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Self-directed IRAs hold risks for financial advisers

December 1, 2014

The year-end tax savings crunch is here. Better make sure your clients don't get snared in a self-directed IRA scam. The North American Securities Administrators Association on Monday warned investors about the fact and fiction behind the duties...

Health savings accounts: Transforming health care, forcing hard choices

November 30, 2014

It isn't every day that an adviser would recommend that a client cut back on 401(k) contributions, but financial planner Ben Wacek recently suggested that an investor do that in order to better manage the cost of health care. The client, an...

Integrate college, retirement plans

November 30, 2014

Since September, I have been in front of at least $5 million of potential new assets under management almost every week. How? I help parents determine their best strategy to pay for college and save for retirement. I focus on four key areas:...

Retirement plan contribution limits for tax year 2015 bring new opportunities

November 30, 2014

The IRS has announced cost-of-living adjustments to the limitations for retirement plan contributions for tax year 2015. These COLA adjustments are incremental, but the higher limitations provide an opportunity for savers to accelerate pre-tax...

Making inherited IRAs work after the Supreme Court's Clark decision

November 29, 2014

The Supreme Court's recent 9-0, unanimous ruling regarding inherited individual retirement accounts has important ramifications for spouses. In a landmark decision, this summer, it ruled that an inherited IRA is not protected in bankruptcy under...

The 401(k) gender gap: Women are saving more than men

November 28, 2014

Even though men make $1 to a woman's 77 cents, women were the bigger savers over the past 12 months. For men and women with similar salaries, up to the $150,000 mark, the women have more money in their 401(k) on average, according to new data...

Rollovers of 401(k)s into pension plans gets government agency backing

November 26, 2014

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. on Tuesday finalized a rule to allow participants to push 401(k) assets into pensions, nudging employees to consider annuitizing these funds while curbing their ability to draw from the money before they retire....

Being a traffic cop at the intersection of disability and Social Security benefits

November 26, 2014

Much of the financial planning community has embraced Social Security claiming strategies as an integral part of retirement income planning, but Social Security disability benefits remain a mystery to many. Based on the contents of my mailbag,...

Broker-dealers sound off as AIG leads off with first annuity for 401(k)s

November 25, 2014

The first deferred-income annuity that meets the Treasury's guidelines for a qualified-longevity-annuity contract is out, and broker-dealer execs have plenty of questions. AIG launched the so-called QLAC version of its American Pathway deferred-income...

John Hancock pushes for liquid alts in retirement plans

November 25, 2014

John Hancock steps up to support for liquid alternatives in defined contribution plans. University endowments allocate 53% to alternatives, but most retail-class investors are stuck with long-only stock and bond funds. As straightforward as...

Global buying binge pumps more air into the bond market run

November 24, 2014

A global bond market mismatch now has demand far outstripping supply. Just when you thought yields couldn't get any lower, they can and probably will. Since 2007, demand for bonds has outpaced supply by $2.5 trillion Loading up on stocks in...

Life insurers launching new variable annuities despite tepid sales

November 24, 2014

Sales of variable annuities are tepid industrywide, but the life insurers selling them continue to launch new products. Data from the LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute revealed that variable annuity sales hit $35.5 billion in the third quarter,...

Government workers get first crack at phased retirement

November 23, 2014

Virtually every survey of American workers finds the majority would like to ease into retirement, perhaps working part time for a few years before calling it quits completely. The problem is, corporate America has been slow to embrace the phased-retirement...

DOL to review documents in 401(k) excessive fee suit

November 21, 2014

The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California is allowing, in part, a motion for the Department of Labor to intervene in a 401(k) excessive fee lawsuit against defense contractor Northrop Grumman. On Nov. 18, the court gave...

Why the IRS is toothless in the fight against supersized IRAs

November 20, 2014

Government Accountability Office solves the riddle of the multimillion-dollar IRA. Turns out the IRS is toothless in the fight because of endless legal disputes over asset values. Filling retirement accounts with stock that isn't publicly traded....

Deconstructing Social Security rules for remarriage

November 20, 2014

I read an astounding statistic the other day: 40% of all newlyweds in 2013 were previously divorced or widowed. According to a recent report from Pew Research Center, 42 million Americans took their second (or third) trip down the aisle last...

IRS losing the battle over mega-IRAs as company founders fill retirement accounts with nonpublic stock

November 20, 2014

Corporate and private equity executives can accumulate millions of dollars in tax-favored retirement accounts, taking advantage of gaps in the law and IRS enforcement, according to a Government Accountability Office study. The Internal Revenue...

Retirement plan sponsors want more from advisers

November 20, 2014

Retirement plan sponsors want better service from financial advisers, according to Fidelity Investments'annual survey on plan sponsor attitudes. “We're seeing that the conversation between plan sponsors and advisers is starting to change,”...

SEC keeps fiduciary promises vague for 2015

November 18, 2014

The Securities and Exchange Commission is not forecasting much activity over the next year on the issue of raising investment-advice standards for brokers, while it is trying to eke out more examinations of registered advisers, according to...

Early detection of Alzheimer's would allow for better financial planning

November 18, 2014

A new blood test being developed to detect Alzheimer’s can identify the disease up to a decade before a clinical diagnosis can spot the signs, a development that should help financial advisers better plan for their clients’ future. “From...

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