Changing financial and market landscapes are having an impact on individuals’ savings strategies, according to new research from independent benefit plan administrator Ascensus.

For one thing, as tuition expenses continue to rise, families are increasingly seeing the value of investing in 529 education savings accounts, the company said Tuesday, citing the findings of its annual savings trends research.

Although the market downturn in 2018 had only a “minor impact on overall 529 account balances across all demographics,” the average balance reached almost $23,000 as of Dec. 31, Ascensus said. “Another key trend tied to this landscape of higher education expenses is the entrance of older generations of account owners into the 529 market,” it said, noting that account owners 55 to 64 and those over 65, with average beneficiary ages of 17 and 13, respectively, had the second- and third-largest average balances of all age groups, both exceeding $22,000.

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Jeff Berman

Jeff joined the ThinkAdvisor team as a staff reporter in July 2019. Before joining ThinkAdvisor, he was a freelance reporter for five years, covering mainly technology, business, media and entertainment news for publications including The Miami Herald, Newsday,, Long Island Press and multiple American City Business Journals websites. He also reported for several consumer electronics publications and was a technology reporter for publications of the Media & Entertainment Services Alliance. Prior to that, he worked as a reporter and editor for Consumer Electronics Daily and other Warren Communications News publications for 15 years. He graduated with an MA in journalism from New York University.

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