Tuesday, March 20, 2018

DOL Fiduciary Rule Overturned (Again)

Are you surprised?

As most of you know by now, a federal appeals court vacated the fiduciary rule late last week. On the surface, the decision was a setback for consumers, investors and their advocates and it was a win the broker/dealers, insurers and others in the financial product sales arena who’ve been increasingly under pressure to recommend investments that benefit their clients before themselves.

“It’s definitely a step backward, especially since the rest of the world is moving toward the fiduciary standard,” said our client, Kyle Walters, a partner of L&H CPAs in Dallas. “It’s like the Paris Climate Agreement in which the U.S. was the only major country in the developed world not to sign on.”

Another of HB client, Blake Christian, CPA, said the overturning of the Fiduciary Rule is a concern for larger investors who have significant dollars under management. “There are many games being played with respect to bond pricing, fund fee structures, annuities, Master Limited Partnerships and other investments,” observed Christian, a partner at Long Beach California-based HCVT. “There are a select number of investment advisors who already adopted the Fiduciary Rule before the old rule (now overturned) became mandatory.  These firms will likely leave their voluntary rules in place.”

Since the Fiduciary Rule provides investors with assurance that the investment advisor will be acting on the customer's behalf rather than on behalf of their firm, “there is less likelihood of self-dealing, conflicts and being directed to high-fee investments,” added Christian.

Michael Kitces, CFP, author of the popular Nerd’s Eye View blog, concluded that ultimately, “it’s not about the ‘right’ standard — suitability versus fiduciary — to apply across financial advisors and the brokerage industry. It’s about recognizing that brokers and annuity agents fulfill a sales role that is functionally different than actual advisors.” Job titles and disclosures should accurately reflect the nature of those relationships, Kitces added.

Once the distinction between advice and sales is truly clear, let consumers make their choice, Kitces argued, adding that there are times when
the public just wants to talk to a salesperson to help them effect a sales transaction. “After all, when I walk into a clothing store in the mall, I’m not looking for a personal fashion consultant; sometimes I just want a salesperson to help me complete the process of buying what I want, and giving me the relevant product information I need to make the decision,” quipped Kitces.

“As I mentioned earlier, this ruling is definitely a step backward at a time when the industry needs to be moving toward being an advice industry,” noted Walters. “That’s where everything is going one way or the other. I’m not sure how big the impact will be since clients are becoming better educated. Whether [the fiduciary standard] is required or not, clients are asking the right questions of their advisors. If you’re an advisor of any kind, that’s not something you can hide from,” warned Walters.

HB client Pat Runyen, of Valley Forge, Pennsylvania-based Independence Advisors, said it will be hard to determine what will happen long-term if the fiduciary standard dies for good. “Many large brokerage firms already have begun to roll out changes to comply with the rules, and plan to keep some or all of these changes regardless of what happens. My best guess is if the rules go away, the affected firms will likely go back to operating under the ‘suitability’ standard given the lucrative incentives.”

Runyen believes this will ultimately be a “net positive” for individual investors over the long-term given the awareness it has raised. “Since last year, many new clients I’ve met with will ask if I’m held to a fiduciary standard (yes). Before that, no one asked such a question. Many CPAs have told me they’ve been asked the same question,” added Runyen.
Walters agreed with Runyen. “As clients get better educated, they can make the fiduciary standard a priority when choosing who to work with. It doesn’t matter from a legality standpoint. They’re going to vote with their feet.”

According to Christian, those who are acting in a trustee or administrator role will be wise to deal with investment firms that continue to operate under the Fiduciary Rule provisions.  “This will offer the trustee/ administrator added protection if a contingent beneficiary or other interested party brings an action against trustee/ administrator,” added Christian. 


Our Take—as always, the best educated consumers—and the most ethical advisors—will find each other eventually and they’ll win in the end.

TAGS, Kyle Walters, Michael Kitces, Pat Runyen, Blake Christian, L&H CPAs, Nerd’s Eye View, Independence Advisors, HCVT

*** Take our Insta-Poll and see how you stack up to your peers.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Institutional Investors Under the Gun to Do the Right Thing

Many of you have been following this blog for years. You know I’m neither a Lefty Liberal nor an arch conservative. I do my best to stay in the middle lane of public opinion and keep politics out of this forum.

That being said, I proudly participated in our Connecticut town’s march against gun violence last weekend. We have extremely tough gun laws in my home state. We’ve had multiple lockdowns and terror scares at our town’s two public high schools. I’m glad we have tough gun laws and I don’t keep firearms in my home. But I do know how to fire a weapon properly (and accurately). I’m proud to say I learned the right way to treat a firearm growing up, thanks to the NRA’s youth marksmanship program at my summer camp. Again, I’m not a gun owner, but I don’t have a problem with responsible adults using pistols or rifles for protection, sport-shooting or hunting.

So, please explain to me why any civilian needs to own a high powered military assault rifle such as the AR-15 favored by today’s terrorists and mass shooters. It certainly ain’t for sport or self-protection. Safety was the first (second and third) priority in my youth riflery program, followed by learning how to focus, control your breathing and relax under pressure. These were all valuable life skills. And if you didn’t take the safety part seriously, the instructors wouldn’t think twice about booting you off the range…no second or third strikes. No parental or social worker intervention.

I have two teenage boys. The faces of those kids from the Parkland, Florida mass shooting looked eerily similar to my 14 year-old and his classmates. I coached my son in baseball for many years and our biggest rival was a very good team from Newtown, CT, half of whom survived the Sandy Hook school shooting in 2012. You couldn’t have met a nicer group of kids, parents and coaches, but they’re very close knit in a way that few other teams are. Sadly, tragedies have a way or bringing people closer together.

So what’s all this have to do for a blog catering to financial professionals?

First, I’m sure many of you have been asked by clients to help them divest their holdings of publicly traded gun manufacturers. And it’s not that easy to do so is it?

Ron Lieber outlined 7 key challenges to socially conscious investing last week in the New York Times. It’s not that easy to put a gun maker in your investing cross hairs since most, like Smith & Wesson, are part of broader diversified retailers (American Outdoor Brands). There also challenges of style drift as funds designed to replicate the indexes they track, can no longer do so if several major gun makers and ammunition suppliers and are taken out of the equation.

Can the money guys influence the gunny guys?

Two of the world’s biggest asset managers, BlackRock and Vanguard, are now among the top shareholders of three publicly traded gun companies: Sturm Ruger, American Outdoor Brands and Vista Outdoor.
BlackRock has an 11 percent stake in American Outdoor Brands, while Vanguard’s stake is 8 percent. For Sturm Ruger, BlackRock owns 17 percent while Vanguard has 9.5 percent.
BlackRock said it would be contacting officials at the three publicly traded firearms companies, asking them about how they were responding to the shootings.
Vanguard has taken a more cautious stance. With 20 million clients, the firm said it was unrealistic to cater to such a wide variety of views on pressing social topics. “We believe mutual funds are not optimal agents of social change,” a spokesman said, adding that Vanguard does offer clients a way to screen funds for stocks that they do not want to invest in.
Last week BlackRock announced it will be dropping stocks of companies that touch the gun industry. "As a significant provider of index-based investments, we are required to replicate the holdings of particular indices," the firm told CNBC in a statement. "Third-party providers determine which companies are included in these indices."
That doesn't mean BlackRock will be dropping stocks of companies that touch the gun industry, though. "As a significant provider of index-based investments, we are required to replicate the holdings of particular indices," the firm told CNBC in a statement. "Third-party providers determine which companies are included in these indices."
Get the picture?

Instead of trying to do laser surgery on clients’ diversified portfolios, why don’t we encourage our lawmakers and major institutional investors to pressure gun manufacturers to stop making military assault weapons available for civilian use.

We can also ban civilians OF ANY AGE from purchasing military assault rifles and increasing background checks and waiting periods for all gun purchasers. If the nation’s once-siloed intelligence organizations could come together after 9/11, why can’t we do a better job of sharing intelligence between law enforcement, mental health professionals, and school resource personnel to identify people who could be at-risk for using weapons of any type.

While we’re at it, we can start looking for ways to reform the earliest stop in the mayhem supply chain--violent video games. My teen boys wouldn’t hurt a fly, but I’d be a lot happier if they spent less time blowing off steam playing Grand Theft Auto and other violent video games with their friends. Whether or not playing violent video games contributes to mass shootings, it definitely desensitizes players of all ages and genders, to violence.

Borrowing a page from the tobacco industry, video gaming giants say their products are not addictive, that they don’t specifically target young consumers and they have reams of studies showing their product do not cause harm. If you think you’ve heard this before from the tobacco industry, the soft drink industry and the NRA, you’re not alone.

Even President Trump has expressed deep unease with violent video games, telling video-game execs last month that they are “shaping young people’s thoughts.”

"We discussed the numerous scientific studies establishing that there is no connection between video games and violence, First Amendment protection of video games, and how our industry’s rating system effectively helps parents make informed entertainment choices," the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), a Washington-focused lobbying organization for the industry ESA responded in a statement.

Hmm, same argument different industry. It’s the old “We just make the product, we can’t control who buys it or uses it” defense.


I don’t know how much our town’s March Against Gun violence will accomplish in the long-run, but at least it’s a start. It was an encouraging turnout considering frigid windy conditions on a Saturday morning. Even more impressive was the poise of the half dozen high school students who spoke at the march’s conclusion. They held their own alongside seasoned adult politicians and they were very well informed.

Maybe these post-Millennials (Generation Selfie) are more than narcissistic, screen-addicted slackers. Most will be old enough to vote in the next Presidential election and they are a force to be reckoned with no matter where you stand on the gun debate.

*** Take our Insta-Poll and see how you stack up to your peers.

TAGS, gun debate, NRA,
Entertainment Software Association, violent video games

Sunday, February 25, 2018

It’s Not All Doom and Gloom

The latest stock market volatility, combined with the Florida school shootings, the daily soap opera in the White House and the crappy weather in the East and Midwest could give even the sunniest of us the late winter blues.

Fortunately there’s hope. The U.S. overachieved its way to Winter Olympic medals in our non-core sports such as curling, bobsledding and cross-country skiing. We dodged another interest rate hike and the equity markets showed resilience once again in what many pundits assured us was the start of the Long, Long, Long Overdue Correction.

Our client, Matt Topley, chief investment officer of Valley Forge, Pennsylvania-based Fortis Wealth and author of the popular View from the Top blog, said there are a number of simple reasons why the recent market volatility is not a bear market in the making:

1. If we were moving into a truly defensive market, Topley said we would be seeing rotation out of aggressive sectors like technology and consumer discretionary and into defensive sectors like utilities and consumer staples. During the recent 10-percent market pullback, the (risk-on) tech and consumer discretionary sectors went down the least.

2. “Yes, we’re in the later innings of a long bull market,” said Topley, “but the stock market is driven by earnings growth and 80-percent of S&P companies are beating their revenue estimates—even without the tax cut.”
3. Wage growth peaked at 4 percent leading up to the last three recessions—it’s barely growing at 3 percent today, observed Topley.

4. Another fear driver during this selloff has been a flattening yield curvea situation in which long-term debt is not yielding much more than short-term debt of the same credit quality. But, Topley said equities tend to do well leading up to a flattening or inverted yield curve. “An inverted yield curve—when short-term debt is yielding more than long-term debt--is one of our firm’s five key recession indicators, but we are not in the danger zone yet,” said Topley.

5. There was absolutely no retail investor panic during the latest correction. In fact, the average American was buying stock during the recent market pullback. The “buy the dip” mentality is still intact, said Topley. “For a true bear market to ensue, retail investors have to throw in towel and sell in volume.”

Last week’s stock market volatility has caused many to wonder if the real estate market has also hit its near-term peak. Randy Hubschmidt, who manages Fortis’s Real Estate Fund, said many investors have asked him if it’s time to take some chips off the table and diversify into other sectors of the real estate market.

“Multifamily housing should remain strong as new tax laws make single family ownership less attractive and as downsizing Boomers migrate to urban markets vacated by Millennials who are finally settling down, starting families and moving to the Burbs,” said Hubschmidt. “There is still plenty of upside left for properties that can be upgraded quickly and cost effectively and can be repositioned in the market.”

Rays of hope on the tax reform front

While nearly half of you (45%) told us in our unscientific reader poll that you were dissatisfied with the Trump tax reform package, there are still some less known provisions that should cheer up taxpayers from Red states to Blue states.

Our client, Blake Christian, CPA, of HCVT in Long Beach California shared this sampler from a recent interview in US News & World Report:
·         529’s plans can now be used for K-12 educational expenses (not just for college) to the tune of $10,000 per year.
·         For 2018, the Child Tax Credit (CTC) doubles to $2,000 per qualified child from $1,000.  In addition, now up to $1,400 of the CTC for each child is potentially refundable, explained Christian, even if the taxpayer has a tax liability less than the credit amounts.  “For the 2018 year, taxpayers may also be eligible for up to $500 per non-child dependent.”
·         The American Opportunity Credit of $2,500 per year is now available for couples earning less than $180,000 per year who are financing an undergraduate’s education.
·         Achieving A Better Life (ABLE) accounts are designed for families with dependents who experienced disabilities prior to turning 26.  Christian said that in such cases “the ABLE accounts allow family and friends to fund up to $15,000, up $1,000 from 2017, annually and these funds grow tax free and are also excluded (up to $100,000) from impacting various federal and state benefit programs.”

AI is NOT taking over everyone’s jobs

Our client Anthony Glomski, founder of Los Angeles-based AG Asset Advisory and author of the new book, Liquidity & You, said non-linear thinking has always been an asset in business.  “Thinking globally and outside the box,” or “seeing the big picture” are clich├ęs rooted in truth.  As we enter the era of automated automation, these abilities are the key advantage we’ll (presumably) maintain over exponentially learning machines.” Technical expertise will become obsolete more quickly and it is still unclear how this plays out for workers and businesses; and on what timeline. “It seems likely, however, that opportunities and success will follow for individuals and enterprises that can best perceive, anticipate, strategize, and adapt,” added Glomski.

As my dad always reminded me, things are never as good as they seem when you’re on a roll and they’re never really as bad as they seem when you’re down in the dumps. As always, the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Be smart. Trust your instincts and keep your eyes focused on the big picture that lies ahead. As my boyhood basketball idol, Charles Barkley, famously said, Sometimes that light at the end of the tunnel is actually a train.

Let’s hope the powers that be who are guiding our government, financial markets and economy have their eyes wide open as they lead us into the future.

TAGS, Anthony Glomski, Blake Christian, Charles Barkley, Matt Topley, Randy Hubschmidt

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

What Super Bowl 52 Taught Us About Calculated Risk

I remember one chilly Tuesday as an elementary schooler in Philadelphia. We were allowed to stay home because the hometown Eagles beat Dallas on Monday Night Football the night before. It wasn’t for the East Division title or National Conference championship. It wasn’t even for the final playoff spot. We simply beat Dallas during the peak of the hated Cowboys’ dynasty. That single game made the “Iggles” otherwise forgettable 2-12 season a huge success. At least in the eyes of Principal Warnick.

Fast-forward 40 years later. The Lombardi Trophy finally rests in Philadelphia. Never happened before. In case you missed it, the Super Bowl went down to the final play with the NFL’s winningest quarterback (Brady), coach (Belichick) and franchise (Patriots) trying to pull out one more miracle comeback from their bag of tricks. Eagles Nation was bracing for yet another gut-wrenching disappointment, but the football gods finally got over their grudge against the guys in green. Brady’s 50-yard Hail Mary pass got lost among a sea of arms, legs, hands and elbows and fell harmlessly near the end zone and the clock ran out. No flags on the play! No review! No Buffalo Bills comparisons.

For once, the guys in green and black came out on top. Nick Foles, the humble backup quarterback-turned-Super Bowl hero, simply said, “I didn’t try to be Super Man out there.” Just play the game and trust your teammates, is essentially what Foles added. I don’t think it was an intentional dig at the Hall of Fame-bound opposing quarterback, but Brady didn’t exactly congratulate the Eagles for their victory in his terse, post-game press conference.

Side Note: New York Giants fans, to their credit, have been very gracious to yours truly for the unlikely win by their bitter NFC East rivals.

Not your dad’s NFL title

Sure the Birds won the NFL title back in 1960, but there were only about 10 teams in the league and no such thing as a Super Bowl. I wasn’t born yet, but my dad told me pro football wasn’t that big a deal. You could get cheap walk-up tickets the day of the game at creaky old Franklin Field. He doesn’t recall a ticker tape parade in the Eagles’ honor. It’s going to be a little different on Thursday morning with over 2 million green-clad supporters on hand to salute their heroes and/or take advantage of the free Bud Light along the South Philadelphia parade route.

Living between NYC and Boston the past two decades, I’ve endured countless Super Bowl victories, World Series titles and Stanley Cup hoists by the hometown teams. In 1994, I accidentally stumbled into the NY Rangers parade in lower Manhattan and sort of got caught up in the excitement. It didn’t last. I’ve tried to root for the hometown boys, but old habits are hard to break. Do I have a perpetual chip on my shoulder? Yep. Does the city of Philadelphia? Yo!

We like it that way. The Eagles (and their raucous) fans will never be confused with the Chicago Cubbies and Boston Sox--“lovable losers” who endured over a century of futility before using sophisticated analytics and a business-like approach to the game to end their respective championship droughts. Eagles fans taking losing very personally.

Underdogs, Not!

Sure, the Eagles wore the underdog label like a badge of honor, but they are a shrewdly run organization that spends big bucks to sign high priced stars, between (and during) each season. Sure they started the season at 60-1 odds to win the Super Bowl. But, The Philadelphia Eagles Professional Football Club, Inc. uses sophisticated data mining and decision-making algorithms to exploit opponents weaknesses and to determine when to gamble on gutsy 4th down plays and two-point conversion attempts….and when not to.

Data analytics is also what allowed the Eagles to diversity their portfolio of players with enough “Next Man Up” talent to overcome the loss of nine opening day starters, including their MVP quarterback Carson Wentz.

As with the stock market, information moves at lightning speed in the NFL. Most teams will start emulating the Eagles’ use of data analysis, calculated risk taking and roster-stacking. They may not be able to manufacture the same team chemistry, but it won’t be easy for Philly to stay ahead of the pack, even with a full healthy roster next year. That’s what makes the Patriots’ recent dynasty so impressive in this data-driven free-agency environment.


As with the long-running bull market, the Patriots dynasty may be losing some steam, but the team will be back among the contenders next year--with or without the game’s greatest quarterback and supporting cast. Same goes for stocks. In fact, 80 percent of you told us in our fall 2017 Wealth Advisor Confidence Survey that you expected a 10-15 percent correction in 2018. That’s what gave me the courage to post Is the Miraculous Market/Economy Coming Back to Earth?  last Monday when the Dow was over 26K.

Stocks will take some healthy hits this year, but in the long run, they’ll remain the top contender in the asset-class competition for investors’ money. Just remember they’re a risk asset, not a savings bond. You can review this call as often as you like. It won’t be overturned. Principal Warnick said so.

TAGS: Stock market correction, Super Bowl, Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, Carson Wentz, Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles, risk management

*** Take our Insta-Poll and see how you stack up to your peers.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Is the Miraculous Economic/Market Balloon Coming Back to Earth?

Many of you have been sprinkling the term “animal spirits” into your blogs and articles lately and referencing the Shiller CAPE ratio. Good stuff. That’s why we’re sharing Robert Shiller’s piece from yesterday’s NY Times with you: Consumer Confidence Is Lifting the Economy. But for How Much Longer?

Shiller, originator of the eponymous Cyclically Adjusted Price to Earnings (CAPE) ratio, argued that consumer confidence is a critically important advance indicator of economic booms and busts. That said, he admitted we don’t really understand how and why consumer confidence behaves the way it does.

That’s a dangerous notion. We can talk all we want about a very low (perceived) jobless rate, GDP approaching the magic 3% target, inflation in check and a record-high stock market with earnings (sort of) keeping pace with ever-rising share prices, but Shiller argues that doesn’t fully explain the buoyant mood from Wall Street to Main Street.

Our Take: It reminds of us of the balloonist who doesn’t understand the concept of helium—and that he doesn’t have an infinite supply of it. The view’s great now, but you better be ready when the fuel that’s keeping you aloft eventually runs out.

Shiller argues “animal spirits” are at work, referring to the term popularized by economist John Maynard Keynes in the 1930s referring to a “psychological state in which people get a consumerist and entrepreneurial bug that allows them to forget their worries and let their optimism guide their economic decision-making.”
Is the exuberance irrational?

According to Shiller, exuberance like this is fueling the lofty stock market, in which “prices have far exceeded fundamental valuations.” He observed that real (inflation-corrected) corporate earnings per share for the S&P 500 in Q3 were only 6-percent higher than they were in Q2 of 2007, just before the financial crisis. In contrast, real stock market prices were 39 percent higher. “That disproportionate increase is based much more on how earnings are being valued than on how the level of earnings has increased.”
Our own Wealth Advisor Confidence Survey last fall found that nearly 80 percent of advisors expected a double-digit market correction in 2018, but less than one third (31%) expected a recession.
Obviously, this disconnect has happened before and will likely happen again. According to Shiller, “The four major confidence indexes took a long ride up between 1990 and 2000, again after a recession. From the bottom of the Michigan index in October 1990 to a peak in February 2000, real S&P 500 price per share rose 256 percent while real earnings per share rose only 78 percent.”

What gives? Shiller said a traditional explanation is that investors had a rational expectation of future earnings increases, “but, it is clear that they were grossly mistaken. The S&P 500 lost just over half of its real value from its peak on March 24, 2000, to its trough on Oct. 9, 2002. No concrete event caused this plunge, though we can point to the bursting of the dot-com bubble and a recession. Both were plausibly caused by a drop in overinflated confidence.”
Shiller said that while Trump’s presidency may have exerted “some impact on animal spirits in the last year,” it doesn’t explain the preceding eight years of gradually rising confidence. “I am skeptical that the upward swing can be entirely explained by standard factors like government and central bank stabilization policy or technological innovation,” added Shiller.
Our Take: If we don’t know what’s keeping the balloon aloft, then we’ll never know what’s going to cause it to plummet--or when. Don’t trust the gauge just because it says there’s gas left in the tank.

Said Shiller: “History indicates that a long uptrend like this one will eventually shift downward, even if we can’t say when it will happen. While the timing will be a surprise, we can expect a sharp change in direction that is likely to have serious consequences for the economy in the United States and around the world.”

Fasten your seatbelt and always make sure your parachute is working. Think we’re full of crap? We’d love to know what you think and why.

*** Take our Insta-Poll and see how you stack up to your peers.

TAGS: Robert Shiller, CAPE ratio, consumer confidence, market overvalued, animal spirits, irrational exuberance

Monday, January 22, 2018

Surround Yourself with the Right Mix of Finders, Minders AND Grinders

One of our most popular posts last fall was: Are You a Finder, Minder or Grinder? C’mon Be Honest. As expected, the vast majority of you considered yourself Finders (82%), according to our unscientific InstaPoll. Finders are the rainmakers at professional service firms. They bring in the business and cultivate relationships that turn into new business or strategic partnerships.

Of the remainder, we expected most of you to say you were Minders (i.e. project managers and supervisors). You’re the experts that focus on process and keeping the trains running on time. But, that only describes 3 percent of you. Surprisingly, one out of every seven of you (15%) described yourself as Grinders. You’re the worker bees who put your nose to the grindstone to deliver all the promises that your firm’s finders make—no matter how aggressive and far-reaching.

This imbalance also tells us that many of you are trying to fill too many roles—burning the midnight oil every night to deliver all the promises that you and your fellow partners have made to clients and high level prospects. And supervising the work. That’s not a sustainable business model or organizational structure.

Balanced talent portfolio
As Forbes contributor, Keenan Beasley explained recently, you need a balance of finders, minders and grinders. If you’re top-heavy with minders, then Beasley says nothing will get done. Your costs will go up and you won’t be able to scale. If you have a disproportionate number of grinders, very few see the big picture and too much strategy and execution falls on the founders and you won’t be able to expand profitable. If you have too many finders, Beasley says you’ll win a lot of business, but retention of both your clients and over-worked staff will suffer.

Our Take: Be especially cognizant of that last one, folks.

By moving closer to an equal balance of finders, minders and grinder, your business will grow from both a topline and bottom line perspective. The efficiency will boost your profits and free up founders/finders to do what they do best--bringing in more (and larger) clients that enable you to scale.

Generally, employees fall into just one of these classifications above, said our client Blake Christian, CPA a partner at HCVT and author of the new book: Becoming a CPA-Preneur. Make sure you have the right person with the right mindset in the right role. “Occasionally an employee will have more than one of these groups of skills. When you find them make sure you retain those gems,” said Christian.

But, if you’re trying to be one of those organizational triathletes yourself, you’ll eventually run out of gas before you reach the finish line. Be brutally honest about what you can and cannot do, and bring in the help you need to fill those gaps ASAP.

TAGS: Finders, Minders and Grinders, Keenan Beasley, Blake Christian

*** Take our Insta-Poll and see how you stack up to your peers.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Our Top 10 Posts of 2017

From the White House to Hollywood to the worlds of sport, business and high finance, it’s hard to remember a year in which the media has been more central to the national conversation. From fake news, to workplace misconduct to a President hell-bent on bypassing it, the media is still one of the most powerful tools a free society has to keep those in power accountable. Like it or not, the media isn’t going away anytime soon. You better figure out how to make it your friend, not your foe.

According to the Wealth Advisor Confidence Survey™ 2017 that we conducted with The Financial Awareness Foundation, half of advisors (48%) say that being quoted in the press is a “Very” or “Extremely” effective way to enhance thought leadership. Nearly two thirds of respondents (63%) say the same about writing articles for publication. Respondents were 5-times more likely to cite these channels than to cite mainstream social media (other than LinkedIn). As always, we’re here to help you make the media your best friends and referral mechanism. Just remember You Are What You Write, which was by far our most popular post of 2017. And while you’re at it Avoid These Written and Spoken Credibility Killers (#7).

Many of our other Top-10 posts related to improving your communication, your work habits and your ability to connect with Next Gen. Enjoy the list:

8. What High Performing Advisors do Differently Than Their Peers

9. New Books by HB Publishing Clients Help You Flex Entrepreneurial Muscles


Have a great 2018 and buy yourself some good sneakers. We’re going to be running very, very fast this year.

*** How badly have your clients been hit by tax reform? Take our Insta-Poll and see how you stack up to your peers.

TAGS: Top 10 posts of 2017, make the media your friend not foe