Archives for Blog Posts

Though It’s Women’s History Month, It’s Probably More Important to Understand The Future of Women In Investing.

Even though March is “Women’s History Month,” we want to take this opportunity to look forward rather than backward. Understanding how women relate to investing and financial advisors may be key to growing your practice now and in the future, according to research studies.   A recent article in Investment News says the number of women controlling assets and making financial decisions is growing: Twenty years ago, investing was more of a man’s game and though the number of female advisers is meager (only 14%), the number of female investors has skyrocketed, with American women projected to control upwards of
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It’s Tax Season, Time to Reach Out to Your Clients Proactively

Due to the tax law changes that happened last December, as a financial advisor you’ve probably received a lot of calls and questions about the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017” already. The whole financial services industry is still working through the implications of the legislation, and the IRS will undoubtedly be issuing clarifications since the law takes effect for this 2018 tax year. (Like this clarification in February, regarding home equity loans: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/interest-on-home-equity-loans-often-still-deductible-under-new-law) Tax season has always been a great time to reach out to your clients, and the new legislation makes it even more so. Here are
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Shurwest’s “Insight” Mobile App

  Access Shurwest Support Right from Your Phone!   We understand how busy you are as a financial advisor. That’s why the Insight mobile app gets you quick support from Shurwest right from the palm of your hand.     Watch this video to learn more about the app!   Here’s what you can do with the Shurwest Insight mobile app: Check the latest rates on annuities and life products. Request case designs and illustrations based on your client’s parameters. Connect with other successful Shurwest advisors and industry thought leaders. Receive industry insider news alerts at your fingertips. Watch videos or
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Planning Considerations for 7 Major Client Life Events

Retirement   Everyone in our industry knows that 10,000 Americans per day will continue turning 65 up until the year 2030. For the people who have money saved in, say, a 401(k), which is the most common retirement vehicle, they are facing stock market volatility which can have a devastating effect on their ETFs or mutual funds, along with rising interest rates which can devalue their bonds, not to mention rates still hovering at around 2% on CDs, savings accounts and money markets. Then there are RMDs that kick in at age 70, triggering taxation for many when they least expect
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The DOL Fiduciary Rule – Prohibited Transaction Exemption 84-24 Still Required for Certain Transactions

Here is a brief update on some important aspects of the Department of Labor’s Fiduciary Rule – the implementation of which has been delayed until July 1, 2019 after being originally scheduled for January 1, 2018.    The Prohibited Transaction Exemption 84-24, or PTE 84-24 that has been used since June 9, 2017 remains in place, but only covers certain insurance contracts.[1] The types of products covered by PTE 84-24 cover fixed rate annuities and life insurance.   Agents should be using the PTE 84-24 disclosure form with transactions in which they receive a commission for sales or rollovers involving
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The New CFP® Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct

  In 2015, the CFP (Certified Financial Planning) Board announced that it was updating its Standards of Professional Conduct effective January 1, 2019. The last standards changes were undertaken in mid-2008. “The draft proposal, titled Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct, is a significant revision to the Standards with a range of important changes, including broadening the fiduciary standard for CFP® professionals—effectively requiring CFP® professionals to put a client’s interest first at all times. The revised proposal includes changes to some of the disclosure and other requirements in the initial proposal, in recognition of the need to be practical
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New Year’s Resolution for 2018: Think Small

Often when we think about our business goals for the New Year, we start planning ways to add more clients to our roster. This year, consider paring down your practice and serving only your best clients.   A recent article in ThinkAdvisor1 says: 1. Fit matters, because “problem” clients sap your energy, your employees’ energy and your resources. 2. Clients who are too small will not generate enough revenue to cover their servicing costs. 3. Clients who are too big will not be served adequately with your level of support. All of these factors can lead to lost revenue. That
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When It Comes to Succession Planning, Follow Your Own Good Advice.

Business structure, valuation, planning and documentation are important.  According to a recent article1 in Investment News, many advisors are expecting to sell their business to fund their retirement, yet they aren’t properly prepared to do so. While most have become successful because of their own hard work, training and skills, financial advisors aren’t necessarily knowledgeable when it comes to entrepreneurial business issues. (This isn’t much different than the typical doctor, lawyer or dentist.) As Investment News put it: “The difference between a practice and a business, which is worth three to five times more than a practice, is that with
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9 Things To Know About Robo-Advice

It seems everyone in the financial services industry is talking about “robos” and “robo-advice”. Here’s what you should know.     Robos are digital platforms. Investopedia defines robo-advice like this: “Robo-advisors are digital platforms that provide automated, algorithm-driven financial and investing services with little to no human supervision. A typical robo-advisor collects information from clients about their financial situation and future goals through an online survey, and then uses the data to offer advice and/or automatically invest client assets.1 “Other common designations for robo-advisors include “automated investment advisor,” “automated investment management” and “digital advice platforms.” They are all referring to
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November Is Long-Term Care Awareness Month. Hybrid Policy Sales Are Up. Here’s Why.

  Traditional long-term care insurance may be foundering, but long-term care coverage isn’t. Although sales of traditional LTC policies have fallen sharply in recent years, life insurance policies and annuities that carry LTC benefits are surging in popularity. Here is a brief synopsis from an article which appeared in Financial Planning this September. Read the full story here: LTC Strategies   Standalone, individual LTC policies fell to 91,000 in 2016 from 372,000 in 2004, according to LIMRA. Instead, Americans are turning to hybrid, or “combo” life insurance that can also pay for lifetime care. To a lesser extent, people are
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