Banks Look to Life Insurance for Future Growth

The Life Insurance Marketing and Research Association (LIMRA) says almost a third of U.S. households don’t carry life insurance, and many more don’t carry enough coverage. Part of the reason may be outreach: Even people who know they need more life insurance say they haven’t bought it because they haven’t been approached by a financial professional. More than half of responding households said in 2016 that they would be more likely to buy if advised by trusted financial professionals, which represents an opportunity for banks and credit unions. Profit margins on bank sales of life insurance tend to be strong, and consumers tend to trust their bankers. “It’s an easy sell when you are at the bank, in front of an adviser, and already in the mindset of your financial future,” says JC  Matthews, co-founder of Simply Insurance (simplyinsurance.co), an online insurance service. Here’s what you need to know. More …

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Will a Government Shutdown Damage the U.S. Economy?

The federal government shut down for the first time in a little more than four years after Republicans and Democrats failed to agree on a last-minute deal to keep funds flowing for another few weeks. The immediate and most visible impact will be in the government’s day-to-day operations. Many departments and offices, like the Department of the Treasury, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Library of Congress, will be closed, and nonessential federal employees across the government would stay home. Families hoping to take their kids to a national park will usually be out of luck in a shutdown, but the Trump administration hopes to keep some of them open. Meanwhile, the men and women who protect our food supply and national security will still be doing their jobs – without pay. But beyond the individual workers and families affected, could a short or lengthy shutdown affect the broader U.S. …

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What You Need to Know About Cryptocurrencies

Cryptocurrencies made big news in December when the leading cryptocurrency, bitcoin, lost about a third of its value in a day. The tumble raised questions about cryptocurrencies in general — are they good investments? Can they really take the place of mainstream currencies? What does the future hold? Understanding cryptocurrencies is key to getting the most out of them. They are are a nontangible form of currency that exists exclusively in a digital database called a blockchain, says Fred Schebesta, CEO and co-founder of Finder.com, a financial comparison website. They let users transfer real-life assets such as cars, money and property instantly and without the involvement of third parties. They represent an opportunity for financial professionals, but like any investment they need to be carefully researched before you jump in. “Approach all tokens with a sense of discovery and skepticism,” says Joseph Bradley, director of investor relations at Apex Token …

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Top 10 Financial Predictions for 2018

Top 10 Predictions for 2018: From Pretty-Darn-Certain to Absolutely Guaranteed This time last year, we were dealing with the UK voting to break away from the European Union (which no one predicted), a Presidential election (which no one predicted) and market experts calling for 2017 to be a year where the bears returned. So, in the spirit of making predictions that will actually come true, here are the Top Ten for 2018 – delivered in order of certainty. In other words, Prediction #10 is pretty-darn-certain to happen while Prediction #1 is absolutely guaranteed. 10. Volatility Will Increase The market’s favorite gauge of volatility, the Chicago Board Option Exchange’s Volatility Index (called the “VIX”) hit an all-time low in November, hitting 9.14, resulting in a 17% decline in 2017. Given the current market environment, a new tax bill, rising interest rates, fluctuating currencies, moving oil prices and more, few will predict …

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