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Financial Planning > College Planning

In Transition

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Spring tends to bring predictable changes, like warmer temperatures and blossoming flowers. But this spring seems to entail its fair share of unpredictable events as well.

With a new administration in Washington, D.C., moving to loosen regulation, what will happen to the now-postponed Department of Labor fiduciary rule? How many more firms will roll out robo advisors? How low will trading prices go? What will happen to health care?

In this quarter’s issue, Lane Strumlauf of UBS explains the wirehouse’s view of how to best protect clients’ interests, while Tash Elwyn of Raymond James discusses the future of advisors and technology. Michael Finke, head of the American College of Financial Services, gets to the root of portfolio planning and advice in his examination of evidence-based investing, and columnist Bob Seawright weighs in on this topic as well (with a lighthearted take).

We are pleased to announce that columnist Marshall Jaffe, who looks at the mind-numbing topic of cybersecurity in this issue, has been recognized as a finalist in the 2017 Jesse H. Neal Awards for editorial excellence in blog/commentary writing. He follows Seawright, who was a finalist in 2016. The winners are being announced March 31.

Speaking of March 31, that’s the day when anxious parents of high school seniors (like me) find out if their children have been given coveted slots in many institutions of higher learning. As I’ve gotten closer to the reality of having two male children in college, my appreciation for both the value of financial planning and the critical role of advisors has been renewed.

Recently, Warren Buffett repeated his view that active managers tend to generate fees but not necessarily the best value for investors. He is a big fan of Jack Bogle and Vanguard for the firm’s low-cost index funds.

While certainly a valuable perspective, it’s worth pointing out that many people — myself included — benefit from active support. It’s easy to point to performance returns as the measure of an advisor, but it’s far more difficult to put a figure on their other contributions.

This “extra performance” is one of the reasons we feature what advisors are doing to give back to the community each quarter. As Glen Macdonald of U.S. Trust exemplifies in this issue’s profile: Values and mission play a central role in wealth allocation and investing.