Survey: 45% of Americans have no financial plan | Social Security isn't going to disappear, group says | Documentary will warn about retirement crisis
April 20, 2012
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Survey: 45% of Americans have no financial plan
A Northwestern Mutual study indicates that 45% of Americans don't have a financial plan, many of them because they approach finances informally or because they have no financial goals at all. The results, part of the Planning and Progress Study, also showed that a majority of Americans recognize that their financial planning needs to improve. (4/19)
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What the Financial and Insurance Industries Can Learn from Retailers
Retail has long used personalization and capitalized on its results. Now marketers in the banking, financial, and insurance industries are beginning to do the same. This e-book contains 4 key plays to make data actionable and personalize the experience of every customer. Download Now!

Market Trends
Social Security isn't going to disappear, group says
"[M]odest legislated increases in revenue" would let Social Security continue to pay out benefits for more than a century, according to a report from the Strengthen Social Security Campaign. The group's report attempts to forecast the 2012 Social Security Trustees Report, set to be released Monday. A report on Medicare funding is scheduled for the same day. AdvisorOne (4/19), CNNMoney (4/20)
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Documentary will warn about retirement crisis
The founder of a small-business-retirement company is traveling the nation for six weeks to interview Americans about their retirement savings. Chad Parks, CEO of The Online 401(k), said he will use footage of the interviews in a documentary film warning about an impending retirement crisis. "It is not about the nuts and bolts of pension plans, actuaries and 401(k)s but people's quality of life," Parks said. (4/19)
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Lawmakers weigh federal-worker retirement changes
A bill that would allow federal workers to ease into retirement by working part time while collecting a partial annuity has cleared the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee with bipartisan support. Meanwhile, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, D-N.D., is floating a plan that calls for studying federal and military retirement benefits to find $100 billion in savings over a decade. The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (4/19)
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SEC picks associate director to oversee investment adviser regulation
The Securities and Exchange Commission has named Diane Blizzard associate director for regulatory policy and investment adviser regulation in the Division of Investment Management, replacing Robert Plaze, who is now the division's deputy director. Blizzard will oversee rule-making and policy that governs investment advisers. National Underwriter Life & Health (4/19)
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Other News
Crunching the Numbers
Your passion may have led you into business, but tracking cash flow and other key numbers will help keep your company up and running. Read Boomtown: Think Like a Startup

Financial Literacy
Expert offers tax wisdom for investors
Many investors fail to take advantage of simple strategies that minimize taxes on their gains, says Duncan Richardson of Eaton Vance. Among his tips are keeping taxable investments in tax-sheltered individual retirement accounts or 401(k)s and choosing funds without a lot of turnover. The Sun Herald (Biloxi-Gulfport, Miss.)/The Associated Press (4/19)
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How too little insurance can sink your retirement
Many baby boomers are under-insured yet unaware of the risk it presents to their retirement, some experts say. Top areas of risk include inadequate insurance to rebuild a home, cover valuable collections or provide for long-term care. CNBC (4/17)
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On the Economy
Existing-home sales post a surprise drop for March
Most economists predicted an increase in sales of previously owned homes last month in the U.S., but figures fell instead. Sales of existing homes dropped 2.6%, from a 4.6 million annual rate in February to 4.48 million in March, the National Association of Realtors said. Bloomberg (4/19)
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Tax-cut legislation for small business gains House approval
The House voted largely by party line to approve a plan by Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., to cut small-business taxes by 20%. Democrats objected to the measure's $46 billion cost and said it would help primarily wealthy taxpayers. Both parties are staking out tax-policy positions ahead of the fall election. The Hill/Floor Action Blog (4/19)
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The Adviser-Client Relationship
Financial advisers get payoff from regular contact with clients
Financial advisories that contact their best clients 12 or more times a year generate 68% more revenue per principal than firms that do so six or fewer times a year, according to a study by Business Health. The study found that less than one-third of advisories engage with clients 12 or more times a year. Financial Advisor online (4/16)
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How to get customers to read your e-mails
Recipients will delete uninteresting marketing messages in the blink of an eye, so it's important to grab their attention from the start, Tom Searcy writes. Your marketing e-mails should include a call to action and should be personalized, he advises. "Craft messages based on information known about individual recipients and segments of recipients," he adds. CBS MoneyWatch/Sales Machine blog (4/19)
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It has yet to be proven that intelligence has any survival value.
Arthur C. Clarke,
British author and inventor
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