Editor’s picks from around the Web — 6/17-6/21

By Vanessa De La Rosa


This week's picks include the red tape in long-term care policies, the lesson pending in our short-memory market, an opinion on the reality of indexed annuities, a piece about how pervasive consultant conflicts are, how marijuana use affects life insurance rates, and more.

Get ready, gay couples, for a new financial world (Reuters)

"Such a ruling would open up a new world of financial planning for couples in same-sex-marriage states: There are more than 1,100 federal tax and benefit provisions that refer specifically to marriage or spouses. It would change the way they retire, pay taxes, accumulate wealth, plan their bequests and more - mostly, but not entirely, for the better."

Indexed annuities: perception vs. reality (Financial Planning)

Lets just admit it. The words "indexed annuity" make advisors cringe. It evokes a visceral response, a nervousness that is rooted, perhaps, in a feeling of complacency – that this cannot possibly be an appropriate choice for clients. I'd like to help open your eyes to a world that from my experience, most advisors have very little exposure to.

Conflict-free retirement plan advisers remain hard to find (Forbes)

"Consultant conflicts are more pervasive than ever today and, with the growth of alternative investments, consultant secret profits, as well as damages, related to these conflicts have skyrocketed. Most plan sponsors, even the largest, haven’t a clue about the abuses and, unfortunately, aren’t looking for answers."

The effects of marijuana use on life insurance rates (LifeHealthPro)

"For those of your clients who use marijuana medicinally or recreationally, it is essential that you, as their advisor, research life insurance companies before applying. When combined with other health problems, marijuana usage will not be well received by an insurance underwriter."

Fine print and red tape in long-term care policies (NY Times)

"'With all of the hurdles, trying to get a claim paid can be like an Olympic event,' Mr. Rosenfield said. 'The bottom line is that practices vary widely from company to company and state to state. And whether you can trust the company depends on regulation in that state — and most states have limited regulation.'"

The Jimmy Carter annuity dream (MarketWatch)

"Even though interest rates are at historically low levels, too many annuities are being purchased by people thinking that they somehow have locked in a high rate from the Jimmy Carter era."

In a market with a short memory, a tough lesson could await (Forbes)

"Looking back at the financial crisis, one of the canaries in the coal mine was the explosion of leveraged buyouts and the ease with which private equity sponsors obtained financing for those transactions."