Our Authors

Kathryn Flynn, Content Director

Kathryn is Content Director at She has been quoted in financial publications including Fortune, Money and GOBankingRates, and has been an expert guest on personal finance podcasts. Prior to, Kathryn worked in product marketing at Henderson Global Investors (now Janus Henderson Investors), a global asset manager. She earned her B.S. degree in Marketing from Northern Illinois University and her MBA with Finance Concentration from DePaul University's Kellstadt Graduate School of Business, and has prior FINRA Series 7 and 63 licenses. Kathryn has 529 college savings plans for each of her three children, and enjoys creating content to help other families prepare for future higher education costs.

See articles written by Kathryn.

Matthew Toner, Lead Analyst

Matthew Toner is the lead analyst at After obtaining his B.S. degree from the University of Florida and his J.D. from Florida State University, where he specialized in business law, Matthew went on to work as a financial advisor at Waddell & Reed. He holds his Series 7 and 66 licenses.

See articles written by Matthew.

Regular contributors

Keith Bernhardt, Vice President of College Planning at Fidelity Investments

Keith Bernhardt is Vice President of College Planning at Fidelity Investments, providing financial products and guidance to help families plan for savings and investment goals throughout their lives. In his role, Keith oversees Fidelity's college savings and planning business. This includes the firm's efforts around educating parents about savings vehicles and strategies, and managing a team dedicated to providing industry-leading products, tools and customer service to help families reach their college savings goals. Prior to joining Fidelity in 2008, Keith had responsibilities in segment management, management consulting, and was an officer in the U.S. Navy. He earned B.S. and M.Eng. degrees in electrical engineering at Cornell University, as well as an MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. Keith's focus on saving for college doesn't end at the office – he too is saving as a proud father of two future college students.

See articles written by Keith.

Marguerita M. Cheng, CFP, CEO of Blue Ocean Global Wealth

Marguerita M. Cheng is the CEO and Co-Founder of Blue Ocean Global Wealth. She is a candid and passionate supporter of financial literacy and capability and is quoted and featured in numerous national publications. As a CFP Board Ambassador, Marguerita helps educate the public, policy makers, and media about the benefits of competent, ethical financial planning. She also teaches financial planning and investment management at the Personal Finance Institute at George Mason University, where she helps educators enhance their understanding of economics and personal finance. Prior to co- founding Blue Ocean Global Wealth, she was a Financial Advisor at Ameriprise Financial and an Analyst and Editor at Towa Securities in Tokyo, Japan. She studied at Keio University in Tokyo, Japan, and earned her B.S. in Finance and her B.A. in East Asian Language and Japanese Literature from the University of Maryland, College Park. Marguerita is a recipient of the Ameriprise Financial Presidential Award for Quality of Advice and the prestigious Japanese Monbukagakusho Scholarship.

See articles written by Rita.

Lulu Curiel, Founder and CEO of Ivy Advisors

Lulu Curiel is the Founder and CEO of Ivy Advisors, a leading Admissions Consulting company that helps people with their application process for college and graduate school. Lulu has helped over hundreds of people construct their application strategies and gain admissions to their respective dream schools. Prior to Ivy Advisors, Lulu worked at Apple and Deloitte Consulting. She has an MBA from the Harvard Business School, and a B.S. in Computer Engineering from Boston University.

See articles written by Lulu.

Joe Messinger

Maria Carla Chicuen is the author of Achieve the College Dream: You Don't Need to Be Rich to Attend a Top School (Rowman & Littlefield 2016), a guide to selective universities for students from all economic backgrounds. Despite her challenging high school journey as a recent immigrant from Cuba, Chicuen won admission to five Ivy League schools and ultimately decided to attend Harvard after securing over $200,000 in financial aid. These early experiences fueled her deep passion towards higher education access. Indeed, for over ten years, she has developed a successful international career in higher education management, admissions and financial aid at renowned organizations such as ACT, Harvard University, the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, Minerva Schools and Miami Dade College.

See articles written by Maria.

Joe Messinger, CFP, ChFC, CLU

Joe Messinger, CFP, ChFC, CLU, is partner and director of college planning at Capstone Capital Wealth Partners. He created Capstone's College Pre Approval process that guides clients through a process that allows families to save the money they need, and eliminate the stress and anxiety that have around paying for college.

Capstone College Partners teaches proprietary process to advisors because we believe American Families desperately need out support, and we as an industry have a responsibility to help them. When it comes to college funding, Joe Messinger is here to raise the bar and get more financial advisors trained to better serve our communities.

See articles written by Joe.

Brooke Napiwocki, CFP®, MBA

As a Financial Planner at Crescendo Wealth Management, LLC, Brooke Napiwocki has more than 15 years of experience in the financial services industry, during which she has advised individuals, small businesses and institutional clients. She currently focuses her practice on partnering with professional women and their families.

Brooke is a graduate of St. Norbert College with a BBA in Business Administration and Economics and a MBA from Marquette University. She completed her CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ coursework requirement through Kaplan University.

Brooke is a member of the Financial Planning Association of Wisconsin and is active in the organization's NexGen Community, which focuses on growing the next generation of financial planners. She is a board member for the Columbia College of Nursing and the Cedarburg Education Foundation. Throughout southeast Wisconsin, Brooke is a strong advocate for family financial literacy through her volunteer work with Junior Achievement and Money Smart Week®, speaking engagements and written thought leadership.

See articles written by Brooke.

Vince Sullivan

Vince Sullivan functions as principal consultant, lead presenter, and subject matter expert on 529 plans for 529NOW, LLC. Prior to founding 529 NOW in 2016 to promote the 529 story and industry, he worked at CollegeInvest, the State Plan Administrator for Colorado. While at CollegeInvest, he managed the Continuing Education program, personally presenting more than 3000 people-hours of continuing education. He has also written a 4-hr CPE course for Surgent-McCoy currently being offered throughout the country.

Vince earned both Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Business/Finance from LeMoyne College and Boston College, respectively. He previously has held FINRA/NASD Series 6, 7 and 65 licenses and has been in the financial services industry for over twenty years, bringing a wealth of experience to the 529 conversation. Outside of work, Vince is an avid outdoorsman, participating in tennis and hockey leagues, skiing, mountain biking, and scuba diving.

See articles written by Vince.

Brett Tushingham, CFP®

With over 20 years of wealth management and corporate finance experience, Brett Tushingham, CFP® has helped manage clients through many market cycles and transitions. After graduating from Pace University with a degree in Finance, he established his foundation on Wall Street where he spent 10 years. Since 2003, he has utilized his Wall Street experience and CFP® certification to manage and grow a successful financial planning business in Wilmington, NC where he acts as a fiduciary for select individuals. When not serving as a financial advisor, Tushingham enjoys family time in Wilmington, NC. He loves being on his boat, catching a hockey game or sitting down to an 80s sitcom with his wife Kim and two sons, Reece and Ryder. He also volunteers and has great passion for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Helping others is important to him both personally and professionally.

See articles written by Brett.

Past Contributors

Joseph Hurley, CPA, Founder

Joe Hurley launched in 1999 while working as a tax CPA in Rochester, New York. He wrote and self-published the book "The Best Way to Save for College--A Complete Guide to 529 Plans", now in its eleventh edition with over 100,000 copies sold. Through the years Joe and his wife Ginny opened accounts with 529 plans in 34 states for their two children, both of whom are now graduated from college. (The reason for so many different accounts was to facilitate research of 529 plans.) Joe now spends his full-time at Kettle Ridge Farm (maple syrup, honey, and shiitake mushrooms), though you may still see him occasionally at

See articles written by Joseph.

Megan Hurley Donovan, Research Coordinator

Megan joined the team full-time in 2007. Though her main responsibilities include management of the website's vast database of 529 plan information, she is also heavily involved with the development and publishing of timely news and articles to keep our readers educated and up-to-date. In addition, she heads up the team's efforts to promote college savings and the benefits of utilizing 529 plans throughout social media. Megan lives in Fairport, New York, with her husband and a large menagerie of pets. She enjoys riding her horse and camping in her spare time.

See articles written by Megan.

Brian Boswell, VP, Research & Development

Brian has worked with 529's in many capacities since 2001. At he is responsible for all things 529, including contributing content, quarterly rankings, and media relations. Brian previously served as Director of Advisor Distribution to Ascensus College Savings, the leading administrator of 529 savings and prepaid plans. At FRC (Financial Research Corporation) Brian served as Subject Matter Expert for educational savings research. Brian has been quoted in leading publications including The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, and Investor's Business Daily, among others. Brian received two Bachelor of Science degrees from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He is a father of triplets with significant higher education expenses in his future.

See articles written by Brian.

Guest contributors

We frequently feature blog posts from industry experts on topics involving planning for college and personal finance for families. Our guest bloggers help us provide information on a wide variety of topics, including saving and paying for college, admissions, scholarships, financial aid and other issues related to family finances. If you have expertise in one of these areas and would like to share your writing with us, please contact us, or learn more about our guest blogging guidelines.


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