Editor's picks from around the Web: 12/9-12/13

By Vanessa De La Rosa


This week's picks include advisors who disagree with Dave Ramsey, a dilemma in the annuity world, racial aspects of American retirement, a financial planner who hopes clients avoid buying LTCI, big ideas in estate planning, two opinion pieces on health care reform, tips for hiring advisors, and more.

Forget Dave Ramsey – 80 percent of financial advisors dismiss the debt snowball method (NerdWallet)

“Well-known personal-finance guru Dave Ramsey advocates the “Snowball Method,” when you pay just the minimum payments on all your obligations, while focusing on eliminating your smallest debts first. His thinking is, paying off your smallest debts gives you the momentum to tackle the larger debts in your life. So who’s right? NerdWallet surveyed 100 financial advisors to get their thoughts.”

Fixed-rate annuities offer better rates than CDs (MarketWatch)

“The rule of thumb that I use with my clients is if your time horizon is two years or less, then CDs are the appropriate choice for a fixed-rate strategy. If your time frame is more than two years, then you should consider fixed-rate annuities because the annual yield will usually be higher.”

The GOP’s health-reform opportunity (The Wall Street Journal)

“The GOP's long reticence to address health care provided Mr. Obama with the moment to pass his law. The GOP is now faced with another such moment, only this time the party is far better positioned to show policy boldness. If it only will.”

Recruiting and hiring: 7 smart tips for advisors (Financial Planning)

“Looking to expand your team and boost performance? Executive search veterans Kathy Freeman Godfrey and Jeff Warren have a few suggestions for recruiting and hiring financial advisors.”

The annuity dilemma (LifeHealthPro)

“Dilemmas abound in the financial world, but one of the most intriguing dilemmas going involves how the annuity industry promotes and frames their product strategies. I think that this is a defining moment for the annuity leaders, and they have a difficult choice looking them in the face.”

A health care mystery explained (New York Times)

“Here’s the thing: Republicans don’t want to help the unfortunate. They’ll propound health-care ideas that will, they claim, help those with preexisting conditions and so on — but those aren’t really proposals, they’re diversionary tactics designed to stall real health reform. Chait finds Newt Gingrich more or less explicitly admitting this … There’s no mystery here; it’s just top-down class warfare as usual.”

America’s hidden retirement crisis is racial (Forbes)

“’Obviously, there’s been an improvement in retirement account values since then,’ said Rhee, ‘and, with the economy growing, more people are saving.’ But she said she doubted that updated numbers would be much higher for minority households in general, because so many of them are still not offered retirement plans at work. That brings me to the key question: What’s behind the huge retirement savings gap between blacks, Latinos and whites?”

Susan Kaplan, on avoiding long-term care insurance (The Wall Street Journal)

“Although it seems like blasphemy, I don't recommend that clients purchase long-term care coverage. It's a burden on clients who have to move heaven and earth to pay extremely high premiums. Further, the odds that your client will continue paying for coverage until they actually need it are slim.”

Big ideas in estate planning now (Financial Planning)

“Almost a year after the passage of a massive package of tax changes, the implications are still rippling through the estate planning world. A highlight of the law was the increase in the exemption to $10.5 million for a couple, but more broadly, the act has produced a complete paradigm change. Astute financial advisors will capitalize on these and assume a more central role in the estate planning process.”