Money Tree's Financial Planning Software Blog

Top Client Services: Retirement Income & Financial Planning

by Carolyn Rothwell

As we all know, there is much uncertainty surrounding the DOL fiduciary rule, which is due to take effect in less than two months. Regardless of if the DOL fiduciary rule is delayed, or a new rule is written to replace or even eliminate the current rule, the trend of advisors working to provide clients with more value, care, and transparency will continue.

Actions of Saving More and Working Longer Win Out Over Spending Less

by Carolyn Rothwell

When it comes to retirement, Americans are far more inclined to work longer or save more than accept a lower income in retirement. A recent study by Willis Towers Watson found delaying retirement was the top action Americans would take in order to offset a retirement shortfall. The study showed 52% of employees age 50 or over would delay retirement in order to overcome inadequate savings for retirement. Employees under age 50 are split between the actions of saving more (44%) and working longer (45%).   

A Good Time to Discuss College Costs and Planning

by Carolyn Rothwell

Spring SAT Test Season is Upon Us

Spring SAT testing season is in full swing, and for many families this puts college front and center. High school students are now taking a newly updated SAT. The College Board, the group responsible for the SAT, has made content and scoring changes to the 2016 test.

Plan Updates with Silver Online's Customer Access

by Carolyn Rothwell

Planning reviews are an important part of the financial planning process. Regular reviews help ensure clients stay on track to meet their goals. Reviews also provide advisors the chance to reconnect with clients as you work together through the planning process.

A majority of advisors conduct plan reviews at least annually according to the FPA’s Research & Practice Institute’s study 2015 Trends in Financial Planning. The survey reported only a third of advisors charge a separate fee for creating initial plans and even less charge a separate fee for plan updates. While the time required to complete plan updates is typically a fraction of the thirteen hour average spent creating initial plans, the total time investment can be significant considering the frequency of reviews.

Taking steps to simplify the planning review and update process can pay off quickly. Advisors planning with Silver Online can leverage the customer access feature to streamline plan updates. The customer access portal allows clients to review plan data and optionally make changes to update the planning information.

File & Suspend Social Security Strategy Deadline Approaching:  April 29th

by Carolyn Rothwell

Time is running out for the File & Suspend Social Security Strategy. Clients turning 66 or older by April 29th can still file and suspend. They must file and request voluntary suspension on or before April 29th. If the request is made before the April 29th deadline, eligible family members such as the client’s spouse can still receive benefits on the client’s record. After April 29th, any suspension of benefits will also suspend benefits for anyone receiving benefits on the client’s record (excluding divorced souses.) 

Financial Planning - Process, Time, and Profits

by Carolyn Rothwell

How does your practice's financial planning process compare to other financial advisors? A recent report from FPA Research and Practice Institute™ helps planners understand how advisors engage in the financial planning process. Financial Planning in 2015: Today’s Demands, Tomorrow’s Challenges explores the financial planning process, resources used, fees charged and more. The study uses the CFP® certification to segment the advisors and explore the results of the two groups.    

Social Security Planning in the Post-Bipartisan Budget Act World

by Donnie Carpenter

This post is a follow up to Social Security Game Changer: Bipartisan Budget Act 2015, which discusses the history of Social Security optimization strategies, the new rules and important planning caveats. This post explores Social Security strategies for an example client not eligible for either a File and Suspend Strategy or a Restricted Filing Strategy.  For those who are not eligible for either of the above strategies this does limit the Social Security optimization tools available, but it does not eliminate them. Below are some of the strategies that remain available. In addition to these, it is still important to know the break-even age when delaying benefits provides for more life-time income, and results in a higher asset balance than having claimed benefits earlier.

Social Security Game Changer: Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015

by Donnie Carpenter

As of November 2, 2015 the Bipartisan Budget Act (BBA) of 2015 has been signed into law. The BBA was created first and foremost to raise the debt limit to avoid the United States defaulting on financial obligations. However, included in the BBA is a major game changer for all Americans retiring in the next several years.

Focus Clients on Goals and Next Steps with Planning

by Carolyn Rothwell

October is Financial Planning month, and it serves as a timely reminder of the importance of planning. The fundamental purpose of financial planning is to help clients clearly understand their goals and make the best decisions to move towards those goals. With uncertainty in the markets, clients can lose focus and feel compelled to make moves that are not aligned with their goals.

What Americans Don't Know about Social Security Benefits

by Carolyn Rothwell

Social Security claiming decisions are very important to your clients and prospects, but a majority of future Social Security beneficiaries do not understand how claiming decisions impact their benefits.  Results from a joint AARP and the FPA research survey, Social Security Planning in 2015 & Beyond:  Perspectives of Future Beneficiaries and Financial Planners, show the importance future beneficiaries place on maximizing benefits and determining the best age to claim benefits. 

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