In the week that ended Oct. 14, the number of Americans making their first claims for jobless benefits dropped to 222,000, the smallest number since March 1973, the Labor Department said. It was the 137th week in a row that claims held below the 300,000 mark, which is viewed by economists as a sign that the labor market is strong.
Clients approaching retirement age require personalized advice, as target-date funds might not be the best choice for them, Clint Barker of PGIM Investments said in a panel discussion at a recent PlanAdviser conference. Jeffrey Bograd of John Hancock Retirement Plan Services noted that tailored advice is crucial for older investors, because people "get only one chance at retirement."
The Senate has voted 51-49 to approve a budget blueprint for fiscal 2018 that opens the door to adoption of tax cuts proposed by President Donald Trump without Democratic votes. The measure needs reconciliation with a version passed by the House before it can be submitted for Trump's signature.
The addition of in-plan annuities makes a defined-contribution retirement plan not only a savings plan but also a retirement-income plan, industry experts say. Research indicates that Americans are aware that steady income is important in retirement but not that they can reach such a goal through annuities.
Employees contributing to 401(k), 403(b) and most 457 plans will be able to place an additional $500 in those plans next year, when the limit will increase to $18,500. The Internal Revenue Service is also raising the income ranges used to assess eligibility for deductible contributions to IRAs, contributions to Roth IRAs and the saver's credit.
Both supporters and critics of the Department of Labor's fiduciary rule oppose state efforts to pass similar laws. They say such laws will not be consistent and will add to regulatory burdens, and that state laws could create additional loopholes that could harm consumers.
More advisors are shifting toward digital channels to connect with clients, using technology such as mobile apps that allow advisors to link accounts and show clients their full financial picture, writes Stuart DePina, president of Envestnet. Customer relationship management systems can also keep advisor-client communication secure, ensuring Securities and Exchange Commission guidelines are met.
"Money silence," which contributes to a lack of financial literacy, could drive the next generation to fire their financial advisors or to never hire them in the first place, says KBK Wealth Connection founder Kathleen Burns Kingsbury. Improving communication with clients and developing a relationship with them can help attract younger demographics to financial services, she says.
The majority of mutual fund asset allocation in defined-contribution plans -- excluding money market and target-date funds -- is in actively managed funds, with 56% of such funds' assets invested in US equity, according to data from Strategic Insight Simfund. Retirement plan participants invested $10.3 billion in actively managed funds during this year's second quarter.
Financial advisors should take advantage of data-visualization techniques to better serve clients saving for retirement, says Christopher Matzke of ICMA-RC. The tools can give advisors a look at clients' potentially ineffective investment strategies, allowing them to alert clients and educate them on how to improve their investment.
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