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Advisor News Insight

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Industry News


Annuity Planning


Deferred Income Annuity Purchases: Optimal Levels for Retirement Income Adequacy


EBRI’s study, “Deferred Income Annuity Purchases: Optimal Levels for Retirement Income Adequacy,” explores how the probability of a “successful” retirement, measured by the EBRI Retirement Readiness Rating (RRR), varies with the percentage of the 401(k) balance that is used to purchase a DIA. Results are provided for all households with a 401(k) balance and analyzed by simulated age of death. The results are also examined by age-specific wage quartiles.


This study was prepared by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI).


Using Biological Age to Plan Retirement


“Your true age is not the number of years you’ve circled the sun,” says Moshe Milevsky, a professor of finance at York University in Toronto. “Your true age is determined by your body and scientists are working very hard how to measure this thing called biological age.” There are numerous ways of measuring biological age, but scientists, he argues, are becoming increasingly accurate in their life expectancy predictions based on it. Milevsky is the author of the forthcoming book Longevity Insurance for a Biological Age, in which he describes retirement planning using biological instead of chronological age.


This article was written by Lewis Braham, Freelance Writer for various publications.


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Estate Planning


Proposed 99.8 Percent Act


The 99.8 Percent Act, proposed by Senator Bernie Sanders (I) Vermont, known as the “For the 99.8 Percent Act,” would establish a progressive rate structure and raise the top federal estate tax rate from the current 40 percent to 77 percent on an estate valued in excess of $1 billion. According to the a summary of the bill, the full proposed progressive rate structure is as follows:

  • 77 percent on wealth in excess of $1 billion
  • 55 percent on wealth from $50 million to $1 billion
  • 50 percent on wealth from $10 million to $50 million
  • 45 percent on wealth from $3.5 million to $10 million

With the lowest bracket starting at $3.5 million, the vast majority of Americans would continue to be unaffected by the estate tax. According to Sanders’ office, “99.8 percent of Americans would not see their taxes go up by one penny under this plan.” This may sound very radical, but let's not forget the top bracket was similarly set from 1941 to 1976.


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Health Care Planning


Health Care Cost and Utilization Report


Average annual health care spending for individuals with employer-sponsored insurance increased to an all-time high of $5,641 in 2017, despite little change in the utilization of services overall, according to the Health Care Cost Institute’s annual Health Care Cost and Utilization Report. While overall spending growth slowed in 2017 compared to 2016, the report finds that prices continued to drive rising costs.


This report was prepared by the Health Care Cost Institute Inc..


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IRA Planning


Should You Name a Trust as an IRA Beneficiary?


Advisers recommend the strategy for clients with large retirement accounts, but it’s a maneuver that may confuse many practitioners because the rules are complex. There are many pros and cons to doing so, and practitioners often stumble through the web of complex rules, tax and estate planning experts say. But getting it right is critical.


This article was written by Greg Iacurci, Reporter, Retirement Planning and Insurance at InvestmentNews.


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LTC Planning


Long Term Care Insurance Industry Paid $10.3 Billion in Claims in 2018


Long-term care insurance (LTCI) providers paid about $10.3 billion in U.S. long-term care claims in 2018, or about 12% more than they paid in 2016, according to the American Association for Long Term Care Insurance.


This article was posted by the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance.


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Medicare Planning


CMS Medicare Dashboard


The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Office of Enterprise Data and Analytics has developed a new interactive Medicare Enrollment Dashboard, which provides current information on the number of Medicare beneficiaries with hospital/medical coverage and prescription drug coverage, available for several geographical areas including national, state/territory, and county.


New Open Enrollment Period for Medicare Advantage


The Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period (January 1 – February 14 every year) will be replaced with a different arrangement. This will be effective starting in 2019, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). The Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period lets you drop your Medicare Advantage plan and return to Original Medicare (Part A and Part B). It also let's you sign up for a stand-alone Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan.


This article was written by Steven Mott, Licensed Insurance Agent at (A non-government site powered by eHealth).


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Retirement Planning


How to Recreate a Defined Benefit Plan


Many Americans who are contemplating retirement look back to the days when their parents or grandparents received lifetime incomes from their employers. For them, employer pensions continued for the lives of both husband and wife, and the monthly check was often adjusted upward to reflect the cost of living. These were the halcyon days of the qualified defined-benefit pension plan (QDBPP). Unfortunately, the QBDPP has gone the way of big hair and telephone land lines. Such plans are available for some, but for most they are a relic from a bygone era. Is there a way to structure a floor income during retirement that can’t be outlived? The answer is yes, but you must look to new places to identify the source of the defined benefit. Below are strategies that are available to help create a defined, lifetime income.


This article was written by  Steve Parrish, JD, RICP®, CLU®, ChFC®, AEP®, adjunct professor and Director of the New York Life Center for Retirement Income at The American College of Financial Services.


Retiring Earlier than Planned: What Matters Most?


The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College (CRR) has published a new report looking into what issues commonly hold workers back from staying in the labor force beyond the age of 65.


Many workers seem to have gotten the message that working longer may be necessary to boost their retirement security. The share of workers reporting that they expect to work past age 65 rose from 16 percent in 1991 to 48 percent in 2018. But such intentions often go awry; data from the Health and Retirement Study indicate that 37 percent of workers retire earlier than planned. This brief, based on a recent paper, reports on a “horse race” to identify which unexpected changes (or “shocks”) are most likely to interfere with retirement plans.


This Brief prepared by the Center for Retirement Research.


The Most Important Thing You Need to Do Before You Retire, According to Financial Advisors


Seniors are advised to determine the cash flow in the first three to five years of retirement before leaving the workplace for good, according to this article from Money. Financial advisors say that doing this will give seniors a more disciplined mindset as they transition into retirement.


This article was written by Alix Langone, Reporter of Money Magazine.


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Social Security Planning


Getting Excited about Social Security Reform
A Cost-Benefit Analysis of the Social Security 2100 Act


The Chief Actuary of the Social Security Administration, Stephen Gross, reports his estimates of the financial effects on Social Security of the Social Security 2100 Act, introduced by Senators Larson, Blumenthal and Van Hollen. The estimates provided reflect the intermediate assumptions of the 2018 Trustees Report. According to Gross, assuming enactment of the proposal, we estimate that the combined Social Security Trust Fund would be fully solvent (able to pay all scheduled benefits in full on a timely basis) throughout the 75-year projection period, under the intermediate assumptions of the 2018 Trustees Report.


This article was written by Mark Hulbert, Editor of The Hulbert Financial Digest.


Social Security’s Earnings Test is Too Complicated — and it Discourages Work


People who delay claiming their Social Security benefit until age 70 will generally have enough retirement income to maintain their preretirement standard of living. The goal of policy makers should be to eliminate impediments to working and increase incentives to stay in the workforce.


On the positive side, increasing the earned-income tax credit for workers without dependent children would raise the after-tax wage and encourage work. In terms of eliminating impediments, some argue for eliminating the Social Security earnings test. The problem is that eliminating the earnings test would likely do more harm than good.


This article was written by Alicia H. Munnell, Director of Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.


When Taking Social Security at 62 Could Be Wise


Higher-income seniors will be better off collecting Social Security benefits as early as age 62 than delaying their benefits, writes an investment adviser representative on Fox Business. That’s because deferring the benefits would force them to take substantial distributions from their investment accounts, which could push them to a higher tax bracket, explains the expert. “If they opted to take their Social Security payments at age 62, the monthly distribution amounts needed from their retirement savings accounts would be substantially smaller.”


This article was written by Chris Heerlein, Investment Adviser Representative/Partner of Reap Financial Group, LLC.


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Practice Management


Creating an Optimal Office Atmosphere


Having a welcoming and inviting office atmosphere goes beyond just making sure your visiting clients and prospects feel comfortable. It defines how you and your staff are perceived and contributes to overall client satisfaction and retention. It can also affect the amount of trust that someone places in you to handle one of their most important assets – their money.


Walk through your office and experience it from your clients’ perspective. Modify and enhance your experience based on your findings.


This article was written by Crystal Lee Butler, MBA, Creative Marketer and Business Consultant Delivering at Crystal Marketing Solutions, Inc..


FINRA Exams to Probe Compliance with Elder Abuse Rules


FINRA examinations will soon start probing broker-dealers’ compliance with new rules issued a year ago that are meant to protect elderly clients from financial abuse and exploitation.


This article was written by Greg Iacurci, Reporter, Retirement Planning and Insurance at InvestmentNews.


States with the Best Elder-Abuse Protections


Abuse happens every day and takes many forms. But vulnerable older Americans are among the easiest targets for this misconduct, especially those who are women, have disabilities and rely on others for care. By one estimate, elder abuse affects as many as 5 million people per year, and more than 95 percent of all cases go unreported. Unless states take action to prevent further abuse, the problem will grow as America becomes an increasingly aging nation.


This article was written by Adam McCann, Financial Writer at WalletHub.


The SEC’s Best Interest Proposal for Advice Given by Broker-Dealers


In Focus Report by the Congressional Research Service. PDF, 2 pp. 1/16/2019.


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Assumed Federal Rates (AFRs)


§7520 Rate for March 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


All Were High


At the end of 2017 (12/11/17), 10 Wall Street equity strategists forecasted the closing value of the S&P 500 as of 12/31/18. Their predictions ranged from a low of 2675 to a high of 3100, up from an actual 12/31/17 close of 2674. The actual 12/31/18 closing value for the S&P 500 was 2507, equal to a 4.4% total return loss. The actual index close was lower than all 10 predictions (Source: Barron’s).


Americans Age Projected to Double


The number of Americans at least age 75 is projected to double over the next 20 years, rising from 23 million in 2020 to 45 million in 2040 (Source: United States Census Bureau).


Dead Wrong


In the 12/31/17 issue of USA Today, writer Adam Shell wrote of “18 stocks to Consider for 2018: All of the 18 names are seen rising +25% or more, according to analysts.” Instead 17 of the 18 stocks lost money in 2018, and an equal investment in all 18 stocks fell 26.1% for the year (Source: BTN Research).


Invest for Three Years


Since 1926, 84% of the rolling 3-year periods for the S&P 500 index (i.e., the 91 separate 3- years beginning 1926-28, then 1927-29, . . . 2016-18) have produced a positive return (Source: BTN Research).


Majority of the Time


Of the 10 bear markets for the S&P 500 index that have occurred since the end of WWII (i.e., declines of at least 20%), 7 took place concurrently with a recession (Source: BTN Research).


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Red and Blue Problem


The national debt increased +86% during George W. Bush’s 8 years as president, reaching $10.63 trillion as of 1/20/09. The national debt increased +88% during Barack Obama’s 8 years as president, reaching $19.95 trillion as of 1/20/17. The national debt has increased +10% during Donald Trump’s first 2 years in the White House, reaching $21.95 trillion as of 1/20/19 (Source: U.S. Department of the Treasury).


Sales Price


The median sales price of existing homes sold in the United States in December 2018 was $253,600, down from an all-time peak median sales price of $273,800 from June 2018. The low point for this statistic during the 2008-2012 real estate crisis: $154,600 in January 2012 (Source: National Association of Realtors).


Super Seniors


The number of Americans at least age 75 is projected to double over the next 20 years, rising from 23 million in 2020 to 45 million in 2040 (Source: U.S. Census Bureau).


They Forgot to Plan


62% of the 43 million Americans on Social Security receive at least 50% of their retirement income via their monthly Social Security benefit (Source: Social Security Administration).


Wanted: More Babies


The “total fertility rate” (TFR) of US women in 2017, defined as the expected number of lifetime births per 1,000 women given current birth rates, was 1,765.5, the lowest number reported since 1978 (1,760.0). A TFR of 2,100.0 is considered the level for a population to replace itself (Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)).


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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”






(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.

The webinar consists of:

  • Five learning objectives
  • Five vignettes (review questions)
  • Interactive polling questions at the end of each learning objective (except for Learning Objective Number Four)
  • Five interactive quiz questions after Learning Objective Number Five and its polling questions have been presented
  • Webinar Evaluation Form at the conclusion of the presentation (will open after you have left the webinar and a link at the end of the follow-up email)

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 or iPad. Also, do NOT use your company’s internet or Wi-Fi to connect.

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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 Advisors Guide to Annuities and Ethical Practices


Developed to give the financial and insurance advisor a complete guide to understanding annuities, annuity tax laws, contract structure, suitability and ethical practices.


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. Self-Study/Correspondence 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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