The US economy is continuing to grow modestly, largely as a result of increased activity in the housing market and strengthening auto sales, according to the Federal Reserve's Beige Book. The oil industry is under pressure from low global prices, and manufacturing is starting to feel the effects of China's slowdown.
Baby boomers have become less confident over the years about their prospects for a comfortable retirement, according to research by the Insured Retirement Institute. This year, 27% of baby boomers surveyed by IRI said they expect to have sufficient money in retirement, down from 33% in 2013 and 37% in 2011.
Two more financial planners have been censured by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards for improperly calling themselves fee-only advisors. The rules require advisors who receive commissions or work for a firm that receives commissions to use the term "fee and commission" instead of "fee only."
Sales of fixed index annuities surged to almost $12.3 billion in the second quarter, an almost 8% increase over the first quarter total, according to data from Wink. In the second quarter, sales of conventional fixed annuities topped $3.7 billion and sales of multiyear guaranteed annuities came in just over $4.2 billion, Wink said.
Martin Shenkman suggests that an apt model for client service these days is a symphony, "with each advisor playing in harmony with the others, making beautiful planning music." Such an approach is not the norm, unfortunately, he adds.
Investors pulled $11 billion out of US stock mutual funds in the week that concluded on Aug. 26, according to the Investment Company Institute. That was the strongest weekly outflow since early October 2012. Investors also yanked $12.1 billion from bond funds, the fifth consecutive week of outflows.
By rolling part of a 401(k) or individual retirement account balance into a qualified longevity annuity contract, retirement investors can reduce the required minimum distributions that are mandatory under federal law. The monetary penalty for failing to comply with the RMD rules can be significant.
Estate planning is usually a mundane exercise, albeit an important one. While short-term problems are not common, advisors and clients would be wise to pay attention to key details to ensure that all documentation holds up if challenged later. Here are 12 tips.
Investors with a heavy concentration in a single stock tend to have low costs bases, which can result in high tax bills when they diversify. Gavin Morrissey discusses how exchange funds might be an ideal solution, as they allow for diversification without the tax consequences.
Recent research suggests that the old 4% rule, if followed strictly, would lead retirees astray with their finances. "The real safe withdrawal rate, accounting for fees and today's stock and bond market levels, is under 2% per year," note Wade Pfau and Wade Dokken.
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