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Advisor News Insight

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Industry News


Annuity Planning


An Annuity Hater Revisits SPIAs


I take a lot of flak when I write about annuities. That criticism has come from the insurance industry, because I have been highly critical of products like fee-laden variable annuities with complex menus of riders. But recent discussions and a new analysis have led me to reconsider single-premium immediate annuities (SPIAs) as a source of longevity insurance at a reasonable cost.


Despite the simplicity and low cost of the SPIA, I have not recommended them. But the amount of push back I received from people I respect, such as Wade Pfau of the American College and Joe Tomlinson, actuary and former financial planner, has persuaded me to take another look. I discussed the subject with both of them.

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


Deferred Income Annuity Purchases: Optimal Levels for Retirement Income Adequacy


Deferred Income Annuity Purchases: Optimal Levels for Retirement Income Adequacy Deferred Income Annuities (DIAs) are designed to reduce the probability of outliving savings by providing monthly benefits in the later stages of retirement. Because of their delayed payments, DIAs could be offered for a small fraction of the cost for a similar monthly benefit through an annuity that starts payments immediately at retirement. Many believe that the lower cost would at least partially mitigate retirees’ reluctance to give up control over a large portion of their DC and/or IRA balances at retirement age.


This article was written by Jack VanDerhei, EBRI Director of Research of Employee Benefit Research Institute.


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Charitable Planning


Philanthropy Outlook 2019 & 2020


The Philanthropy Outlook 2019 & 2020 examines the economic conditions and present changes to federal tax policy expected to be the key forces shaping the environment for philanthropy.


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IRA Planning


Don’t Forget! Retirement Plan RMDs Due Soon


The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) helpfully reminded retirees born before July 1, 1948 that they must take distributions from their IRAs and workplace retirement plans by Dec. 31. However, those who reached age 70½ during 2018 are covered by a special rule that allows them to wait until April 1, 2019, to take their first RMDs.


This article was written by John Sullivan, Editor-In-Chief of 401(k) Specialist.


Rollovers Often Are Key in Traditional IRA Ownership


The majority of US households with traditional individual retirement accounts (IRAs) indicated their traditional IRAs included rollovers from workplace retirement plans, according to a survey released today by the Investment Company Institute (ICI). These rollovers allow investors to continue accumulating retirement savings when they change jobs over the course of their careers.


This report was prepared by Investment Company Institute (ICI).


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Retirement Planning


A Precarious Existence: How Today’s Retirees Are Financially Faring in Retirement


Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies: A Precarious Existence: How Today’s Retirees Are Financially Faring in Retirement (December 2018)


This report was prepared by Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies®.


Does the “Bucket Approach” Destroy Wealth?


If you are using Time Segmentation (aka, the bucket strategy) as a retirement income strategy for your retirees, you need to read this article and The Bucket Approach for Retirement: A Suboptimal Behavioral Trick?”


The “bucket approach” to retirement planning has been routinely adopted by financial planners, ever since it was popularized by Harold Evensky. Clients keep several years of assets in safe, liquid investments, while investing the rest of their portfolio more aggressively. But new research shows that this approach actually destroys a portion of clients’ wealth.


This article was written by Larry Swedroe, Director of Research, Board Member of Buckingham Strategic Wealth .


How Much Income Do Retirees Actually Have?


How much income retirees actually have seems like a straightforward question. Researchers often rely on nationally representative surveys to measure the financial resources available to households and inform evaluations of the employer retirement system and the Social Security program. But recent research has undermined confidence in survey data by focusing attention on the understatement of retirement income in one specific dataset – the Current Population Survey (CPS) – and thereby has called into question prior studies showing many households are not well-prepared for retirement.


This report was prepared by Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.


How To “Pensionize” any IRA of 401(k) Plan


Steve Vernon, a research scholar with the Stanford Center on Longevity and in collaboration with the Society of Actuaries, recently published the Social Security/Required Minimum Distribution “Spend Safely in Retirement Strategy” model, a straightforward approach that advisors, plan sponsors and retirees could find useful.


This report was published by the Stanford Center on Longevity.


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Social Security Planning


How Time Horizon and Discount Rate Affect Social Security


One way to view the decision to delay Social Security as an “investment” is by using a present value calculation to identify which strategy can provide the most lifetime Social Security benefits and which strategy creates the lowest funding needs for your investment portfolio. This calculation requires deciding on a time horizon and a discount rate.


This article was written by Wade Pfau, Ph.D., CFA, Director of Retirement Research.


Put Thousands In Your Pocket By Taking Advantage Of The Social Security ‘Restricted Application’


The topic of “restricted application” continues to be a popular one; I consistently get emails and calls on its use. This article isn’t necessarily geared as to how you qualify to use the restricted application, but how to apply the tactic to your best advantage.


This article was written by Tom R. Hager, CPA, Contributor at Forbes.


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Practice Management


FINRAs Final 2018 Report


FINRA published its Report on 2018 Examination Findings1 (the “Report”). This is the second year that FINRA issued a summary of its observations from recent examinations. This Report, read in conjunction with FINRA’s Annual Regulatory and Examination Priorities Letter, is worthy of attention as a roadmap of FINRA’s priorities, with highlights based on significance, frequency and impact on investors and the markets. This year the Report focused on suitability for retail customers, fixed income mark-up disclosures, reasonable diligence for private placements and abuse of authority. The Report also discussed a case study that highlights examination findings from a sweep of volatility-linked products and advised on concerns in additional regulatory areas.


This article was written by Janet M. Angstadt, Partner, Susan Light, Partner and Richard D. Marshall, Partner, all from the law firm of Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP.


How to introduce yourself so you’ll be unforgettable (in a good way!)


If you can move beyond the boring basics when you’re asked “What do you do?,” you’ll set yourself up for new relationships, opportunities and revelations, says introduction expert Joanna Bloor.


This article was written by Kara Cutruzzula, Author for TED Conferences, LLC.


Trump vs. Obama: Who had best 2-year stock market gains?


After two years of the Trump presidency, let’s see how the market fared amid his attempts to fulfill two campaign promises: “Make America great again” and “America first.” This is a follow-on to a piece I wrote last year, about how the stock market performed in the first year of Donald Trump’s presidency and compared it to the first year of Barack Obama’s presidency, as well as to the long-term performance of markets.


This article was written by Allan S. Roth, founder of Wealth Logic, LLC.


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Assumed Federal Rates (AFRs)


§7520 Rate for February is: 3.2%


AFRs Breakdown:


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


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Financial Facts of the Month


Big Bears


Since the end of World War II (1945), the S&P 500 has suffered 3 bear markets that sustained losses of at least 40%. The 3 bears are (1) 48% drop in 1973-74; (2) 49% drop in 2002-03; and 57% drop in 2007-09 (Source: BTN Research).


Cost of Debt


The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) forecasted in April 2018 that interest paid on our national debt will increase from $390 billion in fiscal 2019 (i.e. the 12 months ending 9/30/19) to $915 billion in fiscal year 2028. That’s a projected increase of 9.9% per year for the next 9 fiscal years of our nation’s net interest costs (Source: Congressional Budget Office).




Outstanding student loan debt in the USA was $360 billion as of 3/31/05 doubled to $720 billion as of 12/31/09 and now has doubled again to $1.44 trillion as of 9/30/18 (Source: Federal Reserve Bank of New York).


Long-Term Guess


When President Franklin D. Roosevelt proposed the Social Security retirement program in 1935, FDR’s financial people projected that total Social Security expenditures would reach $1.3 billion in 1980 or 45 years into the future. The actual Social Security outlays in 1980 were $149 billion. Thus, the analysts’ 1935 estimate represented less than 1% of actual 1980 Social Security expenditures (Source: U.S. Social Security Administration).


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Recommended Reading


PLATFORM: Get Noticed in a Noisy World

“PLATFORM: Get Noticed in a Noisy World”

By Michael Hyatt, Bestselling Author


To be successful in the market today, you must possess two strategic assets: a compelling product and a meaningful platform. In this step-by-step guide, Michael Hyatt, former CEO and current Chairman of Thomas

Nelson Publishers, takes readers behind the scenes, into the new world of social media success. He shows you what best-selling authors, public speakers, entrepreneurs, musicians, and other creatives are doing differently to win customers in today’s crowded marketplace. Hyatt speaks from experience. He writes one of the top 800 blogs in the world and has more than 100,000 followers on Twitter. His large and growing platform serves as the foundation for his successful writing, speaking, and consulting practice.


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Advisor Tools


2019 Tax Guide


2019 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.


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Requirement Updates


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


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CFP Ethics Webinar


“Ethics CE: CFP Board’s Revised Code and Standards”





TIME: 2:00PM - 4:00PM ET

(NOTE: This webinar does NOT include state insurance credit.)

FEE: $49.00 (USD)


During this live webinar, Ed will present the CFP Board’s Ethics CE program to help bring CFP® professionals up-to-date on the new Code and Standards. The following learning objectives will be covered during the webinar:

  • Identify the structure and content of the revised Code and Standards, including significant changes and how the changes affect CFP® professionals.
  • Act in accordance with CFP Board’s fiduciary duty.
  • Apply the Practice Standards when providing Financial Planning.
  • Recognize situations when specific information must be provided to a Client.
  • Recognize and avoid, or fully disclose and manage, Material Conflicts of Interest.

Don’t wait, click on a Registration button below to register today!


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 Wi-Fi to connect.



LIVE WEBINAR ONLY: This webinar has been approved to meet the mandatory two (2) credit hour CE CFP Ethics requirement. If advisors provide their advanced designation information at registration, BEST will report the completed credit on their behalf within five (5) business days of the live webinar. Please be aware that you must view the event for a minimum of 120 minutes (2 hours) and complete the Evaluation Form to receive credit and a Certificate of Completion. 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


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BEST’s Advisor Insight
Audio Podcast




Below is a list of available Advisor Insight Audio Podcast episodes:


  • Episode 1: 2019 IRS Tax Information


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



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Featured Self-Study CE Course


The Advisor’s Guide to IRAs


The Advisor’s Guide to IRAs is a continuing education course that covers all aspects of Individual Retirement Accounts. The course is designed to help the financial advisor or insurance professional benefit the client with more in-depth information concerning the history and specific types of IRAs; investing; protections; estate planning; and, education.


Self-Study CE Course List


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


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Super CE Program

Super CE Programs

Top 5 reasons to schedule a Super CE program:

  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, product solutions and value-added programs

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


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BEST Information


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