BCG Blog

“Future Proofing” Your Client’s Financial Investments

The newest buzzword in business lingo may already be baked in to your financial services. How can you show your clients you’ve been “future proofing” their investments all along?

More than the MBA: How Advisors Stay Sharp Through Learning New Skills

Think hobbies are only important for work life balance? Think again. Research shows that learning new skills can help you advance your career. Aside from networking opportunities and potential referral sources, having a passion outside your job can make you better at it. Here's how.

What’s New in Investment Monitoring and Risk Management?

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?

Multiple Savings Accounts: More Money, More Problems?

The advice given to many about how to pay down debt or save for a specific event, like a wedding, anniversary vacation or new house, is to create separate savings accounts. But can you have too many accounts? Is there a price to pay other than marital harmony or peace of mind?

Spring Cleaning Your Investment Plan

Just like you probably don’t need the fifth set of towels in the guest bathroom, employees may be holding onto investments or savings processes that are no longer needed. So how can plan sponsors help their employees spring clean their investment plan?

The Case for and Against Small Indulgences as Part of Saving for Retirement

While most Plan Sponsors would think that creating tools that help employees see how their small indulgences add up, and usually add up to keeping them from saving, is helpful, there is a small contingent of voices arguing against that advice.

Talking to Kids about Frugality

When it comes to money, children may learn more from by the actions we take than by the words we say. For parents working with a tight budget, whether in the short or long term, this can lead children to grow up with unwarranted concerns about money. How can plan sponsors help parents prevent that?

Vacation Planning Can Help Employees Learn to Save for Retirement

If the topic of retirement planning is slightly grim, how can a plan sponsor help employees learn to save, and learn to talk to each other about saving? Vacation planning might be a gateway into learning important aspects of saving for retirement.

Location, Location, Location: Where does retirement planning happen?

Knowing where retirement planning happens may help advisors understand the hidden limits an investor or client is facing. Location may be everything if retirement planning happens at work.

Associations as Employers: New Proposed Rule from the DOL

A new DOL rule would allow multiple, smaller employers to band together to offer group retirement plans. To qualify the employers must have a common affiliation – they must operate in the same industry or trade or be companies with the same owner or be in the same geographic area such as a city or county.

Colors in Communications

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.

Is it Time for Institutional Investors to Rethink their Non Traditional Investments? What Should Advisors Know?

Recently, many institutional investors showed signs of tiring from the non-traditional investments like timber that seemed to mark the last five years. What’s causing the change?

Life Expectancy Changes and Retirement Planning

Plan Sponsors can use the news about recent drops in life expectancy to help educate employees about the need for individualization in retirement planning.

The Culture of Frugality Can Help Employees Save for Retirement

Is it possible for plan sponsors to encourage retirement readiness in their employees by capturing some of the excitement about Marie Kondo? You bet! The Frugality and Minimalism trends can help employees overcome old beliefs about savings.

Where Employees Can Find the Best Financial Information

With access to financial information getting easier thanks to new and proposed regulations from the SEC, it may be worthwhile for employees to know where to look to find the best financial information about companies and funds.

Changing Perspectives on Loans From Retirement Savings After the Government Shutdown

Can Plan Sponsors use the news of government employees’ use of loans from retirement accounts as a backstop to unemployment to help employees understand their retirement options? Here are a few key points to borrowing from retirement accounts that employees may need information about.

There’s More to Refinancing Student Loans Than You Think

The urge to get rid of student loans is constant and distracting, and probably a little sweaty. But employees look and listen before refinancing their student loans to make sure they end up with a better bargain.

Building Retirement Ready Resilience

Resilience has been a hot topic in parenting and work-life balance discussions lately and for good reason. Resilience helps employees face life stress without negative impact on productivity. Employees can be taught to build resilience and be more ready to face unexpected financial events without too heavy an impact on their retirement readiness.

Is the Conventional Wisdom on Financial Decisions Still Relevant? Individualized Financial Advice is More Important Than Ever

Lately, it seems like most financial news seems to question conventional wisdom as often as they apply it. So, if it’s being questioned more often, is the wisdom even conventional anymore? Now more than ever, employees may need more individualized advice.

The 25%: Retirement Planning for Childless Couples

Childless couples may have different needs in retirement planning, the biggest of which may be not be treated like they won the lottery because they don’t, or can’t, have children.

Socially Responsible Investing, Update

Socially Responsible Investing, such as ESG Funds, continues to show strong performance. Here’s an update on how the SRI market has faired since our last post in 2017.

Message Management: Handling the Recent Surge Against “Capitalism”

New studies show that Millenials (or Gen Z) are starting to treat the term capitalism negatively. How can advisors adjust their messaging and communications to avoid the negative feelings about capitalism?

A Working Retirement that Doesn’t Wreak Havoc on Benefits

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?

HSAs and FSAs and Plan Coverage

With HSAs now a near must for many employees, clients may be asking questions about how best to offer HSAs and FSAs to their employees. Those clients may also wonder how HSAs interact with plan coverage.

Retirement Readiness: Is the Deadline Still the Same?

Americans are, without a doubt, retiring later. Does that mean they now need less to money stashed away for retirement? Have Americans changed the tried and true standards for retirement readiness?

How does burnout and stress affect how employees handle retirement readiness decisions?

Burnout leads to terrible decisions. As they burn the candle at both ends, employees may be making financial decisions that are equivalent to lighting piles of money on fire. How can plan sponsors help?

Catching Up On Retirement

With 1 in 3 Americans having less than $5000 in retirement, many will need to spend their later years catching up. What do employees need to know about IRS rules on setting aside extra savings in their fifties?

Let’s Go to the Movies

Want to find a new way to get ideas about retirement across to your employees? Try using examples from the movies to engage your employees on retirement readiness.

Corporate Board Changes: Working With New Regulations that Require Greater Diversity

In 2018, California created new regulations that require greater diversity on corporate boards. How can advisors use these changes to increase collaboration and client contact? The key may be how boards may become more focused on company culture.

Presidential Politics and the Market

While they make for explosive interpersonal interactions, Presidential races may also cause concern among your clients about what impact a hotly contested presidential race might have on the stock market. It turns out those concerns are based in truth. Presidential elections do impact stock markets.

Hiring Outside the Box

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.

Advisor Fees and the old Fashioned Price Theory

as competition on advisor fees heats up a return to the basic business school principles of price setting might help ease stress and help create a workable plan to fill your pipeline of business prospects.

Letters from your future self. How this simple tool can help employees stay on track for retirement readiness.

How can you help an employee bridge the gap from their current self who works hard and saves for retirement instead of eating out more often and their future, older retired self who gets to play with grandchildren? One method may be simply to communicate with the future self.

Retire from, Everything? How to roll out retirement for investors with multiple income streams

A new trend of working more than one job to cover rising health care costs or make up for stagnant wages has some employees nearing retirement asking how they should plan for retirement. Do they retire from everything?

Recession proofing: if the next recession was coming, what could sponsors due to help educate their employees?

It is the season to worry about a recession. Actually, many employees often worry constantly about recessions and the resulting uncertainty in their finances. Reducing worry in your employees, for whichever reason generates it, can help them continue to be productive.

Decision fatigue: how to help employees going through major changes (divorce, partner death, change in jobs) make the best decisions about changing retirement plans

Employees who may be in the eye of a personal storm, like divorce, death of a loved one, or other upheaval, may not recognize that their decision making is decreasing in effectiveness. And importantly, those life events often involve changes to retirement accounts.

Understanding how fear is a terrible decision maker and how to work with clients to understand it

Countless research reports show that clients who respond to market changes based on fear harm their retirement readiness. But fear impacts decision making more than just by adding additional transaction costs or advisor fees.

Communication to keep them coming back: how to use one message across various communication channels

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.

How to Use Polls and Surveys to Engage Clients and Boost Retention

Client communications can be more than one directional. One of the easiest ways to engage your clients is to include polls and surveys in newsletters and blog posts to boost retention.

Burnout: signs, and how to spot burnout in colleagues (and prevent compliance problems)

As the financial advisory industry lurches towards another dynamic year of quick pivots and increasing stress on advisor fees, the pressure on advisors could lead to chronic stress or burnout. And those two results can drastically undermine even the best compliance program.

Keeping up with the Joneses: why comparison behavior isn't helpful to retirement planning

Comparing your results to others can be motivating to some, but when comparing turns into trying to keep up with your social circle it can harm results instead.

The science of splurges: what do dieting and saving for retirement have in common?

Over the long run, those too on restrictive budgets end up bugging out and making poor money decisions. Planning for splurges can help both with your employee’s waistline and wallet. So how does it work?

Social media noise and retirement saving: how can you monitor the myths out on social media about investing?

Social media can be a great tool to tackle sticky subjects like debt and retirement readiness planning. It’s also fantastic for gathering resources and ideas from how other companies are educating their employees about financial matters. But it can also be full of pyramid schemes and false news.

Think you have to forgo luxuries while saving for retirement? How some splurges might just save you money

Employees looking to balance work and family while also budgeting may feel hemmed in by their options. They may avoid options to save time because they think they are too expensive. But there may be some magic to luxuries after all.

Lost in translation (2): how key financial terms are misunderstood by even the savviest clients

Sometimes a rose isn’t always a rose. Some words or phrases have more than one meaning, and when that happens in the financial world, it can cause confusion for clients and advisors.

Lost in translation (1): key ideas or main stream phrases that won't translate to employees or clients from outside of America

Does the jargon in your communications make your clients miss the boat? Not catch what you are saying? Not smell what you are stepping in? A quick review of English slang can keep you from leaving readers out in the cold.

How Design Thinking Can Help Your Clients With Their Retirement Goals

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.

Beyond Networking: Why Collaboration Can Boost Your Career

Think you’ll lose your mind if you read one more thing about the importance of networking? You’re not alone. So, if networking is a worn out welcome mat, what IS a tactic that can help boost business? Collaboration.

Stress and decision making about retirement readiness

There’s more to health care and retirement than explaining an HSA. Sponsors can help employees by educating themselves on the link between health, stress and retirement saving.

Planning for the Unexpected

While no one can plan for what they don’t know, there are unexpected events that happen frequently enough that employees should know how to plan for them. Plan Sponsors can help employees understand how to prepare for financial surprises.

What are Your Employees Hearing About 401(k)s?

It seems like every two years the news likes to take issue with 401ks, with articles like top 6 problems with 401(k) accounts. What are employees hearing about so called problems with 401(k)s and how can they respond?

Overwraught Overworkers: Why Workaholics are Terrible Savers

Many think those who work a lot make (and save) a lot. The true fact is those who compulsively work (or might be called workaholics) are terrible savers. What can employers do to ensure those who work too much also understand to save?

New Money: Venmo, Blockchain and Bears, Oh My!

With news ringing about new wire transfer fraud alerts from the FBI, advisors may want to examine all the other electronic means of transferring money and make sure they are knowledgeable about them.

Electronic Signatures and State Laws

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?

FINRA's New Rules and Actions

FINRA has had a busy season, including consolidating its enforcement unit and allowing for e-signatures. Get up to speed on what changes are happening at FINRA and clients need to understand about those changes

GDPR and Cyber laws

2018 saw a flurry of information, and countless opt-in/out messaging about the GDPR. Yet, states and other regulators have been moving improving cyber security protections all year long. Read on for more information on cyber laws you might not have encountered and how they could impact on how financial advisors practice.

Horace Mann to acquire Benefit Consultants Group to expand strategic capabilities in the retirement market

Horace Mann Educators Corporation to acquire Benefit Consultants Group to expand strategic capabilities in the retirement market

Understanding the impact of student loan debt on employee's retirement

Statistics show that almost half of young families have significant student loan debt. How can employers help educate their employees, especially those who may want additional degrees so they can specialize, about debt, savings and retirement planning?

Motivation Science - How to avoid relying on fear and shame to help your employees invest

In the past, doomsday scenarios or calling people out for behavior was thought to be a way to change their behavior. Fear based techniques have a short shelf life and shame is counterproductive. What works? Here are a few tips on using motivation to help employees invest.

Mind Your Time: Mindfulness and Time Saving Tools to Create More Focus for Retirement

Employees complain about not having enough time to focus on retirement planning. Plan sponsors can’t add a 25th hour to the day, but they can provide tools to plan participants about how to mind their time, both from an efficiency stand point and from a holistic standpoint.

A debt by any other name is still a debt

Not all debt has the same impact on retirement readiness for employees. Debt has impacts on retirement readiness your employees may not realize. Below, we list a few key distinctions employees may not know when making budgeting decisions that could impact their retirement readiness.

To app or not to app

Before you jump on the App bandwagon, you might want to consider whether developing an App for your advising business is what’s best not for you, but for your clients. Here are a few things to consider before investing in developing an App for your advising business.

Are your Retirees too busy?

Not all retirees want a life of travel, golf and early dinners. Some retirees continue to work just as passionately in retirement as they did before they left their paying occupations. That passion has its benefits, but also its detractions.

Managing and protecting your reputation

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?

Millennial mistakes

Many millennials are making mistakes in home buying, yet are reporting higher levels of satisfaction with advisors. How can Advisors understand their blind spots, especially as millennials begin to move into decision-making roles at companies and organizations?

Busyness and retirement – how the “I’m too busy to plan” may be a way to avoid the fear of facing retirement

While the cult of busy has taken over workplaces as a way to show your importance or social capital, when it comes to retirement, “too busy” may mean more than trying to look important. It might hide worries in financial planning

Saving for Retirement by Side Hustle

The side hustle could be a go to for saving for retirement for workers with stagnant wages. But before employee’s jump on the side hustle train, there are a few drawbacks to that ride that should be considered.

Emotional Intelligence For Financial Advisors

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.

Tax Laws Changing and How Clients See Funds Available for Retirement

If clients think that their taxes are increasing due to new changes in the tax laws, they may fear that they have less to contribute to retirement. So what changes impact the amounts available for retirement savings?

Borrowing from your 401(k) or IRA: What Do Plan Sponsors Need to Know About What’s Being Said to Employees

Employees may be wanting to access some of their retirement funds, rather than take loans, but may be confused by differing rules between Self Directed IRAs and 401(k)s.

Apps that can help even the lousiest saver save for retirement

The top reasons most folks give for failing to contribute to retirement savings are lack of time (to manage, analyze, or set up retirement plans) or inability to find a spare amount to set aside for savings. As the slogan goes, there’s an app for that.

How a Stop Doing list can help clients find funds for retirement

The best behavior change for saving money may be to focus on what to stop doing, instead of what to start doing.

When is encouraging good saving behavior too much?

The discussion sparked by WeWork’s vegetarianism decree about how workplaces encourage wellness and better behavior highlights something important for how employers and plan sponsors may want to think about their own activities in encouraging saving for retirement.

Beyond the death of the fiduciary rule - What rules might be on the radar for changes?

Recently, the SEC’s Chairman said that he thinks the agency’s rules need “sprucing up” and he is looking at other rules, including the private placement rules, to see what could be changed. What else might be on the table for a makeover?

Understanding your client's needs in a merger

Mergers may be sleeping giants for those involved, but how they impact benefit plans and how the surviving company will use them may feel like a decision with a deadline. This pressure may also be present for clients facing reorganization in bankruptcy. What can a financial advisor do to be ahead of the pressure points in reorganizations?

What FAs need to know about behavioral science in finance

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.

Better meetings and trainings: how to use new thoughts from experts to keep from boring your clients to death

However much meetings might be dreaded by clients, a meeting or education session in person may still be the best way to convey complex information about changes needed to a retirement benefits plan. How can financial advisor keep from stupefying their clients?

Rule 30e-3 May Modernize Disclosure, But What Information Do Client's Want?

New delivery options can provide employees with more information about the funds they are investing in through your 401(k) retirement plan. But before you turn on the fire hose of information, a quick review of what information helps engage employees in investing can help you increase your employees’ participation in your plan.

Robo-advising

With a few years into the robo advising world, how is it working? What do sponsors need to know about how robo advising can help their employees and what do sponsors need to know about robo advisors and educating their employees.

Volunteerism and Retirement

Studies have shown that retirees report greater senses of happiness in retirement when they volunteer. Additionally, employees also report higher amounts of job satisfaction when they can participate in work place charity events –can an employer partner with groups and encourage a volunteer pipeline for retirees?

The Rent is Too Darn High

With fixed costs like housing increasing each year, how can Plan Sponsors help employees understand inflation and cost of living increases in planning for retirement?

Failure to launch

Understanding the impact on soon-to-retire employees and the return of their adult children on availability of funds can be essential in today’s economy

Mail Over Matter

Does your database hit the mark when needing to send information to retired employees? If a fund has to be dropped, can you meet your notice requirements? How to ensure retired employees update their contact details in an information age?

Retiring overseas and impact on plan administration

With a strong trend of retirees finding warmer (and cheaper) climates to spend their limited funds increasing, what do plan administrators need to know to ensure they can communicate properly with retired expat employees?

Do they even have an account?

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?

Elder abuse and changes in retiree accounts

Aside from the physical abuse, much of elder abuse also involves control or diminution of resources. According to the AARP, 90% of those engaging in financial elder abuse are family members or are well known to the elder such as neighbors, friends or caregivers.

Sweating the small stuff

Are minor details or tech glitches preventing your employees from enrolling in your plan? How can Plan Sponsors learn if administrative details are affecting enrollment numbers?

Why Diversity in Financial Advisors Matters to Plan Sponsors and Small Businesses

Women often end up with financial burdens of caring for both children and aging parents: the so-called sandwich generation. Having a financial advisor who understands the juggling act required to carry that burden may mean more than just understanding how much (or how little) money to set aside for retirement.

What’s Competing for Your Employee’s Funds?

Understanding what is competing for your employee’s money can help you work with them to navigate saving for retirement and encourage more employees to save for retirement.

Engaging Millennials to Invest

The millennial workforce is eager to save for retirement, but with immediate financial pressures may not be able to see their way to doing so. By giving them simple ways to save, plan sponsors can help their younger employees find their financial footing and save for a better retirement outcome.

Retirement Contributions: Boosted

For 82 percent of workers surveyed, the overwhelming consensus is they’ll have a much harder time achieving financial security than their parents’ generation did. Your plan participants want to make the most of their retirement plan contributions. Here’s how you can help.

Retirement Motivation: Turning Goodbyes Into Learning Opportunities

Many investment advisors often find that a lack of a mental image of what an employee wants retirement to include is a roadblock towards getting employees to commit to retirement savings. Using a recent retirement can do more than help employees say goodbye: it can help some employees get a sense of what they might want their own retirement to look like.

Emotional Investing: Why A Long Term View Is Crucial

Employees who respond to the market by moving or trading investments with every major market movement may be engaging in “Emotional Investing.” This kind of investing fails to prioritize the long-term goals of retirement planning. An employee’s single best tool for weathering a volatile market is time and compound interest.

Planning for the Unexpected

Tanking markets, employer bankruptcy, family crisis can all have a devastating impact on retirement and retirement planning. Advisors can help participants save for the unexpected.

Generation X: The Forgotten Retirement Segment

They lost benefit options over the years, including pensions. How advisors can help GenXers mind the gaps and improve retirement savings.

What Your Clients Hear About CyberSecurity

Understanding that boards of directors who were formerly reluctant to spend company monies on cybersecurity may now be so cyberfatigued that their decision making may be out of alignment with the realities of employment benefits.

Company Culture and the 401k Consultant

Knowing how to assess and understand company culture when onboarding a new client and how to reassess company culture during times of leadership change can help you meet a client’s needs.

The Retirement Readiness Risk

While it may seem your employees’ lack of retirement preparedness isn’t your issue, the fact is it’s impacting your bottom line.

Don’t Go It Alone: Why an Investment Advisor Can Be Essential to Achieving Retirement Goals

Some financial advisors have also helped employees understand that their goal in retirement planning is more than “beating the market.” Instead, it may involve flexible planning, capturing tax benefits, or helping employees stay the course during volatile markets.

The Hardship Distribution

When plan participants are hard-pressed for money, sometimes they’ll turn to their retirement savings. What will that mean come retirement?

Need a Proposal?

Before leaping into the unknown, we recommend a thorough examination of your plan. Because we are experts in the field, we know the marketplace and know what your existing vendor is capable of offering.  Through this examination, we can help you optimize the service you receive.

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