Kickstart Your College Fund with a 529 Plan

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Sep 192017

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Duane J. Silbernagel
Financial Advisor
Waddell & Reed

Kickstart Your College Fund with a 529 Plan
Provided By: Duane J. Silbernagel

If you’re looking to save money for college, one option to consider is a 529 college savings plan. Created over 20 years ago and named after the section of the tax code that governs them, 529 plans offer a unique combination of features that have made them the 401(k)s of the college savings world.

How do 529 plans work?

529 college savings plans are individual investment-type accounts specifically made for college savings. People at all income levels are eligible. Plans are offered by individual states (you can join any state’s plan) but managed by financial institutions designated by each state.

To open an account, you select a plan and fill out an application, where you will name an account owner and beneficiary (there can be only one of each), choose your investment options, and set up any automatic contributions. You are then ready to go. It’s common to open an account with your own state’s 529 plan, but there may be reasons to consider another state’s plan; for example, the reputation of the financial institution managing the plan, the plan’s investment options, historical investment performance, fees, customer service, website usability, and so on.

A plan’s investment options typically consist of portfolios of various mutual funds that vary from conservative to aggressive in their level of risk. Depending on the market performance of the options you’ve chosen, your account will either gain or lose money, and there is the risk that the investments will not perform well enough to cover college costs as anticipated.


So why bother going to the trouble of opening a 529 account when you could choose your own mutual funds (or other investments) in a non-529 account?

Federal tax benefits: Contributions to a 529 plan accumulate tax deferred, which means no income tax is due on any capital gains or dividends earned along the way. Later, earnings are completely tax-free when a withdrawal is used to pay the beneficiary’s college expenses — a benefit that could be significant depending on how your investment options perform. States generally follow this federal tax treatment and may offer an income tax deduction for contributions. That’s why it’s important to know what 529 tax benefits your state offers and whether those benefits are contingent on joining the in-state 529 plan.

Contributions: You can contribute a lot to a 529 plan — lifetime contribution limits are typically $300,000 and up. Compare this to the small $2,000 annual limit allowed by Coverdell Education Savings Accounts. In addition, 529 plans offer a unique lump-sum gifting feature that some may find particularly compelling: Individuals can contribute a lump-sum amount of up to five years’ worth of the $14,000 annual gift tax exclusion — a total of $70,000 in 2017 — and avoid gift tax if they make a special election on their tax return and avoid making any other gifts to that beneficiary during the five-year period. Married couples, such as grandparents who want to contribute to their grandchild’s college fund, can make a joint lump sum gift up to $140,000 that is tax-free.

College account on autopilot: For college savers who are too busy or inexperienced to choose their own investments or change their asset allocation over time, a 529 college savings plan offers professional money management. And by having a designated account for college savings, you segregate those funds and possibly lessen the temptation to dip into them for a non-college purpose — a scenario that may be more likely if you are using a general savings account to save for college. Finally, by setting up automatic monthly contributions to your 529 account, you can put your savings effort on autopilot.

Non-college use of funds: The federal tax benefits of 529 plans can be great if you use the funds for college. If you don’t, then the earnings portion of any withdrawal is subject to federal income tax at your rate and a 10% federal penalty.

Changing investment options: With a 529 plan, you’re limited to the investment options offered by the plan. Plans generally offer a range of static and age-based portfolios with different levels of risk, fees, and investment goals. (Age-based portfolios generally have a “glide path” where the underlying investments automatically become more conservative as the beneficiary approaches college age.) If you’re unhappy with the performance of the options you’ve chosen, under federal law you can change the investment options for your future contributions at any time, but you can change the options for your existing contributions only twice per calendar year. This rule can make it difficult to respond to changing market conditions. However, also under federal law, once every 12 months you can roll over your existing 529 plan account to a new 529 plan without having to change the beneficiary, which gives you another option if you’re unhappy with your current plan’s investment options or returns.

Assets hit $266 billion mark

As of March 2017, assets in 529 college savings plans reached $266 billion, spread over 12.2 million accounts.

Source: Strategic Insight, 1Q 2017 529 Data Highlights

Before investing in a 529 plan, you should consider the investment objectives, risks, charges, and
expenses, which are available in the issuer’s official statement and should be read carefully. The official disclosure statements and applicable prospectuses — which contain this and other information about the investment options, underlying investments, and Investment Company— can be obtained by contacting your financial professional. Also consider whether your state offers a 529 plan that provides residents with favorable state tax benefits. As with other investments, there are generally fees and expenses associated with a 529 plan.

I hope you found this beneficial and informational. For more information about me and my services, visit my website:
Thank you for your interest.
Duane Silbernagel is a Financial Advisor in Lincoln City, Oregon offering securities through Waddell & Reed, Inc., Member FINRA and SIPC. He can be reached at (541) 614-1322 or via email at 
This article is meant to be general in nature and should not be construed as investment or financial advice related to your personal situation. The article was written by an independent third party, Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. (Copyright 2017) and is provided for informational and educational purposes only. Waddell& Reed is not affiliated with website and is not responsible for any other content posted to this website.  (08/17)

State Rep. Gomberg to be guest speaker at Toledo Chamber luncheon

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Sep 192017

Rep. David Gomberg

Toledo Chamber of Commerce hosts State Rep. Gomberg

State Representative David Gomberg will be the guest speaker at the next monthly luncheon of the Toledo Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, Sept. 21. He will discuss the outcome of this year’s legislative session.

The luncheon is at the Toledo Fire Department, 285 NE Burgess Road. The luncheon opens at 11:30 a.m. for socializing and the program begins at noon. All attendees are asked to pay $12 at the door to cover the cost of lunch. The public is welcome to attend.

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Lightning strike triggers fire at Searidge condos in Gleneden Beach

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Sep 192017

Searidge Condo Fire
Gleneden Beach
Across from Thriftway
DBFR photo

Quick action by firefighters limited major damage to one unit.
DBFR photo

Lightning struck the Searidge Condos across from Thriftway in Gleneden Beach early this morning, igniting one of the condo units. Quick action from the Gleneden Beach station of Depoe Bay Fire jumped right on it and limited the damage to the single unit. No small feat. Firefighters spent a lot of time making sure no fire-crawling embers made it into any surrounding units.

Firefighters from Newport and Lincoln City were called in to help. Crews cleared the scene around 10:30am and occupants of surrounding units were being allowed back inside.

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The Vacation Rental issue has finally “officially” cropped up in Newport

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Sep 192017

Vacation Rentals

At first it was Lincoln City, then Yachats and now….it’s becoming an issue in Newport.

Vacation Rentals Dwellings (VRDs). On one side, vacation rental owners contend that they’re providing an economic boost to the community as well as room taxes to city coffers. On the other side are adjacent or nearby residents who complain that too many VRDs are loud, trashy and are causing a worsening of what is already a horrific housing shortage for low and moderate income families since more homes are going VRD causing back pressure on the entire housing market.

The Newport City Council Monday evening heard from both sides of the issue, those in favor of a moratorium on new VRDs so the city can catch up with the effects of the VRD industry, as well as from those who tout the economic benefits of VRDs and who urged caution on any new controls or moratorium on new applications.

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After a lot of back and forth the council voted to consider a moratorium on new applications despite a concern over a possible “land rush” on new VRD applications. But before they can enact a moratorium they have to comply with state law that requires a 45 day public and state notification before it can be enacted complete with reasons for the moratorium. The council also referred the issue back to the city planning commission for their review and recommended changes in VRD rules. Then, when they’re given the planning commission’s report, the council will hold a public hearing November 6th on whether a moratorium is justified while the city studies what to do about the situation.

Lincoln City has been grappling with this issue for the last two years at least – while Yachats has just adopted new rules that limit the number of VRDs in their town in order to preserve Yachat’s small coastal town ambiance along with what they called a preservation of a broader housing mix for all residents.

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Weather or Not: A Good Soaking

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Sep 192017

Tuesday, Sep. 19th – Lincoln County

Summary: Rain showers, sunbreaks and breezy yesterday, thunderstorms overnight.

Past 24 Hours High/Low/Gust/Rain/Total…
Lincoln City: 60F/51F/25mph/0.86”/1.44”
Depoe Bay: 59F/48F/32mph/0.78”/1.26”
Newport: 61F/52F/36mph/0.23”/0.82”
Waldport: 63F/54F/25mph/0.23”/0.56”
Yachats: 60F/51F/29mph/0.61”/1.08”

Newport Airport Conditions…
Ceiling: scattered @ 1,500’, broken @ 5,000’, overcast @ 6,500’
Visibility: 5 miles/Wind: SW 13 mph G32/Altimeter: 29.90”

Forecast: After a long mostly-dry Summer, we’re back in the rain groove again with a good soaking over the past couple of days, over an inch in spots. And, there was a lightning strike at Gleneden Beach which caused a structure fire; two other strikes were recorded about 5 miles south of Newport early this morning. Expect more showers, sometimes heavy, possible thunderstorms producing small hail, and gusty winds to continue today through tomorrow. High temps reach the upper-50s and lows drop to about 50F overnight. Outlook is for a chance of showers Thursday, then mostly clear from Friday until Monday. Seasonal thermometer readings are projected with highs of 60-65F and lows of 50-55F.

wxon-twitterBe sure to follow Weather or Not’s Twitter feed to keep current on the latest conditions. You’ll get updated travel info and notification of any new advisories, watches or warnings. Follow @chrisburnswx.

Travel: In the Coast Range this morning, highways are wet, temps near 50F. Willamette Valley roads are mixed wet/dry, thermometer readings 50-55F. The Columbia River Gorge has mixed wet/dry pavement, temperatures 55-60F, it’s still smoky in spots and I-84 remains closed in places due to the effects of wildland firefighting operations. For the Cascades, highways are mainly wet with roadside snow, but some areas have slush on the pavement, 35F, the snow level is near the passes at 5,500 feet. NOTE: A Flash Flood Watch remains in effect for the Gorge and Cascades, especially below wildfire burn areas. * An interactive map of the latest Northwest/Central Oregon travel weather is available here. Also, motorists should always visit ODOT’s TripCheck before hitting the road.

Marine: Winds are SW 5-15 knots this morning, with rough seas 15 feet at 14 seconds. A Small Craft Advisory for winds is in effect until 1:00pm this afternoon. A Small Craft Advisory for hazardous seas is in effect through this evening. A Small Craft Advisory for winds is in effect from this evening through tomorrow morning. Organized showers or thunderstorms will make winds more erratic and gusty today. Winds ease this afternoon. Seas have climbed to 15-17 feet with a 14-16 second period and are probably a few hours away from peaking another foot or two higher. Seas should subside below 10 feet later this evening, but may creep above 10 feet tonight with the next storm. Another low-pressure system is forecast to track across the south Oregon coastal waters later tonight. The track and intensity are still somewhat uncertain, but forecast models are in better agreement than 24 hours ago. At this point, it still looks likely to produce wind gusts to 30 knots, with the possibility of some gale force gusts late tonight and Wednesday morning, especially over the southern part of the area. Seas will steepen with this system, with wave heights in the range of 10-12 feet. Winds dropping below 20 knots late Wednesday, and are likely to remain on the light side through the end of the week as a quieter weather pattern returns. * Full text of the latest marine forecast is available here. And, make sure you check the latest Bar Reports before venturing offshore.

On the Beach… Showers, possible thunderstorms, surf 12-15 feet (high).
* Stay off of jetties and offshore rocks, and be extremely watchful on rocky shores or sandy beaches. These areas may be periodically inundated by surf, especially during this afternoon’s high tide. Be aware of sneaker waves that will be significantly higher than those that precede or follow them. Never turn your back on the ocean.
* Tides
09/19 Tue 6:12 AM -0.27 L
09/19 Tue 12:36 PM 8.30 H
09/19 Tue 6:30 PM 1.06 L
09/20 Wed 12:37 AM 8.64 H

In Short: Showers, chance of thunderstorms, windy, then clearing by weekend.

Lincoln City City Council launches effort to get its own advertising brand among coast tourist towns

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Sep 182017

Lincoln City City Council working with consultants to establish a “brand” for the town.

Lincoln City City Councilors Monday night took the first steps toward making Lincoln City more inviting, if not more aluring, to tourists – families and retiring baby boomers included.

The council hired community promotions firm Borders Perrin Norrander (BPN) to help them more effectively promote Lincoln City tourism to the Portland and Eugene metros. In their first sit down with BPN staff they learned that Lincoln City has a lot going for it, but it must be advertised correctly and with the right image.

A mix of possible city logos offered by BPN.

BPN said for a marketing campaign to work, it’s got to be truthful, it has to “own” a particular advantage over other tourist towns, and it’s attributes and benefits have to be in demand – like nice beaches, hiking headlands, good shopping at truly interesting shops and an abundance of motels, hotels and vacation rentals all of which Lincoln City provides.

Lincoln City
Better marketing makes for a healthier tourist economy.

BPN said from preliminary market research on Lincoln City, the town has a lot going for it but it needs to concentrate it’s tourism advertising on its stronger suits: Easy access from Portland, Salem and Eugene, unexpected treasures like searches for pre-placed colorful floats on the beaches, abundant unspoiled shorelines and headlands, great boutique shopping from one end of town to the other and access to other attractions in the region – whale watching out of Depoe Bay just for starters. Recommended marketing slogans for Lincoln City might include “Your family base camp on the scenic Oregon Coast,” “Lincoln City: Where curiosity meets the coast,” “Lincoln City: More to Explore,” “Lincoln City: A different side of the coast,” and “Lincoln City: Pack your sense of adventure.”

Logos and promotional materials for a town growing more confident in itself.

BPN said the image campaign is still in its formative stages but it should be complete and presented to the city council by early next year. Along with promoting Lincoln City’s strong tourism attributes the branding process includes a total image re-do for the town – official logos and other images on everything from city vehicles to street signs and from T shirts to sweat shirts and jackets. Even city signage will be recommended to be upgraded with logo imagery in colors that are consistent with the city’s new branded image.

BPN has done lots of interviews with residents, tourists and business owners community-wide getting their views on the town and what they think is needed to give Lincoln City a good chance of putting its best foot and face forward. Again, they should know something more about all this by the end of the year.

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Going from “Ow to WOW!”

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Sep 182017

Central Oregon Coast NOW

The September meeting of Central Oregon Coast chapter of National Organization for Women will include a presentation and discussion with Amber Rose Dullea, MA MDiv, author of a new book, From “OW to WOW.”

Amber Rose has established her successful practice of assisting healing to those dealing with pain with her own compassion, experience, and wisdom. She recently moved to Lincoln County from Portland and has a radio program on KYAQ “Living Your Wow”, at 12:30 pm on Monday. Her website is

It is sure to be an interesting and informative discussion, open to all. We will meet at the Newport High School Library, on September 26 at 6:00 pm. Amber rose Dullea will begin her presentation at 6:40 pm.

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Nesckowin Chamber Music concerts commence Sunday, October 1st

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Sep 182017

Neskowin Chamber Music

The Schubert Ensemble launches the 24th season of Neskowin Chamber Music with a concert on Sunday, October 1 at 3 p.m. at Camp Winema. The ensemble will bring its thirty–five year career to a close in June 2018 by giving fifty concerts in the U.K. and abroad. The Neskowin concert will be one of its last in the U.S.

The ensemble, which gives more than 50 concerts each year, has established itself as one of the world’s leading exponents of music for piano and strings. Founded in 1983, the Ensemble has performed in over 40 countries, commissioned over 80 new works, and recorded over 20 CDs. It is familiar to British audiences through its regular broadcasts on the BBC. In 1998, it was recognized for its contributions to British musical life by winning the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Best Chamber Ensemble Award. It was shortlisted for the same award in 2010.

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Other concerts in the 24th season:
October 15, 2017—Andrew Armstrong, pianist
(This special free concert with be held at the Chapel
By the Sea in Lincoln City.)
November 5, 2017—Meccore String Quartet
January 7, 2018—Edward Arron, cellist, & Jeewon Park, pianist
February 11, 2018—Alexander String Quartet (replacing the
previously scheduled Lark Quartet)
March 25, 2018—Ariel String Quartet
April 8, 2018—the Spanish Brass
May 6, 2018—Albert Kim

Season tickets for Neskowin Chamber Music are $110. Single tickets are $25. For more information, check the website, or call 503-965-6499.

Camp Winema is located three miles north of Neskowin off of Highway 101.