Enjoy the current installment of “weekend reading for financial planners” – this week’s edition kicks off with comments from President-Elect Trump’s former campaign manager and now senior advisor Kellyanne Conway that Trump’s views on the DoL fiduciary rule “don’t necessarily jibe” with the oppositional views of his advisors… and when coupled with Trump’s recent selection of Andrew Puzder as his new Labor Secretary, suggest that a Trump repeal the DoL fiduciary rule really may not be coming once he takes office.
From there, we have a number of marketing-related articles this week, including: how to craft your 2017 marketing plan; tips to improve client communications (particularly via email and social media); the marketing advantages (or not) in writing a book to establish your credibility as an expert; how to refine your prospect and new client experience to be of consistent quality (especially when it’s delivered by more than just the founding advisor themselves); and the announcement of a new “Mystery Shopper” service that Fidelity is making available to RIAs that will allow them to engage a market research firm to pose as prospects and provide feedback on their marketing and sales process.
We have a few more technical articles this week as well, from a look at the ongoing struggles of traditional LTC insurance (with the recent news that LTC insurer Penn Treaty will have to be liquidated, in what may be the largest insurance insolvency in 25 years), to a recent new study that finds life expectancy actually declined last year in the US (for the first time in over 20 years), and the results of an analysis of the predictive value of Morningstar star ratings which finds they have slightly positive predictive value, but only very slight.
We wrap up with three interesting articles: the first is a look at new economic research quantifying, for the first time, how likely it is someone achieves the “American Dream” by being more financially successful than their parents, and finds that the odds of generational improvement have plummeted since World War II from a high of 92% to what today is no better than a 50/50 coin flip, driven partially by slowing economic growth but even more by rising income inequality; the second is a discussion of the increasingly popular retirement strategy of “retiring at sea”, and making a cruise ship your second or even primary home in retirement (with a growing number of large cruise ships offering “residence at sea” apartments to accommodate extended-term travelers, in some cases at prices even lower than a local assisted living facility!); and the last is a good discussion of the ever-present question “how much is enough“, which despite being a core focus of financial planning, faces a challenging reality that figuring out the answer to the question has both a quantitative and a highly qualitative component.