The most popular posts of 2019 are...

As another year comes to a close, we decided to take a look at the blog posts that resonated with you the most. We rounded up a list of our most viewed blog posts of 2019. Take a look! Here’s what you enjoyed reading about this year.

1. Taxable Social Security Calculator

The proportion of beneficiaries who must pay income tax on their Social Security benefits has risen over time and will continue to grow. With more people impacted by these taxes, it’s important that you’re able to explain how their benefits are taxed. The calculation is complicated, but the taxable benefit calculator below makes it simple for you to show clients how much of their benefit is taxable.

2. What is the Social Security Widow Benefit?

There are several layers of complexity to the Widow(er) Benefit that make it difficult to determine whether to claim Widow(er) Benefits early, when to wait, and when to switch to the survivor’s own benefit when conducting Social Security planning. 

3. Hidden Value: Exposing the Annuity Bonus Trap

Hidden Value is a column in ThinkAdvisor where Joe Elsasser, CFP®, answers common questions with insights that advisors and their clients may not have considered. This week, Joe discusses the annuity bonus trap, the misleading nature of annuity bonuses, and how advisors can add value to their clients by exposing them for what they are—advances on future earnings. 

4. How Advisors Should Talk Tax-Efficient Planning With Clients

Advisors and firms are reluctant to talk taxes or incorporate tax-related tools, even if these tools help deliver better financial advice through the consideration of the likely tax consequences of various strategies. The topic of taxes and tax-efficient planning is like the elephant in the room – many financial advisors know taxes have a significant impact on their clients, but due to uncertainty surrounding the scope of their duty to clients and the possibility of compliance issues for addressing taxes, they ignore or gloss over the topic of taxes.

5. The Value of the Tax Map for Your Clients

Covisum's software started out as services in the financial planning practice of Covisum Founder and President, Joe Elsasser, CFP®. He uses Tax Clarity® at least once per year with every client, mainly because skipping it just doesn’t make sense. Joe gets 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 his practice is over $15,000. It’s a no brainer to spend $960 on software to make that happen.

6. On-Demand Webinar: Tax-Efficient Planning for Baby Boomers

Clients don’t always understand the interactions between different types of income and deductions, leading to potentially significant tax inefficiency in their retirement strategy. This webinar will help advisors identify which accounts clients should withdraw from, and when, in order to make better retirement strategy decisions for tax-efficient planning. The webinar is now available for on-demand viewing. Watch it when and where it's convenient for you. 

7. Hidden Value: Help Clients Understand Potential Social Security Benefit Cuts

Hidden Value is a column in ThinkAdvisor where Joe Elsasser, CFP®, answers common questions with insights advisors and their clients may not have considered. This week, Joe discusses how common misconceptions about Social Security are leading many Americans to make poor claiming decisions. He suggests that advisors are positioned to educate clients about their Social Security benefit and help them make better decisions about when to claim, and that there is hidden value for the advisors who choose this path.

8. Reaching Retirees on Social Media

If you use financial planning seminars to attract new prospects, social media marketing and advertising can be an effective tool to help you take those seminars online, promote your event and help your firm grow. Social media can positively impact your growth in many ways. Beyond simply providing search visibility for your business, offering educational content through your social media accounts can enhance your digital presence and help you reach more prospective clients. 

9. The Social Security Program will not Leave Retirees High and Dry

With the latest advances in technology, it’s easy for clients to become overwhelmed by a flood of information that may or may not be accurate. Inaccurate information about the Social Security program is especially rampant. The most common misconception of course, is that the program is going to run out of money, leaving seniors high and dry. This alarming information drives many retirees to consider taking their Social Security as soon as they are eligible, despite the fact that it’s often completely at odds with their best interest. As a financial advisor, you can help educate your clients and guide them in their Social Security planning to make the best decisions for their specific situation.

10. Build a Comprehensive Retirement Investment Strategy

Thousands of advisors across the U.S. use one of Covisum's tools separately to offer actionable insights into individual elements of the financial strategies they produce. Each week, more and more advisors are stacking Covisum's individual tools to build better and more comprehensive retirement strategies that include: income withdrawal strategies, Social Security, tax efficiency, portfolio comparison and more. Read on to see how you can provide the big-picture perspective that differentiates you from other advisors. This case study highlights one of the many ways you can use all four Covisum solutions to build a comprehensive retirement strategy and add value for your clients.

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