‘Financial Planning for College’ session at Camden library

CAMDEN — The Camden Public Library will hold its “Financial Planning for College” session at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 14, at 55 Main Street. Future college students and their parents are welcome to ask questions and learn about the steps involved in planning.

CFP Board and Foundation for Financial Planning Honor the University of Georgia with the Inaugural Pro Bono Award

WASHINGTON, Feb. 21, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards and the Foundation for Financial Planning (FFP) today announced the first-ever recipient of the CFP Board and Foundation for Financial Planning Excellence in Pro Bono Award the University of Georgia (UGA).

“Pro bono work is critical to the advancement of the financial planning profession. The University of Georgia is putting its students on the right path – in school and in their future financial planning careers – by making pro bono a central part of its program,” said Kevin R. Keller, CAE, CFP Board’s Chief Executive Officer. “The program is to be commended for giving its students this first-hand, real world experience of helping others that will serve them well in their own careers as financial planners.”

University of Georgia financial planning students participated in client-facing service activities through the ASPIRE Clinic and the Internal Revenue Service’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program to provide “pro bono financial planning and tax filing and services that increase the financial stability and capability of hundreds of individuals and families.”

Through collaboration with program faculty, as well as nutrition, legal, and counseling departments across the campus, UGA students were able to meet a need in their community for financial awareness and stability.

In 2018, the UGA VITA program helped clients claim more than $1.6 million in federal and state tax refunds and saved clients nearly $200,000 in tax preparation and filing fees. Clients also received financial planning help in understanding retirement savings and strategies and employee benefits, giving them a foundation for long-term financial stability.

“We are very grateful to receive this inaugural award and thank both CFP Board and the Foundation for Financial Planning for their dedication to the education of the next generation of financial planners and to the advancement of pro bono financial planning,” said Joseph Goetz, Ph.D., co-founder of the University of Georgia’s pro bono financial planning program and UGA financial planning professor. “Our students are choosing the path of becoming financial planners because they want to help people. Serving their communities through pro bono work demonstrates their commitment to helping those in need. For the past decade, the UGA ASPIRE Clinic and VITA program provided unparalleled experiential learning opportunities for our students and increased the financial stability and capability of thousands of individuals and families. The University of Georgia’s financial planning program is committed to continuing to be a leader in experiential learning and pro bono work and helping many more people in the decades to come.”

The award is given to an academic institution registered with CFP Board to provide the coursework requirement for CFP® certification. Qualifications for the award include a demonstration by the academic institution of exemplary pro bono work that benefits both their students and their community. A call for nominations and eligibility criteria was announced in July 2018.

The award was announced today at the 2019 CFP Board Registered Program Conference. The University of Georgia will receive a $5,000 grant, sponsored by Dalton Education, to be used toward future pro bono activities.

The Foundation for Financial Planning is the nation’s only nonprofit organization solely dedicated to advancing pro bono financial planning, supporting a variety of programs that match volunteer CFP® professionals to at-risk people who otherwise couldn’t access sound financial advice. CFP® professionals and other financial planners work with these vulnerable individuals and families to help them with their finances and create a plan of action that will lead to better financial outcomes.

“There is no greater calling than helping people in need, and the University of Georgia has set an example for its students and others through their innovative pro bono program,” said Jon Dauphiné, Chief Executive Officer of FFP. “The financial planning program at the University of Georgia has fully integrated pro bono work and made it a central tenet of its curriculum. This should be commended as it shows students the powerful impact they can have in the community by using the knowledge they have gained in the classroom.”

About the Registered Programs Conference

The conference will bring together program directors and faculty from institutions that deliver professional financial planning education for individuals pursuing CFP® certification, offering opportunities to connect with each other and with firms to share best practices for strengthening the talent pipeline. The student track will explore topics such as the path to CFP® certification, pro bono financial planning and trending issues in financial planning. CFP Board Registered Programs are offered at regionally-accredited colleges and universities who have met specific criteria for educating individuals pursuing CFP® certification. Individuals who meet CFP Board’s coursework requirement through a registered program are eligible to sit for the CFP® Certification Examination. CFP Board partners with over 330 programs at more than 200 institutions.


Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. is the professional body for personal financial planners in the U.S.  CFP Board sets standards for financial planning and administers the prestigious CFP® certification – one of the most respected certifications in financial services – so that the public has access to and benefits from competent and ethical financial planning.  CFP Board, along with its Center for Financial Planning, is committed to increasing the public’s awareness of CFP® certification and consumers’ access to a diverse, ethical and competent financial planning workforce. Widely recognized by consumer advocates and firms as the standard for financial planning, CFP® certification is held by more than 83,000 people in the United States.


The Foundation for Financial Planning, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, is the nation’s only nonprofit solely devoted to supporting the delivery of pro bono financial planning to vulnerable people, including wounded veterans, domestic violence survivors, people with serious medical diagnoses, and many others. Dedicated to Powering Pro Bono Financial Planning, the Foundation has provided $7 million in grants to community-based nonprofits to support local programs; worked with partners to activate more than 20,500 volunteer financial planners to serve their communities; and acted as a leader and catalyst to embed a rich tradition of and commitment to pro bono across the financial planning profession. Visit FoundationForFinancialPlanning.org to learn more. 

SOURCE Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards

Why Do I Keep Secrets From My Financial Planner?


“What is your height and weight?”

“Tell me what medications you take.”

“What exactly do you call your eye condition?”

These are just a few of the questions posed to me recently by a colleague who was helping me apply for an insurance policy. It was his job to gather all my health history so the insurance company could decide if I was someone they wanted to insure.

After the small talk and laughter, our call took a sharp turn toward the personal. This didn’t exactly come as a surprise. I knew he would need to know these things. I also knew that each time he asked, “have you ever had a history of…?” the best answer was a definitive no. After answering yes more than once, I noticed a few worrisome thoughts running through my mind. Maybe I’m not as healthy as I think I am. Am I going to be denied coverage? Does this guy think I’m a total freak?

As the questions continued, I started noticing and interpreting his every pause and exhale. When he said “mmhmm” I wondered what the heck that was supposed to mean. I thought by the end of the call he would tell me whether I was an underwriting train wreck, but instead he just thanked me, agreed to get back in touch and politely got off the phone.

When I hung up, I was caught off guard by how I felt. I hadn’t been nervous to have the call. I was familiar with how underwriting worked. After all, I’ve been the impetus for many people to apply for insurance over the years and had been alongside them through the process. Nevertheless, I felt exposed. Outside of the doctor’s office, I’d never had to share my health history with anyone, much less someone with whom I had a professional relationship. It’s just not what you generally talk about with people.

That’s when it occurred to me; I must be feeling the same way that most people do when they talk to a financial planner.

Being on my side of the table, it doesn’t feel at all strange or uncomfortable to talk about how much money someone makes, how much debt they have or who they want in their will. Of course, that’s easy because it’s not about me and my choices. When it is own our financial life up for discussion, the process can range from slightly uncomfortable to downright invasive.

We could chalk it up to money being a taboo topic in our society, but I don’t really think our hesitation is about whether it’s tasteful to talk about money with a financial planner. That explanation diminishes the emotional weight of the situation. Our hesitation is driven by two much bigger fears: the fear that we are royally messing up our financial life and that we are going to be judged for it.

By the time we meet with a financial planner, we have inevitably been forced to make loads of financial choices on our own. We decided what career to pursue, when and how much to save, what home and car we could afford or how to invest our 401(k). We made the best decisions we could, but we never had the financial context to know how these decisions might ultimately free us or limit us in the future. Of course, we hope the decisions we made will set ourselves up for success, but we also fear that maybe they won’t.

It’s easy to put those thoughts aside in the hustle of daily life, but the moment we sit down with an advisor, we know our decisions will be on full display. With nothing more than our entire life’s happiness at stake, we sit down to learn how we’ve done. Are we headed toward the good life or do we need to make wholesale changes to get back on track? If it’s the latter, we often feel disappointed, not just with the outcome, but with ourselves.

When sharing our story could result in both shame and a prescription for change, is it any wonder we avoid meeting with an advisor or try to paint a rosy picture when we do?

Now layer on top of that the fear that our advisor might judge us. Because money touches so many parts of our lives, financial planning involves sharing more than account balances and savings rates. A discussion on college might reveal that we disagree with our spouse about how much to pay. A review of our estate plan might uncover that we are estranged from a family member. An analysis of our insurance coverage might expose that we’ve battled addiction. A cash flow projection might shine a light on a spending issue.

We’re expected to open up about the most personal and private matters in our lives; the things we intentionally don’t talk about because we don’t want to be vulnerable to judgment from others. And we’re not telling just anyone; we’re confessing to a person we (hopefully) like and respect and who might seem like they have their life together more than we do. Our natural desire to maintain a positive regard in our planner’s eyes makes it all the more difficult to share.

The point here isn’t to send us running and screaming away from financial planning, but to highlight the courage it takes to find out how we’re doing financially and share the necessary information it takes to help our advisor be effective. FDR said “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear.” If we can focus on how much we want to put our kids through college, start a business, buy our dream home, retire on the beach or just make sure we never have to sustain on Ramen noodles, hopefully we’ll make it passed the uncomfortable nerves at the beginning of the process. If that doesn’t work, keep in mind that if everyone who walked into a financial planner’s office was already doing everything right, they (and I) would all be out of a job.

Kestra Financial agrees to $2M settlement with FINRA

Over the past five years, FINRA and the SEC leveled more than 50 enforcement cases involving share classes of mutual funds — and Kestra Financial is the latest firm to reach a multimillion-dollar settlement.

The independent broker-dealer agreed to pay more than $2.1 million in restitution, interest and a fine after failing to give 3,205 retirement plans or charities available discounts on upfront sales charges in their shares of mutual funds over nearly a nine-year span, according to FINRA.

Kestra settlement with FINRA

Austin, Texas-based Kestra did not admit or deny the allegations as part of the Feb. 13 settlement. Stone Point Capital, the private equity firm that purchased a majority stake in Kestra in 2016, has reportedly placed the firm up for sale. Kestra CEO James Poer has promised advisors it won’t sell to a competitor, though.

The FINRA case stemmed from the results of a 2015 examination. Since that year, the regulator has brought 36 enforcement actions over firms’ supervision of advisors responsible for applying sales charge waivers, according to FINRA spokeswoman Michelle Ong. Firms have agreed to pay $80 million in restitution to 107,000 clients.

RIAs subject to SEC oversight have also faced scrutiny over higher-priced share classes of mutual funds. The SEC has charged more than 15 firms with failing to disclose 12b-1 fees paid by advisory clients in mutual funds in the past five years, according to the regulator’s latest annual enforcement report.

The Kestra settlement became public as the firm considers a new ownership structure, but it also marks the end of a four-year investigation that followed the cycle exam. The firm overcharged clients $1.6 million and didn’t properly train its advisors or put controls in place, FINRA says.

“The firm relied on its financial advisors to determine the applicability of sales charge waivers, but failed to maintain reasonably designed written policies or procedures to assist financial advisors in making this determination,” the Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent said.

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Representatives for Kestra declined to comment on the FINRA case or reports that final bids were due for its majority stake earlier this month. The firm agreed to “maintain written procedures and controls reasonably designed to supervise mutual fund sales,” as part of the settlement.

Kestra Investment Services, the BD entity charged by FINRA, spans 682 branches with 1,874 registered representatives. Between that, its hybrid RIA subsidiary Kestra Private Wealth Services and IBD subsidiary H.Beck, Kestra has some 2,300 affiliated advisors.

In its last FINRA case in 2016, Kestra agreed to pay a fine of $475,000 after the regulator accused the firm of other supervisory failures of consolidated reports sent to clients and the sale of $52 million worth of L-share variable annuities. National Planning Holdings and Advisor Group settled similar L-share VA cases with FINRA last year for a combined $8.7 million.

The SEC’s enforcement division was pursuing nearly a dozen investigations — which usually take about two years — when it announced a self-reporting program last year for RIAs who may have failed to adequately disclose clients’ marketing and distribution fees in their mutual funds, the regulator says.

“We believe that by pursuing this Initiative, we will identify, address, and remediate many more violations — and will do so much more quickly — than if we had continued to pursue these violations on a case-by-case basis,” the enforcement report states, predicting “scores” of RIAs will participate.

Last month, FINRA said it would launch a different self-reporting program involving firms’ supervision of share classes in 529 savings plans. The IBD advocacy group FSI expressed frustration at what members view as “rulemaking by enforcement,” but FINRA says it’s not enforcing a new rule.

Tobias Salinger

Retirement Coffee Talk – Tailored Financial Plan

An ill-fitting suit can ruin a job interview. An ill-fitting financial plan can ruin a retirement. However, a tailored suit or financial plan can make a huge difference. Joining us every Wednesday morning for your Retirement Coffee Talk are George Fossing and Ryan Mulligan, of Northstar Financial and Retirement Planning.


CALL: 864-297-0762

Financial planning: Family communication helps aging parents

Helping aging parents manage their financial lives can be challenging. Family dynamics and legal constraints can make even simple tasks complex. If your parents are at a point where they struggle with their financial affairs, increasing your family communication can help them get the help they need.

Parents are sometimes reluctant to seek help even as bills go unpaid and credit ratings sink. Keep an eye open for signs of financial stress and look for opportune moments to ask how they are doing. If they sense you are asking out of a true desire to help them, they will be more likely to open up.

Siblings can also be a challenge. You may feel that some of your siblings are not equipped with the necessary skills or temperament to help care for your parents. Some siblings may be emotionally distant or even estranged from the family. To the degree possible, reach out and keep them informed. Trying to communicate early in the process will pay big dividends later when critical decisions need to be made.

An effective way to facilitate family communication is to organize regular family meetings. It is usually best if parents call the first meeting, but that may not always be possible. As you plan the family meeting set realistic goals about what you want to accomplish. Try to pace the meeting to match the ability of your family members to deal effectively with the material. A family with a history of good communication can probably get through more in one sitting than a family that never talks. Most families will do better if they hold a series of shorter, more focused meetings. By including participants in the creation of the agenda, you will get a sense of which approach is better for your family.

You will want to do some preparatory work before your first meeting. Work with your parents and their advisors to pull together a summary of their current situation. If your parents are uncooperative, you may not be able to get very far. However, if they are open to your help, try to get answers to some basic questions: What is their income by source? What are their monthly expenses? How are their investment accounts titled? Who are the beneficiaries on retirement accounts and insurance policies? Who is listed on the deed to their home? Answering these questions will help you better understand your parents’ resources and will also help you protect them from elder abuse.

You will also want to review your parents’ health situation, including how much physical care they need. Is their health insurance coverage adequate? How independent are they now and how is that likely to change in coming years? If they become less independent, how will their care be paid for? Will they need family support and if so, how much? With long-term care, the burden of care often falls on the daughters in the family. Is the family prepared for that? Starting the discussion before a crisis hits will allow the family time to work through the issues in a more constructive way.

Finally, make sure your parents’ essential estate documents are up to date and reflect your parents’ desires. This includes having a current will, a durable power of attorney for health care and designated health care proxy. If the documents have been around for a while, it is a good idea to have them reviewed by an estate planning attorney. For example, durable powers of attorney for health care must be HIPPA-compliant to be effective. If the document was created before 2001, it may not be HIPPA-compliant and may not work as your parents want it to.

Caring for parents in their final years of life can be challenging, but it can also bring great joy. Increasing family communication can help your parents get the help they need.

Steven C. Merrell is an investment adviser and partner at Monterey Private Wealth Inc., in Monterey. Send questions concerning investing, taxes, retirement or estate planning to Steve Merrell, 2340 Garden Road Suite 202, Monterey 93940 or steve@montereypw.com.

Revocable Trusts: The Swiss Army Knife Of Financial Planning

Trusts are one of the most versatile items of the financial planning toolkit. But, they are not just for rich people. With the new higher estate tax exemptions avoiding or reducing estate tax is not a concern for most of us. But, there is so much more trusts can do to solve critical problems for most families.

Trusts are a key building block of a proper estate plan. But, today, let’s just explore the simplest type of trust and the benefits that you might enjoy during your lifetime.

What is a trust?

First let’s examine what trusts are. We have had trusts for almost 1000 years since the English knights rode off to the Crusades and left their property in the hands of trusted individuals to manage during their absence. And key concepts go back another thousand years. Beginning in the 12th century a large body of English common law evolved all of which was later adopted by the colonies when they declared independence.

Trusts are a unique concept evolved from English common law. Countries based on civil law don’t have them and have struggled to provide alternative vehicles with comparable utility.

Lawyers love to explain that trusts are not entities like persons or corporations. That’s a distinction without meaning for most of us. Who cares? The less said about that the better.

There are three parties to a trust: The owner of some property (settler or grantor) turns it over to a trusted person or organization (trustee) under a trust arrangement to hold and manage for the benefit of a person or persons (beneficiaries).  Normally a written trust document (the trust) sets out the terms of the arrangement.

Trusts can hold many different kinds of assets including but not limited to stocks, bonds, homes and other real estate, business interests, and art work.

The Revocable Trust

One of the most useful trusts for many of our clients is a revocable trust (inter vivos) where the grantor creates a trust, funds it, manages it by him or herself, and has unrestricted rights to the trust assets (corpus).

The client has the right at any time to revoke the trust by simply tearing up the document and reclaiming the assets, or perhaps amend the document to accomplish alternative financial planning goals.

You don’t need a trust company or bank as trustee. You just draw up a trust document and re-title some property to the trust. Life goes on pretty much like it did before. You give up nothing in the way of rights, and you remain captain of your own ship.

Assets transferred to a revocable trust are not a gift. They can be reclaimed at any time. You have unrestricted rights to the property. But, during your life the trust gives you a very useful shell to provide management if and when needed.

OK, I get it. It sounds pretty strange until we start looking at the potential lifetime and estate planning benefits that can be incorporated into the trust:

Lifetime Benefits

If the grantor is unable or uninterested in managing the trust, the grantor can hire an investment advisor to manage the account in one of the major discount brokerages like Schwab, TD Ameritrade or Fidelity.

Or, for an additional charge the donor can appoint a trust company to act for him/herself. Trust company professionals provide administrative, investment, accounting, legal and tax management for the beneficiaries.


During any incapacity, a trusted spouse, child, personal friend or other person (contingent trustee) can be appointed to step in to care for and represent the needs of the grantor/beneficiary. That person will manage your assets during your incapacity and take care of you without having to declare you incompetent and invoke a guardianship. Upon recovery you can resume your duties as trustee.

Guardianship is a nightmare legal proceeding that makes you a ward of the state. It’s expensive, public, humiliating, restrictive, and burdensome. You don’t want to go there. A well drafted trust (along with powers of appointment) avoids that problem.

If you are a member of the sandwich generation, trusts may be a convenient way for you to manages assets for your parents, in-laws, and/or children. Your parents may need and/or appreciate the help, and the trust gives you a structure to provide for them. Again, this heads off any potential need for a guardianship.

As the key provision of an estate plan

The revocable trust is an invaluable tool for estate planning. Bypassing probate is a primary benefit.

Importantly, when the grantor of the trust dies property held by the trust bypasses probate. This should result in considerable reduction of cost, aggravation and time.

The estate will still have to be settled, but you won’t be charged for collecting and distributing the property in the trust. Trust property, along with insurance proceeds, jointly titled property, and some other assets are excluded from probate.  Preplanning pays off big time.


Even reasonably simple revocable trusts often form the basis for more complex advanced estate planning. The uses are almost endless.

It goes without saying that a proper estate plan will also include wills, powers of appointment, medical directives and other considerations. That’s beyond this discussion.

Part two will provide a few examples of how trusts routinely solve common family problems as property passes to future generations.

As always, don’t try this at home. Any trust should be created by a very competent attorney after much thought about what you wish to accomplish.


F.L.Putnam Investment Management Company Expands Financial Planning Team with Two Senior Hires

WELLESLEY, Mass., Feb. 20, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — F.L.Putnam Investment Management Company today announced that Laurie Faille, CFP® and Katharine Manning have joined the firm as Private Client Advisors. Both will be based in the firm’s Wellesley, Massachusetts office.

“We continue to invest in talent, technology and tools that will help our clients build stronger financial futures. Laurie and Katharine have extensive financial planning and relationship management experience and we are thrilled to have them join our growing client advisory team,” said Tom Manning, CEO at F.L.Putnam.

Ms. Faille has over fifteen years of experience in the investment industry. She joins F.L.Putnam from Proctor Financial where she served as a financial planner for individuals and families. Prior to Proctor, she held planning and business development roles at Seaward Management and Moors Cabot. Ms. Faille received a Postgraduate Certificate in Financial Planning from Boston University and a B.A. from the University of Massachusetts. She holds the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional designation.

Ms. Manning most recently served as Vice President, Financial Consultant at Charles Schwab. During her thirteen-year tenure at Schwab, Ms. Manning was responsible for working with individuals and families to meet their financial goals and objectives. She started her career as an investment consultant at Salomon Smith Barney. Ms. Manning received a Postgraduate Certificate in Financial Planning from Boston University and a B.A. from the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth.

About F.L.Putnam Investment Management Company
F.L.Putnam Investment Management Company, an SEC-registered investment advisory firm, provides investment management and financial planning advice and services to high net-worth clients, endowments, and foundations. For over 35 years, we have delivered a comprehensive set of solutions that help clients build, preserve, and manage their wealth. We serve clients from offices in Wellesley, MA, Portland, ME, Portsmouth, NH, and Providence, RI. More information is available at www.flputnam.com.

KWM Communications LLC
Kellie Walsh

SOURCE F.L.Putnam Investment Management Company

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Cetera Financial Group CEO Robert Moore stepping down

Cetera Financial Group is unexpectedly looking for a CEO — just a year after the 7,700-advisor independent broker-dealer network restructured and sold to a new ownership team.

Robert “RJ” Moore will resign from the CEO role at the end of next month due to “a health issue that has continued to require treatment and, on advice of my physician, now warrants that I cut back on my current commitments which is essential to my overall recovery,” he said in a statement on Feb. 19.

Robert Moore is the CEO of Cetera Financial Group
Robert Moore is the CEO of Cetera Financial Group

Robert “RJ” Moore took over as CEO of Cetera Financial Group in September 2016, months after the firm came out of bankruptcy protection.

Moore has not disclosed the details of the medical issue, but the firm knows that it’s not a terminal illness, Cetera spokeswoman Adriana Senior said in an email following the surprise announcement. Ben Brigeman, chairman of the Los Angeles-based firm’s board, will serve as interim CEO during the search for Moore’s replacement.

Cetera’s advisors have been informed of Moore’s impending move, according to Senior, who didn’t respond to a follow-up question asking for details on how the firm broke the news to them. The website Wealth Management first reported that Moore would be leaving just as the firm published its news release.

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Tobias Salinger | Lists

The firm, which expects Moore to remain an advisor to its board and senior leaders, has retained headhunters Heidrick Struggles to lead the replacement effort. Moore took over in September 2016 after serving as CFO and president of LPL Financial, where he was succeeded by current LPL CEO Dan Arnold.

Cetera Financial Group 2017 revenue

Cetera’s outgoing CEO led its six IBDs through their first full year after exiting bankruptcy protection in 2016 and the sale of a majority stake for a reported $1.7 billion last year to private equity firm Genstar Capital. He recently indicated that Cetera was open to “transformative deals” through MA.

“RJ has been the leader needed at Cetera during the company’s restructuring and remarkable turnaround, and we are grateful that he will be able to continue to be part of the organization in an advisory capacity,” Brigeman said in a statement. “I, and the Board, remain committed to our aggressive growth plans for Cetera.”

Brigeman, who is also a member of Genstar’s Strategic Advisory Board, added that the firm is “confident in the strength of Cetera’s leadership to continue to accelerate growth” while providing “world-class services and technology” to its advisors.

Cetera’s six firms, including its two largest IBDs Cetera Advisor Networks and Cetera Advisors, boosted its revenue by 10% year-over-year to $1.78 billion in 2017, the most recent year of available data in Financial Planning’s FP50 survey. Moore’s team later separated the firm’s six IBDs into traditional and specialty channels before Genstar closed on its acquisition in October.

In his statement, Moore called his upcoming exit “one of the most difficult decisions of my professional career and one that has engendered many mixed emotions” and said he was “truly fortunate” to be surrounded by caring friends, family and colleagues.

“It has been an incredible privilege to have had the opportunity to lead Cetera during this important period of transformation and resurgence,” Moore said. “I have full faith in Cetera’s management team, which I believe to be the best in the business, to continue to steer the company to a successful future.”

Tobias Salinger

Do tax law changes affect IRA deductibility?

Do tax law changes affect IRA deductibility?
Workers have until the last day of the tax-filing season to make 2018 contributions to their traditional IRAs, according to this article on Morningstar. Although more taxpayers are expected to opt for the standard deduction, which increased under the new law, they can still claim the tax deduction for IRA contributions. That’s because the tax break for these contributions, including the funds socked away in health savings accounts are considered “above-the-line” deductions, meaning clients can claim the tax break regardless of whether they take the standard route of itemize their tax deductions on their returns.

How will your retirement benefits be taxed?
Seniors may have to owe taxes on their retirement income, depending on the source of their earnings and the total amount of income they receive, according to this article on Motley Fool. For example, up to 85% of their Social Security benefits will be taxed at the federal level if their combined income – their taxable income plus 50% of the benefits – exceeds a certain threshold. Pension payouts are also subject to federal income taxes, unless they contributed to their pension plan using after-tax funds. Distributions from tax-deferred retirement accounts such as traditional 401(k) and IRA are also taxed at the federal income, while withdrawals from a Roth account are tax-free.

HSAs are a triple tax break that can help fast track retirement savings
A health savings account is a tax-advantaged savings vehicle that clients can use to turbocharge their retirement savings, according to this article on USA Today. That’s because an HSA offers triple tax benefits- tax deferral on contributions, tax-exempt growth on investments and tax-free distributions for qualified medical expenses. “Longer-term advantages, after the age of 65, may include the payment of Medicare premiums and other long-term care expenses. The HSA becomes an important aspect of both solving near-term medical expenses, but also for larger expenses well into retirement with those accumulated earnings,” says an expert.

Wondering how your 401(k) would respond to a downturn? These new tools can tell you
Retirement investors have the option of using new tools to determine the best way to manage their investments in the face of risks and survive a market correction, according to this article on CNBC. They can have access to many of these programs through a financial advisor, with a company trying to develop an app to make these tools available to all. “Examining real-life scenarios allows you to understand ahead of time what type of potential downside and upside you have,” says an expert.

How to find the perfect balance between spending and saving
Finding the right balance between spending and saving is key to developing a successful retirement plan, an expert on Kiplinger writes. To do this, clients can start by setting up a savings rate based on the cost of their goals, the amount needed to support their preferred lifestyle and the time they have to build their nest egg. They should also make the necessary adjustments along the way and maintain the balance, shoring up their savings when they can. “In both enjoying today and planning for tomorrow, you can create a financial plan that offers the best of both worlds — and a good balance between the two.”

Lee Conrad