New Features & Benefits

Through an open and competitive bid process, we've selected a new program manager that gives us the opportunity to introduce some exciting new features for Bright Start. Here's what your clients have to look forward to:

  • No More Annual Account Fee – Effective July 17, 2017, investors in the Index Portfolios, along with all other portfolio investors, will no longer be charged an annual account fee.
  • Lower Overall Portfolio Costs – The current all-in costs for investors will go down across all portfolios.
  • Expanded Investment Options – Investors can now choose from several quality investment choices:
    • Age-based options (aggressive, moderate, and conservative)
    • Target portfolios
    • Individual fund portfolios
  • Additional Fund Families – Investors may now choose from Vanguard, T. Rowe Price, DFA, Dodge & Cox, and more.
  • 1.529% Visa® Rewards Card – The new Bright Start Rewards Visa lets investors earn 1.529% on their everyday purchases.*
  • Enhanced Glide Paths – Existing age-based glide paths will be smoothed with the addition of several new steps. Find more information on this here.
  • Important Additional InformationProgram Disclosure Statement
    Investment Policy Statement

*Subject to credit approval.

Important Dates

In order to make these plan changes, there will be a period of time that you and your clients will have to plan for. In addition to the dates above, encourage your clients to familiarize themselves with these dates:

July 10, 2017

After 3 p.m. CT - No Automatic Investment Plan purchases will be processed until after conversion.

July 12, 2017

After 3 p.m. CT - No transaction activity processed.

July 12 – 17, 2017

The transition requires that we implement a short blackout period. We encourage everyone to plan ahead for this period. July 12, 2017 after 3 p.m. CT: No transaction activity processed.

July 14 – 17, 2017

Conversion Weekend

July 17, 2017

Transactions processed as normal.

Note: Transactions submitted after 3 p.m. CT July 12, 2017 through 3 p.m. CT Monday, July 17, 2017 are scheduled to be processed Monday, July 17, 2017 using Monday, July 17, 2017 closing prices.

If your clients need to request a withdrawal for college or make an investment or other change, that change should be completed prior to 3 p.m. CT on July 12, 2017 or your clients can request as normal beginning July 17, 2017.

New Investments

Effective July 17, Bright Start will offer an expanded investment lineup utilizing best-in-class funds from Vanguard, T. Rowe Price, DFA, Dodge and Cox and other quality fund families. The new lineup will provide more choice, flexibility, and additional Age-Based, Target, and Individual Fund Portfolios for investors.

Age-Based Portfolios

Click on the pie chart for additional details.

Stocks
Bonds
Cash

Aggressive

Age of Beneficiary
0-2 100% Stocks
3-5 90% Stocks - 10% Bonds
6-8 80% Stocks - 20% Bonds
9-10 70% Stocks - 30% Bonds
11-12 60% Stocks - 40% Bonds
13-14 50% Stocks - 50% Bonds
15-16 40% Stocks - 60% Bonds
17-18 30% Stocks - 70% Bonds
19+ 20% Stocks - 71% Bonds - 9% Cash

Moderate

Age of Beneficiary
0-2 90% Stocks - 10% Bonds
3-5 80% Stocks - 20% Bonds
6-8 70% Stocks - 30% Bonds
9-10 60% Stocks - 40% Bonds
11-12 50% Stocks - 50% Bonds
13-14 40% Stocks - 60% Bonds
15-16 30% Stocks - 70% Bonds
17-18 20% Stocks - 71% Bonds - 9% Cash
19+ 10% Stocks - 67% Bonds - 23% Cash

Conservative

Age of Beneficiary
0-2 80% Stocks - 20% Bonds
3-5 70% Stocks - 30% Bonds
6-8 60% Stocks - 40% Bonds
9-10 50% Stocks - 50% Bonds
11-12 40% Stocks - 60% Bonds
13-14 30% Stocks - 70% Bonds
15-16 20% Stocks - 71% Bonds - 9% Cash
17-18 10% Stocks - 67% Bonds - 23% Cash
19+ 50% Bonds - 50% Cash


Click on the pie chart for additional details.

Stocks
Bonds
Cash

Aggressive

Age of Beneficiary
0-2 100% Stocks
3-5 90% Stocks - 10% Bonds
6-8 80% Stocks - 20% Bonds
9-10 70% Stocks - 30% Bonds
11-12 60% Stocks - 40% Bonds
13-14 50% Stocks - 50% Bonds
15-16 40% Stocks - 60% Bonds
17-18 30% Stocks - 70% Bonds
19+ 20% Stocks - 71% Bonds - 9% Cash

Moderate

Age of Beneficiary
0-2 90% Stocks - 10% Bonds
3-5 80% Stocks - 20% Bonds
6-8 70% Stocks - 30% Bonds
9-10 60% Stocks - 40% Bonds
11-12 50% Stocks - 50% Bonds
13-14 40% Stocks - 60% Bonds
15-16 30% Stocks - 70% Bonds
17-18 20% Stocks - 71% Bonds - 9% Cash
19+ 10% Stocks - 67% Bonds - 23% Cash

Conservative

Age of Beneficiary
0-2 80% Stocks - 20% Bonds
3-5 70% Stocks - 30% Bonds
6-8 60% Stocks - 40% Bonds
9-10 50% Stocks - 50% Bonds
11-12 40% Stocks - 60% Bonds
13-14 30% Stocks - 70% Bonds
15-16 20% Stocks - 71% Bonds - 9% Cash
17-18 10% Stocks - 67% Bonds - 23% Cash
19+ 50% Bonds - 50% Cash


Target Portfolios

Click on the pie chart for additional details.

Stocks
Bonds
Cash

INDEX EQUITY
PORTFOLIO 100% Stocks
INDEX BALANCED
PORTFOLIO 40% Bonds - 60% Stocks
INDEX FIXED INCOME
PORTFOLIO 50% Bonds - 50% Cash


Click on the pie chart for additional details.

Stocks
Bonds
Cash

EQUITY PORTFOLIO MULTI-FIRM STRATEGY 100% Stocks
BALANCED PORTFOLIO MULTI-FIRM STRATEGY 40% Bonds - 60% Stocks
FIXED INCOME PORTFOLIO MULTI-FIRM STRATEGY 50% Bonds - 50% Cash


Individual Fund Portfolios


You can design and manage your own investment strategy with the Individual Fund Portfolios.

Money Market

  • Vanguard Federal Money Market 529 Portfolio*

Fixed Income

  • Baird Short-Term Bond 529 Portfolio
  • Vanguard Short-Term Inflation-Protected Securities Index 529 Portfolio
  • Vanguard Total Bond Market Index 529 Portfolio
  • Dodge & Cox Income 529 Portfolio
  • Vanguard Total International Bond Index 529 Portfolio

U.S. Equity

  • Vanguard 500 Index 529 Portfolio
  • T. Rowe Price Large-Cap Growth 529 Portfolio
  • Ariel 529 Portfolio
  • DFA U.S. Targeted Value 529 Portfolio
  • Vanguard Explorer 529 Portfolio

International Equity

  • Vanguard Total International Stock Index 529 Portfolio
  • DFA International Small Company 529 Portfolio

Real Estate

  • Vanguard REIT Index 529 Portfolio

A Word About Risk: Keep in mind that you can lose money by investing in a portfolio. Each of the Age-Based, Target, and Individual Fund Portfolios involves investment risks, which are described in the underlying mutual fund prospectuses and the Program Disclosure Statement and should be considered before investing. For example, international investing, especially in emerging markets, has additional risks such as currency fluctuation, economic and political risks, and market volatility. Investing in small, medium, and international companies may increase the risk of fluctuations in the value of your investment and involves greater risks than investing in more established companies. Portfolios that invest in specific industries or sectors, such as real estate, have industry concentration risk. As an example, the portfolios that invest in real estate may perform poorly during a downturn in the real estate industry.

Portfolios that invest in bonds are subject to risks such as interest rate risk, credit risk, and inflation risk. In particular, as interest rates rise, the prices of bonds will generally fall, which can impact performance. It is important to note that the value of your account will fluctuate with market conditions. When you withdraw funds, you may have more or less than your actual investment. For more information on the portfolios and the underlying funds in which they invest, see the underlying mutual fund prospectuses and Program Disclosure Statement.


Investment Mapping

The number of investment portfolios in the Bright Start Direct Sold Plan has been expanded from 10 to 26. The Investment Maps below illustrate how your client's existing investments will be mapped to the new investment portfolios. No action is required by account owners. Their account will automatically transfer into the new Bright Start portfolios. We encourage you to review the new options available to you and your clients.

While the new portfolios have similar objectives, asset allocation, and risk profile, they are not exactly the same and utilize different underlying investment funds. Keep in mind, investment changes are allowed twice per calendar year. If your client has not used both of their 2017 investment changes, they have the option to make a change anytime in 2017.

Age-Based Portfolios

If your clients are currently invested in an Age-Based Portfolio, their account will be transferred to the new Bright Start Age-Based Portfolio based on the age of their Beneficiary at the time of the conversion.

Current Portfolio

New Bright Start Portfolio

Index Age-Based Portfolio

  • 0 – 6 years
  • 7 – 9 years
  • 10 – 11 years
  • 12 – 14 years
  • 15 – 17 years
  • 18 years or older

Blended Age-Based Portfolio

  • 0 – 6 years
  • 7 – 9 years
  • 10 – 11 years
  • 12 – 14 years
  • 15 – 17 years
  • 18 years or older

Choice-Based or Target Portfolios

Current Portfolio

New Bright Start Portfolio

Index Choice-Based Equity Portfolio

  • 0 – 6 years
  • 7 – 9 years
  • 10 – 11 years
  • 12 – 14 years
  • 15 – 17 years
  • 18 years or older

Index Choice-Based Balanced Portfolio

  • 0 – 6 years
  • 7 – 9 years
  • 10 – 11 years
  • 12 – 14 years
  • 15 – 17 years
  • 18 years or older

Index Fixed Income Portfolio

  • 0 – 6 years
  • 7 – 9 years
  • 10 – 11 years
  • 12 – 14 years
  • 15 – 17 years
  • 18 years or older

Blended Choice-Based Equity Portfolio

  • 0 – 6 years
  • 7 – 9 years
  • 10 – 11 years
  • 12 – 14 years
  • 15 – 17 years
  • 18 years or older

Blended Choice-Based Balanced Portfolio

  • 0 – 6 years
  • 7 – 9 years
  • 10 – 11 years
  • 12 – 14 years
  • 15 – 17 years
  • 18 years or older

Blended Choice-Based Fixed Income Portfolio

  • 0 – 6 years
  • 7 – 9 years
  • 10 – 11 years
  • 12 – 14 years
  • 15 – 17 years
  • 18 years or older

Blended Choice-Based Conservative Fixed Income Portfolio

  • 0 – 6 years
  • 7 – 9 years
  • 10 – 11 years
  • 12 – 14 years
  • 15 – 17 years
  • 18 years or older

Money Market Portfolio

  • 0 – 6 years
  • 7 – 9 years
  • 10 – 11 years
  • 12 – 14 years
  • 15 – 17 years
  • 18 years or older

FAQs

  • Effective July 17, 2017, Bright Start will have a new program manager, new investment options, additional choices, lower costs, and will no longer assess an annual account fee.

  • The State of Illinois Treasurer serves as Trustee and Administrator for the program. To improve the program, Bright Start underwent a competitive bid process. This allowed the Treasurer’s Office to select a new program manager and to structure a program with more features and benefits.

  • No action is required by you or your clients. The transition will occur over the weekend July 14 – 17, 2017. Account records and account balances will automatically transfer over. If your clients have a bank account set up and are contributing to Bright Start on an ongoing basis, that will continue as is. If your clients need to make any account changes, investment changes, or request a withdrawal, we suggest they do so prior to 3 p.m. CT on July 12, 2017 or they can request as normal beginning July 17, 2017.

  • The change of program manager and conversion will occur over the July 14 – 17, 2017 weekend. If your clients need to make account changes or request a withdrawal, we suggest they do so prior to 3 p.m. CT on July 12, 2017. Your clients can also request as normal beginning July 17, 2017.

    • Your clients’ account numbers
    • Our contact information will stay the same
      • BrightStartSavings.com
      • Toll-free: 877.432.7444 (Please use the Transition Line (844.473.8558) through July 17)
    • The attractive Illinois State income tax deduction for contributions: 1
      • up to $10,000
      • up to $20,000 if married filing a joint return
    • Tax-deferred growth of any earnings while in the Plan
    • Tax-free withdrawals for qualified college expenses
  • We highly encourage account owners to request any withdrawals prior to 3 p.m. CT on July 12, 2017 or they can request as normal beginning July 17, 2017.

  • Yes, the IRS allows two investment changes per calendar year. If your clients will be making any investment changes, we recommend that they do so prior to 3 p.m. CT on July 12, 2017 or they can request as normal beginning July 17, 2017.

  • No. The $10 annual account fee on Index Portfolios will be eliminated effective July 17, 2017.

  • The plan will have Age-Based Options, Target Portfolios, and Individual Fund Portfolios. The program will utilize quality investment funds from Vanguard, T. Rowe Price, DFA, Dodge & Cox, and several other quality fund families.

  • This site will be updated and kept current throughout the process. A detailed Transition Guide and Program Disclosure Statement will be sent in the mid-to-late June time frame.

  • Yes. After the transition is complete, you will need to establish new login credentials including username, password, and security settings.

  • No. The transition to the new portfolios and investments is program initiated and should not count against your clients’ allowable two investment changes per calendar year.

  • Contact the new program manager 7:30 a.m. CT – 6 p.m. CT (M–F): 844.473.8558