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Advisor News Insight

Knowledge isn't power



Industry News


Tax Planning


Bunching Charitable Donations After the New
Tax Law


The new, larger standard deduction makes it less likely that individuals will have a tax benefit from making charitable contributions. Find out how individual taxpayers and not-for-profit organizations should plan for this change.


This article was written by Sarah Lyon, M.S. Accounting, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Accounting at the University of San Diego School of Business in San Diego.


State Estate and Inheritance Tax Rates and Exemptions in 2018


“Washington state’s 20 percent rate is the highest estate tax rate in the nation; eight states and DC are next with a top rate of 16 percent. Three states match the federal exemption level of $11.2 million.”


This article was written by Morgan Scarboro, Policy Analyst for the Center for State Tax Policy at the Tax Foundation .


Tax changes throw a new wrinkle in the fee vs. commission debate


Recent changes in the tax law have raised some interesting questions about compensation, and clients are taking notice. Specifically, what are the implications on deductions if an advisor charges fees or commissions? Internal Revenue Code Section 212 permits individuals to deduct any expenses associated with the production of income or the management of such property — including fees for investment advice. However, the new tax codes eliminated the ability of individuals to deduct Section 212 expenses.


This article was written by Michael E. Kitces, MSFS, MTaX, CFP®, CLU®, ChFC®, RHU®, REBC®, CASL® at


The 2017 IRS Data Book


A snapshot of Internal Revenue Service (IRS) activity for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2017, including estate and gift tax collections and number of returns filed.


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Health Care Planning


How Much Will a Couple Retiring in 2018 Need for Health Care Costs?


A 65-year old couple retiring this year will need $280,000 to cover health care and medical expenses throughout retirement, according to Fidelity Investments.


This article was written by Eddie Yoon, Sector Portfolio Manager for Fidelity Viewpoints.


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IRA Planning


How the New Tax Law Creates a ‘Perfect Storm’ for Roth IRA Conversions


While the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) includes one negative change for Roth IRAs, they are still pretty wonderful. Here’s what you need to know about Roth IRAs and especially Roth IRA conversions in the post-TCJA world.


This article was written by Bill Bischoff, Journalist for MarketWatch.


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Retirement Planning


Don’t Cheat Yourself with the 4% Rule


Unless we see the return of a Great Depression era, followers of the 4% rule “will most commonly just leave a huge amount of money left over.”


This article was written by Michael E. Kitces, MSFS, MTaX, CFP®, CLU®, ChFC®, RHU®, REBC®, CASL® at


Fourth Annual Guaranteed Lifetime Income Study in U.S. by Greenwald & Associates and CANNEX


The perceived value of guaranteed lifetime income in retirement continues to grow according to the fourth annual Guaranteed Lifetime Income Study from Greenwald & Associates and CANNEX. The study shows that 73% of respondents now consider guaranteed income as a highly-valuable addition to Social Security, compared to 61% a year ago.


This study was written by Greenwald & Associates.


New Study Finds Fewer GenXers Have Retirement Savings


The Insured Retirement Institute (IRI) today released the findings from its fourth biennial report on Generation X and their thoughts about, and preparations for, retirement. With only ten years until the eldest of the cohort turn 65, the majority GenXers believe their savings will cover their basic expenses and allow for leisure and travel in retirement. However, this confidence is misguided as forty percent of GenXers have no retirement savings – an increase of 5 percent from the previous study — and two-thirds have not attempted to calculate how much they would need to save in order to retire.


This report was written by the Insured Retirement Institute (IRI).


Retiring old clichés

Bucking convention, retirees find happiness and seek growth


Confidence is surging for some of the wealthiest retirement-aged clients, prompting bold investments in stocks, a recent survey finds. Wealthy retirees are confident about their savings plans and are increasing their exposure to equities, according to “Retiring old clichés,” a report released in late July by wirehouse UBS. Eighty-nine percent of wealthy pre-retirees say they will have enough money saved for retirement, reports UBS, and 84% of retirees plan to keep their assets growing over time.


This report was prepared by UBS Financial Services Inc.


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Social Security Planning


1 Million Social Security Replacement Cards and Counting


Your Social Security number is your first and continuous link with Social Security, so losing your card can be frustrating. Luckily, there’s a way to replace your card when you need it, with our online replacement card service.


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


Millennials will Get Social Security. But there’s a Catch


Eighty percent of millennial workers say they’re worried Social Security won’t be there for them, according to a 2017 study by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, which counts millennials as those born from 1979 to 2000.


This article was written by Andrea Coombes, Personal-Finance Writer/Columnist at MarketWatch.


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Practice Management


Five Photo Shoot Tips for the Perfect Website


If you’re giving your website a makeover, an investment in photos of your actual team (as opposed to tacky stock photos) is a great way to give it a personalized feeling. I look at advisor websites all day long and here is what to do (and more importantly) what to avoid to have it come out like the perfect Ansel Adams.


This article was written by Sara Grillo, CFA®, financial writer.


How to Get Physicians as Financial Advice Clients


While only 64% of people with $1 million to $5 million in assets and 69% of those with earning $5 million or more work with an advisor, the figure jumps to 79% when it comes to physicians, according to the survey from Spectrem, the Lake Forest, Ill.-based market research firm, Financial Advisor writes.


This article was written by Ben Lee, Contributor for The Wealth Advisor.


SEC’s Proposal to Protect Investors


SEC’s proposal to protect investors isn’t all that helpful, some advisers say:
After the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule was halted, financial advisers feared the Securities and Exchange Commission’s proposal for a fiduciary standard would be watered down. They may have been right. The proposal, which was roughly 1,000 pages, didn’t clearly define the role, and had looser rules than the DOL.


SEC Runs Background Check Promos


The SEC has created the following websites for investors to check the background of their financial advisors:


Check Out Your Financial Advisor is an online resource to help investors make sound investment decisions and avoid fraud.


The Investment Adviser Public Disclosure website


You can search for an Investment Adviser firm on this website and view the registration or reporting form (“Form ADV”) that the adviser filed. This website will also search FINRA’s BrokerCheck system and indicate whether an entity is a Brokerage firm.


Yikes! Clients Still don’t Trust their Advisors,
CFA Institute Finds


Advisors face a huge trust gap. In an industry where members often talk of acting as fiduciary in the best interest of their clients, a majority of investors still believe that their advisors fail to fully disclose conflicts of interest and the fees they charge a new survey by the CFA Institute finds.


This article was written by Kenneth Corbin, Financial Planning contributing writer for


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Assumed Federal Rates (AFRs)


Section 7520 rate for May 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


College Costs


The cost of tuition, fees, room and board at an average in-state public college has increased +5.5% per year over the last 30 years, reaching $20,770 for the 2017-2018 school year. If college costs had instead risen only by the rate of inflation (using the CPI) over the last 30 years (+2.6% per year), then a year of college would cost $9,012 during the current school year. The consumer price index (CPI) is a measure of inflation compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (Source: College Board, U.S. Department of Labor).




An individual with $1 million invested 100% in the S&P 500 as of 1/01/73 withdrawing an inflation-adjusted $100,000 per year would have been out of money in 9 years. A second person with $1 million invested in the S&P 500 as of 1/01/82 withdrawing an inflation-adjusted $100,000 per year would have $5.09 million remaining after 36 years, i.e., as of 12/31/17. This calculation ignores the ultimate impact of taxes on the account which are due upon withdrawal, is for illustrative purposes only and is not intended to reflect any specific investment or performance. Actual results will fluctuate with market conditions and will vary (Source: BTN Research).


Discretionary vs. Mandatory


Over the next decade (fiscal years 2019-2028), estimated discretionary spending by the US government is $14.1 trillion, an amount that is dwarfed by the government’s $35.9 trillion of projected mandatory spending (Source: Office of Management and Budget (OMB)).




2 out of 3 Millennials (66%) expect to change jobs within the next 5 years. Millennials were born between 1981-97 and are age 21-37 in 2018 (Source: 2016 Deloitte Millennial Survey).


Starting Date


48% of women and 42% of men begin taking their monthly Social Security retirement benefits at age 62, the earliest age possible. Just 4% of women and just 2% of men delay taking their Social Security retirement benefits at age 70 or later (Source: U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA)).


Twenty-one Trillion


The total debt of the US government as of Thursday 3/15/18 was $21.03 trillion, consisting of $15.36 trillion of “debt held by the public” and another $5.67 trillion of “intergovernmental debt” (Source: Treasury Department).


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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: IRA Planning


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


Presented by: Edward J. Barrett


Tuesday, May 29, 2018 | 3:45pm - 4:45pm EST


Join Ed Barrett, BEST’s Founder, President and CEO on Tuesday, May 29, 2018. He will be hosting a live webinar that will allow advisors to:

  1. Present the history of IRAs
  2. Define the various types of IRAs
  3. Explain contributions, distributions; conversions, recharacterizations, and rollovers
  4. Apply the rules associated with all IRA actions, and the DOL Conflict of Interest

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 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. For more information, please contact (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.)


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.)


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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 Social Insurance Programs


The Advisor’s Guide to Social Insurance Programs is an educational tool to help advisors through the maze of programs, rules and regulations that affect many if not all of their aging Baby Boomer clients, their spouses and dependents. The course is broken down into three sections to give the advisor an understanding of the various benefits of the Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid programs.


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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