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Advisor News Insight

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Industry News


Annuity Planning


LIMRA Reports 2nd Quarter Annuity Sales


New sales of variable annuities reached $23.6 billion in the second quarter of 2018, compared with $22.4 billion in Q1 and $23.2 billion in Q2 2017. This marks the first period of positive year-on-year sales growth in nearly four years and only the second in the past six years. Still, the pace of VA sales growth (1.6% year on year) paled in comparison to fixed-index annuities: According to LIMRA, FIA sales reached $17.6 billion in Q2 2018, up 17% from the year prior. Moreover, VAs continued to experience net outflows as policyholders continued to take withdrawals and/or annuitize their contracts.


This article was written by Tobias Salinger, associate editor of Financial Planning.


Indexed annuity sales grow among wirehouses, independent broker-dealers


Wirehouses and independent broker-dealers have upped their sales of indexed annuities over the past few years, with a greater share of product sales coming through registered representatives at brokerage firms.


There are a number of reasons for the growth, experts said, including an evolution in product design and a bigger roster of insurers in the market.


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


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College Planning


Don’t Let Divorce Decisions Jeopardize College Aid Eligibility


Divorced parents have much to think about regarding funding their dependent children’s college educations.


According to Mark Kantrowitz, publisher and vice president of research for, an independent authority on 529 college savings plans, financial aid eligibility can be greatly impacted by which parent owns the 529 plan account for their child.


This article was written by Jerilyn Klein Bier, Contributing Writer of Financial Advisor.


New Perks from 529 College Savings Plans


Upper middle-class and wealthy clients may have scored a victory from the new tax laws other than lower tax rates that they don’t even know about yet.


If they are using a 529 college savings plan, they now will be able to use those assets for K-12 expenses, in addition to college costs, says Deborah Fox, founder and senior advisor of Fox College Funding, a consulting firm that helps families reduce out-of-pocket expenses for college.


This article was written by Lee Conrad, Editor of Bank Investment Consultant..


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Estate Planning


Aretha Franklin’s Lack of Estate Planning Could Lead to Public Court Battle


Aretha Franklin is the latest example of celebrities who have died without a will or trust, leaving heirs to deal with a potential tax fallout that could have been avoided with estate planning. The revelation about Franklin means the proceedings involving the Queen of Soul’s estate will be public in Michigan’s Oakland County Probate Court.


This article was written by the Los Angeles Times.


Bruce Steiner & Patrick Harney - Prince Harry’s Estate Planning


“Prince Harry should give careful consideration to his estate plan taking into account both U.S. and UK taxes. By putting in place an integrated plan he can potentially facilitate a transfer of his wealth down to the next generation free of estate taxes in both countries – and most importantly for someone in his position, by using non-aggressive planning techniques.”


This article was written by Bruce D. Steiner, of Counsel at Kleinberg, Kaplan, Wolff & Cohen, P.C., and Patrick Harney, Head of Private Client of Forsters LLP.


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Health Care Planning


House Passes Legislation to Improve HSAs


Two pieces of legislation, House Bill 6199 and 6311, have been passed that purport to improve Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). While the bills call for significant changes to the current rules affecting HSAs, the specific details are very different.


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IRA Planning


How the Tax Overhaul Changes Roth IRA Conversions


The new tax law signed last December may affect the way advisors and clients evaluate the pros and cons of Roth conversions.


Among the biggest changes: Beginning in 2018, Roth conversions couldn’t be undone. Lawmakers repealed Roth recharacterizations, which previously allowed Roth conversions to be reversed.


Consequently, the discussion around Roth conversions has changed. Clients require more advice, and advisors must conduct more careful analysis before making recommendations.


This article was written by Ed Slott, nationally recognized professional speaker, personal finance columnist, accomplished author and President of Ed Slott and Company, LLC.


The No. 1 IRA mistake


Checking the beneficiary form is one of the most valuable services you can provide. It enhances client relationships and leads to other, more in-depth planning conversations. Clients understand what you are doing for them and their family, and they are more likely to tell others about you. The beneficiary-form review is also your bridge to the next generation of clients. The bottom line is that reviewing them will increase your business. It’s also relatively easy. With IRAs and other retirement accounts, there are two areas that are most prone to beneficiary-form problems: divorce and IRA trusts. Both of these are usually big-ticket battles.


This article was written by Ed Slott, nationally recognized professional speaker, personal finance columnist, accomplished author and President of Ed Slott and Company, LLC.


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Retirement Planning


Trump Orders Review of 401(k) Withdrawal Rules, New Rules for MEPs


Life insurers are welcoming President Donald Trump’s new retirement security executive order — and hoping Congress will follow up by passing S.2526, the Retirement Enhancement and Savings Act (RESA) of 2018.


S.2526 includes a fiduciary safe harbor provision that could help life insurers increase sales of savings annuitization products to retirement plan participants.


Ways & Means Moves on MEPs, PEPs and Other Retirement Savings Provisions


Following a day-long and occasionally contentious markup session, on Sept. 13 the House Ways & Means Committee approved on party-line votes three tax bills as part of the Tax Reform 2.0 push – one of which focuses on retirement savings.


The Family Savings Act (H.R. 6757), which draws partially from the bipartisan Retirement Savings and Enhancement Act (RESA), will be of particular interest to retirement plan professionals.


This article was written by Ted Godbout, Writer/Editor at American Retirement Association.


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Social Security Planning


Social Security Optimization Can Extend Retirement Portfolios by a Decade


Results of a recent Social Security Administration (SSA) audit by the Inspector General, published on February 14, 2018, show that the federal retirement benefit program is underpaying widows—and other groups of beneficiaries.


This article was written by John Manganaro, Deputy Editor of PLANADVISER & PLANSPONSOR.


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Tax Planning


It may be time for clients to rethink their children's investments


When the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was signed into law in December 2017, very few people were paying attention to how it would affect the so-called kiddie tax on children’s investments and unearned income.


Before the sweeping reforms, children under 18 and full-time students under 24 were taxed on their investment or other unearned income at the same rate as their parents.


In short, under the old law, two children who made the exact same amount in portfolio, investment or unearned income could be taxed differently depending on what income bracket their parents fell into. A child whose parents made $100,000 that year, for example, would be taxed at a significantly lower rate than a child whose parents made $800,000.


This article was written by Cindy Ostrager, CFP, CPA and Managing Director and Director of Tax at Clarfeld Financial Advisors.


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Practice Management


Advisor Authority 2018: The Innovation and Issues that RIAs, Fee-Based Advisors and Investors Care About Most


Markets are moving faster and change accelerates at an unprecedented pace. The most successful RIAs and fee-based advisors—who earn more and manage more AUM—know how to harness the prevailing trends to leave the competition behind. Now you can adopt the ten traits of highly successful RIAs and fee-based advisors revealed in a new Special Report from this year’s Advisor Authority study of 1,700 financial advisors and individual investors nationwide. The race is on and there is no turning back. To define and ruthlessly refine your own path to success in an increasingly competitive industry, download the new Advisor Authority 2018 Chapter 2 Special Report “Path to Success: Adapt—or Be Left Behind.”


This report was commissioned by Nationwide, and conducted online by The Harris Poll.


SEC Advice Rule Contains a Huge Hole


Jay Clayton aims to clear up investor confusion by drawing a distinction between brokers and advisers in the agency’s proposed package of revised standards. But where do dual registrants fit?


While some brokers will be forbidden to use the title financial adviser or advisor, another few hundred thousand will still be able to do so. The Securities and Exchange Commission’s goal of tackling investor confusion won’t be met for people working with the growing number of dually registered advisers. The title ban does not apply to those registered as both brokers and advisers — even when that person has their broker hat on.


This article was written by Mark Schoeff Jr., Senior Reporter InvestmentNews.


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Assumed Federal Rates (AFRs)


§7520 Rate for October is: 3.4%


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 Small Number of Days


The total return of the S&P 500 stock index over the last 10 calendar years (2008-2017) is +126% (total return). The 10 best trading days during the 10 years (i.e. 10 days out of 2,518 trading days) produced a 98% gain. Thus, 10 trading days over the last 10 years were responsible for 78% of the index’s total return, i.e. less than ½ of 1% of the trading days drove 78% of the index’s return. The S&P 500 consists of 500 stocks chosen for market size, liquidity and industry group representation. It is a market value weighted index with each stock’s weight in the index proportionate to its market value (Source: BTN Research).


Cost of Borrowing a Lot


In June 2018, the Congressional Budget Office projected that by the year 2048 (i.e. 30 years from now) the US government will spend as much money servicing its national debt as it will spend that year on the nation’s social security program. Today, our nation’s net interest costs is just 33% of our Social Security outlays (Source: Congressional Budget Office (CBO)).




An individual with $1 million invested in 100% in the S&P 500 as of 1/1/73 withdrawing an inflation-adjusted $100,000 per year would be out of money in 9 years, (i.e. by 1/1/82). Another individual with $1 million invested in the S&P 500 as of 1/1/82 withdrawing an inflation-adjusted $100,000 per year would have $5.1 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).


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Increasing Costs


Inflation (using the “consumer price index”) advanced +2.95% on a year over year basis ending 7/31/18. Inflation’s largest annual increase since December 2011. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is a measure of inflation compiled by the US Bureau of Labor Studies (Source: U.S. Department of Labor (DOL)).


Social Security Status Report


There were 62 million Americans who received Social Security benefits (retirement or disability) in 2017. Social Security’s total income (payroll taxes collected plus interest earnings) amounted to $997 billion last year, $45 billion more than the $952 billion of program expenditures and outlays. Social Security actuaries project the program’s expenditures and outlays will exceed total income for the next 10 years (2018-2027), the first annual deficits since 1982 (Source: 2018 Social Security Trustees Report).


Traditional IRAs vs Roth IRAs


Required minimum distribution (RMDs) appear to be a major factor driving IRA withdrawals. In 2016, 85.4% of Traditional IRA owners ages 71–79 took a withdrawal. Meanwhile, only 6.2% of Roth IRA owners (not subject to RMDs) in the same age group took a withdrawal (Source: Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI).


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Useful Financial Website


The Investment Company Institute (ICI) has launched a new website,, which highlights its research and suggests that America’s retirement system is strong. The site takes on myths about the system and offers tips for those who want to learn more about saving for retirement.


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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:
Wealth Transfer Planning


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

(It does NOT include state insurance credit.)


Presented by: Edward J. Barrett


Date: Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Time: 3:45pm - 4:45pm ET


This webinar will allow advisors to:

  1. Identify the various wealth transfer taxes; and the deductions and credits allowed under the federal system of estate taxation
  2. Recognize the pros and cons of probate
  3. Understand the basic estate planning documents
  4. Be familiar with some of the Advanced Wealth Transfer Planning techniques
  5. Apply the use of charities, trusts, life insurance and annuities in estate planning
  6. Be aware when State Death Taxes are present

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.


**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

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


“The Advisor’s Guide to 401(k) Plans”


This course has been developed to enhance the advisor’s 401(k) knowledge and provide updates on the most recent 401(k) plan guidance. With recent tax law changes, Department of Labor requirements and court settlements, this course extends beyond the basics to cover special 401(k) testing rules and design options, as well as, ERISA and fiduciary responsibilities of the “parties of interest.”


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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