Six Hypocrisies of the Life Insurance Industry

   Yes, I know what you’re thinking: only six? But let’s start with these, and you can add to the list.

What Is Cash Value Life Insurance?

Which one is the best choice? Cash value life insurance is… A. an expense. B. a combination of protection and savings. C. a way of prepaying future insurance costs.  

Discount Code For A4A Members For My -- A Great Resource With Tax Season Upon Us

  To receive a $25 discount on a one-year Premium Membership (offer good until April 1, 2014), enter the promotional code TAXBACK2014 in the registration/upgrade form, or click here to sign into your existing membership and then upgrade.’s Tax Center teaches the withholding, reporting, and filing rules for stock options, ESPPs, restricted stock, and SARs, which could come in especially handy during the next few weeks.   View an A4A webinar...

Beware Elder Fraud!

It might seem trite to bring up "elder fraud" again. Trite as it might seem, it is real and happening NOW! A good friend called me last week, upset after finding out about her parents' experience. It went like this:

41 Questions Answered About A New, Simple, And Inexpensive Retirement Income Planning Spreadsheet App

David Zolt is making an important contribution to the way financial advice fiduciaries will engage in retirement income planning. I’ve been producing weekly educational webinars for financial advisors for 5½ years and rarely have I seen such engagement from users in a new idea. Zolt’s $49 a year retirement income planning spreadsheet app generated far too many questions to answer at a recent webinar. Below Zolt answers questions about his app. The questions from...

A New Voice In Retirement Income Planning: David Zolt, An Actuary, Financial Planner And Software Entrepreneur, Gets A Strong Reaction From Advisors Who Attended This Webinar

Judging by the number of comments and their intensity (see below), members of Advisors4Advisors who attended Friday’s webinar connected with ideas about retirement income planning from David Zolt.   A math whiz, who spent 25 years as an actuary consulting to many of the world’s largest defined benefit and other retirement plans, Zolt captured the interest of advisors with his simple but powerful new spreadsheet app for finding safe retirement withdrawal rates.

Highlights From The 2014 Heckerling Institute Conference On Estate Planning

If you've never attended the Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning, you have been missing out on the best estate planning conference for wealth advisors. Some 2,874 professionals -- accountants, attorneys, bankers, insurance agents and financial planners -- descended on Orlando for this year's conference, the 48th, for a week of continuing education. It's possibly the best networking in the profession.

What Will $2 Million Get Your Clients In Retirement?

I spend a lot of time helping people understand how much money they will need to meet their retirement goals. Today I want to look at this another way: What will $2 million actually get you in retirement? This is an interesting question because a) Many people believe that $2 million is a comfortable amount to meet their retirement goals and b) We can look at the different ways in which a couple can use this $2 million without running out of money.

Medicare Surtax On Investment Income - Beware!

As of 2013, your clients might be impacted by the by the 3.8% Medicare Surtax. And, if they are, they might ask you, their advisor, for an explanation! It's important to know how the calculation works before you can determine if a client will be affected and whether there's anything you can do about it. 

When To Rely On Portability? Answers To This And Other Questions About 2014 Estate Planning Techniques For Financial Planners

Some questions went unanswered at my recent webinar about estate planning techniques financial planners need to know about as 2014 begins. Below are answers to questions from attendees about when portability might be relied upon, the use of non-grantor trusts, and the disposition of digital assets at death.   (You can replay this webinar 24/7 and receive CFP, CIMA, CPWA, and CIMC continuing education credit, if you’re an A4A member, which costs $60 annually.)   

You Are About To Run Out Of Time To Warn Clients About The New 3.8% Surtax On Net Investment Income

The new 3.8% surtax on income, known as the net investment income tax (NIIT), is going sneak up on a lot of clients when it shows up for the first time ever on 2013 tax returns. You are about to run out of time to check in with clients to see if they can avert this new tax on net investment income and a bad tax surprise. That's not a lot of time, especially with the holiday this week, but it's enough time to make a phone call, ask a few questions, and possibly save a few clients a few thousand...

Averting State Estate Taxes With Non-Grantor Trusts, Transferring Digital Assets At Death, And The Portability Election: An Update On Estate Planning For Financial Planners

    Using Incomplete Non-Grantor Trusts To Avert State Income Tax On Capital Gains Recently, the IRS issued a private letter ruling (PLR 201310002) after several years of silence on the issue of incomplete non-grantor trusts.  By way of background, individuals who live in high tax states and who have significant appreciated assets have used a technique, commonly referred to as a DING trust (Delaware incomplete non-grantor trust).  By structuring the transfer as an...

Disposition Of Digital Assets At Death Presents A New Challenge For Financial Professionals; Uniform Law Commission Is Developing Model Legislation For Fiduciaries

As an example of the issues financial planning practitioners must be prepared to deal with, Rothschild said that even if an individual has a decedent’s user name and password, a user agreement from could make it a criminal offense to log into the account. Meanwhile, Yahoo!’s user agreement, Rothschild says, allows deletion of an account upon presentation of a death certificate.   "Only with proper planning can we avoid disclosing secrets people want to...

The Insurance Industry Doesn’t Know Fee-Only Fiduciaries Exist; Observations And Attendee Reaction To Bob Keebler’s Webinar About Retirement Income Planning

Retirement income planning has always focused on reaching a wealth accumulation goal by the time of a client’s retirement date, but managing assets after retirement to maximize income is ultimately what’s most important.   That was the subject of Bob Keebler’s recent webinar session. At a rapid clip, Keebler ticked off pitfalls, problems, and solutions -- why distribution planning is so important, the five-dimensional tax world practitioners must suddenly navigate, the...


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