BCG Blog

Robert Terry
Into the brave new world of post Secure Act 2.0 benefit administration comes new and challenging accommodation requests for things such as mental health and long COVID-related illnesses, which may create confusion over balancing and discrimination testing a plan. So, we can only imagine the dismay some benefits advisors may have over news noting an increased favorability of pensions.
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Financial advisors may feel like they are finding themselves between a rock and a hard place lately and both rock and hard place may be the doing of the Department of Labor. If you thought the proposed fiduciary rule was the only problem popping up, beware the independent contractor definition changes.
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Among the many takeaways from the Binance charges and the Bankman-Fried trial how charisma can impact a company’s disregard for business basics, such as an accounting department in the Bankman-Fried case. Unlike cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving, you can never have too much consideration of compliance in the financial industry. Company culture can be a big player in how employees put compliance into effect.
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Employee concerns about worker strikes and military action in the middle east region may show anxiety about market volatility and retirement fund safety. Plan sponsors may want to pause and consider how they can use employee surveys to gauge the level of employee distress over volatility as well as how to address those concerns.
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Benefits can be an important part of the view prospective employees have of your company and whether they want to apply. How can you make sure your benefits measure up? We have a few thoughts.
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For a generation named for its inability to be quantified it may come as a surprise that Generation X may go down in history for having the worst numbers, at least when it comes to retirement. Generation X, those now in their 40s and 50s, account for about one-fifth of the population, a significantly smaller cohort than other generations and yet their worries are weightier than others.
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Financial advisors deal in confidence all day long. Whether it’s measuring the value at risk of an investment portfolio or helping a client assess their risk tolerance, confidence is a huge part of what advisors do. But when it comes to clients, you may be getting punked. New research shows that one in five Americans thinks they’ll never be able to retire. What accounts for the insecurity?
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Some changes to IRAs in the Secure Act 2.0 may have brought employees to think about how they may want to incorporate IRAs into their retirement savings plan. Towards that end, Plan Sponsors may want to offer employees a few key details on why IRAs can benefit their savings.
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Recent studies may challenge assumptions on retirement planning, for clients and advisors. Taken together, the studies show a compelling conclusion that using a financial planner greatly increases the chances of succeeding saving sufficiently for retirement. Read on for three takeaways.
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Credit card debt competes with saving, for retirement or emergencies, on the spreadsheet cells of your employees’ budget. This war of intentions is particularly noticeable in younger generations, like GenZ, those just entering the workforce. Here’s a review of how credit card debt impacts retirement saving.
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A perfect storm occurs rarely, when two or more meteorological events come together to create disastrous effects much more so than if the two events had happened individually. The impact of student loans coming due at the same time as a significant amount of bad debt written off by credit card companies may just be one of those rare, disastrous situations.
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If your tech budget is a tad limited, making your tech dollars work means focusing on getting the most for your money. Haphazard upgrading can lead to deficits in how your technology integrates as an enterprise. To avoid tech debt, you may want to consider these new products.
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Best practice documents can be helpful in insulating assets from risk and, since they can be used as benchmarks, limiting liability. Yet, keeping up with changes to best practices can be daunting. If your plan administrator and HR department are thinking of updating their best practices library and worry about the resources needed, you may have a secret weapon in this process: career development.
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The Center for Retirement Research’s new report presents quite a fascinating find: 40% of American households are either too worried or aren’t worried enough about whether they are on track for retirement. And the shocking part is, those with higher incomes may be falling into the “not worried enough category."
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Substack subscriptions are booming. What can plan sponsors learn about how Substack’s formatting helps readers stick with long form pieces?
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Can you, or can’t you? The state of the regulations on ESG for ERISA-related and public fund fiduciaries is anything but clear. Here’s a roundup of the current activity.
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Financial advisors are used to keeping an eye out for risk, managing options, and avoiding potential areas for their clients. So, managing their own firms’ risk may get less attention. A new report from Deloitte on the future of risk made us ask what can be done beyond our standard risk management approaches?
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Educational options for plan participants just got easier. More online educational programs used by schools and universities are now including personal finance options. Here are a few options for outsourcing your educational programs.
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If severance plans make you sweat, hang in there. Here is the latest in information about confidentiality and clear communication around how to use severance agreements to your best advantage and the increasing use of upskilling.
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People like paper. And luxury brands are providing them with print marketing. Here’s why you should consider your leave-behind marketing materials and the relationship building opportunities they bring.
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Many plan sponsors made big moves in 2022, including changes to their plans to include more participants and to broaden their benefits. They also set their sights on incorporating the changes SECURE Act 2.0 brought.
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New alternative investments are always worth watching. They show changes in technology, how people feel about asset classes, or their level of insecurity about volatility in the stock market. A new move on micro-equity, or crowdsourced fundraising highlights all of those themes. This time with cake.
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In an effort to build benefits packages that attract workers, many employers are adding student loan repayments to their benefits lineup. This measure was often seen as part of professions requiring advanced degrees like law and health care. But a new study may add additional weight to that decision by showing that student loans impact retirement income long after employees have graduated.
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Act 2.0 is full of provisions that will benefit clients of all sizes. But what we focus on and what clients care about may be different. Here are three areas that may drive client conversations over the next few months.
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How can advisors help clients understand index funds and their place in an investment strategy? It’s all in the presentation.
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Most renters complaining that their housing payments have increased considerably over the last two years, traditional alternative investments in rental properties may seem like a limited option. Can your clients use the increased mortgage rate (possibility of further increases) to their advantage? The answer may be in changing how your clients think about real estate.
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Amidst all the talk about quiet quitting, quiet managing, and the Great Resignation, another trend may be brewing: the retirement boomerang. Retirees who don't plan for their retirement income properly may boomerang back into the workforce. Advisors can help prevent this by working on education ahead of a planned retirement date.
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ESG has long been a hot topic for advisors working with individuals. Now, new research shows that institutional investors are prioritizing ESG in their decisions too. But there are concerns about what qualifies. Here’s what you need to know to help your institutional clients.
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Is there an upside to inflation? We found three areas where investors could benefit from inflation’s impact on the economy.
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Looking for a way to lighten up your stress? The experts all suggest delegating more of your to do list. We know it’s easy. But one task you can delegate to others is building your prospect database.
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Alternative investments seemed like a hot take on surviving market volatility during the pandemic. With low barriers to entry and high liquidity, cryptocurrency may have seemed like a smart choice. What now for clients who may be seeking alternative investments in a post-crypto world? It may be as simple as reviewing the basics, like life insurance.
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Changes to employee benefits may be a small part of an overall organizational strategic plan. It may seem odd, then, to consider strategic planning a benefits change. But a review of the different models of strategic planning may help plan sponsors consider how to structure the process of changing plan documents.
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The revolution may not be televised, but adding videos to your prospecting plans may feel like a total transformation. If you are looking for new ways to boost your prospecting efforts, you may want to consider adding videos. Here are a few things to keep in mind.
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Turn “this could have been an email” into “this was a great meeting” by assessing the who, how and why of benefits meetings.
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Commodities had their best year in more than a decade, but a client’s interest in them may be based on more than rate of return. Here’s what clients may need to hear about emotional investing and commodities.
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Emotional Intelligence is one of the best skills a financial advisor has. It draws in clients and helps retain the best employees. Advisors, like anyone else in a leadership role right now, may be feeling that those skills have been tapped dry. Here’s a refresher on using emotional intelligence in the most optimal way.
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If 87% of employers agree that auto-enrollment in a 401(k) plan has a favorable impact on employees’ retirement readiness, why not try other stumbling blocks for retirement readiness? Results from a retirement readiness survey seem to suggest that many plan sponsors are considering just that.
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The ground artificial intelligence is breaking in investment management may be the same covered in the DOL’s new Best Practices on Cybersecurity. A quick comparison of the two may help you plan for 2022.
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It’s time to revisit spending—and budgeting. Especially given the financial fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, more people are turning to “buy now pay later” loan programs which can be downright predatory.
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It might sound like the changes proposed to Roth IRAs over September 2021 and October 2021 are cause for a lot of concern by many investors. Your clients may already be peppering you with questions. A quick deep dive into those proposed changes may answer some of that concern.
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If an HR intranet page is difficult to use, employees are going to walk away frustrated, confused, and may not be able to access vitally important information. Here are five suggestions to improve user experiences.
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Advisors may be compiling year-end lists for their clients. But with advisors seeing higher than normal numbers of new clients, they may do well to follow their own advice. So what do you need to do to get yourself sorted for year end? Here are four things to include in your year-end planning.
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“One Neat Trick to Increase 401(k) Enrollment!” sounds like the subject line to an email scam, and it probably is. However, the only “BS” here is Behavioral Science, and it really can help.
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What are your employees reading/watching that could help you convey retirement savings and investing information? Here are three wildly different picks that may resonate with employees.
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The effects of the pandemic meant cancelled events and virtual platforms. As advisors began planning for 2022, you might be asking, is networking still a worthy part of your marketing plan? Here are four questions to ask as you plan for 2022.
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Book clubs popped up all over during the pandemic. Could a book club be an avenue to find new leads for your business? Here are a few thoughts about book clubs and marketing.
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Open Enrollment in remote settings got you scratching your head? Especially about the "extras" or "perks" of their benefit plans? We have thoughts.
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Clients are, shall we say, tired of Zoom. How can you or other advisors on your team still produce effective client seminars? There’s no quick answer, but a few solid tips from professionals discussed below may help.
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Moving into FY 2022, retaining employees may be the biggest hurdle your organization faces. What’s driving the employee exodus, and how do businesses retain workers and attract new talent?
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It’s worth revisiting the basics with clients now, as the urge to splurge on travel, or any other “normal” activity. But the thought of stepping out is hard to step away from. With the behavioral finance of planned splurges and the following information, you can have a productive conversation with your clients, even if they are cabin-feverish.
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Sure, salary matters, but what’s your company’s healthcare coverage like? For most employees, the answer to that question is more important than how much they’re paid.
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Creating a short-term savings plan for something like a new couch or a vacation is a great opportunity to learn the basics that apply to long-term retirement savings.
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Content plans (aka content calendars) will help your client communications stay organized, consistent, and on-brand. Here’s what they are and why you need one.
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Tax prep is a notoriously difficult and unpopular activity, but also offers an opportunity for workers to review expenses and start gathering information to help them plan and budget. Here are five ways to use this time to budget for success.
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For advisors working from home, how can they make sure poor communication isn't holding back their career advancement and client relationships by making their achievements invisible?
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Let’s face it: people traveled for the holidays. For employers, this means that the likelihood of employees getting the coronavirus skyrockets. How can plan sponsors help prevent, and also prepare for, the inevitable?
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Like an M. Night Shyamalan movie, the last year has been filled with unexpected twists. Here’s how advisors can help explain to clients why we haven’t bounced back yet, and what signs of recovery to look for.
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Social Security is primarily funded through payroll taxes; however, due to the significant layoffs caused by COVID-19, 10.7 million fewer workers are paying into social security, plus many others have had their hours cut. Taken together, this means that Social Security contributions have slowed down significantly.
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TikTok, Snapchat, Instagram, oh my! Some advisors are turning to social media platforms that specialize in fast-paced content. However, these can pose compliance complications and advisors’ time may be better spent figuring out how to motivate their young clients to invest at all.
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Every business is now using variations of the same coronavirus script about navigating “a new normal” in “these trying times”. How can advisors stand out from the crowd of inauthentic platitudes? It all starts with empathy.
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More and more adults are becoming caregivers to aging and elderly relatives, and the number of young caregivers is increasing disproportionately. What resources can plan sponsors offer employees who are trying to plan for these emotionally and financially challenging circumstances—or may already be facing them?
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Is financial advising the new Netflix? While subscription models exist in the investment world, they’re not exactly common…but that may be changing.
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Not everyone wants to retire. Whatever the motivation, many older investors may have been planning on a working retirement. Those older investors probably didn’t plan on a contagious pandemic that makes them feel unsafe returning to work.
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Financial advisors have a complex web of security issues to consider on a calm day. Has coronavirus made that more complicated? Maybe. Here are a few key issues to consider when reviewing your security plans while we continue to work from home at least part of the time.
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Many companies that have fiscal years not tried to the calendar year, like those who start their FY in July or schools who might start their FY in August, may be entering that open enrollment period now. Here are a few tips on how to increase your presentation game to help those employees stay focused and get the information they need.
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With anything hands-on miles away from the current reality and so much perceived chaos over financial matters, advisors may feel frustrated. How can they use YouTube to help calm confusion?
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In a normal year, about 18% of Americans experience high levels of anxiety. In the Spring of 2020, 37% number of people reported high levels of anxiety and stress about the COVID-19 outbreak. How can financial advisors tailor their messages to be received most easily and absorbed by stressed readers?
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If families were saving for a rainy day, that day may have come regardless of what other relief may be coming. Plan Sponsors readying to change the hardship rules in their plan documents, or who may have recently done so, may want to consider how they can assist their employees during this time.
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With marketing, networking, and budget balancing tasks fighting for space in your Google calendar, you may feel that your time management skills need a tune up. Not so fast! Instead of managing your time, manage your attention.
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As employers strive to offer more benefits to their employees, they may need to consider all the variables involved, including their own administrative capacities.
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Want to avoid publishing marketing materials with glaring grammar mistakes? Here’s a review of common examples and a few tips.
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How can an employer use the concept of cultural competency to ensure that their financial literacy programs hit the mark? Without cultural competency, an employer’s financial education programs may miss the mark and leave employees out.
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How can you ready your business for growth? Here are solutions for addressing growth challenges in personnel, regulation and technology.
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Choosing the right clients, and how you decide to forgo those that aren’t for you, can ensure business success, even when it seems crazy to turn clients away. Here’s why.
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Plan Sponsors who conduct seminars for their employees may want to plan educational programs for the upcoming year on these top worries from their employees. Here are five suggestions.
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Employees who are stressed about having appropriate skills for their jobs may take matters into their own hands to learn important skills. Plan sponsors can use these platforms to help their employees learn how to be just as savvy at planning for retirement as in cranking out field reports in SalesForce.
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Your firm can thwart ethics and compliance problems early on by encouraging employees to ask questions and spot potential problems early on through a compliance friendly environment.
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There may be something deeper in the recent revival of interest in Bitcoin, and Plan Sponsors should take note.
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In late 2016 two female focused financial platforms faced off. One survived. How does that success help advisors understand financial feminism?
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Employees may want to treat retirement like their laundry: set it and forget it. But retirement, and any investing, isn’t as easy as lather, rinse, repeat. Here’s how plan sponsors can help employees appropriately use automatic investment tools.
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A financial advisor may keep the doctor away. Two new studies show that financial advisors may play an important role in worker’s sense of well-being. Knowing the numbers may help you understand how to help your clients even more.
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Not only are other options out there for communicating with your clients besides the boring PowerPoint slides but your competition may be using them. Here’s a run through of a handful of the best alternatives to Powerpoint and also how the other game in town can help you communicate with new audiences.
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Positivity can increase your immune system, reduce your risk of heart attack and possibly even lower your rate of depression. But, can such happy vibes be good for investing and retirement readiness?
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After years of stagnant wages and industry shake ups, it seems like the economy has settled and your clients can pose for selfies as they float down easy river. So how do you get those clients to be ready for the next round of rapids?
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Clients are doing their homework more on potential advisors. So before you start that new push for more clients, make sure you can make it as easy as possible for clients to find the information they are searching for.
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In 2017, we wrote about how Investment Monitoring was a gaining prominence in financial advisory services. In the two years since that article, risk management and investment monitoring has become even more widespread. What’s changed?
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Want to increase your email newsletter's open rate? Adding color may seem like a great option. But before you go tossing handfuls of brights across your page, you may want to stop and read a few key tips on color theory.
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Retirees with jobs in retirement may be a growing new trend. What do advisors need to know about the new trend of choosing a retirement job and how that impacts retirement savings?
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The key to finding the right people might be to focus more on how you find them and less on your job description or interview process. Letting go of what you’ve always tried and trying these ideas might help you find your client’s new favorite staff person.
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2018's greatest tech trend may be the movement away from social media. If the clients you have (or want to have) are moving away from Facebook and Instagram don't chase them there. Instead, follow these key tips to increase your communications strategy.
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Design thinking imports the principles for design and architecture into business and personal planning by flipping the problem solving to zero in on the problem.
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FINRA’s new rule on electronic signatures highlights the differences between state and federal law. What do advisors need to know about e-signatures and how that might impact their work?
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Clients choose advisors based on factors other than costs. Advisors who meet their client’s needs consistently have clients who are less likely to jump ship. Word of mouth may be the best form of advertising, but in the age of the Internet, can you control it?
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How can financial advisors improve their skills to help make clients more comfortable in discussing financial performance? Many business coaches are encouraging advisors to focus on emotional intelligence.
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Financial theory holds that people, as investors, will be rational thinkers, moving towards wealth maximization. Yet, often, investors, as people, make irrational choices. Behavioral finance explains why investors make bad choices and how to encourage better choices.
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In 2016, Time Magazine reported that 1 in 3 Americans did not have any retirement accounts. How can employers work with this statistic to encourage more employees to save for retirement?
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They lost benefit options over the years, including pensions. How advisors can help GenXers mind the gaps and improve retirement savings.
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Are your plan participants betting that they’ll live a long time? Do their retirement savings and goals match that enthusiasm?
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