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Advisor News Insight

Formal Education



Industry News


Tax Planning


IRS Releases Updated Publication 590-B Distributions from IRAs


Among the updates are Disaster tax relief and IRAs and unrelated business income.


New Tax Law’s Alimony Rules to Make Divorce Even More Miserable


Almost two-thirds of respondents said they expect divorce negotiations to become more acrimonious following a change to the tax treatment of alimony, a poll by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers showed. The new law championed by President Trump, who has been divorced twice, includes a controversial provision that scraps the tax break divorcees get for paying alimony — starting with divorces finalized next year.


This article was written by Ben Steverman, personal finance reporter at Bloomberg.


Overview Of The Federal Tax System As
In Effect For 2018


In this overview, the Joint Committee on Taxation states that for decedents dying in 2018, the unified credit of $4,417,800 effectively exempts $11.18 million from estate and gift tax. These amounts are based on a “Joint Committee staff calculation.” See p. 18. PDF, 38 pp. 2-7-2018.


Resources for Tax Law Changes


This IRS website provides information and guidance on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to taxpayers, businesses and the tax community as it becomes available.


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Health Care Planning


The Disconnect: Few Prepare for Retiree Health Needs/Expenses


According to the 2017 Merrill Lynch study titled, Finances in Retirement: New Challenges, New Solutions, today’s retirees tell us that the number one ingredient for a happy retirement is health. At the same time, the uncertain and potentially high cost of health care is their number one financial worry of retirement. According to the study, ”Forty-three percent erroneously believe that Medicare will cover nearly all their health care costs in retirement. Few correctly anticipate the total potential cost.”


A Merrill Lynch Retirement Study, conducted in partnership with Age Wave.


EBRI Data Delivers Fresh Retirement Health Care Cost Concerns


Retired couples, according to EBRI research, can require up to $370,000 to cover premiums for Medicare Parts B and D, premiums for Medigap Plan F, and out-of-pocket spending for outpatient prescription drugs.


This article was written by Paul Fronstin, Ph.D., and Jack VanDerhei, Ph.D. of Employee Benefit Research Institute.


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IRA Planning


IRA Recharacterization Still Works in
Certain Situations


Although the new tax law placed some limits on IRA recharacterizations, the technique can still be used in certain situations in 2018 and beyond.


This article was written by Natalie Choate, practices law in Boston, Massachusetts, with the firm of Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP.


The Backdoor Roth IRA After TCJA


The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act appears to put these fears to rest by confirming that the back-door Roth is an allowable strategy. This is because there are several references to the back-door Roth strategy included in Congress’ Conference Committee report that accompanies the new law.


This article was written by Sarah Brenner, JD, IRA Analyst of Ed Slott and Company, LLC.


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Retirement Planning


Adviser Opportunities Abound in HSA Market


Devenir finds HSA assets grew to an estimated $45.2 billion, spread across some 22 million accounts, at the end of 2017; as more account owners are investing their HSA dollars, the demand for advice is clear.


This report was written by  Devenir Group, LLC.


Consumer Concern Over Financial Risks of Retirement Increase


The Society of Actuaries (SOA) today released its ninth biennial Risks and Process of Retirement Survey,which identified an overall increase in consumers’ level of concern for their finances both prior to and during retirement in 2017. The survey, which explores how Americans understand, prepare for and manage retirement risks, includes responses from 1,025 current retiree and 1,030 pre-retiree adults aged 45-80.


This survey was written by Society of Actuaries.


Optimizing Retirement Income by Integrating Retirement Plans, IRAs, and Home Equity


The Society of Actuaries’ Committee on Post Retirement Needs and Risks and the Retirement Section are pleased to make available a report providing a framework of analyses and methods that various stakeholders can use to compare and assess strategies for developing lifetime retirement income.


This report was written by Society of Actuaries.


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Social Security Planning


1 of the 13 States Taxing Social Security Benefits Is Making Big Changes


Though there are plenty of aspects of Social Security that can surprise beneficiaries during their golden years, perhaps none stands out more than the taxation of benefits. Yes, that’s right: Your Social Security benefits may be subject to federal taxation.


This article was written by Sean Williams, Author/Writer at The Motley Fool.


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Medicare & Medicaid Planning


Medicare and Employer-Based Coverage;
The Basics


BEST recently held a Live-Webinar: Planning with Medicare. There were several questions pertaining to the relations between Medicare and employer health insurance during employment and after retirement for those lucky few whose employer still provides post-retirement health insurance. For more information, I have attached a presentation from “Make Medicare Work For You: Medicare and Employer-Based Coverage,” that answers many of these questions.


BEST’s live webinars are hosted on a monthly basis by Edward J. Barrett, Founder, President and CEO of Broker Educational Sales & Training, Inc..


Medicare Beneficiaries’ Out-of-Pocket Health Care Spending as a Share of Income Now and Projections for the Future


Medicare helps pay for the health care needs of 59 million people, including adults age 65 and over and younger adults with permanent disabilities. Even so, many people on Medicare incur relatively high out-of-pocket costs for their health care, including premiums, deductibles, cost sharing for Medicare-covered services, as well as spending on services not covered by Medicare, such as long-term services and supports and dental care.


This report was written by Juliette Cubanski, Ph.D., MPP, MPH, Associate Director of the Program on Medicare Policy, Tricia Neuman, Senior Vice President, Anthony Damico, Statistical Analyst and Karen Smith Thiel, Senior Counsel, all of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.


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Practice Management


10 States with the Most Millionaires Per Capita


There are 400,000 more households with over $1 million in investable assets in the United States after 2017 saw historically high growth in the high-net-worth segment, according to research released by Phoenix Marketing International.


This article was written by Carmen Reinicke, reporter for Financial Planning.


Advisors Will Become “Longevity Navigators”


The founder of MIT’s AgeLab warns that most financial advisors aren’t prepared for the profound changes and challenges that will come with longer-living clients.


This article was written by Mark Miller, Journalist, Author and Columnist.


Coping with the Loss of a Valued Client


We all lose clients, and not always because they’ve shuffled off this mortal coil. Maybe you’ve gotten dumped for a younger trophy advisor, or your client decides to support the rise of the robots and go with a robo solution. No matter how the end comes, you’re going to...


This article was written by Amy Florian, CEO of Corgenius.


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Assumed Federal Rates (AFRs)


Section 7520 rate for March is 3.0%


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


At the Pump


The average price of gasoline peaked at $4.11 a gallon on 7/17/08. The average price of gasoline was last above $3 a gallon on 10/31/14. Gas cost $2.54 a gallon last Friday 2/16/18 (Source: AAA).


Going for the gold?


It’s reported that the U.S. Olympic Committee will award prizes of $25,000 to those American athletes winning a gold medal at the Olympic Games, and lesser amounts to those winning silver or bronze medals (Source: various).


Required Minimum Distributions


If you turned age 70½ sometime in 2017, then you must begin taking annual withdrawals from your IRA accounts no later than 4/01/18. If you delay your 1st withdrawal until 4/01/18, you must also take a 2nd distribution by 12/31/18 (Source: Internal Revenue Service (IRS)).


Sales Price


The median sales price of existing homes sold in the United States in December 2017 was $246,800, down from an all-time peak median sales price of $263,300 from June 2017. The low point for this statistic during the 2008-12 real estate crisis: $154,600 in January 2012 (Source: National Association of Realtors).


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Advisor Survey


Value-added Continuing Education Programs


We are totally committed to providing you with the best possible service. Our value-added continuing education survey needs your input please. As a thank you for completing the survey, you will receive a 10% discount off your next correspondence CE course order. The survey should only take about 3 minutes. Many thanks in advance for your time and input!


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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.


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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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Complimentary Live Webinar


1-hour CE Credit for CFP®, CIMA® and CPWA®*


Small Business Retirement Plans


Presented by: Edward J. Barrett


Tuesday, March 20, 2018 | 3:45pm - 4:45pm EST


Join Ed Barrett, BEST’s Founder, President and CEO on Tuesday, March 20, 2018. He will be hosting a live webinar that will allow advisors to:

  1. Introduce Qualified Retirement Plans including the types of Defined Benefit and Defined Contribution plans
  2. Determine eligibility requirements
  3. Present 401(k) Plans
  4. Distinguish Employer Sponsored IRAs
  5. Apply applicable rules and regulations

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



LIVE WEBINAR ONLY: This webinar has been approved for one (1) CE credit hour for CFP®/CIMA®/CPWA®. If you provided your CFP®/CIMA®/CPWA® information at registration, BEST will report the completed credit on your behalf within 14 business days of this live webinar. Please be aware that you must watch the event for a minimum of 50 minutes in order to be granted credit. For more information, please contact (Credit is for the advanced designations listed above only. It does NOT include state insurance credit.)


Subscribe to our webinar email notification list 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.)


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BEST’s Advisor Insight
Audio Podcast


Hosted by: Edward J. Barrett

BEST’s Founder, President and CEO

We are excited to announce that our new Advisor Insight Audio Podcast is officially live and accessible 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.


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Featured Self-Study CE Course


The Advisor’s Guide to
Medicare and Medicaid


The Advisor’s Guide to Medicare and Medicaid provides a detailed study of Medicare, Medigap policies, and Medicaid. In each of these programs, the areas of eligibility, enrollment, benefits, deductibles, and co-payments are analyzed in great detail.


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


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  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


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Contact Us


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