• Today’s Estate Planning Strategies
    Today’s Estate Planning Strategies

    How to use ILIT-owned UL with an indemnity LTCi rider

    By Russell E. Towers JD, CLU, ChFC

    A popular new product that has aroused the interest of many estate planners is a Guaranteed No-Lapse UL Policy with an “Indemnity” Type of Long Term Care (LTC) Rider. This type of policy would typically be owned by an Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust (ILIT) to provide an income and estate-tax-free death benefit.
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  • Pay Me Now or Pay Me Later
    Pay Me Now or Pay Me Later

    Participant behavior in plan terminations

    by Daniel J. Thomas and Charles D. Cahill, FSA, EA

    The lump sum offerings by General Motors, Ford, and Verizon created interest in participant behavior when offered the choice between lump sums and annuities. One-third of all defined benefit (DB) plans are frozen and will be terminated in the future. Understanding participant behavior is helpful for both sponsors and consultants as they prepare for termination. This article looks at experience with two 2012 plan terminations.
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  • Winning Big with Small Business
    Winning Big with Small Business

    Tremendous opportunities await brokers who can meet the special needs of smaller employers

    by Gil Youmans

    Your next big break could come from small businesses. Although it may seem hard to believe, small business — those with fewer than 100 employees — could be your biggest source of income if you know how to approach them correctly and give them what they need. After all, 98 percent of all businesses in the United States have fewer than 100 employees.
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  • SSI Reform: Ticking Clock or Ticking Bomb?
    SSI Reform: Ticking Clock or Ticking Bomb?

    Actuaries warn time is the enemy of fixing Social Security’s financial challenges

    by Donald Fuerst, MAAA, EA, FSA, FCA, MSPA

    In testimony I gave before a congressional subcommittee last year, I said that Social Security is a major component of the financial security for the elderly. When I made that statement before the Social Security Subcommittee of the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee, one could say, in a sense, that I advised members of Congress as a “client” that this “product” is suitable to help meet the financial needs of beneficiaries in old age, and particularly as an anti-poverty measure (which was the central purpose of the program as conceived at its inception).
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  • Not Your Parents’ Retirement Plan
    Not Your Parents’ Retirement Plan

    Leveraging Social Security for more secure golden years

    By Martha Shedden, CRPCS

    There are so many challenges and decisions facing pre-retirees today. They must comprehend what is needed to achieve a more secure retirement, and appreciate the steps that consumers, and financial professionals, can each take to benefit themselves and each other.
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  • Liz Smith
    Liz Smith

    Walking the Walk

    by Carolyn S. Ellis

    As president of the employee benefits division at Assurance Brokerage headquartered in Schaumberg, Illinois, Liz Smith has overseen tremendous growth in employee benefit revenue, and that begins, she says, with a philosophy rooted in providing programs aimed at improving the overall quality of the employee experience.
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  • Trends and Opportunities in Voluntary Benefits
    Trends and Opportunities in Voluntary Benefits

    One person’s nightmare is another’s windfall

    by Leonard A. Cavallaro

    On February 10, quietly and without fanfare, the Obama administration once again pushed back the start date of the Affordable Care Act’s “employer mandate” for employers with 50-99 lives. For employers with 100 or more workers, the 2015 requirement was scaled back: Now, to avoid paying a penalty, these employers need to prove coverage for only 70% of their workers instead of the 95% threshold originally mandated.
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  • Finance, and the Anatomy of The Human Brain
    Finance, and the Anatomy of The Human Brain

    Does it guide us to make common investment mistakes?

    By Gregory J. McLaughlin, MS, CFP®

    The fundamental investment principle that we all tell clients early on is “buy low and sell high”. We all know it’s true, so why is it that so many investors all too often do the opposite? To start, we might be able to blame the human brain.
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  • Josh Becker: Strategies for Wealth
    Josh Becker: Strategies for Wealth

    Who We Serve...

    by P.E. Kelley

    Josh Becker walked into Strategies for Wealth in 1997 and knew, intuitively he says, that he wanted to be partners with the two general agents there, Ron Rosbruch and Jerry Harnik. The firm, located in New York’s Westchester County, with branches in the City and out on Long Island, is a member of the Guardian network of independent agencies and was recognized in 2013 as Guardian’s top agency in the U.S.
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  • Rising Taxes are Upon Us!
    Rising Taxes are Upon Us!

    How can your clients’ assets work smarter in the new tax environment?

    by Douglas Wolff

    With April 15 fast approaching, investors are learning a painful lesson: a bull market and the newest tax laws make for bigger payments to the IRS this year – in some cases, much larger payments than investors anticipated. Advisors likely know all too well that some of the discomfort will be due to the new Medicare taxes, but these are not the only cause of clients’ growing distress. Other changes in the tax laws and more taxes on income from taxable investments also are contributing factors.
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  • Tax Strategies for The Early Retirement Dilemma
    Tax Strategies for The Early Retirement Dilemma

    Helping bridge a gap between income need and tax penalties

    by Scott Holden

    As many of us have come to appreciate, the IRS offers opportunities for individuals to save for retirement using the benefits of tax-deferred growth, most notably IRAs, 401(k)s, 403(b)s, SEPs, and other qualified savings accounts.
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  • Measuring Gamma in the Tax-Efficient Frontier
    Measuring Gamma in the Tax-Efficient Frontier

    How intelligent planning decisions can add value for investors

    by David Lau

    The concepts of alpha and beta are well known in the investment world and regularly used by financial advisors to discuss investment strategies with their clients. Alpha allows a financial advisor to measure how a security or a portfolio can outperform a benchmark, and beta is a measure of the volatility or systematic risk of a security or a portfolio compared to the market as a whole. But these are not the sole factors that impact the ultimate success of a retirement portfolio.
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