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    What Advisors Should Know About Tax Freedom Day

    posted in Client Relationships Apr 12, 2022


    Sometimes it can be hard for clients to get an idea of their financial situation unless they can see a clear visual that demonstrates where their money is going. A strong visual can help people understand abstract concepts and gain a better grasp on what’s really happening.

    That’s where Tax Freedom Day enters the conversation. The tax filing deadline for 2022 is Monday, April 18, but that also happens to be Tax Freedom Day for a lot of people.1 What is Tax Freedom Day, and what should advisors know about it to help guide clients through their individual financial waters? We’ve broken it down for you here.

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    Talking With Clients in Different Phases of Life

    posted in Retirement Planning Apr 5, 2022


    As we age, it’s easier to reflect back on the phases of life and better appreciate the role each phase played in shaping us. Those awkward teen years, followed by the aspirational and challenging young adulthood. Then a fulfilling career, maybe a family and even a dream home, if we’re fortunate. It can feel like a rollercoaster ride, and then…

    Just like that, retirement appears on the horizon and we wonder where the time went!

    Life involves a series of financial phases, too, and it’s important to encourage your clients to take an active role in their financial decisions during each stage to help ensure fiscal stability and a positive overall experience with their lives. 

    Here are some tips on how to start the conversation with clients and help guide their awareness of the importance of each of these financial phases.

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    Financial Advisors Need to Manage Emotions, Not Just Money

    posted in Client Relationships Mar 29, 2022


    The expansion of big tech and online investing tools has been a wake-up call to some financial advisors as they’ve watched a segment of their clientele slowly disengage and distance themselves. Add to that the pandemic’s impact of taking in-person meetings to a virtual standstill and the gap widens.

    Not only are some investors pulling back and choosing to shift their portfolios to online platforms, some may be going directly to online providers and skipping an advisor altogether.

    Advisors fully understand the value they bring to a client’s retirement planning strategy. But is there a disconnect between what investors really deem valuable and what financial advisors think investors value?

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    How Financial Advisors Can Respond to Rising Real Estate Demand

    posted in Retirement Planning Mar 22, 2022


    A real estate boom has swept across the nation since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Perhaps it’s because families were stuck at home staring at the same four walls for months, stirring an urge to upgrade. Some remote workers may have realized they no longer need a short commute, opening up the possibilities of living across town or across the country. 

    No matter what brought on the urge to purchase a home, historically low mortgage rates likely helped make the decision a little easier. How low? In 2021, a 30-year fixed mortgage rate hovered around 3% for most of the year, a stark contrast to a few years earlier in 2018 when they reached nearly 5%. Of course, that’s still a bargain compared to the not-so-distant past. Many of your clients likely recall when mortgage rates topped 8.5% entering the new millennium, and the staggering peak of more than 18% in the early 1980s.1

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    How Entitled Children Can Jeopardize Their Parents’ Retirement

    posted in Retirement Planning Mar 15, 2022


    When meeting with clients to discuss their risk tolerances and explore potential “what-if” scenarios, you’ll likely uncover many concerns. Typical worries about the volatile market, when to claim Social Security benefits and the pandemic will almost certainly arise.

    What rarely gets brought up, however, is how a couple’s children could jeopardize their financial future. This can be a touchy subject with many variables and emotional weight, making it a potentially uncomfortable discussion. But as a plausible scenario, it’s worth exploring.

    When parents don’t set financial boundaries with their children, the resulting relational volatility may be a greater threat to retirement than other, external factors. Not sure how to bring up the topic or what signs to look for? Use these insights and tips.

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    Do Big Tech Innovations Pose a Threat to Financial Advisors?

    posted in Client Relationships Mar 8, 2022


    Big Tech companies have long since expanded from their initial industries, such as e-commerce, communication, social media, marketing and search engines. Many of these entities have begun building a presence in the financial industry — bringing with them troves of customer data and capital reserves to develop and invest in technologies that are disrupting the industry.

    Tech giants have thrown their weight and capital investments into key technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI), cloud computing, machine learning, software-defined security and other potentially disruptive innovations.1 Facebook parent company Meta has its blockchain-based Diem Association payment system. Amazon’s lending arm offers business loans. Google Cloud is used by major financial services companies.

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    7 Financial Advisor Tips for Optimizing a LinkedIn Profile

    posted in Client Relationships Mar 1, 2022


    More than seven in 10 Americans use some type of social media. Younger adults are the largest audience, but older generations are gaining ground.1 

    While there are many social media channels out there, not all have something to offer financial professionals when it comes to engaging with clients and prospects. LinkedIn is one social platform that is widely regarded as a valuable resource for advisors and other business professionals. In fact, a greater percentage of higher income earners use this channel. Half of adults earning $75,000 or more are on LinkedIn compared to just 21% of those who earn between $30K and $74,499.1 

    Just because you have a LinkedIn profile, however, doesn’t mean you’re leveraging the platform to its fullest potential. It’s important to avoid common LinkedIn mistakes and to present your profile as if it were your online business card. Before you scour the internet looking for interesting articles to share or post your own nuggets of wisdom, make sure you’ve optimized your LinkedIn profile using these seven tips.

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    America Saves Week: Start a Conversation with Your Clients

    posted in Advanced Planning Feb 22, 2022


    America Saves Week may not receive the fanfare of other celebratory weeks throughout the year, but perhaps it should. Planning for a future of financial stability is always important, but recent times in particular have shown just how precarious finances can be.

    Money is top of mind today, more so than usual, with the world still trying to find its footing after two pandemic years. As another new year is off to a start, it’s a great time for people to review their finances and options — and an opportunity for advisors to help their clients navigate different financial scenarios. America Saves Week can get the ball rolling.

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    Ways to Better Understand Clients’ Values, Emotions and Biases

    posted in Advanced Planning Feb 17, 2022


    For financial professionals helping clients make smart financial choices, it can be tempting to focus solely on what’s rational, like dollars and cents, time horizons and risk versus growth potential of various investments. It can be easy to forget that for many clients, financial decisions can elicit strong emotional responses—and vice versa.

    Just as finances can stir up feelings of fear and anxiety, stressful situations like job loss or market volatility can prompt clients to make irrational moves that might derail their investment plans. But if an advisor can interrupt the emotional feedback loop and help clients reflect, recognize their own biases and remember their reasons for investing in the first place, those clients are more likely to make decisions that better serve their core values and long-term financial goals.

    That’s what our Behavioral Financial Advice program is all about. And it’s not only advisors’ clients who stand to benefit. Advisors often learn more about themselves, too. While completing their BFATM certifications, leaders at CUNA Mutual Group also recognized how their own biases and emotions can get in the way of deeper engagement and stronger client relationships, and how to reframe interactions for better outcomes.

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    How Should Clients Choose a Financial Advisor? It Starts With a Little Help

    posted in Client Relationships Feb 15, 2022


    People have access to a wider range of choices today than perhaps ever before when it comes to selecting a financial advisor. Even before the pandemic normalized the practice of meeting remotely, clients could take their pick from traditional, online-only and even robo-advisors to help them meet their financial goals.

    Evidence suggests recent events have increased the demand for financial services. In fact, a 2021 study found that, more than a year into the pandemic, more people reported confidence in the advice from a financial advisor (26%, up from 22% in 2020) than from themselves (20%, down from 30% in 2020).1

    That same study reported an increase in Americans working with an advisor, with 38% saying they had an advisor (over 29% the previous year).1

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