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Advisor News Insight

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving

From all of Us at BEST!




Industry News


Introducing Our Live 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)**

**Meet the CIMA/CPWA 2-Hour Ethics requirement for, an additional fee of $25.00.


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 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 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


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


Annuity Planning


Which Annuity Provides the Most Retirement Income? It Depends


New research by Cannex found that annuities with withdrawal guarantees are competing with income annuities, and that, when comparing which type of annuity will provide the highest guaranteed income in retirement, it depends on a number of factors.


According to the research, different types of annuities with equivalent benefits provide higher income guarantees depending on when income is taken, the gender of the policyholder and whether it is for a single person or a couple.


The study, Guaranteed Income Across Annuity Products: Withdrawal Guarantees Compete with Income Annuities, compared income from four types of annuities — single premium immediate annuities, deferred income annuities (DIAs), variable annuities and fixed indexed annuities (FIAs).


This article was written by Melanie Waddell, Washington Bureau Chief of ALM Media Properties, LLC (ThinkAdvisor).


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Charitable Planning


IRS Releases SALT Regulations


On Aug. 23, 2018, the U.S. Department of Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued proposed regulations in response to legislation recently enacted by a number of states and their political subdivisions aimed at allowing their residents to avoid the $10,000 annual limitation on the deductibility of state and local tax (SALT) payments brought about under newly enacted Section 164(b)(6) under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The proposed regulations provide that a taxpayer who makes payments or transfers property to an entity eligible to receive tax deductible contributions must reduce their charitable deduction by the amount of any state or local tax credit the taxpayer receives or expects to receive. Therefore, a tax credit received in return for the contribution is treated as a quid pro quo benefit for the contribution, reducing the amount of the charitable income tax deduction otherwise available.


New life for IRA qualified charitable distributions


Introduced by the Pension Protection Act of 2006, P.L. 109-280, the qualified charitable distribution (QCD) provisions under Sec. 408(d)(8) were repeatedly extended, sometimes retroactively, until they were made permanent by the Protecting Americans From Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016, P.L. 114-113). Before 2018, the QCD's strategic importance lay primarily in the fact that it could help older taxpayers meet their philanthropic goals while also satisfying individual retirement account (IRA) required minimum distributions (RMDs).


This article was written by Kim T. Mollberg, CPA, CMA, CGMA, MBT, tenured, Associate Professor of Accounting in Paseka School of Business at MSUM.


Patterns of Giving By the Wealthy


While almost all wealthy individuals make charitable contributions during their lifetimes, most fail to make charitable gifts when they die. But when they do, these contributions are, on average, many times larger than the gifts they gave over their last few years of life, even though earlier giving would have almost always reduced their total tax burden.


This report was supplied by the Urban Institute.


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Financial Planning


Are Reverse Mortgages Still Viable as a Financial Planning Tool?


For those who initiated reverse mortgages prior to the October 2017 rule change, the old rules still apply. However, the situation changed significantly for new loans after that date. Where do we stand one year removed from those changes?


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


U.S. Household Incomes: A 51-Year Perspective


Last month the Census Bureau released its annual report on household income data for 2017. Last year the median (middle) average household income rose to $61,564, a 4.1% increase over 2016 and a record high. The median average income adjusted for inflation is also at a record high, above the peak of $60,421, set in 2016. Let’s take a closer look at the quintile averages, which dates from 1967, along with the statistics for the top 5%.


This article was written by Jill Mislinski, Research Director of Advisor Perspectives.


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Life Insurance Planning


The Rich Person Roth: For The Most Tax-Free Retirement Income


The Rich Person Roth could be the key to unlocking more tax income in retirement. Built on the back of cash value life insurance, it could be the easiest way for some high earners to unlock financial freedom. Read More on how the Rich Person Roth could potentially be a nice tax-saving strategy, as well as who shouldn’t be trying to use this strategy.


This article was written by David Rae, Contributing writer at Forbes.


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Long-Term Care Planning


Cost of Care Survey 2018


Genworth has released the 2018 The Genworth Cost of Care Survey. For 15 years, Genworth has developed the Cost of Care Survey to help families understand the costs of varying types of care across the U.S. Since 2004, the Cost of Care survey has become the foundation for long term care planning. The 2018 survey, conducted by Carescout®, covering 440 regions is based on data collected from more than 15,500 completed surveys. Get started today. Calculate the Cost of Care in your area.


Survey developed by was written by Genworth Financial, Inc..


Hybrid Life Insurance Policies Increasingly Popular As Long-Term Care Funding Strategy


While traditional stand-alone long-term care insurance (LTC) products have seen a drop in popularity in the past several years as a result of companies leaving the marketplace and of spiraling policy premiums, life insurance-backed long-term care financing strategies have experienced tremendous growth.


This article was written by Jamie Patrick Hopkins JD, MBA, LLM, CLU®, ChFC®, CFP®, RICP®, Associate Professor of Taxation at The American College of Financial Services in the Retirement Income Program.


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Medicare & Medicaid Planning


Don’t Let the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period Pass You By


The Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) for 2018 will start on Oct. 15, and will run through Dec. 7. Your clients who are Medicare beneficiaries can take this opportunity to make coverage changes, which they may want to do if their health care needs have changed during the year. It’s also a good time to check whether your clients’ Part D plan has announced changes to prices or its formulary effective in 2019 to determine whether a change to another plan is warranted.


Many beneficiaries hold misconceptions around Medicare. In particular, they don’t realize that Medicare is not a “one and done” decision. They should review their coverage annually. The best time to do this is during the AEP. View the AEP as an opportunity for your clients to be proactive in their Medicare planning.


This article was written by James Sullivan, CPA/PFS, financial planner and contributor to the Journal of Accountancy.


Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage: You May Need a New Plan


Seniors are advised to have the right Medicare prescription drug coverage to save on out-of-pocket health care costs in retirement, according to this article on CBS MoneyWatch. Those new to Medicare may not realize they need to buy a separate policy that covers prescription drugs. And when they do, they often have different features regarding their coverage. So if clients regularly take one or more prescription drugs for chronic conditions, they can find it helpful to shop carefully for prescription drug coverage. And they can make changes during Medicare’s upcoming open-enrollment period from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7, with the changes becoming effective at the beginning of 2019.


This article was written by Steve Vernon, President of Rest-of-Life Communications and a Research Scholar at the Stanford Center on Longevity.


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Retirement Planning


Cash Balance Plans: 2018 Survey and Trends


In this report we review the use of cash balance features in defined benefit plans sponsored by U.S. employers with a focus on the evolution of interest crediting bases utilized by those plans. Our emphasis on interest crediting is prompted by current and prospective cash balance plan sponsors seeking interest crediting bases that are more responsive to changing market conditions than the interest crediting bases commonly used. This objective is consistent with the ongoing need of employers to reduce the financial risks associated with sponsoring retirement plans while providing sustainable and secure benefits with better participant outcomes.


This report was prepared by  October Three Consulting LLC.


Executive Order on Strengthening Retirement Security in America


On August 31, 2018, President Trump signed an Executive Order on Strengthening Retirement Security in America. Summarizing, the order does three things: Agencies to consider authorization of Open MEPs: It instructs the Secretary of Labor to “examine policies” that would eliminate ERISA regulatory obstacles to the creation of Open MEPs; and it instructs the Secretary…


This article was posted by  October Three Consulting LLC.


Millennials and Retirement: Already Falling Short


A new report, from the National Institute on Retirement Security, finds a deeply troubling retirement outlook for the Millennial generation. Most Millennials have nothing saved for retirement, and those who are saving aren’t saving nearly enough. The report indicates that many factors are contributing to this generation’s retirement savings challenges – from depressed wages to the lack of eligibility to participate in employer retirement plans. More specifically, the analysis finds that 66 percent of working Millennials have nothing saved for retirement, and the situation is far worse for working Millennial Latinos. Some 83 percent of Latinos in this generation have nothing saved for retirement.


Report was prepared by the National Institute on Retirement Security.


Ten Important Facts About 401(k) Plans


Released by the Investment Company Institute (ICI) September 2018.


This report was prepared by the ICI.


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Social Security Planning


Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) Information for 2019


Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for more than 67 million Americans will increase 2.8 percent in 2019. The 2.8 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will begin with benefits payable to more than 62 million Social Security beneficiaries in January 2019. Increased payments to more than 8 million SSI beneficiaries will begin on December 31, 2018. (Note: some people receive both Social Security and SSI benefits.)


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Tax Planning


IRS to retirees: Check Your Pension and Social Security Withholdings ASAP!


Amid the major changes to the tax code, the IRS has issued warnings to taxpayers (most recently to retirees) to ensure that they have enough taxes withheld during the year and avoid being penalized, according to this article from the Washington Post. An IRS spokesman said that the following people should make sure to check their withholding taxes: people who get a pension, Social Security beneficiaries, people who used to itemize tax deductions but will now use the high standard deduction, those who have a significant amount of income not part of withholding, people who belong to a two-wage-earning household and those with a complex tax situation.


This article was written by Michelle Singletary, Personal Finance Columnist at The Washington Post.


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Practice Management


Advisers Need to Focus on Relationship Management, Vanguard Says


As advisers have moved away from commissions to favor fee-based service, their daily focus also should move away from transactions to holistic client relationship management, Vanguard maintains in a new report, “The Evolution of Vanguard Advisor’s Alpha: From Portfolios to People.”


This article was written by Lee Barney, Managing editor at PlanAdvisor.


Confronting Clients Makes Them Like You More. Really


Face time with clients has become even more essential as robo advisors and artificial intelligence encroach on financial planners’ turf. But how you structure your client conversations and the topics you discuss can have a big impact on just how strongly connected your client feels to you and how successful your firm will be.


This article was written by Kerri Anne Renzulli, senior editor of Financial Planning, On Wall Street and Bank Investment Consultant.


FINRA May Kill Suitability Rule If SEC’s Reg BI Finalized: Cook


If the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Regulation Best Interest for brokers is finalized, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority will consider doing away with its suitability rule, Robert Cook, FINRA’s president and CEO, said at the recent Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association’s annual conference in Washington.


This article was written by Melanie Waddell, Washington Bureau Chief of ALM Media Properties, LLC (ThinkAdvisor).


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Assumed Federal Rates (AFRs)


§7520 Rate for November is: 3.6%


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


A New High


After adjusting numerical data from the past for the impact of inflation, the median household income in 2017 ($61,372) is the highest ever recorded in the United States, besting the previous record for median household income ($60,309) set just the year before in 2016. Before 2016, the peak for median household income was $60,062 set in 1999 (Source: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis).


Big Percentage


The market cap of the S&P 500 is 80% of the total market capitalization of all US stocks (Source: S&P Global Ratings).


Don’t Overthink It


Harvard University’s $39.2 billion endowment, the largest academic endowment fund in the world, gained 10.0% for the fiscal year ended 6/30/18. The S&P 500 gained 14.4% (total return) for the 1-year ending 6/30/18 (Source: Harvard University).


Have You Been Watching?


48% of 2,000 American adults surveyed in September 2018 thought the US stock market had been flat over the last 10 years. Another 18% of the 2,000 folks surveyed thought the US stock market had declined over the last 10 years (Source: Betterment).


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More Concentrated


America’s 5 largest banks control 47% of all banking assets, up from 29% in 1998 or 20 years ago (Source: Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis).




A greater percentage of Millennials have all of their pre-tax retirement money invested in cash and bonds (20%) than those that have all of their pre-tax retirement money invested in stocks (19%). 2,593 Millennials (ages 20-36 in 2017) were surveyed in the 4th quarter 2017 (Source: 18th Annual Transamerica Retirement Survey).


Sounds Like a Trillion Per Year


The national debt as of 9/30/18 was $21.5 trillion, up $1.3 trillion in the last year, up $4.8 trillion in the last 5 years, and finally up $11.5 trillion in the last 10 years (Source: U.S. Department of Treasury).


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Spending Way Too Much


71% of 251 economists surveyed in late July 2018 believe the current fiscal policy of the US Congress is “too stimulative,” a significant jump from the 20% of economists who felt that way in August 2017 (Source: National Association of Business Economics (NABE)).




The size of the US Bond Market is $42 trillion. The size of the US Stock Market is $32 trillion. The size of the US economy is $20 trillion. The size of the Chinese economy is $12 trillion (Source: BTN Research).


Where Their Economy Can Grow


Personal consumption by American consumers represent 70% of the US economy. Personal consumption by Chinese consumers represent just 39% of the Chinese economy (Source: Bloomberg Business Week).


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Useful Financial Website


Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia Survey of Professional Forecasters


This survey is the oldest quarterly survey of macroeconomic forecasts in the U.S. It began in 1968 and was first conducted by the American Statistical Association and the National Bureau of Economic Research. The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia took over the survey in 1990. Those making forecasts include more than 50 economists from many of the leading financial and research institutions in the country. Their views help shape opinions about expectation.


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Advisor Survey Report


2017-2018 Value-Added CE Survey Report


Our value-added CE survey was distributed to over 120k financial and insurance advisors. Click on the button below to view our detailed report.


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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:
Advanced Planning Life Insurance Strategies





TIME: 3:45PM - 4:45PM ET


During this live webinar, Ed will present financial and insurance professionals with a guide to advanced planning life insurance strategies that will allow advisors to:

  • Recognize the importance of life insurance as part of a holistic financial plan
  • Distinguish the myths of Buying Term and Invest the Difference
  • Identify the features and benefit of permanent life insurance vs. term life insurance
  • List the purpose and benefits of the Spousal Lifetime Access Trust
  • Outline the steps in setting up a SLAT with the leverage of life insurance
  • Describe the IRA Pension Rescue using Life Insurance

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 Wi-Fi 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.


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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.


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Featured Self-Study CE Course


“Retirement Plans for Small Businesses”


Small businesses constitute an essential element of the U.S. economy. Approximately 30 million small businesses operate in the United States, making up the vast majority of employer firms in the country. Collectively, these small businesses employ nearly 80 million workers or approximately half of all private sector employees.


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 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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BEST Information


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