Don’t Miss These Year-End Retirement-Planning Deadlines

It’s not too late to ensure that your retirement planning is on track to maximize tax savings before the end of 2017. Understanding end-of-year deadlines can help you maximize your tax savings as well as prepare for another year of saving. “Tax planning should really start in January, not in November or December,” says Randall Luebke, a financial planner at Lifetime Paradigm. “That said, if you do wait, be sure to do everything you can to reduce the taxes you pay.” Now is the time to accelerate your tax-deductible expenses and put off receiving taxable income. Here are some tips. Consider Roth Accounts If you’ve been thinking about converting a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA, it’s a good time to make a decision and act because you must file forms by the end of the year. With Dec. 31 falling on a Sunday in 2017, experts recommend aiming for …

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The Basics of Retirement Plan Fees

You know that putting away money for retirement is important, but do you know what it really costs to manage it on your behalf? Retirement plan fees vary widely, and it’s not always easy to get your hands on hard numbers, which can be frustrating. “The most important thing is to not let your frustration with the lack of transparency when it comes to fees keep you from taking action,” says Desmond Henry, founder of Afflora Financial Life Planning. “At the end of day, employer-sponsored retirement plans are a great benefit that oftentimes includes employer match contributions to help you save for your retirement.” Here’s what you need to know. You May Find That Fees Come in Many Forms Just looking for “fees” on the information you get from the plan sponsor won’t tell you what you’re looking for, because they’re not always called “fees.” Fees may be paid by …

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What President Trump’s DOL Action Means for the Advisor

What President Trump’s DOL Action Means for the Advisor

There’s been a lot of confusion in the past few days about the fate of the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Fiduciary Rule. It was widely reported on Friday that President Trump would be signing an order to delay the rule for six months pending further investigation. However when the order was finally issued on Friday afternoon things changed once again, so let’s get to the bottom of things. Only one order was signed (not two as originally expected) which had no specific reference to the Fiduciary Rule. Instead, President Trump has directed the Secretary of the Treasury to conduct a 120-day review of all laws and regulations related to the financial industry. The President also signed a memorandum on the Fiduciary Rule which although doesn’t specifically call for any delay in the ruling does call for a substantial review. According to Section 1 of the memorandum, “You [DOL] are directed …

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Demystifying the DOL Part 4: Capabilities Required to Meet Operational Requirements

Demystifying the DOL Part 4: Capabilities Required to Meet Operational Requirements

The advisor practice should be prepared to add new procedures and technology platforms to support the DOL operating environment. The requirements of an advisory practice to support DOL comprehensively will involve the capabilities and technologies described in the sections below. Contact Management/CRM Many agencies and advisory firms employ a form of Client Relationship Management (CRM) platform in conjunction with the practice. For many firms, however, the DOL will likely dictate a more comprehensive use of such a platform than many firms currently employ in operations. In the field, the CRM will be required to document prospect and client communications, since most communications can be construed as “recommendations” under the DOL and the advisor must avoid any recommendation that contains “misleading statements.” As such, the advisor and staff will likely have to thoroughly document these communications as a requirement of the Financial Institution and make the content discoverable and accessible in …

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Demystifying the DOL Part 2: Key Decisions for the Advisor

DOL Fiduciary Rule Key Decisions for the Advisor

Continue to Sell Products for Qualified Assets? At the highest level, financial advisors must decide whether the cost and effort of enhancing operations to accommodate all of the expectations of the DOL are such that it makes sense to remain in the business. Advisors who sell predominantly life insurance, LTC, or DI products with the occasional annuity sale may consider exiting the qualified fund business altogether. Although the legal liability is borne by the Financial Institution entering into the Best Interest Contract, the implications to the financial advisor may be considerable if the business practice must be altered substantially to continue to sell products for qualified funds. Continue to Sell Qualified Assets for Variable Compensation? The second consideration for an advisor is whether to accept variable compensation (i.e. commissions, marketing allowances, etc.) for the sale of annuities and mutual funds for qualified accounts. If the advisor alters his or her …

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