Friday, December 29, 2023
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Weekend Reading For Financial Planners (December 30-31)

Enjoy the current installment of “Weekend Reading For Financial Planners” – this week’s edition kicks off with the news that the S&P 500 index is on pace to return around 24% in 2023, defying expectations that investors had early this year for weak growth and high volatility – which underscores both the unpredictability of markets in the short term and the need to diversify in order to defend against that unpredictability in the long term.

Also in industry news this week:

  • After the Massachusetts state regulators proposed a regulation that would require businesses to provide accurate up-front pricing information before a customer provides any personal information, life insurance industry groups have requested an exemption from the rule (since insurers need to have at least some of the customer’s personal health information in order to provide an accurate life insurance policy quote)
  • The National Association of Insurance Commissioners has adopted a Model Bulletin stating that insurers are liable for any discrimination or other regulatory violations that might result from using artificial intelligence technology to make underwriting decisions, raising the question of whether the opportunity of AI is worth the risk of financial or criminal liability if the technology proves to have racial or other biases

From there, we have several articles on practice management:

  • Why advisory firm leaders can better improve their practice by taking time to identify the real problems impacting the firm, rather than focusing on implementing solutions that may not actually solve the real issues at play
  • Why the topic of bonuses for non-owner employees can lead to heated discussions between owners, and what firm leaders can do to ensure that everyone can be heard before a decision is made
  • Although advisors often survey their clients to gain valuable feedback on their firms’ client experience, it’s harder to get insight into the preferences of those whom the advisor wants to be clients (but aren’t) – which may be different from what makes their current clients happy

We also have a number of articles on retirement planning:

  • How staying retired after taking an early retirement can be difficult, although the reasons change over time from primarily financial to primarily non-financial concerns
  • Although it’s easy to look back on previous eras as being better than our own, there has really never been a better time than today to plan for retirement (since most eras in history didn’t have a “retirement” to look forward to at all)
  • While people often work in order to enjoy more leisure time in retirement, the reality for many people is that their leisure time is much more valuable when they’re younger, when they have young kids and parents who are still healthy – meaning it’s worth considering a mid-career pause, even at the cost of working a little later into life

We wrap up with 3 final articles, all about pursuing growth and achievement in work and life:

  • In today’s increasingly systematized world, companies that can find a more human-centric way to do business can succeed by conjuring up feelings of “love” in their customers and employees (as in, “I loved that!”)
  • Although past achievements can seem almost predetermined in hindsight, in reality, almost any achievement requires patience, a willingness to learn from mistakes, and a lot of hard work – and so when struggling with current challenges, it’s worth reflecting on how those traits helped with other achievements in the past
  • While high ambition and a little bit of ‘craziness’ are often needed to achieve far-reaching goals, it’s also possible to be distracted by chasing too many goals at once – requiring a narrower focus, fewer distractions, and a little bit of practicality in order to fully embrace the ‘crazy’

Enjoy the ‘light’ reading!

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