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    Living Wills and Durable Power of Attorney — How to Talk With Clients

    posted in Advanced Planning May 25, 2021

    There are some topics that probably come easily when talking with clients, like diversification strategies, catch-up contributions or simply catching up on life.

    And then there are those less pleasant conversations.

    End-of-life planning involves more than just drafting a will to designate beneficiaries and how a client’s assets will be distributed upon death. A strategic approach to estate planning also addresses how to handle assets and end-of-life decisions in the event a living client becomes incapacitated.

    Starting with the basic facts can be an important part of legacy planning with your client.

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    Should Parents Wait to Transfer Their Wealth to Heirs?

    posted in Advanced Planning Apr 20, 2021

    Much has been said about the comparisons between older generations and their younger counterparts. Philosophical debates over work ethic or feelings of entitlement among today’s youth may persist, leading some parents to reconsider leaving an inheritance to their children.

    While some may feel that withholding an inheritance might force children to “make it” on their own, many retirees admit that their own successes are likely a mix of talent and luck combined with a myriad of economic forces beyond their control.

    In the end, most parents desire to leave a lasting legacy for their children, and some may even want to transfer an inheritance while they’re still alive, meaning the Great Wealth Transfer may be sooner than you think for some clients. What are some practical considerations and potential justifications for when they don’t want to wait?

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    Strategies for Clients Who Regret Claiming Social Security Early

    posted in Advanced Planning Mar 23, 2021

    The events of the past year have had a significant economic impact on many families. In particular, the rate of unemployment for those aged 55 and older reached a staggering 13.6% in April of 2020, recovering to 6% by the end of the year.1

    Chances are, some of your older clients were among those laid off, downsized, or temporarily furloughed, forcing them to make financial decisions that might not have been made otherwise, interrupting or at least changing their retirement plans.

    Most notably, clients over age 62 may have claimed Social Security benefits earlier than anticipated and may now regret that decision as the economy improves, and they have the potential to return to the workforce.

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    Why Advisors Need to Spend More Time Discussing Social Security Strategies

    posted in Advanced Planning, Retirement Planning Jan 26, 2021

    Like any good advisor, you keep up with economic news, subscribe to investment insights, analyze portfolio performance, stay abreast of the latest tax laws and much more. Staying informed about these and other findings is an important part of helping your clients build a solid retirement strategy.

    Meanwhile, sitting quietly in the background is potentially one of the highest yielding opportunities available to them, a reliable and considerable stream of income that’s guaranteed for life, one that could mean the difference between making a huge mistake and making ends meet. 

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    2021 Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA) Announced

    posted in Advanced Planning Dec 15, 2020


    Much like the rest of us, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is looking ahead to 2021, having recently released cost of living adjustments (COLA) for Tax Brackets and IRA contributions.  

    Investors who contribute the annual maximums to IRAs will be interested to know the contribution limit to either a Traditional or Roth IRA, or both in combination, for the 2021 tax year will remain $6,000, plus up to an additional $1,000 catch-up contribution for a total of $7,000 for those over age 50, assuming there is eligible earned income.1

    While contribution limits have not changed, income limits for Traditional IRA deductibility and Roth contribution eligibility did inch upward slightly. Here’s a snapshot of some of the COLA updates for 2021.

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    Annuities as an Alternative Fixed Income Allocation?

    posted in Advanced Planning Nov 24, 2020


    Your mix of clients likely ranges from those who can stomach a lot of risk to those who have an almost unhealthy fear of losses. Understandably, those who are highly risk-averse are typically dissatisfied with the low returns that often accompany conservative investment strategies.

    Among those strategies are fixed income allocations in the form of savings accounts, CDs, money market funds and bonds. While these investment options can offer a reliable return with lower risk, it’s often difficult to generate adequate returns to grow wealth or sometimes even outpace inflation. 

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    Remember These 3 Employer Retirement Plan Rollover Opportunities

    posted in Advanced Planning Oct 20, 2020


    There are several reasons for clients to consider a rollover from an employer retirement plan to an IRA at retirement — and in some cases, even earlier. The appeal of a rollover may be supported by a variety of benefits to clients, including (but certainly not limited to):

    • Greater access to their retirement investments
    • Wider selection of investment options (and more choice over costs and fees)
    • Coordination and control of all their investments and retirement planning decisions
    • Ability to choose their own financial advisor
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    Regulation Best Interest Compliance

    posted in Advanced Planning Sep 8, 2020


    The Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) Regulation Best Interest (Reg BI) standard went into effect June 29, 2020. According to the SEC, the new standard of conduct and disclosure requirements are intended to increase transparency for customers and maintain access and choice to a broad range of products and services.1

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    Helping Clients Understand and Address Job Loss

    posted in Advanced Planning Aug 4, 2020


    Life is rarely uneventful. It’s unusual to live long periods of time without some kind of curve ball or surprise.

    In financial planning, there are certain instances that prompt a review of a client’s financial situation. They’re encouraged to get help from an experienced financial advisor when life events occur, such as a new birth, a death in the family, a change in health, or a significant purchase or sale of a home. A good advisor helps them to be prepared with a plan that addresses the certainty of uncertainty.

    The current economic situation is resulting in a lot of life-changing events for individuals in the form of job loss or career changes. Unemployment, in particular, is a life-changing event that many are experiencing, given the pandemic. Such times of uncertainty may drive many upcoming client conversations.

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    Roth IRA Conversion: When and Why?

    posted in Advanced Planning Jul 28, 2020


    Millions of Americans participate in traditional IRAs (individual retirement accounts) to build their retirement savings. While no one would argue against contributing to a retirement account on a consistent basis, the type of account those funds go into may be up for debate.

    Though they have similarities, there are a number of compelling reasons you may want to advise investors to consider converting their traditional IRA over to a Roth IRA.

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