The AICPA provides information, tools, advocacy and guidance for CPAs who specialize in providing estate, tax, retirement, risk management and investment planning advice.
Americans’ financial well-being roared into the 2020s. For the seventh time in the last two and a half years, the average American’s financial satisfaction hit an all-time high, according to the AICPA’s quarterly Personal Financial Satisfaction index (PFSi). With all these positive records, you may wonder what it means for you.
First, a little background: The PFSi is a quarterly economic indicator that measures the financial standing of the average American. It’s calculated as the difference between two sub-indexes: The Personal Financial Pleasure Index, which measures the growth of assets and opportunities, and the Personal Financial Pain Index, which calculates the loss of assets and opportunities. Most recently, the Pleasure Index (74.9) greatly outweighed the Pain Index (34.7), bringing the Q4 2019 PFSi to a positive reading of 40.2, the highest reading in the index’s 26-year history.
Continue reading "Americans start 2020s with financial satisfaction at a record high" »
It’s no secret that a phone call can change a life’s trajectory. Two decades ago, I received a call that not only had a deep impact on my family, but also sent me down a career path to help my clients navigate critical life transitions — unexpected and otherwise.
Unexpected events and major life transitions offer a critical opportunity to assist clients.
Over 20 years ago, my mom called and asked if I had talked with my dad that day. He had recently suffered some health issues but was doing well, so I assured her that he was probably out for coffee with friends. The day did not end well. I soon discovered that my dad had passed out while driving due to adjustments in medications and died in a one-car accident. He was only 64.
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What’s the right technology for your financial planning practice? In a recent AICPA podcast, I interviewed an expert panel of CPA financial plannersfor advice. Some offer tax compliance and investment management, while others do not. To learn more about their practices, check out this podcast.
Continue reading "Getting tech right in a Personal Financial Planning practice" »
After another successful busy season, it’s time to take a broader look at your clients’ needs. While tax is one important component of your clients’ financial picture, they need help in other important areas.
They may not be aware that managing risk affects their financial picture. There’s a significant relationship between your clients’ financial well-being and risk management.
Here’s one great example: The greatest potential economic loss for most clients is income loss, either through death or disability. Insurance often best addresses that risk because of the potential magnitude of the loss. If a client dies, beneficiaries inherit the death benefit free of any federal and state income tax, which can be tremendously helpful to those who were depending on the decedent’s income stream. If the policy has a cash value feature such as a universal life insurance policy, the cash value accumulates on a tax-deferred basis. It may be accessed through loans and taxed on a first-in, first-out basis, meaning that any premiums paid on the policy are taken out first and would be tax-free.
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A day before my meeting with Brooke Salvini, CPA/PFS, she receives a serendipitous note from one of her clients:
… Thank you so much for your genuine way of being. You create such an atmosphere of peace, acceptance, and sincere interest in your work and in individuals. It’s just so clear you care. You’re appreciated by me. Please know you make such a difference in my life…
I call this note “serendipitous” because Brooke and I are scheduled to discuss the results of a recent survey published by Glassdoor and popularized by an article in Barron’s. The study reveals that tax managers have the best job in the United States — a claim supported by several measures including median pay, upward mobility and job availability. The study also echoes a popular notion championed by the AICPA — that automation and other technologies are untethering tax professionals from data entry and other repetitive accounting functions, allowing them more time to forge stronger relationships with clients.
Continue reading "Tax tops the list of best jobs. But wait — there’s more" »