BCG Blog

Maggie Juliano, Esq.
Plan sponsors keeping an eye on trends in benefit plans and offerings may want to pay attention to a new field – manufacturing. Will development of new manufacturing across the U.S. change employee expectations for benefit plans?
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SECURE Act 2.0 may require a bit of work for plan sponsors and those who manage the administrative side of benefit plans. We sat down and discussed the new act with our experts. They noted three main areas sponsors may want to consider: hardship deduction tracking; changes that could significantly increase or decrease the number of participants (and by association, your costs); and how forms are worded and stored.
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Several major trends may be colliding for women in investing. Three that may have the most impact are a potential recession, the Great Wealth Transfer, and the rebalancing after the she-cession. Advisors may want to engage in a careful consideration of these trends, how they interact, and what it means for asset building for women.
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Sales of annuities are breaking records, and yet, many advisors shy away from them. Sales in 2022 topped $80.7 billion in the summer. That’s not too shabby for an asset class that causes confusion among many.
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For the last four or five years, every article seeking to review the past year’s events has summed up the previous twelve months as “a lot.” After so much unpredictability and turmoil in the markets, reading those future planning articles may seem less than fruitful. Yet, we still think it is important to take stock of what has happened in 2022 and look at what we think might be coming in 2023.
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New lawsuits against Plan Sponsors are all over the map, and not just geographically. Sponsors are now being sued for choosing funds that are too cheap. The class action suits continue their pile-on against plan sponsors. Here are a few key takeaways.
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Seasoning isn’t just for your stuffing. Instead, seasoning may be flummoxing your benefits team. Adding those workers can add a positive boost to morale but may be a nightmare for your administrative team. Here are three key considerations to discuss with your team.
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Recently, the IRS stated that it will consider accepting determination letters from retirement plan sponsors of 403(b) plans starting in 2023. This relatively simple announcement could be good news for plan sponsors who run more than one type of plan and better news for financial advisors looking for new clients.
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The FTX crisis may be a well-timed learning opportunity for investors seeking confidence in the markets. Read on for how financial advisors can use some of the behind-the-scenes troubles at FTX as an example of the kind of information the SEC’s on-going efforts towards making information more easily accessible to investors.
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Will there be a recession? Will it Impact retirement trends? For plan sponsors, who need to allocate budgets and recruit staff, those questions are more than theoretical. Here are our takeaways and suggestions that may help plan sponsors be prepared for the change in retirement trends caused by the slowing growth and increased inflation in 2022.
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You may think you know how long to keep copies of previous benefit plans, but can your team answer the other important questions around retaining them?
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Projections for retirement and investment prospects for the last few years have been less than accurate. Aside from relying on professional groups and advisory sources like BCG, where can advisors turn to for reliable studies on investor trends and retirement data?
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The Department of Labor recently announced a major shift intended to assist so-called “Gig Workers” that may result in significant changes for financial advisors. Here is a brief summary of how we got here and where we may go.
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When it comes to financial literacy, student loan forgiveness and mortgage rates may be top of mind for younger plan participants. These may be areas that participants have identified as weaknesses or gaps in their knowledge, but there’s an argument to be made for focusing on the basics of financial literacy: they don’t know what they don’t know.
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There may be buzz around new laws on auto-enrollment’s impact on plan sponsors and their employees, but getting those employees to enroll and stay enrolled is still a pain point for many sponsors. If plan sponsors aren’t reaching their employees about the importance of saving for retirement, maybe there’s another option: social media influencers who post about personal finance.
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With recession a looming possibility, there may be more fraudsters contacting the very people in your prospect pipeline. What may be worse is that fraudulent schemes have evolved to sound more like legitimate businesses. With the scammers stealing marketing methods from legitimate advisors, how can you make sure your marketing pieces don’t get confused with more nefarious folks?
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It may seem like there is a lot of news about the stock market being volatile. If that’s got you concerned, here is an easy way to consider how you perceive the stock market and its fluctuations. Try taking a pause. Here are five things to remember about volatility that can help you position yourself appropriately and reduce your concerns.
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Many companies offering their employees a new financial wellness benefit. Plan Sponsors may want to take note, not just for how your competition may be enticing employees, but also, how those programs can increase productivity. Here’s the Who, How, Why and What of it all.
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Sponsors looking for more definitive guidelines following the Supreme Court’s Hughes decision may be waiting awhile. New court decisions haven’t stemmed the influx of cases, and further FINRA notices may indicate that Sponsors need to tighten their compliance efforts.
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Studies show that Americans retirement age is changing. What’s behind that latest trend? Those details show unsurprising results, like longevity and better health. But they also show interesting details financial advisors may want to watch.
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The Inflation Reduction Act may have had many financial advisors worried. That’s because one iteration of the legislation proposed significant changes to Section 1063 of the tax code. We thought it was important to dig in a little bit to the proposed changes and the history of them.
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How can small businesses choose the right plan that factors administrative costs but also addresses their need for flexibility? They may want to consider goals and culture. Here’s why.
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As the Wall Street Journal says, “Great meetings are small, fast, and don’t involve status updates.” So how can you get to great? Here are a few key tips.
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Your current search for marketing data may overlook your intangible assets. Here’s a deep dive into why playing on your intangible assets can help you.
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You could be doing all of your recruitment right, but still fall short on hiring. Many employers fail to focus on how the interview process informs candidates about company culture and lose networking opportunities for the almost-right candidate.
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41% of advisors report communicating more frequently with clients. Now may be a prime time to sharpen your listening skills with these tips.
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Is it time to revamp your company’s document retention policy? As always, discuss any change to information management and client records with your legal counsel. Here are a few things to consider asking your counsel, especially if you are continuing to work in a remote or hybrid work environment.
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As benefits continue to be a leading item in recruitment and retention of top candidates, plan sponsors may be considering changing their plan providers as well as their plan options. Here are a few thoughts on the pros and cons of adding plan providers, consolidating multiple plans and staying put.
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The Supreme Court’s recent case concerning plan fees has opened a pandora’s box of options for plaintiffs. Plan Sponsors may want to monitor recent developments and consider expanding their benchmarking plans.
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Plan Sponsors may feel overwhelmed having kept up with what might have felt like large swings to their demographics in their workforce. Those who are eager to keep track of demographic changes in the overall investing habits of America may want to take note of several new studies and statistics that were released.
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While RIA acquisitions may be slowing in 2022 after the unusual heat of 2021, the proliferation of them may have some advisor groups wondering if merging may be worth thinking about. When considering any major business move you should always consult with your advisors. While you await their calls, here are a few things to think about when thinking about mergers.
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Worldwide, the increase in startup companies in 2020 increased 26.9% over the last decade. Whether you are one of those companies starting fresh in 2022, or you work with many of them, there are a few clear key points in what can help make an entrepreneur successful. The clearest of them involves scaling deep versus scaling up and owning your knowledge gaps. Here’s more of what we mean.
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Recent studies have shown an uptick in interest in investing in alternative investments by Generation Z. GenZ are those who are roughly ages 10 to 25 in 2022. Plan Sponsors who worry that their GenZ employees may be forgoing 401(k)s for buying blitzes of bitcoin can rest a little easier. GenZ is investing in their 401(k)s, but that’s not all they’re betting on.
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Changes to the laws around the post office may have arrived right on time. Many plan sponsors struggled with using first class mail during the pandemic due to the overload on the Post Office. But not so fast, struggles may still be on extended delivery. Here’s a quick survey of what plan sponsors may want to consider around first-class mail and plan disclosures.
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The Department of Labor has announced a major change to its process of assessing requests for exemptions from prohibited transactions. This change could impact fiduciaries, those who serve plans, and others who may need to monitor the potential for prohibited transactions.
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When employees returned to the office from the months or years locked in WFH, they discovered sad coffee cups, lonely plants and their undying hatred of the office printer. With employees working from home, they may have lost the tolerance they had for the minor tech issues that your office worked on or around. Now may be the best time to assess your technical debt.
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25% of Gen Z employees and 23% of Millennials are planning on leaving their jobs in the next 6 months. In the midst of these large, life changing decisions, how can plan sponsors help their employees navigate smaller but no less important decisions, like planning for retirement?
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New legislation about the US Postal Service may seem like a huge benefit to investors and fiduciaries. But a deeper dive into the recent changes, as well as the USPS’s requests leading up to them, may in fact result in longer mail times, not shorter ones. Here’s what to know.
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Hearing about factor rotation a lot lately? So are your clients. Here’s what they might really be asking you about.
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A new study released this winter should ring warning bells for any advisor as investors report trading more frequently, increasingly buying alternative assets and turning to social media for advice.
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New research shows that gender diversity in leadership does more than ensure fair representation. It may also change how companies think. That in turn may explain why companies that are more gender diverse outperform their less diverse counterparts. Is it time to keep an eye on Female-Led Indexes?
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While everyone may seem like they are singing the same sad tune about the Fed, there could be one key group left out of the chorus: your Employees. They need to know how the Fed impacts their savings and retirement plans.
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Many in wealth management have been focused on the estate planning aspects of the upcoming so called Great Transfer of Wealth. But there is another side to that massive trend – those who will inherit the assets.
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As the pandemic moves into its continuing phase and life gets slightly back to normal, we can look back and see that clients really did move more of their treasure towards charity. As philanthropic software giant Blackbaud recently stated in it’s study charitable giving was up 8% and up 17% overall.
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Following such an unpredictable few years, employees may be wondering if they can or should even set goals anymore. Plan Sponsors can help employees all year long by providing information about proper goal setting. Here are a few ideas.
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A new definition of “fiduciary” might be here by the close of 2021. But how do we get there?
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A new global study found that 41% of investors say that its going to take a miracle for them to retire on time. Is this true for American Investors?
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Empowering employees to ask questions, raise concerns and become more educated can help those employees feel more confident in investing and saving for retirement. How to Address Employees’ Concerns About Changes to the Economy Through Education.
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A quick review of what’s on the Supreme Court’s docket will show the “as yet to be calendared” case of Hughes v. Northwestern University. This case could impact an advisor’s duty of prudence and is worth watching for a variety of reasons.
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If you are facing a blank screen and blinking cursor for your next client newsletter, we have a solid suggestion for you: respond to someone else’s content. It’s a practice well accepted in academia for generations, and its making its way through social media too.
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Average 401(k) balances are up more than 20%. What’s behind those eye-catching numbers? Why are employees investing more? The answers can inform plan sponsors’ educational programs in 2022.
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Given how well participants in 403(b) plans did over the last 18 months (in terms of savings and enrollment), Plan Sponsors may want to get ready for some common queries. Here’s a review of what we’ve seen on the Internet that may need clearing up for your participants.
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The pandemic’s change to how we work had big effects on staffing. Is the biggest impact on workforce management hiring? Maybe, but there are a few new staff management practices that could be worth taking note. Here are six of them.
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Where oh where did the workers go? The story we hear about worker shortage may show the confluence of several trends, all pointing to your clients having an easier time saving for retirement.
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Wondering if your current benefits lineup can hit a home run with your current (and future) employees? Before you add an employer-sponsored IRA to the lineup of your 401(k), FSA and HSA consider these four things.
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Given all of the unpredictability, it might be tempting for advisors to follow some common myths about post-pandemic marketing. Here is a look at a few of the most common post-pandemic marketing myths we’ve seen and an eye on what’s fact versus fiction.
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Quarter three of 2021 shows a trend that advisors should review with their internal compliance team including a recent win by the SEC in federal court and two administrative orders, one involving a $7.2 million disgorgement award.
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Selecting new vendors may seem like a herculean task. Can you find an easier way to find a vendor that is not too soft, not too hard but just right, like Goldilocks’ bed? We think so.
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Advisors may be turning their thoughts towards maintaining their clients. While advisors and others in service industries focus on client maintenance, those in eCommerce focus on client retention. The difference between the two may provide some interesting insight into your client maintenance plans and point to where you might be able to improve.
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They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but that might be because learning new tricks keeps your dog young. Here’s why you need to stretch your gray matter to stay on top of your client acquisition game.
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With a rising tide of concern over Wall Street’s growing disequilibrium to Main Street’s economic concerns, along with a Congress that is the human incarnation of a logjam, the Supreme Court’s recent opinions on consumer finance are worth a closer look.
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With the SEC and DOL potentially making new rules, don’t lose sight of new regulations from FINRA that could impact you. FINRA’s newer rules warrant caution and consultation with counsel.
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In 2020, the average cost of a wedding dropped by 33%, but couples still may have to choose between a traditional wedding and a traditional starter house. Advisors may want to read up on the small wedding trend to help with this large purchase.
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When it comes to income, investing and saving for retirement, it isn’t only federal laws to keep an eye on. States may be creating new challenges and opportunities for investors as well. Here are a few we’ve noticed in the last year.
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Capture the calm before your budgeting storm to assess and update your Plan Documents this Spring. The IRS’s guidance on how to prevent mishaps related to not updating plan documents is sound advice at any time of year. Most of their recommendations fall under good project management processes.
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The current hot real estate market may not be a bubble, but it may feel like one to your clients. Advice for advisors on how to keep your clients on steady footing.
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Can Corporate Social Responsibility reignite your workplace? Harnessing CSR for employee engagement can be a solution to burnout.
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It may be tough to pinpoint what the Biden administration’s regulatory aims are as to employment and retirement policy because of the current COVID crisis. A look at who the White House has named for leadership posts could help employers get an idea of what regulatory changes could be coming.
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Missed the major changes to Annuities Rules? Catch up Quick on how these rules could be beneficial the “hopeless generation”.
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How can advisors help walk their clients through a thicket of potentially globally changing financial circumstances? When it comes to circumstances that may hit client’s static budget items – like housing, transportation and taxes, advisors may be able to help clients position themselves now for potential problems later by discussing advantages, especially tax advantaged funds.
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Unfortunately the surprise may be the passing of Justice Bader Ginsburg leaving the Court to start its October session with an even number of Justices. Here is a quick look at how a split court could impact ERISA decisions this Fall.
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With the passing of Justice Ginsburg, there is a possibility of an even more uncertain election as there is now more volatility in the election and also less certainty that a court with only eight Justices will be able to arrive at a decision.
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It may not be two tropical storms about to collide, but the news of Charles Schwabs’ earnings report out in mid-July questioning whether zero fee models can be sustained nipping at the heels of a case potentially pending before the Supreme Court on fees could have a major impact. Batten down the hatches because the winds of change could be coming.
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Small business owners don't have retirement plans, could that be because they don't have succession plans?
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If your client’s work day is literally never ending now that they work from home, they may want to start a mad money account.
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Context is everything in Communications. The term “economy” is more confusing than ever. Here are a few ways to add clarity to your communications about it.
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The rate of unemployment for women in the workforce is higher than that of men, closing in on 55% of the 20.5 million jobs lost in April, Employees who relied on income from family members who are now unemployed may feel lacking in confidence just as that is most needed. Here are a few ways to raise that confidence.
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There are a great number of questions about how the CARES Act may change the work processes and workflow for plan sponsors. Here, we outline some ways that might happen so that plan sponsors can modify their work to meet their employees’ needs.
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Most of the attention on the CARES Act involves stimulus money given to businesses and individuals. The Act also eases important restrictions on withdrawals from employee retirement plans.
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The focus of this article is to consider who might need to be involved in implementing the new provisions of the CARES Act for your plan participants. As you’ll see, your workplace’s human resources, legal team, EAP, recordkeeping, information technology and facilities management teams will need to work together on this topic.
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Surveys are showing that many of those seeking out financial advisors are new to working with an advisor or haven’t sought individual advice before. Given that most financial advisors are feeling a crush of work while trying to work from home, we thought it would be helpful to reiterate the top tips for working with new clients.
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Does your VPN may feel like a VPoff? In these extraordinary times, there’s so much that’s frustrating that must be abided, working from home shouldn’t be one of them. We’ve collected a few tips on how to make your work from home experience easier.
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While employees adjust to the new normal of social distancing, they may also be trying to adjust to the new normal of stock market volatility. Understanding how habituation works may help those employees to be savvy investors in the long run.
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How Can you tune up your pitch to institutional clients without feedback? Strengthen the Emotional Intelligence of your team, know when you’re facing a stone, build opportunities for creativity in your team, and let current clients test drive your pitches.
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Are Americans meeting savings goals for their retirement? More than 50% probably aren’t even close a new survey shows.
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There will be around 10,000 people turning 65 each day for the next two decades. Those employees on the cusp of retirement may have different questions about retirement than their coworkers. While the questions may be important the framework for approaching them is more crucial.
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Free is almost always good. So how can you use the free marketing of media coverage in newspapers, magazines, blogs, vlogs and podcasts to your advantage without slaving over a bunch of soon to be ignored press releases?
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It’s terrifying how little Americans have saved for emergencies. Will a relaxing of the hardship withdrawal rules by the IRS help or will it cause more leakage from retirement accounts?
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Multiple streams of income may seem like the American Dream: dollars dancing like sugar plum fairies in your head. To a lawyer, it’s something different: nightmarish compliance scenarios like mice in the nutcracker scattering everywhere.
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Dig deeper into the Millennial insult "OK Boomer"and you’ll find that the emotions behind the snark belie legitimate retirement worries of a generation. Here's how financial advisors can use what they see in OK Boomer social media posts to answer those worries with their expertise.
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Employees can do more than previous generations to make sure the kids in their life can afford college, and that means Aunties and Uncles too. There could even be tax benefits for setting aside extra for the little ones in their lives.
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With the coverage of the continuing climate crisis increasing, so may be the calls for caution around products that consider themselves environmentally friendly. Employees may want to be just as wary of allegedly green investment funds.
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Potentially risky microloans aren’t for all investors, but they may help some investors diversify their accounts and given the potential for consolidating (and getting out from under) credit card debt, they may also help a lot of middle class would-be borrowers.
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In the wake of an unexpected separation, employees may be focused on their immediate major financial needs. Retirement planning is most likely the largest, but farthest from top of mind, for most couples. Yet, Plan Sponsors may be able to help with just a few tweaks to their EAP information.
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For some advisors the last five years have been like a dust storm, obliterating any boundaries of where we’d come from. And where we had planned to go? How can you get back, and stick with, your own goals?
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Planning for an audit sounds like rooting for a root canal, but unlike unwanted dentistry, planning for a plan audit can significantly lessen the pain involved. Here we detail both IRS and DOL audit processes so you can be prepared.
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Recent decisions and plea agreements between FINRA and financial advisor firms show that internal compliance controls are more important than ever. We’ve reviewed a few examples from the agency to give you a sense of how to avoid similar pitfalls.
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For those who work as advisors to plan sponsors, understanding how their benefit software may change is crucial to maintaining a good customer service. It’s also crucial to know when that benefit software may change. So, what’s new in benefit software?
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Can you name what you've built, won, earned, sold and mentored? Having your elevator pitch polished and ready may help in a chance encounter with a potential client, but brag sheet may help you be more flexible in presenting your experience to potential clients over the long term.
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There’s plenty to love about IRAs. For some employees looking at an IRA may be the first step towards a larger, more robust retirement plan. For others, it may quench some fears around stock market stability which gets them started in investing.
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