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Thursday, July 30, 2015

How Seniors are Spending Their Money

Experts are wondering if retirees are going to be able to make ends meet or could possibly even outlive their retirement savings.  Plus, fewer seniors have guaranteed incomes to provide financial security during retirement years and more of them are carrying debt.

This is disturbing news to many financial professionals, especially when they compare data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Expenditure Survey and the Federal Reserve of Consumer Finances. One discovers that expenditures of today’s seniors and those of twenty years ago have grown less than one percent a year, but the allocation of spending on services and goods has changed significantly.

Some of the reasons are:
  • More seniors are carrying mortgages and having to spend more of their expenditures on interest payments. 
  • Overall housing expenses (including maintenance, property taxes, insurance and mortgage interest) are the largest category of expenditures for seniors.
  • Healthcare is a rising expense. These expenditures include out-of-pocket costs for physician visits, treatments and lab tests, medical equipment, prescription and over-the-counter drugs and supplemental insurance premiums, but exclude Medicare Part B premiums. 
  • Seniors expenditures increasingly reflect their hobbies, as they are spending more on hobbies and non-essentials than they did in 1990. 
  • Money is spent on miscellaneous entertainment, including exercise equipment, photography equipment, campers, boats and other motorized recreational vehicles, and electronic video games.
  • Pets and hobbies is a growing category. It also includes expenses for pets and pet supplies, but also toys, games, tricycles and playground equipment.
  • Seniors aren’t giving up their cars and are driving longer.
  • The other issue is seniors have more credit card debt than ever before. Some of the growth in purchases is taking place with the use of credit cards. 

With all of this information, it shows that today’s seniors vary on how they spend their money.

Although discretionary and recreational purchases have increased, today's seniors are taking on debt in the form of credit cards and mortgages. Besides this, with the low interest rates on savings and a tax policy that subsidizes consumption over saving, seniors don’t have a lot of incentive to save.

Financial professionals can use this information to help their clients prepare for the future, so they are ready for retirement years and won’t have to worry about running out of money. It means providing information on the best products available and giving seniors a reason to save.

“How Are Seniors Spending Their Money?,” http://www.ncpa.org/pub/ib135#sthash.I09fp06T.dpuf, last accessed 7-8-15

Financial Professional Use Only.  Not for use with the public.

This material is intended for educational purposes only and is not intended to serve as the basis for any investment or purchasing decision. Pursuant to IRS Circular 230, Partners Advantage Insurance Services and their representatives do not give tax or legal advice. Accordingly, any tax information provided is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by any taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed on the taxpayer. Encourage your clients to consult their tax advisor or attorney.

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Thursday, July 23, 2015

Underwriting and the Producer's Responsibility During the Life of the Contract

An excerpt of an article by Partners Advantage VP of Underwriting Lisa Morris
First published in the July 2015 issue of Broker World magazine

Clients and their beneficiaries rely on products like life insurance to replace lost income upon their death, and if one party isn’t forthright in providing information or if items have been submitted incorrectly, there can be severe consequences.

The problem is most clients and some producers don’t understand the difference between mortality risk assessment and clinical medicine assessment. So, when an applicant’s medical history isn’t fully disclosed, future issues can appear. As a result, there is a misconception that once the policy is in-force, the financial professional’s involvement with that policy is complete.  This isn’t necessarily true.

It is extremely important for the financial professional to conduct thorough field underwriting, as well as clarify and gather all possible information. Even the smallest of details can have a significant impact at claim time. Underwriters rely on the financial professional to complete detailed field underwriting. But what if this doesn’t happen?

Throughout the underwriting process, carriers have a number of internal checks and balances in place to make sure the information being provided by the financial professional and client are factual. The majority of the time, the items provided and the items discovered are the same. However, there are times when the information doesn’t match.

Another misconception is that mismatched information only happens at the time of application. However, it can take place at any time during the contract’s life. If information has been discovered to be incorrect or purposely left out this could result in the claim being denied on the basis of misrepresentation. A producer doesn’t want to be in the center of a claim fight as a result of incomplete field underwriting.

Misrepresentation or errors discovered later in the contract’s life isn’t usually because of the applicant as they simply answer the questions given by the producer. Most of the time, it’s because the financial professional took it upon themselves to decide what details were important. This can stem from the producer creating unrealistic expectations of the client in order to close the deal or because he or she is in a rush to get the policy placed. If inaccurate information or an error has been discovered, carrier underwriting departments leave decisions or cancellation or rescission to the legal department. A producer trying to fix a mistake may not be able to do anything.

When information isn’t detailed, complete or clear at the time of application, there can be strong legal ramifications. These problems can happen not just at claim time, but at any time during the life of the policy. This shows the importance of a producer providing accurate and complete information. It’s better to take your time and be correct rather than hurry the process along, otherwise severe consequences can take place that totally contradict the purpose of life insurance protection.

For Financial Professional Use Only

Partners Advantage Insurance Services and their representatives do not give tax or legal advice. The material in this article is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as tax or legal advice. Discussions of the various planning strategies and issues are based on our understanding of the applicable federal income, gift, and estate tax laws in effect at the time of publication. However, these laws are subject to interpretation and change, and there is no guarantee that the relevant tax authorities will accept Partners Advantage’s interpretations. Additionally, the information presented here does not consider the impact of applicable state laws upon clients and prospects. Guarantees and benefits are based on the claims-paying ability of the issuing insurance company. Keep in mind that most life insurance policies require health underwriting and, in some cases, financial underwriting.


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Thursday, July 16, 2015

New Research Examines Plans and Preparations of Workers

Today’s workers are recognizing their need to save for the future. However, the way some prepare for their retirement isn’t necessarily what you expect – they’re working more and longer. The nonprofit Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies® (“TCRS”) released new research examining this trend, as well as the current preparations and expectations of American workers of a variety of ages.

In exploring the retirement expectations of workers, the TCRS survey found:

·         One in five (20 percent) expects to continue working as long as possible in their current or similar position until they cannot work anymore
·         Forty-one percent envision transitioning into retirement by reducing their hours to allow for more leisure time to enjoy life (26 percent) or by working in a different capacity that is less demanding or brings greater personal satisfaction (15 percent)
·         21 percent expect to immediately stop working and fully retire when they reach a certain age (14 percent) or savings goal (7 percent)
·         Eighteen percent are not sure how they envision transitioning into retirement.

Thirty-seven percent of workers expect working to be a retirement source, while other expected sources of retirement income include: Social Security (69 percent); retirement accounts, e.g. 401(k)s, 403(b)s, IRAs (68 percent); other savings and investments (45 percent); defined benefit plans (23 percent); home equity (13 percent); and, inheritance (11 percent).

Workers of all ages share similar visions of retirement, but they also face specific opportunities and challenges based on their age and time table for saving, planning and preparing for retirement.

·         Twentysomethings: Committed, Cautious, and Concerned
o   The survey found that 67 percent of workers in their twenties are already saving for retirement, despite competing financial priorities such as credit card debt and student loan.
·         Thirtysomethings: Strong Savers but Weak Planners
o   Three out of four (76 percent) workers in their thirties are saving for retirement – and they began at age 25.
·         Fortysomethings: Financially Frazzled but Focused
o   Only 10 percent of workers in their forties are “very” confident that they will be able to fully retire with a comfortable lifestyle.
·         Fiftysomethings: Facing Future Retirement Realities
o   Forty-two percent expect their standard of living to decrease when they retire. Eighty percent of fiftysomethings are saving for retirement and they started at age 31 (median).
·         Siixtysomethings and Older: Transforming Retirement As They Retire
o   Eighty-two percent expect to or are already working past age 65 – or they don’t plan to retire. Among them, 56 percent are doing so because they can’t afford to or for income or health benefits.

By taking proactive steps today, workers of all ages have the ability to improve their retirement outlook. This is where financial professionals can step in and help clients’ bridge savings shortfalls and the means to prepare for life’s unforeseen circumstances. You never know when plans will be derailed and you need a Plan B. 


Source: “16th Annual Transamerica Retirement Surve,." Retirement Throughout the Ages: Expectations and Preparations of American Workers, http://www.transamericacenter.org/retirement-research/16th-annual-retirement-survey/retirement-throughout-the-ages, 7-1-2015

For financial professional use only.

The third party information and opinions included have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed by Partners Advantage. Financial Professionals should ensure they continue to follow the current policies on the use of any advertising, third-party materials and/or social media as required by your broker/dealer and/or the carriers that you represent.


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Friday, July 10, 2015

Chris Griffith Appointed Senior Vice President and CFO at Partners Advantage

Partners Advantage Insurance Services, LLC announced the appointment of Chris Griffith to the post of Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for the company. Griffith will lead all financial and planning activities for the company, which just celebrated its 22nd anniversary. Partners Advantage is a national marketing organization serving the life, annuity and linked benefit needs of agencies throughout the country.

"A strong focus for our company is to expand the business planning services we provide for agencies and Chris will be key in leading this effort," stated Partners Advantage President James Wong. "He has a passion for helping financial professionals, retail sales agencies, and national marketing organizations increase efficiencies, grow sales and drive profitability."

Griffith uses his experience to help businesses look introspectively at their organization and identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.  Ultimately he assists in developing a business plan that helps the organization reach their near and longer term goals.

As a financial services executive, his areas of experience include wholesaling, establishing institutional distribution, managing finance and operational teams and driving sales. He has more than a decade of experience leading independent marketing organizations.

Prior to joining Partners Advantage, he held multiple senior leadership roles at The Annuity Store and CFC Capital Partners. Most recently, he served as VP of Sales for their Southern California branch.  As VP of Sales, Chris led the sales and operations teams and grew annuity premium by 60 percent.

He earned his MBA with dual concentrations in finance and leadership from Pepperdine University and is a Retirement Income Certified Professional. 

For more information, contact Partners Advantage at 888-251-5525.

About Partners Advantage Insurance Services
Partners Advantage Insurance Services, LLC, is a national insurance marketing organization with a strong focus on life insurance, annuities and linked benefit products. The company's Platinum and Premier Divisions provide a vast menu of value added services and resources to help more than 100 agencies thrive. In addition, independent financial professionals are served from regional offices across the country. For more information about Partners Advantage, visit www.partnersadvantage.com.

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Thursday, July 9, 2015

Training Focused on Ways to Help You Better Serve Clients and Grow Your Business.

Live - Online - On Demand


Partners Advantage is an independent insurance marketing organization and a nationally recognized leader in the life insurance, annuity and linked benefit products marketplace. Our MISSION is to deliver solutions and opportunities for financial professionals to succeed with the highest standard of integrity.

Working with dedicated financial professionals, we strive to achieve our VISION of American families – protected and secured.

Our goal is to "make growing business easy." We accomplish this with our cutting-edge sales technology, vast experience and expansive growth via mergers and acquisitions; providing new growth opportunities within the industry; and our training and education first philosophy. We put what we've learned from our many years in the financial services industry to work helping financial professionals, agencies and our national accounts to innovate, expand and thrive.

We bring together our training and education platform under The Partners Academy. It offers a diverse menu of training opportunities and levels. The sessions are offered at a variety of dates, some online and some in-person. Ask for our course catalog which provides you with an outline of training opportunities to help you increase your knowledge, learn new sales concepts and grow your practice. Our program also brings you nationally recognized presenters, such as: Curtis Cloke, Anthony Morris, Wayne Cotton and Stephanie Holmes-Winton.

Get started by registering for our live online training at MySalesInsights.com (Use Customer Code: PAREC) or contact our Brokerage Team for information on more advanced training and coaching
opportunities at 888-251-5525, Ext. 700.

For financial professional use only.

The presenters featured in The Partners Academy are being provided as a service to you. Partners Advantage is not affiliated with third party vendors and the information and opinions provided have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed by Partners Advantage Insurance Services Although we may promote and/or recommend the services offered by these companies, financial professionals are ultimately responsible for the use of any materials or services and agree to comply with the compliance requirements of their broker/dealer and registered investment advisor, if applicable, and the insurance carriers they represent

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Monday, July 6, 2015

Meet Charlie Gipple, CLU®, ChFC® - Partners Advantage Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing

Partners Advantage Insurance Services, LLC is pleased to announce the appointment of Charlie Gipple as Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing. Gipple will manage all sales, marketing, recruiting, agent training and sales support activities across all company segments, which include the Platinum, Premier and Advantage divisions. Partners Advantage is a national marketing organization serving the life, annuity and linked benefit needs of agencies throughout the country.

"Our SVP's key role is to ensure our sales and marketing are laser-focused on achieving our aggressive growth targets and ensure our robust resources are maximized by the agencies we serve," stated Partners Advantage President James Wong. "Charlie has an established track record of adding unique value to agencies and their agents; we are excited to have him continue these efforts with Partners Advantage."

Most recently, Gipple served as the national director of index products at Genworth. Prior to joining Genworth in 2012, he was a vice president at ING for 11 years leading a number of diverse product lines and distribution channels. He has worked in client sales, account management and product development, as well as the wholesaling of life insurance, annuity and mutual fund products.  He has extensive experience working with Independent Marketing Organizations (IMO), Brokerage General Agencies (BGA), broker dealers and banks.

In addition to his leadership experience, Gipple is well recognized in the annuity and life insurance industry as a speaker and has extensive experience with index products, financial markets, financial legislation, behavioral finance and the positioning of insurance products.  His articles have been featured in numerous industry publications and he has appeared on TheStreet.com and AM Best TV.

He earned a bachelor of arts degree in finance from the University of Northern Iowa and holds Series 6, 7, 63 and 65 securities licenses. He has also earned the CLU® and ChFC® designations.

For more information, contact Partners Advantage at 888-251-5525.

About Partners Advantage Insurance Services
Partners Advantage Insurance Services, LLC, is a national insurance marketing organization with a strong focus on life insurance, annuities and linked benefit products. The company's Platinum and Premier Divisions provide a vast menu of value added services and resources to help more than 100 agencies thrive. In addition, independent financial professionals are served from regional offices across the country. For more information about Partners Advantage, visit www.partnersadvantage.com.

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Thursday, July 2, 2015

Advanced Markets: “I Don’t Need to Worry About the Estate Tax…Do I?”

This blog post is courtesy of Mutual of Omaha Advanced Markets

With the 2015 federal estate tax exemption at $5.43 million per individual, and up to $10.86 million for a married couple, a lot of clients may feel like they no longer have to worry about an estate tax. They may be in for a surprise. Depending on what state they live in, your clients with estates well under the federal exemption may not be able to say goodbye to an estate tax.

Currently 15 states and the District of Columbia collect an estate tax on residents, and sometimes on non-residents who own property in the state. Also the states do not have portability, so the state exemptions are “use it or lose it.” The level of some of those exemptions may surprise your clients.

For example, New Jersey, sets its exemption at $675,000. According to Zillow.com the average home in New Jersey is valued at $299,000, so imagine a client with a home and a retirement plan and a few other assets—suddenly they may well owe a state estate tax! You may have clients who never thought they were candidates for estate tax planning and won’t owe a federal estate tax, but will owe on the state level.

The good news is we have a solution for these clients: the GULS can help them plan for their state’s estate tax just like it has helped clients with their federal estate taxes.

There are also several states with an inheritance tax, assessed against the inheritances of the heirs. In fact, Maryland and New Jersey have both an estate and an inheritance tax. Two others, Connecticut and Minnesota, have a state gift tax in addition to their estate tax.

Contact the Advanced Markets Specialists at Partners Advantage for assistance at 888-251-5525, Ext. 700.

For Financial Professional Use Only.

This is for informational purposes only.  Recommendations for financial product or financial strategies must be suitable for the individual based on their circumstances. Mutual of Omaha and Partners Advantage Insurance Services do not give tax advice.