I must say I was somewhat surprised by the reaction from the advisory community in regard to my recent articles about index and guaranteed annuities. I received some expected feedback from those who strongly disagreed with my views, while also getting many positive comments from fiduciary advisors who see the same factual logic I illustrated in these past articles relative to annuities. The discussion has obviously touched a nerve.
“If it doesn't make sense, it's usually not true.” ― Judge Judy Sheindlin I hear all the time from diehard investors and salesmen of annuity products that “the stock market is nothing more than rolling the dice at Vegas!”
In my last article, What I Wish Every Prospect Had Considered Before Asking ‘Can I Retire’?, I discussed three broad points that most investors need to ask relative to the common retirement question all advisors get from time to time.
As an experienced wealth manager and retirement planning advisor, I find it very challenging when a prospective client somehow thinks I can answer their “Can I retire?” question in an initial one- or two-hour meeting. I’m sure most fiduciary advisors have been asked the same question, which, as you know, entails a far deeper discussion, mostly driven by actions taken long before we ever meet the client.
If you didn’t get a chance to read my first article on this subject, Your Clients and Their Children: The Problems with Joint Bank Accounts, it may be helpful to review it as a means of providing context for this article. As noted in that first posting, if a client couple wishes to make their bank accounts into joint accounts with their children, there are various resolutions for handling that wish efficiently and in less risky ways.
Do you get the recurring question from clients that I do, from time to time, about bank accounts? I’m referring to the issue where an elderly mother or father wants to add their child’s name to one or more of their bank accounts. In simple terms, the logic makes sense, as most parents want to assure that their bills, mortgages, insurances or even funerals get paid for should something happen to them. Yet most elderly clients and children don’t realize the risk that this small transaction creates.
Now that I’ve finally come up for air after a daunting 2012 tax season, which kept me away from my writing my monthly column in April, I want to discuss whether you’ve ever explained or shown your clients their non-market related return on investment. The simplified method of looking at a monthly statement to assess whether their money has increased or decreased is basically what all our clients use to determine the value that we as advisors provide.
My annual “wish list” usually coincides with the coming of Christmas, but this wish list is a little different, and one that I believe to be of dire importance for all Americans. So what do I (and my clients) wish for from our next president (and those elected to Congress) come November? 1. Simplicity We need a president that will take complex issues and easily explain them in simple terms so everyday Americans can make better decisions for all rather than just themselves. Our political landscape, world events and life in general is unbelievably complex today.
Last Sunday I asked my 91-year-old mother - who still drives her own car - to have lunch with me and my wife after church. As always, I paid for the meal, but not without my mother arguing that she can pay for her own lunch. Nonetheless, I always ignore her and pay anyway. Afterwards, my wife wanted to stop at Walmart for a few minutes, and from experience I knew how long “a few minutes” meant. So I decided to drive my mother home and let my wife pick me up when she finished shopping.