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Bright Start

By Terry Savage on July 24, 2017 | College Savings / Student Loans

Hi Terry - I just moved back to the US and started a Bright Start account for our daughter. It seems there was a change in financial managers to Union Bank and Trust. I read your comments about previous managers, do you have an opinion about Union? Would you still recommend Bright Start over Bright Directions? As I started recently it should be a low hurdle to switch.

Terry Says

Well, Bright Start and Bright Directions are almost exactly the same program -- but Bright Directions is sold through advisors who receive a commission for explaining it to you.  And there are some differences in the investment options. Here's how the differences are described at Illinois has three 529 college savings plans, as well as a prepaid tuition program. The Bright Start College Savings Program, managed by OFI Private Investments Inc., comes in a direct-sold version and an advisor sold version. (The direct-sold Bright Start program has more investment options.) The Bright Directions College Savings Program is an advisor-sold 529 savings program managed by Union Bank and Trust Company, offering a diverse selection of fund families including funds managed by female- and minority-owned firms. CollegeIlinois!, the state’s prepaid tuition program, is available only to Illinois residents. I added a link (above) so you can read the entire analysis.  Frankly, I still prefer some of the higher rated plans (search for them at the link above) but since you get a small tax break on your Illinois income taxes for investing in an Illinois plan, I would go with the Bright Start savings plan.  (And definitely NOT the prepaid tuition plan -- CollegeIllinois.)



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