What is Keeping Financial Advisors Up at Night? A 2018 Outlook

Last month, I recapped our growth in 2017, which we followed with a press release detailing what topics and trends our readers were interested in throughout the year. In the release, we noted that financial advisors are the fastest growing audience on Harvest. This group now accounts for nearly 70,000 monthly active users, over 300% more than a year prior. According to our data, two trending topics that stood out to advisors on our platform were “robo” platforms and practice management. To me, this suggests that advisors have been reconciling not only with how best to manage client portfolios, but also simultaneously trying to justify their existence. One month into the new year, here is how I see these trends playing out for the remainder of 2018: Robo-Advisors Robo-advisors are projected to manage $385 billion of client assets by 2021, according to Cerulli Associates. Betterment, Personal Capital, and Wealthfront were the pioneers …

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It’s Not Just You – Politics is Stressing out America’s Youth

“I can’t sleep.” – A 16-year-old “It’s been extremely hard to concentrate.” – A 22-year-old “I got behind in school.” – A 22-year-old “I feel like I could get killed any second.”- An 18-year-old “I’m nervous about whether I need to go to school wearing a gas mask.”- A 14-year-old “I’m scared for my safety.” – A 15-year-old The current political climate has been difficult for Americans of all political stripes. People have been so stressed that, just before the 2016 presidential election, the American Psychological Association released a list of coping strategies to help adults deal with election-related stress. The focus has been on adults, yet teens and college-aged Americans are exposed to the same headlines. Turns out – youth are feeling it, too. In our survey of 80 youth across the nation, published Feb. 13, we found that a majority experienced physical or emotional distress before and after the …

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The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 is Law

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 is Law: The Detailed Provisions to Know The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, a measure that has been characterized as the first major reform of the Internal Revenue Code in 31 years, received final approval from the House and the Senate on December 20, and was signed into law by President Trump two days later on December 22. The legislation slashes the top corporate tax rate to 21%, lowers the top marginal rate for individual taxpayers to 37%, eliminates or scales back several popular deductions, reduces taxes on business income earned by pass-through businesses, doubles the estate tax exemption, and substantially enhances immediate expensing of capital investments. The legislation is expected to add around $1.5 trillion to the Federal deficit over 10 years, before accounting for any economic growth. Under the Senate’s budget reconciliation rules, the final bill could be approved by …

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Americans are Saving Energy by Staying at Home

Information and communication technologies are radically transforming modern lifestyles. They are redefining our concept of “space” by turning homes and coffee shops into workspaces. (This article was written in a coffee shop.) Instead of going to the theater, many people sit in the comfort of their homes and stream movies. Online purchasing of food, groceries and consumer products has transformed shopping. Personal interactions, from the casual to the intimate, are increasingly virtual instead of face to face. How can we measure the impacts of these changes? Time diaries are one tool for quantifying lifestyles and trends. A time diary is a survey in which people list what they do and for how long, from waking up in the morning to going to bed at night. Along with our colleague Roger Chen, we analyzed data from 2003-2012 from the American Time Use Survey, which is conducted annually by the U.S. Bureau …

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