Back to School: What are 529 Plans?

August brings with it thick humidity, lunch boxes, new book bags and apple-smocked outfits as kids go back to school. Student loan debt has ballooned to $1.36 trillion, and according to Student Loan Hero, the average Class of 2016 graduate has $37,172 in student loan debt, a six percent increase from the previous year. One way parents can help alleviate this debt burden is to start saving early! There are several good options for college savings, and one of the most popular is a Section 529 plan.

Balentine Named One of Country’s Top Wealth Advisors by Forbes

Robert Balentine, Chairman robert-balentineand Chief Executive Officer of Balentine, was just named as one of the country’s Top Wealth Managers by Forbes. According to SHOOK Research, the firm behind the Forbes rankings, more than 11,000 nominations were received for this listing and more than 4,000 were invited to apply.

“Money Don’t Matter 2 Night…” Four Lessons to Learn from Prince’s Estate Planning

Much has been written about Prince’s death on April 21, and while the news has mostly focused on his music legacy and the surge in purchases following his death, financial news outlets are discussing the fact he died without a will. With an estimated $300 million at stake, it could take months – if not longer – to untangle the estate. While Prince was unique in many ways, his estate situation is not.

The European Refugee Crisis: Investment Opportunity or Risk?

Newspaper headlines shout the story: “Mass Migration in Europe is Unstoppable” and “A Mass Migration Crisis, and It May Get Worse.” Despite the near-apocalyptic tone of the press, the actual situation is not as unique as suggested. The humanitarian crisis is heart wrenching; however, we are going to focus on addressing the broader questions of human migration trends, the specific issues facing Europe and what the future might hold, and potential investment implications.

Creative Solutions in a Returns-Challenged World: Private Capital

A key theme in Balentine’s 2016 Capital Markets Forecast is that public market returns face strong headwinds going forward. Valuations in equities and bonds are near all-time highs which create difficulties for clients who seek real return. It is therefore Balentine’s job to bridge this gap, taking intentional risks in portfolios to smartly increase the expected return for clients. One way Balentine aims to achieve this is through a diverse allocation to private capital.

Key Themes for the Next Seven Years

As we enter 2016, we are almost seven years into a domestic equity bull market run that has defied many investors’ expectations in both duration and magnitude. This equity market strength has brought forward years’ worth of returns. As a result, today’s landscape offers few markets priced for compelling opportunities. Successfully navigating these compelling options will necessitate more discernment in the absence of uniformly accommodative central bank easing.

Has Gold Regained Its Luster?

The majority of Balentine’s communications in 2016 have centered around the deteriorating market conditions and the weakening effectiveness of central bank policies to assuage the market’s concerns. Given our projections for meager economic growth, we have had to turn to creative solutions for client portfolios to meet their long-term objectives. One such solution is an art-based decision to allocate to gold.