News About Fiduciaries and Social Security

Last week the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation to block the Department of Labor from implementing a fiduciary standard for retirement advisers. The proposed fiduciary standard has been supported by consumer advocates for quite a few years now, but has been opposed by some in the securities industry and the insurance industry. It would require that those who provide investment advice or recommendations to retirement plans, including IRA accounts be held to a fiduciary standard of care. According to Wikipedia, “A fiduciary duty is the highest standard of care at either equity or law. A fiduciary… is expected to be extremely loyal to the person to whom he owes the duty (the “principal“): such that there must be no conflict of duty between fiduciary and principal, and the fiduciary must not profit from his position as a fiduciary (unless the principal consents).”

We have always considered our relationship with our clients to be that of a fiduciary to a beneficiary/principal. Further, as a member of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors I am required to adhere to a “Fiduciary Oath.”

Below are a few links to information about this matter:

About once a year I get an announcement from one or two organizations proclaiming that I have qualified as one the nation’s best financial planners. Yay! However, when I have researched the organizations offering the accolades I have come to the conclusion that their main interest is in selling me a plaque or a trophy. One such organization is the Consumer’s Research Council of America. A reporter at Forbes magazine did some research on this company and was not impressed. Neither am I. The folks at Forbes publish their own list of best financial planners. I’m not impressed with their list either. Maybe it’s because I’m not on the list.

Well, at least I’m not on the list of 12 of the Worst Financial Advisors in America. Two advisors from the greater St Louis area made the list. Yikes!

Congress is putting an end to two Social Security filing strategies. They are actually loopholes which were not intended originally, but have been used to allow greater benefits for some beneficiaries. The strategies are known as file-and-suspend, and a restricted application for spousal benefits. The file-and-suspend strategy has been beneficial for some of our clients. For more on this click the link below:

I once wanted to become an atheist, but I gave up – they have no holidays.

Comments always welcome. See below.

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