Enjoy the current installment of "weekend reading for financial planners" - this week's edition kicks off with the big 2013 annual advisor tech survey, with some interesting results showing that advisors are starting to really shift to the cloud (and show a preference for cloud-based solutions). There's also an interesting bit of news about Fidelity announcing that it going forward it will charge more to purchase Vanguard and DFA mutual funds (and a few other low-cost providers) compared to the other 99%+ of the marketplace.
From there, we have a number of technical planning articles, including a discussion of how clients who use the Social Security "file and suspend" strategy can actually undo it years later, a look at some of the rules for 529 plans that are relaxed when a beneficiary designation change occurs, a harsh look at whether nontraded REITs are really all they're cracked up to be, and some recent research from the Journal of Financial Planning about how to achieve higher withdrawal rates using a standby line of credit via a reverse mortgage.
We also have several practice management articles, including a bit of a point-counterpoint discussion about the how easily advisors can get started with blogging, but a note that just because advisors can blog doesn't mean they should unless their practice is really focused and specialized enough to create content that has unique value from all the other "tripe" being pushed out (spammed out) to consumers. There's also a discussion of how some advisors have struggled with the execution of website re-design projects (though most seem happy with the final outcome, even if the process of getting there was a challenge!).
We wrap up with three interesting articles: the first is an interview with financial planner, blogger, and speaker Tim Maurer about the wide range of activities he's involved with and his secret for how he's achieved such good relationships with the media (hint: give it away); the second is a look at some of our behavioral biases in making decisions as advisors, and how we can better navigate our own decision-making challenges; and the last is an interesting look at how, despite all the negativity about the state of the US these days, we've actually made astonishing improvements over and above the days-gone-by when we already said times were great (which means we should be even happier now, right!?). Enjoy the reading!