Even with a decades-low unemployment rate, lower taxes and low inflation, many Americans are not benefiting from the vibrant economy, with a recent Oxford Economics analysis showing people in the lowest 60% of earners tap savings to pay for everyday expenses. Stagnant wages and rising gasoline and housing prices, along with student-loan debt and child-care costs, are among the reasons some people still struggle financially.
Given the potentially high cost, all retirees should plan for the possibility of an expensive stay in long-term care, according to a paper from Mercer and Vanguard. The resources that should be considered include income annuities and home equity, according to the paper.
Replacing bonds with annuities in target-date funds and encouraging employers to make matching contributions to annuity purchases would make 401(k) plans better tools for providing retirement income, said J. Mark Iwry, who worked on retirement policy in the Treasury Department during the Clinton and Obama administrations. Proposed legislation in Congress would relieve some plan sponsors of their concerns that they would be sued if the annuity provider they select for their plan gets into financial trouble.
Legislators and regulators are discussing the importance of encouraging people to have guaranteed income in retirement but it may take a few years for that conversation to become action, said Terry Dunne, managing director of retirement services at Millennium Trust. Meanwhile, plan sponsors should help participants, including terminating or retiring employees, transform their defined-contribution assets into retirement income, he said.
President Donald Trump has nominated Dino Falaschetti, a former law professor who is the chief economist for the House Financial Services Committee, to direct the Treasury Department's Office of Financial Research. Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, said Falaschetti "is exactly what OFR needs to realize its vision of 'a transparent, efficient and stable financial system.' "
Nina O'Neal, a 14-year industry veteran and firm owner, discusses the challenges women face in the advisory business. She notes women are often dismissed by their male colleagues and counterparts and looks at the ways men have an "opportunity to be advocates and trusted partners for their female colleagues."
The majority of high-net-worth clients expect their future relationship with their financial advisor to be mostly or all digital, and implementing client-facing technology will "add value into an advisor's practice where robos tend to fall short," writes Tom Burmeister of Advicent Solutions. While it can't replace in-person or phone meetings, he contends "a compelling digital experience" can make it simpler to engage with clients and bolster relationships.
Many people with fixed-income portfolios are worried about how rising interest rates could affect their retirement funds, writes Christine Benz. She offers several tips for retirees in this environment, including reflecting on debt, staying mindful of equity holdings and not ignoring inflation.
Officials in Madison County, Ga., want a power company that plans to build a power plant to obtain a surety bond to cover costs associated with infrastructure improvements. The county wants to ensure its taxpayers will not be on the hook for a $4 million water line if the plant is not built.
A court case from the UK shows what can happen when a surety bond clause is poorly written, an attorney writes. Rewriting a key provision in the standard form created ambiguous language.