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  1. What Is the Biggest Investment Mistake You’ve Made in Retirement?

    Commentary

    Fri, 21 Nov 2014

    your responses and publish some of them in an article to appear Sunday, Nov. 30, on Morningstar.com. We look forward to hearing from you and hope you have a great Thanksgiving. Sincerely, Adam Zoll Assistant Site Editor Morningstar.com

  2. Top Fund Picks for Risk-Takers

    Headlines

    Fri, 21 Nov 2014

    s Premium Fund Screener to search for Gold-rated funds with high Morningstar Risk scores relative to their peers. (Adam Zoll explains Morningstar's Risk rating in this article .) The key advantage of the Morningstar Risk metric is that it punishes

  3. What Advice Would You Give Someone Investing in a 401(k) For the First Time?

    Commentary

    Mon, 17 Nov 2014

    tips you have for first-time 401(k) savers. We'll collect your responses and feature some of them in an article to appear on this site on Sunday. We look forward to hearing from you. Adam Zoll Assistant Site Editor Morningstar.com

  4. Renting Beats Buying a Home More Often Than You Think

    Video Reports

    Tue, 11 Nov 2014

    Adam Zoll : For Morningstar, I'm Adam Zoll . Buying a home rather than renting has long been seen as a great ..... for being with me today. Matt Fellowes: Nice to be with you. Zoll : HelloWallet has just come out with some new research looking

    ZOLL found at 0:01, 1:21, 2:32

    Adam Zoll : For Morningstar, I'm Adam Zoll . Buying a home rather than renting has long been seen as a great way to build personal wealth, but is that still true today? Here with some answers is HelloWallet's CEO and founder, Matt Fellowes. Matt, thanks for being with me today. Matt Fellowes: Nice to be with you. Zoll :  HelloWallet has just come out with some new research looking at this question of whether it makes more sense to buy or
    they bought their home renting and investing instead of buying their home. Zoll : Did your research look at this phenomenon over decades or is it looking at it more recently? We're currently in the midst
    makes a big difference to whether it's a good investment or not. Zoll : Another point brought up in the paper, I believe, is the benefit of tax breaks associated with homeownership and that not all
  5. How Has Your Attitude Toward Risk Changed Over Time?

    Commentary

    Mon, 10 Nov 2014

    learned? How has your attitude toward risk changed? We'll collect some of your responses for use in an article to appear on Morningstar.com this Sunday. We look forward to hearing from you. Adam Zoll Assistant Site Editor Morningstar.com

  6. Do You Manage Your Retirement Assets Holistically or By Account?

    Commentary

    Mon, 3 Nov 2014

    in your retirement accounts. We'll use some of your answers as part of an article to appear on this website this Sunday. Thanks, and we look forward to reading your responses. Sincerely, Adam Zoll Assistant Site Editor Morningstar.com

  7. What's the scariest thing in your investment portfolio?

    Commentary

    Mon, 27 Oct 2014

    readers which of your investments keep you up at night. We'll run some of your responses in an article to appear this Sunday on this website. We look forward to hearing from you. Sincerely, Adam Zoll Assistant Site Editor Morningstar.com

  8. 5 Upgrades, 10 Downgrades in Our 529 Ratings

    Video Reports

    Thu, 23 Oct 2014

    College Planning Report Card special report. Adam Zoll : For Morningstar, I'm Adam Zoll . Morningstar has released its updated ratings ..... with us. Kathryn Spica: Thanks for having me. Zoll : Kathryn, let's get right to it. What are

    ZOLL found at 0:03, 1:22, 1:59

    part of Morningstar's October 2014 College Planning Report Card special report. Adam Zoll : For Morningstar, I'm Adam Zoll . Morningstar has released its updated ratings for 529 college-savings plans, and here to tell us what's new is Kathryn Spica, she is the senior fund analyst of 529 plans for Morningstar. Kathryn, thanks for being with us. Kathryn Spica: Thanks for having me. Zoll : Kathryn, let's get right to it. What are some of the changes with this year's 529 plan ratings? Spica: We've rated 64 plans this year, we had five upgrades and ten downgrades. And even though we've downgraded more plans this year, we still see the industry improving. There are a lot of positive trends. Program managers are improving their oversight. They are adding more impressive investments to the lineup. They are lowering fees. There are a lot of trends that are really benefiting college savers. Zoll : Let's talk about the plans that were upgraded. Can you give us some examples of what the plans were and why they
    great investment lineup, and they have really good oversight from the state. Zoll : Great. Then, you mentioned the downgrades. What were some reasons that plans were downgraded this year? Spica: We've seen a couple of
    bit. We just want to see how they play out in practice. Zoll : So, when you say tactical management, you're talking about funds that move into and out of market positions based on the prevailing conditions? Spica: Exactly. So, they have asset-allocation funds within their portfolios. Most 529s have age-based tracks where they vary the asset-allocation mix over time, and [Fidelity is] adding tactical components to that. They have also added that to their target-date series, which has a similar track, and it's just a new component and we want to see how they do. Zoll : Let's talk for a moment about what the Medalist ratings actually mean. If I'm in a fund that's a Gold, Silver, or
  9. Where College Planning Stands Today

    Video Reports

    Thu, 23 Oct 2014

    College Planning Report Card special report. Adam Zoll : For Morningstar, I'm Adam Zoll . College has become more expensive than ever ..... today. Mark Kantrowitz: Thank you for having me. Zoll : So, the rate of college tuition inflation

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    part of Morningstar's October 2014 College Planning Report Card special report.  Adam Zoll : For Morningstar, I'm Adam Zoll . College has become more expensive than ever. But where are costs headed and what can college planners do to prepare? Here with some answers is Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of Edvisors.com, a college planning website. Mark, thanks for being with us today. Mark Kantrowitz: Thank you for having me. Zoll : So, the rate of college tuition inflation, which has far outstripped the overall rate of inflation over the past few years, seems
    when it won't increase as much until we reach the next recession. Zoll : What about demographics? Do demographics play a role in terms of where college tuition is headed if there's not as much demand,
    they are asking questions about what is the return on this investment. Zoll : Where are some of the best values right now in terms of getting the most bang for your buck for your tuition
  10. Is a 529 College-Savings Plan Right for You?

    Video Reports

    Wed, 22 Oct 2014

    College Planning Report Card special report. Adam Zoll : For Morningstar, I'm Adam Zoll . Five twenty-nine college-savings plans are ..... with us. Kathryn Spica: Thanks for having me. Zoll : So, let's talk about the pros and cons of

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    part of Morningstar's October 2014 College Planning Report Card special report.  Adam Zoll : For Morningstar, I'm Adam Zoll . Five twenty-nine college-savings plans are widely used as a way to save for college, but how do you know if one is right for you? Here with some answers is Kathryn Spica, she is a senior fund analyst on Morningstar's 529 research team. Kathryn, thanks for being with us. Kathryn Spica: Thanks for having me. Zoll : So, let's talk about the pros and cons of a 529 college-savings plan first. What are some of the advantages and what
    state level and some states also offer grants or other scholarship opportunities. Zoll : How about the downside? Is there any negative to using a 529 to save for college? Spica: They'll be a little bit more restrictive than a taxable account, for example. So, you have a limited set of investments for the most part. The fees can be a little bit higher. There are multiple levers of oversight. There is generally a smaller asset base to spread out the costs among. So, those are some of the options that you have to consider as you're making the choice about what vehicle is right for you. Zoll : When you say the fees are higher, they are higher versus investing outside of the 529 wrapper in a comparable mutual fund? Spica: Exactly. On top of the underlying fund fees, there is usually a program management fee, sometimes there is a state fee. So, there are some other layers of costs that get included in a 529 option. Zoll : So, maybe weighing those tax benefits versus the added cost is the way to go? Spica: Exactly. In most cases, the tax benefit will outweigh the additional costs, but it's definitely something to consider. Zoll : And if you need the money for another purpose, a non-college-related purpose, and you take the money out, what is the penalty for that? Spica: So, the money is always yours, which is a nice thing where you can always withdraw it, but you will be hit for a penalty. If you don't use it for a higher education expense, you have to pay taxes not just on the gains but you also get hit with a 10% penalty. Zoll : So, once I've decided I want to use a 529 plan to save for college, how do I know if I'm getting a good deal and choosing the best plan for me? Spica: You want to look at your home state first. You want to see what type of advantage you have by staying with your home state plan. If you have a tax deduction, it's usually a compelling reason to stay. If you don't have one, for example, or if you just want to make sure that you're getting the best value, look around nationally. There are a lot of 529 options that are really compelling. So, you want to look for states that have strong oversight and have strong managers included in their lineup. Zoll : What about other features of a plan, such as fees and the investment lineup? Are those things I should be taking a close look at as well? Spica: Absolutely. Fees are a really strong predictor of future performance, so you want to find a low cost option. If you are looking for passively managed funds, for example, you want to make sure that you're getting a low price because that's definitely going to eat into returns. We see a lot of variety in the cost of index-based plans. So, you want to make sure you're getting one that's on the low end. Zoll : And one place viewers can go to research plans is Morningstar's 529 Plan Center on Morningstar.com, where we have our analyst ratings
    really attractive? What investors should be considering as the costs and benefits. Zoll : Well, Kathryn, these are very helpful hints for college savers. Thanks for sharing them with us today. Spica: My pleasure. Zoll : For Morningstar, I'm Adam Zoll . Thanks for watching.
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