Insurance As A Four-Letter Word

Fee-only advisors tend to cringe at the thought of insurance.  However, insurance is a necessary evil - simply because individuals cannot afford to pay the costs of an unlikely disastrous event. 

Different Aspect Of Retirement Planning Could Differentiate Your Practice Instantly

An important aspect of retirement planning likely gets little attention from advisors as they work to set up a plan to ensure retirees will not outlive their assets.   Clients may secretly be dreading the adjustment in the way they will spend their time. And the change could also take a devastating toll on their marriages.

Honoring Memories

I recently and unexpectedly lost a dear friend.  Not only was she a wonderful friend, a devoted wife and mother, she was also a “mover & shaker” in the community – in the best possible interpretation of that phrase.  Gail Littman was the type of person who could make her visionary ideals become reality. 

Proposed Changes To The COLA Index Could Dramatically Impact Some Clients' Retirement Plans

A proposal to cut Social Security benefits is being kicked around Congress and gaining  traction. Of course, Congress is not talking about directly cutting Social Security payments. They are talking about changing the cost of living index used to adjust benefits for inflation. The impact of even a fractional change in the inflaton adjustment can materially reduce Social Security benefits and retirement income of some clients.  

Urgent 2012 Year-End Tax Planning Opportunity: Charitable Remainder Trusts And 3.8% Surtax

  The U.S. Treasury Department Friday issued proposed regulations for the 3.8% surtax, creating an urgent and immediate planning opportunity for existing charitable reminder trusts (CRTs). 

Don't Forget About Donor Advised Funds!

This year, we’re spending our time either congratulating our clients for sticking it out when the market goes up or reminding our clients to keep a long-term perspective when the market goes down.  And, in between all of the hand holding, we’re dealing changing tax laws!  So, why would I suggest that this might be the time to consider donor advised funds?  

Advisors And The Fiscal Cliff

It seems that we're hearing about the fiscal cliff every day. Is disaster looming? Should our clients worry? Should we, as advisors, be concerned?   Anything that is covered by the media ad nauseum needs to be addressed. But, first, we need to understand what it is!  The fiscal cliff refers to the potentially disastrous impact  on the economy due to scheduled tax law changes combined with spending cuts required by the debt ceiling compromise in 2011.  Higher taxes and...

Showing Clients The Value In Changing Their Asset Allocation Using Scenarios

    One of the best ways for advisors to help clients with their retirement portfolios is to change their asset allocation strategy. Sometimes this means reallocating their investment mix to a more aggressive approach and sometimes this means reallocating to a more conservative mix.   There are at least three problems with convincing clients to change their allocation: 1) Many people simply fear change and they need serious convincing in order to do so. 2) Many advisors try...

President Obama Must Address Government Spending, Social Security, Military Spending, & Tax Code in Second Term

President Barack Obama has won a second term. And in doing so, financial advisors say there’s a very long laundry list of issues President Obama must -- without fail -- address and solve. Here’s a look at some of those issues. 

Advisors Face Challenges, Opportunities Building A Retirement-Income Practice: IMCA/Cerulli Associates

Working with clients in or approaching retirement is no walk in the park. It is, according to a new research report from Cerulli Associates (CA), fraught with challenges.

More Regulations Coming For Reverse Mortgages

When used correctly reverse mortgages can be a great way for retirees to pay the bills in retirement without selling their home. However, because fraud claims have been skyrocketing, the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is writing more rules for this product. A good article on this appears here.

Less Than A Third Of Seniors With Financial Planners Discuss Medicare With Them: Says Study, But Some Advisors Do Address Healthcare Costs

Despite significant concerns about healthcare costs, less than one-third of seniors working with a financial planner discuss Medicare with their advisor, according to a new national survey. Of client who discuss Medicare with their advisors, 79% reported their financial planning professionals  are knowledgeable or extremely knowledgeable about the federal insurance program, according to the Allsup Medicare Advisor® Seniors Survey: Seniors with Financial Planners.

How Should People Choose a Life Insurance Policy?

John R. Skar, FSA, served as the Chief Actuary with four different life insurance companies, including MassMutual Financial Group, from 1986 to 2007. He was one of the principal authors of the Final Report of the Task Force for Research on Life Insurance Sales Illustrations, published by the Society of Actuaries in 1992.   I asked Mr. Skar for his thoughts about how consumers should buy life insurance and what role sales illustrations should play in the decision process.

Answers To Questions From Advisors About Using Mind Maps In Practice Management - Part II

At a recent webinar on A4A, I spoke about how I’ve been using mind maps to successfully launch my RIA, grow AUM, and benefit from stronger relationships with clients based on transparency. Here are answers to some of the questions posed by advisors attending the session:


How and why does the Advisor Products system work?

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