Krista Griffith, D-Fairfax. “This bill will allow Treasurer Davis to increase outreach about Delaware’s 529 plan and make more Delawareans aware of the benefits so they can invest and plan for their futures. I’m always looking to help improve accessibility to these accounts and I look forward to continued efforts in the General Assembly.”

Both tax-advantaged savings plans are available to the public, easy to open, and offer investment options so that savings can grow over time until they are used for associated costs. Learn more about our savings plans at 529.Delaware.Gov and ABLE.Delaware.Gov.


Treasurer Davis Celebrates One Year Anniversary of Delaware ABLE Plan, Releases Video

Specialized savings accounts protect the benefits of individuals with disabilities.

Treasurer Colleen C. Davis is marking the first anniversary of the Delaware ABLE Plan by releasing a new awareness campaign and video. ABLE is a savings program for individuals with disabilities that ensures their ability to put away money and advance in life without risking their important government benefits. Without ABLE, saving money for the future or earning a fair wage can put a person’s ability to utilize Medicaid and Supplementary Security Income (SSI) at risk.

“During ABLE’s first year, the focus was on getting the program up and running. Now the groundwork is laid, and we are shifting our focus towards getting information about the plan into the hands of those who could benefit from it,” Treasurer Davis explained, “Our new awareness video is a great, sharable way for residents to learn about the program and how easy it is to sign up.”

During 2019 alone, Treasurer Davis and staff have reached over 3,000 people through direct, in-person outreach at dozens of events and community meetings. This week, a more broad online awareness effort begins with the release of a video about ABLE.

“Throughout my career, I have worked with thousands of people with disabilities seeking employment,” said Dan Madrid, Director of Policy and Performance Management and ABLE Manager in the Office of the State Treasurer. “They would tell me that they needed a job, but could only make so much, or needed a job that paid less. Several would obtain jobs and then have to refuse promotions and raises because of the asset limits associated with their benefits. With ABLE, they don’t need to hold themselves back anymore. They can have a stable, successful future – and we want everyone to know about the opportunity.”

The Treasurer has hope that Congress will help the plan expand as well. Davis is supportive of the ABLE Age Adjustment Act, which would increase plan eligibility to those who incurred a disability by age 26 to those whose disability onset by age 46, making an estimated six million more Americans eligible for the important program. Treasurer Davis is strongly in support of the ABLE Age Adjustment Act, and released an op-ed to encourage support and a joint statement with Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long.

The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) program allows for the creation of tax-advantaged savings accounts for individuals with disabilities without compromising eligibility for federal benefits such as Medicaid and Social Security. Delaware’s ABLE plan is administered by the Office of the State Treasurer. Learn more about Delaware’s ABLE Plan by visiting ABLE.delaware.gov.


Davis, Hall-Long Joint Statement Urging Congress to Pass Able Age Adjustment Act

Two of Delaware’s statewide elected officials who have also served as healthcare professionals urge support of federal legislation that would expand eligibility for a program that offers financial stability to individuals with disabilities.

“Less than one year ago, Delaware took the positive step of launching an ABLE program, known as DEPENDABLE, which allows individuals with disabilities to create savings plans without jeopardizing other important government benefits. Savings in an ABLE account can be used for medical services not covered by insurance, transportation, housing – things that can drastically improve a person’s quality of life. According to the CDC, Delawareans spend $1.2 billion in disability-related healthcare expenditures alone. Financial wellbeing is an important component of overall personal health, and recognizing the economic disadvantages of those who have disabilities helps us to create a more stable path towards wellness.

By passing the ABLE Age Adjustment Act (S. 651), the ability to save would expand from individuals who acquired a disability before age 26, to those whose disabilities began before age 46. This would allow the program to help so many more Delaware residents, including service members and veterans. We urge Congress to help ensure our family members, friends, and neighbors can have a financially stable future by expanding eligibility for this important program.”

The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) program allows for the creation of tax-advantaged savings accounts for individuals with disabilities without compromising eligibility for federal benefits such as Medicaid and Social Security. Delaware’s ABLE plan was first facilitated by bipartisan HB60 and Primary Sponsor Rep. Melanie George Smith. Additional Sponsors included Senate Members Henry, Cloutier, Peterson, McDowell, and Lavelle as well as Reps. Paradee, Heffernan, Ramone, and Miro.

DEPENDABLE is administered by the Office of the State Treasurer.
Learn more about Delaware’s ABLE Plan by visiting ABLE.delaware.gov.