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Rodney Van Belle

Rodney Van Belle

Rodney, a Senior Client Analyst at Laird Norton Wealth Management, has 25 years of experience in financial services. A big believer in full-service financial planning, Rodney thinks investments are just one piece of a much bigger puzzle he loves to help clients solve.

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WA State GET Program Is Offering College Savers a Deal: Should You Take It?

Related Topics: Family and Finance

wood alphabet in wording deal on artificial green grass backgroundAttention college savers: If you (or someone you know) has invested in the WA State GET Plan for college tuition, keep September 12, 2018 well in mind. Up until then, you can get roughly 38% more for your GET units (over current prices) if you roll them over into WA state’s new 529 Plan for college savings. A 38% windfall is nothing to scoff off. This is a great deal for many, and should be carefully considered. First, I’ll explain what GET is, and then if it makes sense to switch to the 529 Plan.

The WA State GET program (Guaranteed Education Tuition) has been in place since 1997. Basically, it’s an insurance plan: The state guarantees that 100 GET units will fully fund one year’s worth of tuition and fees at WA’s highest-cost public university. GET unit pricing has varied widely, with the highest costs occurring 2011 to 2015, when to get 1 GET unit you had to pay between $163 and $172. Since then, WA state tuition has actually decreased. And performance of underlying investments has been very good for a decade. Hence the excess money for the incentive offer.

The offer: GET units, which are now priced at $103 ($106 as of August 1), will be valued at $143 each if they are rolled over into WA State’s 529 Plan by Sept. 12, 2018. What a deal! Should you go for it?Read More

Switch from GET to WA 529 Plan? A Big Incentive to Convert

Related Topics: Family and Finance

This summer, WA State is offering parents (and grandparents) who invested in GET, the guaranteed pre-paid tuition plan for WA State colleges and universities, what looks like a sweet deal: If you convert your GET units – recently valued at around $104 —  into WA’s new 529 Plan, they are likely to be valued at $140 to $144 each (depending on how well GET investments are performing), a premium of close to 40%. To GET (pun intended) the increase, you must shift into the 529 Plan between June 15 and September 2 of this year. And you must have bought the GET units before July 2015.

A state government with a surplus on its hands?That is unheard of these days. But that is what happened with the GET thanks to big increases in the stock and bond markets in the past decade, and WA State tuition not rising as much as anticipated. Some initial thoughts for those considering converting from GET to 529: … Read More

At Any Age, How to Make the Most of Health Savings Accounts

Related Topics: Financial and Business Planning

Health Savings AccountWhen it comes to tax-advantaged savings, most people focus on 401(k)s and IRAs. Often overlooked, especially by younger people, are Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). And that’s too bad. HSAs are the only type of savings account that is triple tax-free: (1) Contributions to an HSA are tax-deductible (up until age 65); (2) You can invest money within the HSA tax-free; and (3) you can withdraw money tax-free from the HSA to pay for medical expenses at any age.

It’s no wonder that some 20 million Americans now have HSAs, up from just 1 million in 2003. To make the most of HSAs, we advise this approach:

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