Podcast of the Month: What if you couldn’t go to work tomorrow?

Disabled person at home

May is Disability Insurance Awareness Month! This special 2-in-1 episode features the incredible story of Rosemarie Rossetti’s terrible accident, and how she managed to stay financially stable during her recovery. Next, Disability Insurance Specialist Corey Anderson breaks down this highly-misunderstood coverage, so you can find out how it really works.

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TPAs: Making Retirement Plans Better

Retirement On Calculator Shows Pensioner Retired DecisionThe German chemical company, BASF, once advertised its value as the ability to improve upon the products created by others.

“At BASF, we don’t make the cooler, we make it cooler. We don’t make the jeans, we make them bluer,” one of the company’s TV commercials famously stated. “At BASF, we don’t make a lot of the products you buy. We make a lot of the products you buy better.”

The retirement plans marketplace has its own BASF that improves upon the work of others: Third Party Administrators or TPAs – like Robin S. Weingast & Associates. Increasingly, financial advisors are partnering with local TPA firms to help sell, design, administer and support defined contribution retirement plans. Some believe it’s a marriage made in heaven.

As a TPA, the Robin S. Weingast & Associates team works with financial advisors deliver a more comprehensive package of services to retirement plan sponsors. These services are becoming increasingly essential in an environment where the designs for retirement plans and the regulations that govern them are becoming ever more complex.

So just how can a TPA make a retirement plan better? TPAs can help guide plan sponsors on regulatory and administrative issues and consult on retirement plan designs, services, and features. Financial advisors may deliver such complementary services as objectively evaluating plan needs, providing information about investment choices, helping educate plan participants, assisting with plan design, and helping select the plan provider.

The relationship often starts with assistance from a TPA in analyzing the plan sponsor’s needs. One of the most important aspects of a successful retirement plan is its design, which can be created to achieve any number of goals. The right retirement plan design may help employees prepare to retire on time, help the business owner save more, reward key employees, give a boost to older employees or achieve a combination of goals.

Understanding what options are available and how they work can be complex and, admittedly, more than a little esoteric. That’s where an assist from a TPA may be especially valuable.

A TPA may help advisors and plan sponsors view how a specific retirement plan design is intended to work, provide options and a cost-value analysis, and provide a hypothetical projection on performance. The insights and analysis may help advisors and their clients make the right choice based on goals, budget and regulatory requirements.

For instance, if the owner of a small business is deferring $18,000 (the maximum) to a salary deferral 401(k) plan but wants to significantly boost her retirement savings, a TPA might recommend adding a Cross-Tested design. This design may allow the client’s business to enhance contributions on her behalf, minimize contributions for non-owner employees, and allow for the maximum total contribution of $54,000 for her. In addition, if the business owner is age 50 or older, she can also contribute an additional $6,000, bringing the total amount of contributions by the owner and the business to $60,000.

But what happens after the plan is in place? Many small, and even medium-sized, employers lack a dedicated, in-house specialist to administer retirement plans. Working with a local TPA may fill the need to have a retirement expert on hand, adding value to your client relationship.

Then there is the ever-changing regulatory environment. As we’ve seen in the past year, government rules and regulations often shift like the sand on a wind-swept beach. What is an advisor to do when those sands create a new dune to climb or maneuver around?

An effective TPA may help an advisor stay up to speed on regulatory changes. More important, a TPA may help advisors understand the implications of new rules and regulations and, in turn, what they mean to sponsors and participants.

That’s critical as 84 percent of sponsors say they value advisors who are proactive, MassMutual’s 2015 Winning Combination study shows*. The study also reports that it’s far better if an advisor informs a client about a new regulations and what it means than if the client has to reach out to the advisor about something that has just been introduced.

Advisors who are newer to the retirement plans marketplace may also learn more about marketing from TPAs, who often partner for prospecting and finals presentations. Working with a local TPA potentially extends an advisor’s contact network for referrals and presents opportunities to jointly market services and host local seminars.

In the past year, the percentage of retirement plans in the small-business market that engage TPAs increase to 85 percent. TPA firms are becoming an important pillar of support, especially for smaller businesses that lack the specialized resources or expertise to successfully administer a retirement plan.

At the end of the day, a The Robin S. Weingast & Associates TPA firm has the potential to help make your retirement plan service and support better.

*2016 Winning Combination Study, What retirement plan sponsors value most from financial advisors, January 2016, https://www.massmutual.com/~/media/files/rs7153_brochure.pdf

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Podcast of the Month: Nest Eggs Beware!

Saving, male hand putting a coin into piggy bank, Robin Weingast

You’ve worked hard, you’ve saved well, and now you have an impressive Nest Egg for retirement. But do you also have a contingency plan in place if you become ill and need extended care? Tune in as Dr. Bob Pokorski explains how easily your Nest Egg could be drained if you don’t have all your bases covered!

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Monthly Podcast: Saving and Spending: Secrets of Centenarians

100-birthday_weingastDid you know that centenarians are the fastest growing segment of the American population? The odds of living a long and vivacious life are increasing all the time, so how do we make the most out of our years? This month on our podcast, author Steve Franklin traveled the country interviewing centenarians, and he shares their wisdom with you!

>>>Click here to listen to this month’s podcast!<<<

 

Resource of the Month: 2017 Open Enrollment Deadlines

robinweingast-health-insuranceThe open enrollment period for Obamacare starts on November 1, 2016 and runs through January 31, 2017. Not enrolling in health insurance comes with financial penalties, so to help you keep track of what you need to know about getting covered, our October Resource of the Month breaks down critical dates and provides you with key information on this important deadline.

Click here to download.

Monthly Podcast: Health Insurance: Get Ready for Open Enrollment

robinweingast-health-insuranceListening to the news these days, it’s hard not to be concerned and confused as we prepare for Open Enrollment. On this month’s podcast, Health Insurance Consultant, sheds a little light on what’s happening to all the big carriers, what could happen after the presidential election, and why consumers have the ball in their court to demand changes.

>>> Click here to listen to this month’s podcast on Open Enrollment! <<<

Monthly Podcast: A Risk you Don’t Have to Take

robinweingastlifeinsurancequoteSeptember‘s podcast features real life stories that show what a difference Life Insurance, or a lack thereof, can make. Whether you want to make sure your plan suits you and your family’s needs, or you’re new to life insurance, “A Risk you Don’t Have to Take” is a must listen for everyone.

>>Click here to listen to the “A Risk You Don’t Have to Take”<<

What you Need to Know about Brexit

brexitDear Friends,

Recently the United Kingdom voted on a referendum and decided to leave the European Union. This Brexit has naturally sent shockwaves through the global markets, which you are likely seeing reflected in your retirement and/or investment accounts.

Please take a moment to read a statement from Mass Mutual about the implications of the Brexit. Their outlook on the US economy is encouraging and their overall approach to dealing with the Brexit is sound and one that I support. I echo their recommendation to focus on your own personal financial goals and think about how you may or may not need to adjust your investment strategies, regardless of what is happening in the global markets.

Click here to read their statement.

Market uncertainty and volatility can create anxiety, but please know that the Robin S. Weingast & Associates team is here to help. If you have questions about what the Brexit means for your personal or business financial picture, please contact us today. Our team of experts is here to guide you through the Brexit and to make sure you’re on track to meet your goals.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Robin S. Weingast, President & Owner
Robin S. Weingast & Associates
516.794.1450

What Robin’s Reading: May 2016

Robin Weingast Reading RecsWelcome to another installment of What Robin’s Reading – our regular feature that gives you an inside look at what the Robin S. Weingast & Associates team is focusing on to stay up-to-date with benefits and retirement planning news.

This month, we continue to monitor the impact of the Department of Labor’s Fiduciary Rule, but with graduation season upon us, we’re also reading up on the investment and benefit trends among the new crop of job seekers.  A recent video by Tony Robbins caught our eye – it contains his opinion on a “must invest” for young professionals.

We also read “Millennials & Financial Literacy—The Struggle with Personal Finance,” a fascinating report on the personal finances of millennials. Based on research conducted by The Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center (GFLEC) at the George Washington University, the report uncovered eight key trends. When it comes to personal finance, millennials:

1. Have inadequate financial knowledge
When tested on financial concepts, only 24% demonstrated basic financial knowledge.

2. Aren’t happy with their current financial situation
When ranking satisfaction on a scale of 1-10, 34% were very unsatisfied.

3. Worry about student loans
When asked about their ability to repay their student loan debt, more than 54% of Millennials expressed concern.

4. Debt crosses economic and educational lines
Among college-educated Millennials, a staggering 81% have at least one longterm debt.

5. Are financially fragile
Nearly 30% of Millennials are overdrawing on their checking accounts.

6. Are heavy users of Alternative Financial Services (AFS)
In the past five years, 42% of Millennials used an AFS product, such as payday loans, pawnshops, auto title loans, tax refund advances, and rent-to-own products.

7. Sacrifice retirement accounts
More than 20% of Millennials with retirement accounts took loans or hardship withdrawals in the past year.

8. Don’t seek professional financial help
Even with inadequate knowledge, only 27% of Millennials are seeking professional financial advice on saving and investment.

But the picture isn’t totally bleak for millennials. Another piece from CNBC outlines distinct advantages that the generation has when saving for retirement. 

Whether you know a young professional who would benefit from advisement, or you want to make sure your own personal finances are in order, the Robin S. Weingast team is here for you. Contact us today for an appointment. Our team of experts is ready to make sure you and your loved ones are on track to meet your financial goals.