The bear market may have bitten into American expectations, but it has not radically altered the American Dream.
This is especially the case for saving for college. With freshman year always around the corner, parents with higher-education aspirations for their children are seeking new ways either to boost college saving accounts, or create the most efficient one before it is too late.
And for Asian-American households, where traditionally a profound emphasis is placed on children obtaining college degrees, the pressure is particularly acute.
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Sally Mak, corporate vice president in New York Lifes Cultural Markets Division, offers the translation of an old Chinese saying as evidence of Asian-American parents healthy obsession with education: “Nothing is more important than receiving education.”
Mak, who is Chinese-American, is in charge of marketing New York Life products to Asian-American clients. She attests to the increased demand for college savings plans, most especially 529 plans, in Asian-American communities.
“We printed 20,000 brochures on 529 plans in Chinese in the spring, and they are all gone,” Mak says.
Although not all financial institutions follow New York Lifes lead and translate their 529 plan brochures into Chinese, Japanese, Korean or Vietnamese, the major players are spending more of their marketing time and dollars courting Asian-American communities, and they say the 529 plan has been an ideal lead product.
According to Charles Zhang, a senior partner at Zhang and Associates, a financial advisory branch of American Express Financial Advisors, the tax advantages of 529 plans have enabled him “to gain the attention of many parents who were saving in (Uniform Gift to Minors Act) accounts, checking accounts or savings bonds.”