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What You Should Know About the Changes Coming to Social Security in 2019

As happens in the second week of each October, on October 11th the Social Security Administration (SSA) announced next year’s program changes which will go into effect on January 1, 2019 for the roughly 67 million Social Security beneficiaries in the United States1, an estimated 48 million of which are older adults collecting retirement benefits.2 Here are some of the changes you should know about. There will be a COLA (cost of living adjustment) of 2.8% for 2019. Meant to counteract the effects of inflation and the erosion of buying power, the 2.8% is larger than the 2.0% increase in
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Categories: Blog Posts.

New Inflation Measure May Erode Tax Cut’s Benefits Over Time

Advisors Have an Opportunity to Help Clients Navigate Regulatory and Tax Reforms  A change in what measure the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) uses to apply adjustments to deductions and income tax brackets is expected to lead to higher tax payments over time – just as Americans may have been settling in to the benefits of last December’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The December legislation resulted in lower individual income tax rates, doubled standard deductions and eliminated personal exemptions. But according to tables released November 15 by the IRS, the amount taxpayers will be able to deduct will move higher
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Categories: Blog Posts.

5 Things to Know About Long-Term Care (LTC)

November is long-term care awareness month. Here are five things you should know about LTC.   Statistics vary on how many people will need LTC. With 10,000 people turning 65 every single day in America until around year 20301, there are varying statistics regarding the need for long-term care floating around out there—some as high as 75%.2 In late August, Morningstar put together their 2018 updated statistics, placing the percentage of people 65 or older who will need long-term care at 52%, the majority female.3   There are different types of facilities providing different levels of care.4 If you hear
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Categories: Blog Posts.

7 Things Financial Advisors Should Know About Estate Planning

Estate Taxes1 As everyone knows, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act tax overhaul, which was passed in December of 2017, doubled the estate tax exclusion to $11,180,000 per person. (The IRS hasn’t yet released the official inflation adjustments for 2019, but the basic exclusion amount is expected be around $11.4 million per person next year.) Although the exclusion limits are extremely high, they won’t last forever—the legislation sunsets after the 2025 tax year. Estate planning is arguably more important than ever in order to take advantage of the new laws before they expire. There have been many clarifications about the
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Categories: Blog Posts.

Reach Out To Clients During This Medicare Open Enrollment Period

Upcoming changes to drug costs, plan options, premiums present advisor opportunities   During this year’s Medicare Open Enrollment Period, your clients might want your help. That’s because each year Medicare health and drug plans change their products, including costs, what’s covered, and what pharmacies and providers are in their network. Even if you don’t directly offer health insurance or Medicare plans, as an advisor doing retirement planning you should have a working knowledge about the basics, because most Medicare premiums are deducted out of a retiree’s Social Security check. Medicare Open Enrollment During open enrollment from October 15 through December 7,
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Categories: Blog Posts.

Indexed Universal Life (IUL) Insurance – A Primer

  Here’s what you need to know about IUL, Indexed Universal Life insurance.   Strong IUL sales in 2018 “After three consecutive quarters of declines, individual life insurance sales growth rebounded in the second quarter of 2018,” said Ashley Durham, associate research director, LIMRA Insurance Research. “Indexed universal life drove the comeback with a 15 percent increase over second quarter of 2017.”1 IULs are not for everyone People who are not in good health may not qualify for IUL; underwriting is required. Look for uncapped policies At Shurwest, we provide due-diligence support for our advisor partners, including considering uncapped policies
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Categories: Blog Posts.

Solidifying the Foundation of Brand Recognition

Your firm’s mission, identity and values can shape your brand and what it says about you.   How do you quickly convey trust, value and credibility to prospective clients and the marketplace? With your brand. That’s right. Your brand says a lot about who you are. It speaks to your mission, identity and values. When they are aligned with your brand, it sends a signal that clients instantly connect with about how you can help provide solutions to their problems, who you really are and what’s important to you. “Branding is the expression of the essential truth or value of
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Categories: Blog Posts.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Outsourcing Investment Management

According to a study by Cerulli Associates published in late 2017, approximately 54% of CFPs (Certified Financial Planners) outsource portfolio management, and 46% keep it in-house.1 Advisors are using outsourced “strategist firms” for “asset allocation, portfolio construction, tax management, risk management and the active monitoring of investments for different types of portfolios,” and outsourcing has continued to increase in popularity, according to Envestnet.2 Michael Kitces said in February that TAMPs (Turnkey Asset Management Platforms) and outsourced investment management “are the future for most advisors. TAMP solutions were first launched in the 1980s to actually handle the process of managing a
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Categories: Blog Posts.

Bad Clients versus Good Clients

When to Fire Bad Clients and How to Better Serve Good Ones Remember that old question, “Would you like to hear the good news, or the bad news?” When it comes to firing bad clients, it’s all good news, because releasing them will free up your time to provide better service to your good clients. The Definition of a Bad Client So what defines a bad client versus a good client? Financial Planning1 recently asked financial advisors just that. It’s definitely not how much money they have. Advisors said they typically get a great deal of joy out of helping
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Categories: Blog Posts.

Are Your Clients’ Portfolios Positioned for Principal Protection and Potential Investment Growth?

Shurwest’s bond alternative whitepaper outlines key fixed income risks retirement investors could face.   In recent weeks, the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note has been declining. Good news for bond investors. As yields fall, prices rise and the trend of recent weeks may have given those following the fixed income market a brief respite from the volatility the Treasury market has experienced for much of this year. The 10-year note’s yield rose above 3.00% in May for the first time in four years but has retraced ground since then. The day-to-day movements in market interest rates like that
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Categories: Blog Posts.