BCG Blog

Not Just Death and Taxes: Millennial Caregivers of Aging Parents

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?

Real Estate Reality

The real estate market is seeing some significant changes, but not everyone can agree on what those are. Are people really leaving cities? Is Airbnb done for, or will it bounce back? Most importantly, how can sponsors help their employees find the tools and advisors they need to set themselves in the best position?

There Is No Chaos, Really: How to Help Employees Understand Coronavirus Trends

The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted markets in unexpected ways, and many are struggling to understand these new trends. With the right frame of reference, plan sponsors can help employees see the emerging consumer behavioral patterns.

Millennihilism: Investing in an Uncertain Future

It can be difficult for Millennials to envision a better future (financial or otherwise) because they have never really experienced it; after being told it’ll get better time and time again, Millennials have only been disappointed, so now some may not see a point in long-term savings. But can the sometimes-hopeful-hopelessness be the key to a more secure financial future?

Gambling, Gaming, and Investment

Is this just a game to you? For some, the answer is yes. Sports bettors have turned to the stock market, while young people are using investment apps that have the kind of gambling-adjacent features often found in video games.

Forecasting a Storm of Questions about Zero-Fee Funds

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.

Wheel of Misfortune: COVID Test Prices and Accuracy Are the Worst Guessing Game

How much does a COVID test cost? Unfortunately, like many healthcare-related questions, there’s no simple answer. There are, however, a few steps employees can take to ensure they’re minimizing their out-of-pocket expenses and getting accurate results.

Lights, Camera, Action! How to Be the Best Film Director Zoom Has Ever Seen

Zoom, Webex, Teams, oh my! Online meeting platforms are seeing an uptick in use due to the sheer volume of people working remotely, but not everyone can make every meeting. Here are a few tips for supplementing your meetings and presentations for all to enjoy…and for creating digital content to connect safely with clients.

Two Sides of the Same COVID Coin: Dipping into Retirement Savings and Early Retirement

Though early retirement and using retirement savings right now seem like ideas completely at odds with each other, the two courses of action are more similar than they seem; it’s that COVID has employees making tough retirement decisions across the board.

Vis-À-Visa: How Visa Restrictions May Affect Workers, Businesses, and Economic Recovery

To H-1B or not to H-1B, that is the question. Hundreds of thousands of workers will be unable to enter the country thanks to the recent visa restrictions. What does that mean for workers and the economy, and how should investors react?

Are Investment Subscriptions the New Netflix?

Is financial advising the new Netflix? While subscription models exist in the investment world, they’re not exactly common…but that may be changing.

Advising Small Business Owners in a Pandemic: Succession Planning Should be Priority Number 1

Small business owners don't have retirement plans, could that be because they don't have succession plans?

Mad Money: Help Your Clients Save to Save their Sanity

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.

Working Retirement: When Its Time to Call it Quits

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.

Business Insurance: Is it Time to Talk to the Insurance Guy Again?

Financial advisors may be masters at managing risk for their clients, but they should also know to risk manage their own business by having appropriate business insurance. While the mix of what makes up appropriate for one advisor necessarily differs from another, there is one clear and common thing among all advisors when it comes to insurance: no one could have seen 2020 coming.

Safety First: How Student Loans Impacted Millennials’ Investment Future

Why are Millennials more reticent to enter the stock market than their predecessors? Student loans may offer some insight.

Side Gig Superheroes

Almost half of those in the workforce have a part-time “side gig” to help pay the bills, save for retirement, or generate a little extra spending money. As the COVID-19 pandemic prompted massive layoffs and record unemployment numbers, here are a few ways gig workers can cope during this economic crisis.

Investing in a Better Future: ESG and Black Lives Matter

It’s easy for brands to adopt the language of social reform and make commitments they have no intention of keeping. Here’s how to help your clients distinguish performative allyship from real commitments to racial justice before investing.

Security Issues In the AC – After Corona

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.

Numbers Worth Watching: Surveys, Statistics and Some Good News

The news comes fast and furious these days. Vaccines are launching. Jobs are coming or going. And in the middle of all of that, it can be hard to distill what is important or what’s worthy of your attention. There is good news in that mix.

Wall Street and Main Street

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.

Welcome Home, Grandma!

COVID-19 may have made your parent’s plans of living independently more complex. Here are four resources a Plan Sponsor can provide their employees to tackle the topic of moving a parent into their home.

Pandora’s Box or Better than Ever? Tips for Benefits Presentations in a Pandemic

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.

The Shecession Cometh: Women and Investing in a Pandemic

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.

How Will the CARES Act Change Your Workflow?

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.

What is Covered by the CARES Act and What Else Might be Coming?

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.

Who Is Involved in implementing the CARES Act Retirement Provisions In Your Office?

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.

New Clients: Best Practices Are Never Old

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.

What do you tell your clients who want to help?

For clients in the position to help their local economies long term, they may want more information from their financial advisors about how and where to direct their investments. For financial advisors, this can be a long conversation.

Should You YouTube?

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?

What Clients Want to Hear from their Financial Advisors Right Now

Advisors may be hearing a lot from their clients right now. They may be hearing anything from panic to frustration to rage to dejection. So, with all that worry, what do clients most want their advisors to tell them? We did a round up of folks we know and trust and found the following themes.

Working from Home: Tips for Optimal Performance

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.

How to Speak Stress: Messaging Tips for Marketing Info In Confusing Times

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?

Volatility is the New Normal

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.

Now That It’s a Rainy Day: Calling in the Emergency Funds and Changing Hardship Definitions

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.

Color Me Calm: Help Employees Stop Touching Their Dashboards

Anxious coworkers may get more anxious when they can work from home. With the liberty to check their retirement dashboards without other coworkers seeing and a highly volatile time in the stock markets, how can a Plan Sponsor help reduce some of the anxiety among employees at this difficult time?

Important Retirement Plan Administrative Notice

As the coronavirus (COVID-19) increases its impact on our communities, we want to keep you updated on the steps we’re taking to protect the health and well-being of our employees while continuing to provide exceptional service to our partners as our top priorities.

Can I Ask You Something? Why Your Clients Aren’t Asking You More Questions

Your clients may want to ask you something. In fact, your potential clients may want to ask you something. And yet you might never hear it. Why is talking about money so hard?

Pitch Perfect: How to Fine Tune Your Sales Pitches

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.

Your Time Management Misses the Target

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.

Thinking of Offering an Employer Match to a 529 Plan? Think Deeply

As employers strive to offer more benefits to their employees, they may need to consider all the variables involved, including their own administrative capacities.

Digital Pocket Change? Employees May Be Too Ready to Rely on Money Saving Apps

They may not be as cute as Baby Yoda, but digital pocket change apps may be just as appealing. Plan Sponsors may want to round out the information employees receive about them to make sure those apps rounding up purchases don’t leave employees broke or budgets broken.

Goal Getters: Are Americans Behind in Saving for Retirement?

Are Americans meeting savings goals for their retirement? More than 50% probably aren’t even close a new survey shows.

Free Library for Your Lunch Room: Book Suggestions

The lunch room is a great place to help employees learn financial literacy. How so? Simply add a Free Library to it and encourage employees to borrow a book. Here’s a list of a few great books to get started.

On the cusp: Retirement Horizon Employees Want to Know

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.

Reskilling: Your Clients May Need Your Advice On Working With This Trend

Some estimates put the amount of employees who will need retraining in the immediate future at 54%. Your clients may be up to their elbows in figuring out reskilling programs. Here are some key points to learn about the reskilling trend.

Reliable Source: How to Capture Free Marketing Through Media Coverage

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?

Grammar Mistakes on the Rise: Five Tips to Keep from Similar Disasters

Want to avoid publishing marketing materials with glaring grammar mistakes? Here’s a review of common examples and a few tips.

Four Topics to Tackle in Financial Education for Employees

While everyone else is planning their physical fitness reboot for 2020, employers and HR professionals may be wondering how they can improve employees financial fitness. Here are four ways to tackle financial education for your company in 2020.

Hardship and Leakage: New IRS Rules May Have Employees Asking Tough Questions

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?

Cultural Competency and Financial Literacy for Employers

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.

Are you really ready to grow? Scaling Your Business for Growth

How can you ready your business for growth? Here are solutions for addressing growth challenges in personnel, regulation and technology.

Diversified Streams of Income and Your Email: Beware!

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.

The New C-Suite: How to Position Your Marketing to Reach the Right Folks

With new titles like Chief Development Officer and Chief Growth Officer, it can be hard to know who to pitch to and who is a must not miss on a marketing invite. Here are a few insights about the newest members of the C-Suite.

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.

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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