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    Tax

    The Value of the Tax Map for Your Clients

    Covisum's software started out as services in my own financial planning practice. We use Tax Clarity® at least once per year with every client, mainly because skipping it just doesn’t make sense. Let me explain our thought process: We get at least one client referral each year to provide a Tax Map and advice on a tax-efficient retirement. The lifetime value of a client to our practice is over $15,000. It’s a no brainer to spend $960 on software to make that happen.
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    In The News

    Clearing up the Annuity Bonus Confusion

    Bonus. Sounds great, right? It sounds like “extra.” Getting a bonus is a good thing… right?It’s easy to understand why bonus annuities can be appealing to consumers. For years, annuity carriers have offered bonus annuity contracts, offering an up-front dollar figure that’s added to the account value, usually upon issue of the contract. This annuity bonus amount is commonly based on a percentage of premium. For example, if an annuity is started with an initial $100,000 premium, and the bonus is 10 percent, then $10,000 will be added to contract value on day one for a total contract value of $110,000.
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    Marketing

    VLOG: Clients Expect Seminars to be Educational

    April is Financial Literacy Month The United States has recognized Financial Literacy Month during the month of April since 2004. Financial advisors have a unique opportunity to help educate others, and one great way to improve financial literacy among the general public is by conducting educational seminars. Covisum® President and Founder, Joe Elsasser, CFP®, is a practicing financial planner and has been hosting seminars in partnership with the Omaha Public Library system for the past decade. He sat down to share his thoughts about the benefits of conducting educational seminars. 
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    In The News

    A Flaw with Bucket Strategies and Retirement Planning

    The bucket strategy is designed to break a retiree’s assets into "buckets" based upon when those buckets are expected to be used to provide retirement income. The buckets nearest today are invested conservatively so that market fluctuations will have little impact on the retiree’s ability to draw a predictable amount from them. The investments in later buckets are invested more aggressively, with the expectation that a higher risk level should provide a higher return over time. In some bucket models, buckets are "refilled" by selling from later buckets during good times in the markets. In other bucket models, the client's asset allocation is allowed to become steadily more aggressive as the client ages. The first option works better for a constrained investor who has just enough retirement savings to meet their needs. The latter works better for someone who is well-funded, with more than enough assets to weather significant dips in the markets.
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    Tax

    Did the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Eliminate the Social Security Tax Torpedo?

    The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act represents a relatively significant tax cut for most middle-income retirees, but the bill did nothing to change the interactions between different income sources in retirement, which means that retirees will need to pay close attention to which accounts they withdraw from at which points in time.
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    Tax

    What will tax reform look like for the proactive advisor?

    Now is the time to build relationships with CPAs At this point, it seems safe to expect some form of tax reform will pass in the next several months. The House has already passed H.R. 1, the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” which includes a variety of changes to the personal income tax system and significant changes to corporate taxation. The Senate has released its proposal, which doesn’t reduce the number of brackets, but does smooth the progression with level steps between each new proposed bracket. Both bills increase standard deductions, eliminate some itemized deductions, eliminate personal exemptions, and provide some sort of child/dependent tax credit. Regardless of the compromises that emerge through the political process, it is clear that there will be a need for members of the general public to understand the changes and how those changes impact their personal situations. Financial advisors will be faced with a choice – either take proactive steps to first become educated on the new laws, and then identify specific opportunities for their clients, or risk losing clients to other proactive advisors who choose the first path. 
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    In The News

    How New Tax Law Will Impact How You Help Clients

    By Joe Elsasser, CFP®, president of Covisum For all the talk about how the Trump tax plan, the House plan and the Senate plan change the current tax system, there has been little talk about just how similar they are to the current structure. For mass-affluent retirees and the advisors who serve them, the future is highly similar to the past — rich with opportunities to help clients The tax plans don’t change the fundamental concepts in the current tax system. Here, we break it down by those basic concepts and explain how the different tax reform proposals would impact — or not impact — each.
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    Marketing

    Seven Steps to a Successful Financial Seminar

      Many people are hungry for financial information they can trust. Financial seminars are a great tool to get in front of these people, but planning and executing a successful seminar can be a lot of work. Covisum® is dedicated to helping advisors and their clients create a shared vision for the future. We understand that it is easier for a client to stay on their current path, rather than create a new one. However, with the right plan, you can help prospective clients as well as grow your business. One way to grow your business is to host a seminar and position yourself and your firm as trusted advisors. In my role as a Certified Financial Planner™ at Sequent Planning, I’ve been using seminars successfully to build business for a number of years. So, what does it take? Follow these seven steps to a successful financial seminar:
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