Enjoy the current installment of "weekend reading for financial planners" - this week's edition kicks off with the latest big acquisition news, as a private equity firm acquires portfolio accounting and reporting solution Orion Advisor Services, marking the last of the major RIA portfolio accounting platforms that have been acquired (after last week's Advent acquisition). And notably, the deal caps a series of massive Advisor FinTech acquisitions that dramatically trump all the dollars that have ever been invested into "robo-advisors", suggesting that the big money sees even more opportunity in serving advisors in the long run (rather than competing with them!). Although also in the news this week were some further details from the looming Schwab "robo-advisor" solution, which the company announced is targeting a whopping $400 billion of AUM through both its retail and advisor channels!
From there, we have several practice management articles this week, including a look at how advisory firms with strategic plans fleshed out to the point of having actionable implementation steps are outpacing the growth of firms without a strategic plan (or with one lacking the specificity to actually implement), how often the greatest challenge a firm's advisor-owner faces is the need to change his/her own perspective to move the business forward, and some tips on what to think about when crafting communication as an advisory firm (from what to include on your website for prospects, to how to work with the media effectively).
We also have several more technical articles, from a review of the some of the popular "cutting edge" estate planning strategies in use for higher net worth clientele who still face a Federal estate tax problem, to an in-depth look at all the different types of long-term care insurance (traditional LTC, hybrid coverage, etc.) and how to compare them and evaluate which is best and when, and a discussion of the problems with many of today's life expectancy calculators and what to consider if you decide to use one. There's also a discussion of retirement researcher Wade Pfau's new launch of the "Retirement Wealth Index" and the "Retirement Affordability Index", which are meant to give today's retirees some perspective on how good/bad of a time it is to retire.
We wrap up with three interesting articles: the first is a poignant reminder from advisor Ric Edelman that as both an advisory firm grows and changes, and the industry and environment changes around us as well, that whatever got us to where we are successfully is rarely what works to keep us moving forward from here; the second is a fascinating glimpse at a recent study suggesting that as self-driving cars become a reality in the coming decade, the need for vehicle ownership could drop by more than 40% (drastically reducing what clients need to budget, both for a car, and for that 2-car garage!); and the last is an interesting reminder that the whole central role that money plays in our lives today is actually a relatively "recent" phenomenon since World War II, and that in fact the rise of financial planning and its whole reason for being may ultimately boil down to helping us relate in a healthy way to money and the powerful role that it plays in our lives.
Enjoy the reading!