BCG Blog

You Are Not a Bus: Why Choosing the Right Clients is a Key to Business Success

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.

The Retirement Heartbreak Hidden in “OK Boomer”

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.

The Impact of Impact Investing

Socially Responsible Investing now tops $30 million in AUM. Is Impact Investing catching up? Read on for details on a new survey in Impact Investing and how this may show a trend.

You Can Use Your HSA for That? Helping Employees Understand How HSAs Work

As open enrollment time for health care plans comes around again, employees may be confused about the role that a HSA can play in both their retirement. In fact they may be surprised at some of ways they can use an HSA.

The Gift That Keeps on Giving: Donating to 529 Plans

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.

Next at Noon: Planning Your Financial Planning Seminars for 2020

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.

Move to the Head of the Class: Online Class Software Can Help Employees Learn Retirement Savvy

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.

Beware of Greenwashing in Investment Reporting

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.

Risk Savvy Retirement Planning: Use Your Enterprise Risk Management Tools to Educate Employees

Many employees may think investing in the stock market is too risky. If risk is an issue, why not explain risk management using the same tools your company uses?

Technology Watch: What to Keep an Eye on for 2020

Keeping up with technology for your financial advisory firm may feel like trying to keep tabs on your teenager. It’s more than watching trends. It’s about being able to see how trends in tech may pose a risk to your clients or their business.

How Little May Make it Big: Microloans for the Middle Class

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.

Things That Make You Go “Hmmmm…..”: Making it Easy to Raise Compliance Concerns

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.

Why UNFOCUS Time Might Help Your Employees Solve Their Retirement Readiness Problems

While the U.S. news media seems steeped in the benefits of mindfulness and learning to concentrate or focus, maybe its time to hear the benefits of unfocusing for a little while.

Divorce and Retirement Planning: Let’s Talk About How You Talk About Your EAP

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.

Crytpo-Currency as the Newest Snake Oil? Tulips, Beanie Babies and BitCoin

There may be something deeper in the recent revival of interest in Bitcoin, and Plan Sponsors should take note.

Are You Achieving Someone Else’s Goals? Success by Your Own Terms

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?

Financial Feminism Two Years Later: What Can You Learn from WorthFM vs. Ellevest?

In late 2016 two female focused financial platforms faced off. One survived. How does that success help advisors understand financial feminism?

RecordKeeping in an Ephemeral World

While you may wish that those rules would go up in a puff of smoke, you definitely don’t want the communications to disappear in 24 hours. That means when it comes to ephemeral communications you need to be on your toes.

Recordkeeping Requirements and the Courts: Plan Sponsors May Face Scrutiny on Their Recordkeeper

Not too long ago the lawsuit pending against Anthem was settled for a remarkable $23.6 million figure. And while that amount may give plan sponsors pause, several other aspects of the case are worth noting. Here’s a deep dive into several parts of the lawsuit and settlement that can help plan sponsors.

Planning for a Plan Audit... Just in Case

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.

Helping Employees Understand Target Date Funds and Other Automatic Investment Tools

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.

Compliance: Internal Controls Vital in Recent FINRA Decisions

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.

Money and Wellbeing by the Numbers: How Happy Are Your Clients?

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.

Supreme Court's Next Session Full of ERISA Potential: Four Cases You May Want to Watch this Fall

While many may be watching the market for the next signs of recession, it may be smart to also keep an eye on the courts. Here is a quick overview of what to keep in mind from the highest court for the Fall of 2019 on ERISA.

Is Employee Benefit Software Changing?

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?

Scripts are More than for Cold Calling: Why Using Scripts for Ethical Dilemmas Works

Just like their attorney, advisors may have specific forms they prefer to use again and again, scripts work for making sure all points are covered in talking to new clients or in describing the risk of an investment. Similarly, scripts can work for ethical situations. Here’s how.

Up Your Presentation Game: Alternatives to Powerpoint

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.

Why You Need a Brag Sheet to Keep You at Your Best

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.

IRAs! Woo Hoo! Why Sponsors Should Get More Excited When Talking About IRAs

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.

Positivity is a Powerhouse: How to Help Employees Generate Positive Attitudes to Impact Retirement Readiness

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?

But the contractors get better benefits than us! How to Better Explain Employee Benefits

If your company, like most relies on outside contractors, your employees scratching their heads about why the contractor’s get better benefits. Here’s a few tips on how to talk to employees about benefits.

Employee Satisfaction Surveys: Can New Surveys Help Plan Sponsors Meet their Employee's Needs?

Boosting employee engagement can sometimes come from new leadership or management. But it can also come without such a massive shake up. Your management can change their tune without throwing the band off the stage.

Matchy Matchy: What's Keeping Americans From Using an Employer Match?

20% of Americans are missing out on an employer match in their retirement accounts. Read on for why that might be and what plan sponsors can do.

What Happens When I Leave? Employee Benefits To Go

Employees are more willing ever to consider jumping ship for other opportunities. How can a plan sponsor keep up with an increasingly mobile workforce?

More than Medical: Benefits Packages Plus

Benefits and perks are a major consideration in weighing job offers. Nearly 80% of those surveyed would take additional benefits over an increase in salary. Read on for more on benefits that capture recruit’s attention

Start Small: Even Small Amounts Can Make a Big Difference in Retirement Readiness

So how does a plan sponsor beat news of overnight success stories to encourage saving for retirement? By using the same behavior that they want an employee to engage in: start small by using examples that are easy to digest.

Saving for a Rainy Day in a Boom Economy: 5 Methods That Work for Client Advice

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?

State Regulations to Watch

With all eyes on the federal government’s various efforts at reforming the fiduciary rules for financial advisors and administrators, attention may have slipped from the States.

What do clients look for in a financial advisor?

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.

The End of Algorithm Nation? The Culture of Podcasts and Love of Research

You don’t have to look too far to find the road to Wall Street littered with the shells of robo-investing platforms that just couldn’t make it. So if the algorithm has a case of the blues, what takes its place? A love of research-backed stories.

“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.

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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