Share our newsletter:

Facebook Google+ LinkedIn Twitter

Past Issues   |   Subscribe   |   Unsubscribe   |   Contact Us





Advisor News Insight

Don't follow the crowd...



Industry News


IRA Planning


Here’s the New Tax-Advantaged Way to
Pay Alimony


Alimony in divorce proceedings will no longer be deductible beginning next year as a result of the new tax law, according to this CNBC article. One option for the higher earning spouse to save on taxes is to give an IRA as alimony, suggests Ed Slott, a Financial Planning contributing writer and IRA distribution expert. “When the husband gives the IRA to his ex-wife, he’s giving money he would have paid taxes on,” Slott says. “He is in effect getting a deduction.”


This article was written by Darla Mercado, Personal Finance Writer of


How to Deal with Improper Roth Contributions


Question: My customer “Katy” contributed $5,500 to a Roth IRA in 2017, but now that her income tax return is completed (it’s on extension), we’ve figured out that she was not eligible to contribute to a Roth IRA--her income was too high. What penalties does Katy face for this improper Roth contribution, and what are her options for correcting the mistake, if any?


This article was written by Natalie B. Choate, Of Counsel in Nutter Private Client Department.


IRS Official Says Back-Door Roth Transactions are OK


For years there has been concern by some planners that a back-door Roth conversion might be considered a step transaction by IRS. Most planners, however, did not feel that a back-door Roth fit all the criteria of a step-transaction. In the conference report for the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Congress weighed in and said “Although an individual with AGI exceeding certain limits is not permitted to make a contribution directly to a Roth IRA, the individual can make a contribution to a traditional IRA and convert the traditional IRA to a Roth IRA.” Since Congress writes the tax law and congressional intent is a big part of interpreting the law, it was now pretty clear that the back-door Roth is a viable planning strategy.


This article was written by Beverly DeVeny, Director of Retirement Education, Chief IRA Analyst with Ed Slott and Company, LLC.


Top ↑


Annuity Planning


Behavioral Impediments to Valuing Annuities: Evidence on the Effects of Complexity and Choice Bracketing


This paper examines two behavioral factors that diminish people’s ability to value a lifetime income stream or annuity, drawing on a survey of about 4,000 adults in a U.S. nationally representative sample. The first main finding is that experimentally increasing the complexity of the annuity choice reduces respondents’ ability to value the annuity. The author’s measure lack of ability to value an annuity by the difference between the sell and buy values people assign to the annuity. The second main result is that people’s ability to value an annuity increases when we experimentally induce them to think jointly about the annuitization decision and about the decision of how quickly or slowly to spend down assets in retirement. Accordingly, the authors conclude that narrow choice bracketing is an impediment to annuitization, yet the impediment can be lessened with a relatively straightforward intervention.


Paper provided by the National Bureau of Economic Research.


Why Do People Hate Immediate Annuities?


Annuities can generate income in retirement — so where’s the love? The author, Scott Stolz, provides a list of challenges immediate annuities/DIAs face and why he believes advisors and clients don’t use them.


This article was written by Scott Stolz, Senior Vice President, Private Client Group Investment Products at Raymond James Financial, Inc..


Top ↑


Long Term Care Planning


Help Clients Come to Grips with Long-Term Care


Starting a conversation about planning for illness and decline in old age is difficult with any client. Those who fall into the high-net-worth category are no exception. Nearly 60% of financial advisors working with clients with $1 million or more in investable assets say fewer than a quarter of their clients have a long-term care plan, according to a new Key Private Bank study.


This article was written by Charles Paikert, Senior Editor of Financial Planning.


Life-LTC Hybrid Sales Soar: LIMRA


Use of life insurance-based long-term care (LTC) planning arrangements soared in 2017, according to data from LIMRA’s LIMRA Secure Retirement institute.


New premiums from life-LTC hybrids increased 18% over 2017 levels, to
$4.1 billion, institute analysts report.


The number of policies sold increased 5%, to about 260,000.


This article was written by Allison Bell, Insurance Editor of ThinkAdvisor.


Top ↑


Medicare & Medicaid Planning


IRA strategies to cut Medicare costs for wealthy clients


Without the right planning, accumulating a large IRA can come along with some unexpected consequences for clients, including higher Medicare costs.


That said, forward-thinking advisors can help by recommending a number of strategies to keep Medicare costs in check, once clients take distributions from their IRAs and other retirement plans.


This article was written by Ed Slott, nationally recognized professional speaker, personal finance columnist, accomplished author and President of Ed Slott and Company, LLC.


Retirement Planning


2018 Retirement Preparedness Study


The 2018 Retirement Preparedness Study explores the challenges facing Americans as they move toward retirement. Generational differences in approaches to retirement planning reflect each generation’s perspectives, experiences, and length of time to retirement. What are Millennials, Gen X-ers and Baby Boomer pre-retirees currently doing to prepare for retirement? Are their current actions aligned with their retirement goals and expectations? The study explores the answers to these questions and more.


This survey was commissioned by PGIM Investments and conducted by The Harris Poll.


Only 2% of Americans Just Passed a Basic Retirement Quiz


Retirement isn’t the sort of thing you can just jump into. Rather, it requires thoughtful planning and a modest amount of basic knowledge. Unfortunately, Americans seem to be sorely lacking in this regard. GOBankingRates recently conducted a survey on retirement and found that, shockingly, only 2% of respondents were able to pass. Here are some of the crucial points Americans need to get schooled on.


This article was written by Maurie Backman, Freelance Content Writer and Editor for various publications.


Using Defined Maturity Bond Funds and QLACs to Better Manage Retirement Risks


In recent research conducted by professors Michael Finke, Ph.D. and Wade Pfau, Ph.D., CFA from the American College, we find that defined maturity bond funds with defined payouts and qualifying longevity annuity contracts (QLACs)—either as standalone solutions or in tandem—increase the likelihood that participants will be able to achieve household retirement spending goals.

This Whitepaper was written by Dr. Michael Finke, CFP®, Chief Academic Officer and

Wade Pfau, Ph.D., CFA Professor of Retirement Income for Financial and Retirement Planning at The American College of Financial Services®.


Top ↑


What Is The ‘Retirement Spending Smile’?


A more recent contribution to the retirement spending debate is David Blanchett’s May 2014 article from the Journal of Financial Planning, “Exploring the Retirement Consumption Puzzle.” Blanchett’s “puzzle” concerns how spending tends to decrease both at and then during retirement at a real spending averages rate of about 1% per year. While this again reflects the average outcome, Blanchett’s dataset provides some ability to follow the same households over time throughout retirement. He uses real household survey data from The Health and Retirement Study conduct by HRS to track the inflation-adjusted spending for retired households between 2001 and 2009. This helps correct for problems present when focusing on the spending of different age groups at the same point in time.


This article was written by Wade Pfau, Ph.D., CFA founder of Retirement Researcher.


Top ↑


Social Security Planning


How the Rules Work for You


Retirement doesn’t have the same meaning for everyone. Some people plan to retire and never work again. Some people plan for second careers in occupations that wouldn’t have adequately supported their families, but they do the work for pure enjoyment. To learn more about how the Retirement Earnings Test works.


This article was written by Jim Borland, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Communications at the Social Security Administration (SSA).


Think Twice Before Taking Retroactive Social Security Benefits As A Lump Sum


Seniors who file for Social Security benefits after reaching their full retirement age have the option of collecting a retroactive benefit, according to this article on Forbes. This is a lump sum payment of their benefits for the months between their FRA and the time of filing. However, retirees will be better off not taking the lump sum payment of their retroactive benefits, as this option will push back the filing date and subsequently result in permanent lower benefit.


This article was written by Thomas R. Hager, CPA, CGMA, NSSA and Principal of
Apple Growth Partners.


Three Common Ways Your Social Security Payment Can Grow After Retirement


Your client has made the choice and now they are happily retired. They filed online for their Social Security benefits. The check arrives each month in the correct amount exactly as expected. But, did you ever wonder if their Social Security check could ever increase?


This article was written by Jim Borland, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Communications at the Social Security Administration (SSA).


Top ↑


Practice Management


It’s Official: The Fiduciary Rule is Dead


After weeks of anticipation, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals finally issued its mandate vacating the Labor Department’s fiduciary rule June 21.


This article was written by Nevin E. Adams, JD, Editor in Chief of NAPA Net portal/
NAPA Net Magazine


Tie Or No Tie!


Don’t ditch the tie until you have read this article.


This article was written by Sara Grillo, CFA and top financial freelance writer.


Top ↑


Assumed Federal Rates (AFRs)


§7520 Rate for August is: 3.4%


AFRs Breakdown:


View a complete history of AFR §7520 rates, as well as information on NumberCruncher Software for Estate, Financial and Charitable Planning at:


Top ↑


Financial Facts of the Month


A Few Into Many


The monthly collection of jobs data in the United States is a combination of science and art. 60,000 American households are asked to complete employment surveys by the 12th of the month. The employment status of the individuals in those 60,000 households is then extrapolated to project national figures for our country’s actual 120 million households, i.e., just 1 out of every 2,000 households provided the data to calculate our country’s May 2018 jobless rate of 3.8% (Source: U.S. Department of Labor (DOL)).


Actual vs. Expected


Only 36% of workers surveyed anticipate that their monthly Social Security benefit “will be a major source of income” during retirement. However, 67% of retirees surveyed have determined that their monthly Social Security benefit “is a major source of income” during retirement (Source: Employee Benefit Research Institute 2018 Retirement Confidence Survey).


Concentrated at the Top


Prior to the 2007 global real estate crisis, 24% of the “housing wealth” in the United States (i.e., real estate equity) was owned by American seniors at least age 60. Today, 41% of the “housing wealth” in the United States is owned by American seniors (Source: Federal Reserve Bank of New York).


Corrections and Bears


The S&P 500 has had 19 “corrections” (declines of at least 10% but less than 20%) and 7 “bears” (declines of at least 20%) in the last 50 years. The last “correction” ended on 2/08/18. The last “bear” ended on 3/09/09. The S&P 500 consists of 500 stocks chosen for market size, liquidity and industry group representation. It is a market value weighted index with each stock’s weight in the index proportionate to its market value (Source: BTN Research).


In the Year 2034


Social Security trustees announced on 6/19/18 that the trust fund backing the payment of Social Security benefits (OASI retirement benefits) would be zero in 2034. A zero “trust fund” does not mean the payment of Social Security benefits would also go to zero, but rather would drop to 77% of their originally promised levels through the year 2092. When the trustees released their report in 2008 (i.e., 10 years ago), the Social Security Trust Fund was projected to be depleted in 2042 (Source: Social Security Trustees 2018 Report).


Nervous Folks


Only 37% of American adults under the age of 35 are invested in the stock market today, down from 55% in 2002 (Source: Gallup).


Personal Savings Rate and Debt


In 1968, the personal savings rate in the US was 12% and the debt-to-annual-income ratio was at 15%. Fast forward to 2018 and the personal savings rate has fallen to 3% while the debt-to-annual-income ratio has increased to 22%. On the whole, Americans are saving less and borrowing more. (Source: Pew Research Center).


Top ↑


Recommended Reading


Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World

“Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World”

By Cal Newport, Writer and Professor of Computer Science at Georgetown University


Deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a

cognitively demanding task. It's a skill that allows you to quickly master complicated information and produce better results in less time. Deep work will make you better at what you do and provide the sense of true fulfillment that comes from craftsmanship. In short, deep work is like a super power in our increasingly competitive twenty-first century economy. And yet, most people have lost the ability to go deep-spending their days instead in a frantic blur of e-mail and social media, not even realizing there's a better way.


Top ↑


Advisor Survey


Value-Added Continuing Education
Survey Results


Our 2018 Value-added Continuing Education (CE) Survey is now closed. Our survey was distributed to over 120k financial and insurance advisors. We will have a final survey report available soon. Until then, here a few highlights and a downloadable “Snapshot” of the results:


Top ↑


Advisor Tools


2018 Tax Guide


2018 Reference Guide to Social Security & Medicare

Our Tax Guide contains tax information such as:   Our Reference Guide contains information such as:
  • Individual income tax rates

  • Estates and trusts tax rates

  • Roth IRA contribution limits and much more

  • Social Security income limits

  • Medicare Parts A-D deductibles and premiums

  • Medicare surtaxes and much more

Download the Tax Guide below:   Download the Reference Guide below:

Please note that we do not provide printed copies. Feel free to make as many of your own copies as you need.


Financial / Insurance
Calculators & Websites


An extensive list of online calculators and informational websites.


Top ↑


Requirement Updates


Several states have updated their insurance CE requirements. (View updates, CE requirements and more by clicking on the link below.)


Top ↑


Complimentary Live Webinar:
Cash Balance Plans


1-hour of CE Credit for the following advanced designations only: CFP®, CIMA® and CPWA®*

(It does NOT include state insurance credit.)


Presented by: Edward J. Barrett


Date & Time: Tuesday, August 21, 2018 | 3:45pm - 4:45pm ET


This webinar will allow advisors to:

  1. Describe the industry trends of pension plans: DC vs. DB plans
  2. Determine the basic fundamental differences between a DC vs. DB plan
  3. Identify the DB market
  4. Understand the role of Cash Balance Plans vs. traditional DB plans
  5. Identify the basic fundamentals of Cash Balance plans
  6. Apply Cash Balance plan applications and designs
  7. Relate the retirement benefits of a Cash Balance Plan with an actual Case Study

Don’t wait, click the Register button below to register now!**


NOTE: If your company’s site blocks access to GoToWebinar, please use a non-work related device, such as a personal computer, laptop, tablet, iPad or smartphone. Also, do NOT use your company’s internet or wifi to connect.



LIVE WEBINAR ONLY: This webinar has been approved for one (1) CE credit hour for CFP®/CIMA®/CPWA®. If you provided your advanced designation information at registration, BEST will report the completed credit on your behalf within five (5) business days of this live webinar. Please be aware that you must view the event for a minimum of 50 minutes in order to be granted credit. (Credit is for the advanced designations listed above only. It does NOT include state insurance credit. Also advisors must be logged into and viewing the video/presentation NOT just listening to the audio.) For more information regarding the webinar registration process, please contact If you have any questions regarding CE credit, contact our Accreditation Department at


Unable to attend this month’s webinar? Receive updates and registration information for future webinars by clicking on the Subscribe button below.


**Please note that registration will be open until 30 minutes PRIOR to webinar start time. Registration will NOT be available until the next event is open for registration. Last minute registrations will NOT be allowed access due to CE credit time requirement. (See CE Credit Information above.)


Top ↑


BEST’s Advisor Insight
Audio Podcast


Hosted by: Edward J. Barrett

BEST’s Founder, President and CEO

Our Advisor Insight Audio Podcast episodes are available online:

  • Episode 1: Roth IRA Recharacterizations After the Tax Cuts and
    Jobs Act of 2017
  • Episode 2: Financial Exploitation of Seniors

Click on the Podcast button below to listen now!




Subscribe to our podcast email notification list by clicking on the Subscribe button below.


Top ↑


Featured Self-Study CE Course


Retirement Income Strategies

By Wade D. Pfau, Ph.D., CFA®


Retirement Income Strategies is an exhaustive examination of the various retirement income strategies that can be used to assist clients in meeting their goal of maintaining their lifestyles in a retirement that may exceed 30-40 years. This course will analyze the various retirement income tools, various retirement income strategies: Systematic withdrawal plans (SWP); and bucket (time segmentation) strategies, the role of Social Security, as well as the benefits of using income annuities and life insurance. In addition, the course will also examine the importance of planning for Long Term Care (LTC) using either LTC insurance and/or hybrid LTC policies. Visit Dr. Pfau's website by clicking on the button below:


Self-Study CE Course Catalogs


As a top-notch continuing education provider we:

  • Deliver CE to financial and insurance advisors
  • Offer up-to-date and industry pertinent CE courses that maximize credits
  • Provide ClearCert certified long-term care and annuity training CE courses
  • Supply CE courses that are approved in all 50 states and the
    District of Columbia


Order CE courses toll free: 1-800-345-5669 or local: 727-853-0575
OR send an email to


Top ↑

  Super CE Programs
  1. Classroom course: 1-hour (instructor-led)
  2. Correspondence/self-study course: Provides up to 21 hours of state insurance CE and 5 or 10 hours of professional designation CE
  3. Increase meeting attendance and leverage your time
  4. Assist advisors in meeting their mandatory CE requirements
  5. Position your company’s strategy and product solutions

What Advisors Say...


“Thanks! This was the most enjoyable CE I’ve completed in my over 14+ years as an advisor. I’ll be back.”  ~ Raymond James Advisor

“I didn’t even need the CE, but took the class to expand my knowledge and understanding. Thank you BEST.”  ~ Merrill Lynch Advisor

“BEST has perfected the Super CE program!”  ~ Morgan Stanley Advisor

“Productive & effective use of time in meeting Continuing Education requirements.”  ~ Wells Fargo Advisor

“Excellent program, well worth the time!” ~ UBS Advisor


Top ↑


Contact Us


© 1986 - 2018 Broker Educational Sales & Training, Inc. All Rights Reserved.




Connect with us:

Facebook Google+ LinkedIn Twitter Pass It On

Ensure email delivery to your inbox by adding to your address book.


*Unsubscribing? Please include complete email addresses, domains and aliases to be removed. Please allow five (5) business days for removal.


Top ↑



Reproductions of our Advisor News Insight newsletter are prohibited unless you have received prior authorization from Broker Educational Sales & Training, Inc. (BEST), but you are free to email this copy (in its entirety) to colleagues.


This newsletter may not be posted to any website without written consent.


This newsletter is a digest of information published by a variety of web-based sources and is published as a service to our users. BEST is not the author of the material unless specifically noted.


Articles are copyrighted to their publishers. All links were tested before this newsletter was emailed to ensure that they are still functional, but publishers move and/or delete articles. Therefore, we cannot guarantee that the links provided will remain operational.


BEST does not endorse and disclaims any and all responsibility or liability for the accuracy, content, completeness, legality, or reliability of the material linked to in this newsletter. Reliance on this material should only be undertaken after an independent review of its accuracy, completeness, efficacy, and timeliness. Opinions expressed are those of the author of the article and do not necessarily reflect the positions of BEST.




Top ↑