Podcast of the Month: No Necktie Needed

When you think of a financial advisor do you picture a man?

Meet Juli McNeely, Financial Professional and former President of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors. In her new book and on this episode “No Necktie Needed” she tells the story of how she thrived in a male-dominated industry, and how she’s inspiring her fellow advisors to educate and engage women as more and more females become primary breadwinners and decision makers.

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Resource of the Month: The Need for Retirement Planning

Retirement Planning Robin WeingastWith increased life expectancy, early retirement dreams, and changing population demographics, the nature of retirement has changed dramatically. But one thing remains the same: people often underestimate the need to save for this next stage of their life.

A recent analysis by the Economic Policy Institute revealed that the average couple has $5,000 saved for retirement — well below what they will need to maintain their standard of living when they stop earning a regular income.

Still need convincing that retirement saving should be a priority? Our Resource of the Month makes a compelling case for why retirement planning, with the help of a well-informed professional, is a must for everyone.

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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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Resource of the Month: Estate Planning Quick List

Ready to make estate planning a priority for 2017? Our January 2017 Resource of the Month will help you take the first step. It’s a quick checklist of the factors you need to consider when creating an estate plan.

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Ready to take the next step in estate planning? Click here to contact us for your consultation with the Robin S. Weingast & Associates team.

Need to know: Estate Planning Tips

 

Robin Weingast Estate Planning

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Did you make any resolutions for 2017? While most people focus on getting in shape or eating healthier, it’s also worth making “financial fitness” a priority in the new year. One key step is to make sure you have an up-to-date estate plan. Without a properly updated will, you have no guarantee that your wishes will be honored — plus, you may jeopardize your loved one’s peace-of-mind and financial stability.

To help get you started, the Robin S. Weingast team presents these ten estate planning tips:

1) Make a plan (and update it!): It may sound obvious, but many people realize they need an estate plan but stop short of actually making one. It’s not enough to say “I need a plan” — you have to take the next step and either make a plan or work with an advisor to create a plan. Once you have that plan, it’s vital to keep it updated.

2) Make sure you don’t confuse equal with equitable: Many people believe that if you split things evenly amongst your beneficiaries, that you’re being both equal and equitable. In fact, you need to consider each beneficiary’s individual context to make sure your distribution is equitable.

3) Choose the right executor or trusteeMany people assume a family member is the right choice as an executor or trustee for your estate plan. In fact, family members may not be the best choice and a trusted, non-related executor may make it easier for the process to go smoothly.

4) Involve family members from the beginning: While a family member may not be the right executor of your plan, it is key to keep your family members involved from the start of your process. This will help avoid awkward conversations when your plan has already been developed, and will make their lives easier when it comes time to follow your estate plan.

5) Understand and plan for all tax situations: Are you aware of how every tax situation may affect your estate plan? this is where having a plan advisor comes in handy, especially one who is current on all tax rules and regulations.

6) Consider the impact of long-term care: Your health situation now may not be your health situation 5 years from now. Understand what your long-term care needs may be, and plan for them. (Click here to check out our blog posts on long-term care planning for more information)

7) Update your beneficiaries: Families grow and change over the year — make sure your estate plan considers new arrivals.

8) Use lifetime gifting: This will help make sure generations beyond your children will benefit from your planning.

9) Use trusts: Trusts give you more control over how your assets are maintained and distributed.

10) Follow the plan: Once you’ve done the hard work of creating a plan, it’s important to make sure you follow it.  Just like a personal trainer keeps you on track at the gym, an advisor can help keep you on track.

Need more help as you tackle your financial fitness? The Robin S. Weingast & Associates team is up-to-date on all estate planning needs and would be happy to work with you to create a plan or evaluate your current one. Contact us today to set up your free consultation!

Podcast of the Month: Big Changes Coming in 2017, The Pros & Cons

Robin Weingast Retirement File Showing Documents For Pensioners

Are you planning on retiring someday? The financial services industry is going through a massive overhaul via the Department of Labor! While this may not be front page news for the average citizen, this has huge implications for the way you will be able to seek out and pay for advice that helps you save for retirement. In our latest monthly podcast, Dale Brown, CEO of the Financial Services Institute helps you weigh the pros and cons of the changes, and fills you in on what to expect.

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Podcast of the Month: Do You Have This Egg In Your Financial Basket?

Tuition has gone up more than 50% since 1999 and there’s no sign of it slowing down. Luckily, there are a lot of great tools to help you plan and save so you or your loved ones can afford higher education.

On this month’s podcast, 40+ year Insurance Industry veteran John Wheeler shares one out-of-the box savings tool you might not have considered!

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Resource of the Month: Planning for the Sandwich Generation

Robin Weingast financial planning for couplesAre you raising children (or have your adult children come back home), saving for your own retirement, and also involved in decisions about your own parents’ healthcare and financial planning? If so, then you’re one of the increasing number of people who are part of “The Sandwich Generation,” which comes with practical and financial complications.

Hitting your financial goals as a member of The Sandwich Generation can be difficult, which is why we’re offering you a Resource of the Month with tips on how to keep your eye on your goals, even as your many needs compete for your attention.

Click here to Download Planning for the Sandwich Generation.

Need to Know: The High Cost of Employees Not Retiring on Time

Why does Retirement Age Matter?

In retirement planning, we often focus on the “end goal” — making plans related to the age we want to be when we retire, and what our spending level needs are after we don’t have a steady income coming in from our jobs.

Retirement Book On Laptop Showing Pension Plans And Elderly Advices

But do you know the effect of what happens when we aren’t ready to retire on time? And do you know what that means for your company if an employee can’t retire on schedule?

At a recent session of “Plan Sponsor University,” Tom Foster of MassMutual, outlined some key risks to a company (and its employees) when someone can’t retire on schedule and has to work well beyond the standard retirement age. They include:

Lower productivity: Workers who have to stay on longer than the typical retirement age may become less and less productive the older they get. This affects the bottom line of your company in significant ways.

Higher healthcare and workers compensation costs: On average, older workers have higher healthcare costs and premiums as well as higher worker’s compensation rates that must be paid by employers. These costs can also be passed on to other employees.

Higher salary costs: Seasoned employees are typically compensated at a higher rate than entry-level employees.

Unexpected turnover: Older employees often hold up the advancement of younger, entry-level employees, who cannot be promoted because their more experienced colleagues occupy senior-level positions. Without growth opportunities, younger employees will seek out new positions where they have more chance to advance their own careers.

Financial wellness: Studies show that employees who are financially stressed — and we can assume that someone working well beyond retirement age will be financially stressed —are prone to working more slowly and may take more sick days.

What’s the solution?

A company-sponsored defined contribution plan, such as a 401(k), is a key way to ensure the viability of your company. Not only can it help your employees reach their retirement goals, it will also set your company up to succeed, by ensuring that your employees are retiring on time and not holding up the growth of your company.

Want to evaluate your retirement plan or need assistance setting up a company sponsored retirement plan? Contact the Robin S. Weingast & Associates team today to help!