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Weekend Reading for Financial Planners (July 7-8)

Weekend Reading for Financial Planners (July 7-8)

Enjoy the current installment of “weekend reading for financial planners” – this week’s edition kicks off with the announcement that the CFP Board is gearing up for a new round of advertising campaigns as part of its ongoing public awareness campaign, this time focusing on the emotional and psychological benefits of working with a financial advisor, including feeling more “confident, optimistic, secure, and at ease” with one’s finances.

Also in the news this week is a controversial court ruling in Georgia that allowed an RIA to enforce an employment agreement that required its departing advisors to give 60-90 days notice in advance of leaving the firm (where the RIA sued after the advisors departed the firm abruptly to join Morgan Stanley under the terms of the Broker Protocol), raising the question of whether broker-dealers in turn might try to add similar “garden leave” requirements to their employment contracts as a way to subvert the Broker Protocol for departing brokers. And there was also a big announcement from Vanguard, just in time for “Independence Day”, that starting in August it will begin to offer nearly 1,800 ETFs on an expanded no-transaction-fee ETF platform… and in the process, declaring war on other custodian’s existing back-end revenue-sharing or shelf-space distribution agreements required to get onto their NTF ETF platforms (from which Vanguard has increasingly been booted in recent years for being unwilling to pay to play).

From there, we have a number of retirement-oriented articles, from a look at the rise of the FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) movement, to a discussion from a longevity researcher about whether it would be more appropriate for people to spend their 20s and 30s “just” being trainees/apprentices and raising families and not starting full-time jobs until their 40s (given our increasing capability to remain productive well into our 70s thanks to medical advances), and an examination of whether advisors may be overestimating health care costs in retirement as recent studies have shown that beyond Medicare premiums themselves the medical expenses of retirees are actually remarkably moderate and stable (especially for those who have at least a “mass affluent” level of wealth).

We also have several practice management articles, including: an analysis of why the greatest challenge for advisory firm business owners to manage is the potential gap between workload obligations to clients and the staff resources necessary to deliver promised services; why especially in the early years of an advisory firm, 5-year (or even 3-year) business plans are largely useless; and how to demonstrate the ongoing value of a financial advisor by creating a “Client Confidence Index” that periodically surveys clients on their feelings of financial confidence, control, and clarity… and then reflecting those results back to them to show progress and the advisor’s value-add over time.

We wrap up with three interesting articles, all around the theme of taking vacations to better maximize health and productivity: the first looks at the growing trend of workers not taking vacations, even when they’re otherwise available, due to both the workaholic culture of many firms, and often simply a lack of systems to make them feel safe and comfortable to take a vacation; the second examines how even amongst the most productive people, there’s often little more than 3-4 hours of “real” work that gets done in a day, suggesting that instead of trying to push employees to work harder throughout an 8-hour workday that it may be better to embrace taking breaks instead; and the last provides a remarkably simple and effective system to handle the pain of “digging out” from the email backlog after a long vacation… by simply creating an autoresponder to tell people to email you again if they feel it’s necessary after you’re back, and then just delete all the email in your Inbox on your first day back at work!?

Enjoy the “light” reading!

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