This week’s editor’s picks feature how the annuity business needs to change, mistakes to avoid on LinkedIn, financial obstacles for gay couples, why advisors should include health care costs in their clients planning, and more. Feel free to comment or leave other article recommendations below.
It's time to fix the annuity industry
"The annuity business has really not changed that much over the years. It's one of those industries that makes a ton of money, so no one wants to upset the apple cart and kill the golden goose. Because annuities are regulated at the state level, the call for change will have to be unified and addressed at the industry, agent and product levels."
Have Americans Given Up On Saving for Retirement?
"With an economic recovery under way, and housing rebounding and stocks verging on new highs, perhaps the sense of futility will ease before we all slip into a coma. Let’s hope so, because giving up isn’t the answer."
8 Mistakes You Should Never Make On LinkedIn
"LinkedIn has a special designation: professional networking. And there is a difference between professional and personal networking, according to LinkedIn Career Expert Nicole Williams: 'I see the same mistakes over and over!'"
Wealthy Gay Couples Could Pay More Taxes If Unions Legal
"For gay couples where both earners are making salaries of $400,000 a year or more, the ruling may mean thousands of dollars in higher income taxes if the court accepts the legality of these unions. Such high-earning couples already may have added costs when they file their taxes, share employee benefits such as health insurance and transfer assets."
Cataloging Health Care's Excesses
(The New York Times)
"The cover story in Time magazine last week wasn’t the usual fare... 'Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us' is a serious, exhaustively reported piece about the problem the U.S. health care system has become. The article, by Steven Brill, has created unusual buzz in Washington; it spares no vested interest."
Protecting Life Insurance Beneficiaries From a Windfall
"While the usual life insurance policy allows the policy death proceeds to be distributed in a variety of manners, the beneficiary is given the choice of how and when to receive them, whether this decision is in accord with the policy owner’s wishes. A new trend in product offerings may serve to reverse the course of this eventuality by allowing the policy owner to protect the beneficiaries while generating potentially substantial additional benefits under the policy in the process."
No, the United States Will Never, Ever Turn Into Greece
"The short version of this story is that we'll spend ourselves into bankruptcy. The longer version says that too much public debt makes markets nervous. Nervous markets demand higher interest rates. Higher rates mean higher deficits and lower growth, both of which mean more burdensome debt. More burdensome debt makes markets even more nervous. And around and around we go in a vicious circle into insolvency."
Financial Advisors Should Help Clients Plan For Health-Care Costs
"As a financial advisor, you can offer valuable guidance to your current clients, and attract new ones, by helping them understand and prepare for the health-care costs they will face in retirement."