SECURE It: Welcome back, U.S. Senate. The SECURE Act Remains a Prime Opportunity.

United States Senators return to Washington this week to a full plate: government funding, hurricane aftermath, trade policy – the list of work goes on.  One item, the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act, is “low hanging fruit” that can pass in September and help to build momentum for the rest of the year. This legislation is perfectly suited to the Senate’s tradition of deliberate response to the complex demands of a diverse society. By acting quickly, the Senate can “SECURE it” for Americans in many ways. The bill would: Expand access to retirement plans for millions of Americans. … Continue reading “SECURE It: Welcome back, U.S. Senate. The SECURE Act Remains a Prime Opportunity.”

SEC Summary Disclosure Initiative Benefits Consumers, Life Insurers, Environment

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) unveiled a sensible proposal last year that would: Provide key information about variable life insurance and variable annuities – life insurance and lifetime income tools that reflect movements in stock market – to consumers in a concise and reader-friendly method; Increase awareness and understanding of these vital financial security solutions and enable informed purchase decisions; Benefit the environment by reducing reams of unnecessary paper waste. This proposal, the Summary Disclosure Initiative for Variable Annuities and Variable Life Insurance, almost sounds too good to be true. Actually, it’s all true. And it’s very good: for … Continue reading “SEC Summary Disclosure Initiative Benefits Consumers, Life Insurers, Environment”

SECURE It: Honor our Nation’s Heroes by Passing SECURE Act

There are many good reasons why the Senate should pass the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement (SECURE) Act. Its retirement security provisions would make it easier for small employers to sponsor a retirement plan, encourage employees to save more, and clarify critical retirement-related tax rules for church organizations and institutions Interestingly, one of the best reasons to pass the SECURE Act doesn’t have anything to do with retirement. Instead, it has everything to do with honor. And duty. And fairness. Before the 2017 federal tax reform bill, survivor benefits paid by the U.S. government to the children of U.S. … Continue reading “SECURE It: Honor our Nation’s Heroes by Passing SECURE Act”

The States Should Partner with Federal and State Regulators on Consumer Protection

The average person changes jobs 10-to-15 times during their career. That’s 10-to-15 different bosses. 10-to-15 different business cards. And 10-to-15 different retirement plans. In most cases, rolling over assets from one retirement plan to another is a fairly seamless process. But if lawmakers and regulators in certain states have their way, rollovers and other transactions involving retirement security products could become quite complicated. Some states including Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Nevada are working to limit savers and retirees to fiduciary-only services. This would be a mistake. Like the Department of Labor’s now-vacated fiduciary rule, these proposed state regulations would make … Continue reading “The States Should Partner with Federal and State Regulators on Consumer Protection”

Guaranty Associations: A Critical Consumer Protection You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

It’s common knowledge that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) provides deposit insurance coverage if a bank fails and is unable to meet its obligations. FDIC signs are prominently displayed at every bank to let us know that our deposits are guaranteed for up to $250,000 per person per account category. The financial crisis of 2008 reminded us that while our banking system as a whole is financially sound, banks can, and do fail.  It’s comforting to know that if that happens, the FDIC will protect your savings. But what about when you buy a life insurance policy or an … Continue reading “Guaranty Associations: A Critical Consumer Protection You’ve Probably Never Heard Of”

Financial Professionals Must Consider All Options for Retirees, Including Annuities

Fascinating – and depressing – research from the investment advisory group United Income shows 96 percent of Social Security recipients likely have tapped their benefits too soon. They’re missing out on $3.4 trillion in benefits – an average of $111,000 per household. The research report notes that not everyone should wait till age 70 to start receiving benefits. But for those who can, Social Security will annually boost its payout by 8 percent. Still, too many people are bypassing this option. And as suggested in a Bloomberg News story, “Americans Losing Trillions Claiming Social Security At the Wrong Time,” financial … Continue reading “Financial Professionals Must Consider All Options for Retirees, Including Annuities”

Ignore the Naysayers, SEC’s Regulation Best Interest Provides Strong Consumer Protection

The American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI) believes strongly in a best interest standard of care for all financial professionals. Fortunately, so does the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The SEC introduced a strong standard of care in June when it unveiled its Regulation Best Interest (Reg BI). Reg BI is a robust measure that will protect consumers. It will also preserve their access to financial advisors that sell annuities, the one product that provides guaranteed lifetime income. People planning for retirement deserve good advice, and to choose the type of advice they get and how they’ll pay for it. … Continue reading “Ignore the Naysayers, SEC’s Regulation Best Interest Provides Strong Consumer Protection”