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I am quite sure that everyone in this group knows, or at least knows of  Michael Kitces and probably shares my high regard for him as one of the most thoughtful members of our profession.  His recent post on the CFP Boards "Fee Only" issue raises some important issues .  I realize, of course, that this raises a host of issues so I just raise the question here amongst friends.  Is this an issue that we might want to discuss taking a position on and possibly making a recommendation to the board? Is this something we might want to advocate for on behalf of our members. Advocacy on behalf of our members, here, need not necessarily be public and, for all I know, there may be efforts being made behind the scenes.

Never one to fear "opening a can of worms".

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My prospect is the CFO for a local company, and he's trying to help some of the more highly compensated employees out.  6 or 7 of the employees at this company receive bonuses every year based on company profits.  These bonuses are typically in the $250,000 range per employee, which as you can imagine is causing some real tax nightmares.  My prospect has asked if I know of any strategies the employees or the company can implement to help reduce the tax burden on these employees. 
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Education and training is so important to a successful career as a CFP®.  So take advantage of the educational offerings that our Chapter provides. Remember, "the more you LEARN, the more you EARN"!

The FPA of MA’s Programming and Education Team as been working hard to bring you the best quality programs.  Each month, (second Wednesday of the Month at 4 pm), we offer a monthly webinar.  In addition, we offer symposiums each calendar quarter (Feb, May, October and December).  Next May, we are going to have a special retreat in beautiful Cape Cod.  From time to time, our partners will run special events as well.  And, we are also working on some interactive practice management conference calls.

Next month's webinar, we'll be discussing "Gold" as an alternative asset class (ways to invest, risks, tax implications and the World Gold Council).  So tune in on August 13.

Here’s a taste of other upcoming topics: behavioral finance, disability insurance planning, planning for long-term care and asset protection. This list is not exhaustive.  You can find more information about our upcoming events at
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Anyone know of a good, reasonably priced eldercare law attorney in Rockland County, NY?
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I have a client who needs to work with an estate attorney in New Jersey who is familiar and comfortable working with same sex couples.
Any thoughts?

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Hello All,

I am curious if anyone has any unique data gathering ideas for new clients?  We have a standard questionnaire and a checklist of documents required.  To expedite the process, we have the clients sign an authorization form which permits us to speak and request information from agents, brokers, etc.  Many times, the acceptance of this authorization isn't accepted and it falls on the client, which is quite daunting for most busy professionals. 

Any thoughts would be most appreciated!

Kind Regards,

Melissa Villegas, CFP, EA
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I recently completed my transition to a fee-only registered investment advisor (RIA) model of financial planning and investment advisory services.  For me, the journey has been one of finding ways to simplify my life and reduce conflicts of interest with clients.  Along the way, I discovered other reasons the RIA model works for me.  It has been a liberating, self-empowering professional and personal growth experience.

Dec. 31, 2013, was a milestone on my journey. It was the day that my Series 7, 63, 24 and 66 licenses lapsed.  That meant I could no longer easily be affiliated with a broker dealer (BD).  For the first time in my career, I was truly flying solo.  It turned out to be a non-event.  The sky didn’t fall.  No seismic shift happened.  Jan. 1 was just another day in my business world, with a predictable cycle of revenue, reporting and client reviews.

A slow, careful transition process

My successful transition from dual licensing to a fee-only model was planned and executed over several years.

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Yesterday, your Association, the FPA of MA, held its annual meeting.  Bill Harris and his committee planned an incredibly ambitious agenda of speakers, breakout sessions, presentations and awards.  Aided by our most incredible Admin, Kristin Beane, and her crew, we were all treated to one of the best annual meetings I have ever attended. 

- The President of the Federal Reserve Bank in Boston, Eric Rosengren, spent a fascinating hour taking us step by step through the thinking of the Fed regarding interest rates and economy.

- Chris Gardner left us spellbound with very few dry eyes in house as he shared his inspirational story .  Not sure who Chris Gardner is?  Check out this link....  Chris Gardner  

- Craig Israelsen took us through a fascinating tour of a way to effectively diversify assets allowing the addition of a personal touch

-Wade Pfau shared solid expertise comparing two ways to look at Retirement Income Planning

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We'd like to assist clients in getting their life/financial information in order for their family.
I've seen some nice binders/information capture tools in the past to keep up with all their affairs such as>
  • Assets
  • Liabilities
  • All their accounts, electric, credit cards, phone etc.
  • Pre arranged funeral information
  • Who the dog's vet is?
  • Etc, etc.

Does anyone have a good tool in this area?

Thanks in advance.

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I would start with the VA. I am a veteran and recently helped a friend with this. Here ise a sire:
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It's hard to believe that we have already passed the first three months of this year.  Time seems to be racing by but thanks to the efforts of so many creative and committed members of the FPA of MA Chapter, we have lots to celebrate.

Recognizing the challenges faced by younger planners to attend daytime meetings, Eric Roberge of our Membership Committee to an idea and fashioned it into an event.  We held our fist NextGen cocktail event in March.  It was a roaring success.  Conversations, connections and networking abounded as the group shared experiences and dreams.  Buidling on this success, Eric is planning two more events for the summer and a larger and even more creative event for the later in the year.  But I'll let him share that with you.

We also had a terrific event last week.  In partnership wtih Boston University, we held a Career Night at BU.  Over 60 individuals interested in pursuing a career in financial planning attended.  We had twelve sponsor signed up, companies who were there to talk about their need to hire.  The highlight of the night was a panel discussion with three planners sharing how they entered the business, how they run their businesses and where they see the profession going. The audience peppered them with questions.  Capping off the discussion, Bob Glovsky addressed the group.  Bob has recently been appointed by the President to the Advisory Council on Financial Capability for Young Americans.  This was all followed by two hours of networking between the attendees and the companies who cam.  Congratulations to Beth Milkovits and her team for a terrific job of organizing and running this exciting and useful event.
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Hello Fellow FPA MA Members -

There is only one week left - time is flying! Get your submission in for the FPA MA Financial Planner of the Year. There are so many worthy candidates. The deadline is April 15th.

The link for an easy submission form:

Don't miss this opportunity!

Thank you -

Linda Homsey

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On Thursday, February 27th, the FPA of MA in conjunction with a large group of other interested organizations, participated in a large event at the State House.   Thanks a million to Erica Feldblum for all of her organization and communication.  It made the difference.  Thanks also to Barrett Costello, John McAvoy, Dick Powers, Marybeth Breed, Colleen Turner, Steve Stanganelli, George Noyes and of course Kristin Beane for participating.  The morning simply couldn't have been more successful.  Stay with me while I try to relate the structure here. The day was organized by MassSaves a non-profit dedicated to providing financial literacy to MA residents.  They are connected with the Massachusetts Financial Education Collaborative (MFEC) which is part of the Midas Collaborative.   The purpose of the day was to promote a financial literacy bill to those in power at the state house.  There are a number of organizations and companies that support these groups.  We are a founding member of the MFEC and John Napolitano represents the FPA on the MFEC Steering Committee.  (Note, we are currently interviewing members to replace John, who has served for several years as our representative on the MFEC.  If you have any interest, please contact me)
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It's hard to believe that we are already at the middle of February.  This is shaping up to be a very exciting year for the FPA here in MA.  Thanks to lots of hard work by past Boards and Presidents, our chapter stands out nationally by almost any standard of measurement.  Based on size, involvement, activities, and contributions to the community, the MA chapter has much to be proud of.  Our volunteerism is without peer. 

We are blessed with an incredible Board of Directors, highly committed and involved, who are leading us to new activities and involvement.  Each director leads a committee of dedicated volunteers who are working to come up with new and productive projects to help us promote our profession and the association.

We are all aware of the need for the public to understand what a financial planner is and what makes them unique.  To that end, your association is working with a public relations firm to help promote our members and their accomplishments and expertise to the general public.  Check out the work that is being done on the Boston Globes' website,

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Presentation for FPA Annual Conference: 2014 Experience in Seattle
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It isn’t surprising so many homeowners, family members and trusted advisors struggle over whether a reverse mortgage should be considered.  It touches heartfelt beliefs about home ownership, legacy, and debt.  The conflict is between equity security and income security.  Which is better?  This can be a tough choice that should not be made lightly.  Even tougher is how to recommend or decide on one or the other during such uncertain economic times.

Equity Security rests on the time-honored tradition that owning one’s home debt-free is a fundamental of financial independence.  If your house is worth $500,000 then you are worth $500,000.  Your family knows what they will inherit and you are free of debt.  It’s pretty hard to argue against that.

The problem is that the theory of equity security relies on the great assumptions of real estate:  “Your home always goes up in value, you can always sell your home, and you can always get a mortgage.”  During the Great Recession we found out the more you need money, the less the bank wants to lend it.  It also turned out home values can go both up and down.  In a down real estate market, turn times are longer and prices are lower.

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We are looking for a actuary to work with a Defined Benefit plan for a  charitable organization in the NY area. We currently have an actuary but their service level is awful and response time forever! Maybe the account is too small. Any thoughts? They also have a 403B and we could combine these with one provider if that would mean better service.
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Good afternoon FPA Friends:

I am looking for a Social Security expert to speak at an event on March 8, 2014.  Kurt Czarnowski is not available that day... and I'm hoping to find someone as good and as entertaining.
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