Best Practices for Financial Advisor Websites

Best Practices for Financial Advisor Websites

As a financial advisor, your website is one of the most valuable marketing tools at your disposal. It’s a place where prospects can learn about your services, get in touch with you, and ultimately, become clients. However, creating a website that stands out in a crowded market can be a challenge that many advisors are nervous to take on.

Let’s talk about best practices used to advance your digital footprint:

Establish your goals

First things first: what are your goals? Before designing your website, it’s essential to identify its purpose and clearly define your goals and expectations.

Think of building a website like building a house—you wouldn’t start constructing walls and adding features without first having a blueprint to follow. Similarly, by identifying the purpose of your website, you’ll have a blueprint to guide your website design.

Are you hoping to generate leads? Will your website be a hub of information for your current clients? Maybe you want your website to be a platform for referrals to grow your business. Whatever your goals may be, make sure they are clear and specific.

Once you have established the goals, you can then tailor your website to meet these objectives. For example, if your goal is to generate leads, you may want to incorporate lead generation forms prominently on your site. If you want your website to be a resource hub, you may want to include a blog or a knowledge center. By designing your website with your goals in mind, you’ll be more likely to achieve the desired outcome.

Remember, your website is often the first point of contact between you and your potential customers. So, take the time to establish your goals and make sure your website design aligns with those objectives. This way, you’ll be setting yourself up for success and ensuring your website is an effective tool for your business.

Include Clear Messaging

Website messaging is one of the most critical, if not *the* most critical, aspects of a strong performing website. An average user spends about 50 seconds on a website, which is less than one minute to make a solid first impression on a potential client. In the financial sector, nearly half (47%) of website visitors leave after seeing only one page of content. This is a stark reminder that users’ time is valuable, and we need to treat it as such.

The Less is More Approach, or LIMA, is a common web design principle that helps users keep messaging clear. In short, LIMA encourages simplifying the user experience and reducing clutter in order to make a stronger impact. You don’t need excessive copy just to prove you have something valuable to say.

When writing website copy, try to answer these three questions:

  • What does your business do?
  • Who does your business serve?
  • What things make your business uniquely qualified to serve the user?

Remember, when creating content for your website, it’s important to focus on the end user. What are they going to find valuable and what is going to help them understand what problems you can help them solve.

Focus on simple, intentional, and high-quality design

First impressions matter, and your website’s design is often the first thing users will notice. A poorly designed website can create a negative impression and turn users away, while a well-designed website can establish trust with users and help your website stand out from the competition. Consistent branding and high-quality design can also create a memorable user experience and increase the likelihood of users returning to your website.

Some ways to include intentional design:

  • Using a color palette that reflects your brand values and resonates with your audience
  • Leveraging typography (fonts and text styles) that’s easy to read and reflects your brand’s personality
  • Incorporate high-quality imagery and graphics that help illustrate points, break up sections of text, and evoke emotion
  • Use white space effectively to create a clean and balanced design that’s easy to scan and consume

Use Consistent Call to Actions

Call to Actions (often referred to as CTAs) are usually found on buttons throughout a website, and drive the user to take action. CTAs should always be clear and concise, using simple and direct language that leaves no room for confusion.

  • Use action-oriented verbs, such as “schedule,” “subscribe,” or “download,” to encourage users to take action
  • Be specific. Your CTA should communicate the exact action that the user is expected to take. For example, instead of using “Click here,” use “Click here to sign up for our newsletter.”
  • Create urgency. Creating a sense of urgency can encourage users to take action quickly. Use phrases like “Limited time offer” or “Act now” to create urgency and motivate users to take action.

In the website example shown below, the advisor offers a retirement analysis to help users quickly identify their retirement preparedness. The call to action is clear, and doesn’t require a heavy commitment from the user (the verbiage makes it obvious that it only takes five minutes). Additionally, using this CTA to address users that are middle-funnel* by offering value before extracting it.

*Middle-funnel prospects are in the consideration phase of their customer journey, contemplating solutions to their problem and viewing your service as a potential fit.

Include resources, blogs, and other valuable content

To establish trust, users must perceive you as an expert in your field. In order to rank higher on Google, its algorithm requires you to showcase your expertise and authority by listing your credentials and any other information that supports your listed skill set. To do that, your website should be a hub of valuable resources for your users (both prospects and clients alike). Your resources can include a variety of content, from blog posts, webinars, pre-recorded seminars, repurposed Snappy Kraken content, guides, eBooks, and more. Also make sure to list your credentials and anything else that supports your expertise.

Social proof

Social proof is a powerful tool that, like resources, can help build trust with your users. Including testimonials, case studies, and other social proof on your website can help establish your credibility and expertise. Note: Sharing testimonials or reviews on your website requires following specific guidelines, regulations and the use of proper disclosures. Check with your compliance officer to understand the policy of your regulating body.

Performance Tracking

Once you have designed and launched your website, it’s important to continually track its performance. By doing so, you can gain valuable insights into how users are interacting with your website, identify areas for improvement, and make data-driven decisions for optimization.

At CreativeOne, we recommend using Google Analytics. Google Analytics (or GA) is a free analytics service that allows users to monitor website traffic, bounce rate, and other key performance indicators (KPIs). By analyzing this data, you can gain insights into user behavior, such as which pages are most popular, where users are coming from, and how long they are staying on your site.

Google Analytics also provides information on conversion rates, which can help you understand how effective your website is at achieving its goals. For example, if your website’s goal is to generate leads, you can use conversion tracking to see how many users are filling out your lead generation forms. This information can help you optimize your website to improve your conversion rates.

In addition to Google Analytics, there are other tools you can use to track your website’s performance, such as heat mapping and user testing. Heat mapping tools, such as Lucky Orange or Hotjar, can help you visualize how users are interacting with your website by showing where they click and how far they scroll down the page. User testing tools, such as, allow you to gather feedback from actual users to identify areas for improvement.

💡 Quick tip: advisors using their Business Accelerator Credits on a premium website receive Google Analytics and heat mapping tools installed on their site, in addition to regular audits of the data.

As we learned above, your website is a crucial marketing tool as a financial advisor. By following the listed best practices, your website will stand out in a crowded market, establish trust with digital users, and help your business stay relevant in an evolving industry.

Are you ready to get started building a website that converts leads into clients? Fill out the form below to talk to our digital strategy team to get started.


Are you doing your part for financial literacy?

Are you doing your part for financial literacy?

Tanner Lawrence
VP, Business Development, CreativeOne Wealth

Did you know April is Financial Literacy month? CreativeOne Wealth advisors are big proponents of financial literacy. This can be a large factor for prospects in determining which financial advisor is right for them. Below are some key conversation points our advisors use when speaking to financial literacy, and some tools that assist them during these conversations. Consider utilizing them when talking to your clients to do your part for promoting financial literacy in your community.

1. Budgeting 

Personal budgeting is the process of creating a plan for how you will allocate your income and expenses on a regular basis. This involves taking a detailed look at your current financial situation, including your income, expenses, and any debts or other financial obligations you may have. From there, you can create a budget that outlines how much money you will allocate towards different categories of expenses, such as housing, food, transportation, and entertainment. The goal of personal budgeting is to help you live within your means and achieve your financial goals over time, whether those goals involve paying off debt, saving for retirement, or achieving other financial milestones. 

  • Money Guide Pro. 
  • EMoney.
  • Right Capital.
  • Personal Capital.

2. Saving 

Saving for retirement means setting aside a portion of your income regularly in a retirement account or investment vehicle, such as an IRA, 401(k), or mutual fund, with the aim of accumulating enough funds to support yourself in retirement. The goal of saving for retirement is to ensure that you have enough financial resources to maintain your standard of living after you stop working, and to avoid becoming dependent on Social Security or other forms of government assistance. It’s important to start saving for retirement as early as possible to take advantage of compound interest, and to consider factors such as your retirement age, expected expenses, and investment risk when creating a retirement savings plan. 

  • Money Guide Pro. 
  • EMoney.
  • Right Capital.
  • Personal Capital. 

3. Investing 

Investing for retirement typically involves putting aside money in a variety of investment vehicles, such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and real estate, with the goal of generating income and building wealth over time. The specific investments you choose will depend on factors such as your risk tolerance, investment objectives, and time horizon. It’s important to have a diversified portfolio that balances risk and reward, and to regularly review and adjust your investments as needed to ensure that they align with your long-term goals. Overall, investing for retirement is about taking a proactive approach to securing your financial future and ensuring that you have the resources you need to enjoy a comfortable and fulfilling retirement.

  • GeoWealth Platform. 
  • Schwab.
  • Fidelity.
  • TD Ameritrade.
  • Riskalyze
  • Morningstar.
  • Kwanti.
  • EMoney.
  • Right Capital. 


4. Retirement Planning 

Retirement planning is the process of setting aside funds for your future retirement and developing a strategy to ensure that those funds will be sufficient to cover your financial needs during your retirement years. This often involves making investments in a mix of financial instruments such as stocks, bonds, and mutual funds that are designed to grow over time and provide a steady stream of income once you retire. The key to successful retirement planning is to start early, make regular contributions to your retirement accounts, and work with a financial advisor to develop a personalized plan that takes into account your specific goals, risk tolerance, and time horizon. 

  • Money Guide Pro. 
  • EMoney.
  • Right Capital.
  • Personal Capital. 
  • Retirement Analyzer. 


The primary focus on these topics is to help individuals understand the importance of setting financial goals and creating a plan to achieve those goals, which are different client-to-client. Technology is a large aspect of efficiently monitoring progress, change, and implementation of the unique client goals put in front of them. CreativeOne Wealth can help you with simplifying the process with technology. Give us a call at 888.798.2360.


Don’t let your wealthy clients sit on the Roth IRA sidelines.

Don’t let your wealthy clients sit on the Roth IRA sidelines.

Kevin Cloud, VP Product Actuary

The Roth IRA is a great deal, maybe the best deal in personal finance. Contribute after-tax dollars, and, as along as you follow some basic rules, distributions of both contributions and gains are tax-free. This is such a great deal, in fact, that congress put some significant rules around who can contribute and how much those contributions can be.

For 2023, an individual can contribute up to $6,500 to a Roth IRA (up to $7,500 if you’re 50 or over) IF their Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI) is $138,000 or less. If MAGI is above $138,000 but less than $153,000, an individual may make a partial contribution. Above $153,000? Sorry, no contribution for you. If you’re married and filing jointly, those limits are at $218,000 and $228,000, and each spouse is allowed to make a contribution.

So, if your client is a high earner, does that mean they’re forced to sit on the Roth sidelines, watching their lesser-earning friends enjoy this remarkable tax-savings vehicle? Not so fast. Thanks to the miracle of the Roth conversion, your wealthier clients may be able to enjoy nearly the same benefits using a maneuver commonly known as a back-door Roth contribution.

First things first: What is a Roth conversion? A Roth conversion is the process of taking funds from a traditional IRA and putting them into a Roth IRA. In the conversion, any previously un-taxed amounts (either pre-tax contributions or gains) in the IRA are taxed as ordinary income in the year that the conversion is made. This is not considered a distribution, and no penalties are assessed in a conversion like they might be when taking an early IRA distribution.

The other essential element of a back-door Roth conversion is a traditional AFTER TAX IRA contribution. Anyone, regardless of income level may contribute to a traditional IRA, subject to an annual limit per individual. For the purposes of a Roth conversion, the contribution should be after-tax (i.e. don’t take a tax deduction for the contribution). Because the contribution is made with after-tax funds, the IRA consists of 100% basis (amounts already taxed) and 0% gain or pre-tax contributions.

Connecting the dots, a back door Roth conversion is done by making an after tax-tax contribution to a traditional IRA, then performing a Roth conversion on those funds. The Roth conversion creates a taxable event, but only on gains. Because there are no gains or other untaxed amounts, there is nothing to be taxed on, and your wealthy client has effectively made a Roth contribution.

Sounds pretty great, right? Yes, but there are a few catches, like most events involving taxation.

CATCH 1: The IRA Aggregation Rule. Anytime a Roth conversion is conducted, the IRS requires the taxpayer to consider ALL IRA balances as one big balance, and thus combining all pre-tax and post-tax amounts together. Any conversion is then considered to be a proportional amount of pre and post-tax funds. Let’s look at an example to clarify:


  • The Client makes a $5,000 after-tax contribution to an IRA.
  • The Client has no other IRA funds
  • The Client performs a Roth conversion on the $5,000 after-tax contribution. The client has no pre-tax IRA funds anywhere, and no taxes are paid as a result of the conversion.


  • The Client makes a $5,000 after-tax contribution to an IRA.
  • The Client has another IRA with a balance of $45,000, the entirety of which is pre-tax
  • The Client has an aggregate IRA balance of $50,000
    • $45,000 of which is pre-tax (90% of the total IRA balance), and
    • $5,000 of which is post-tax (10% of the total IRA balance)
  • The Client performs a conversion in the amount of $5,000
    • Because of the aggregation rule, 90% of the conversion amount ($50,000 × 90% = $4,500) is considered to be pre-tax funds, and
    • 10% of the conversion ($50,000 × 10% = $500) is considered to be post-tax
    • Thus, the conversion in this example creates a taxable event, creating $4,500 of ordinary income in the year the conversion is made, versus $0 in the other example.
    • After the conversion, the pre and post-tax amounts in the IRA are reduced by the respective amounts converted

NOTE: The aggregation Rule ONLY applies to IRA funds and not other retirement accounts, such as a 401(k), 403(b), or a non-qualified annuity.

NOTE: The contribution limit for 2023 is $6,500 (or $7,500 if you’re 50+). This example uses a $5,000 contribution to make the math easier.

So, can having significant pre-tax funds in an IRA can significantly hinder a back-door Roth conversion?


However, there may be a solution. Some 401(k) providers allow plan members to roll IRA balances into their 401(k). If your client has an IRA with significant pre-tax amounts, but they want to execute a back-door Roth contribution, see if they can roll those IRA funds into their 401k. If they can execute this roll-over, then they should be able to conduct a back-door Roth conversion as shown in Example A, without taxable consequence, as their would be no IRA funds to aggregate, and 401(k) funds are not considered in the aggregation calculation.

CATCH 2: The Step Transaction Doctrine. The Step Transaction Doctrine allows the IRS to look at multiple transactions as a single transaction if there is no substantial reason to consider them separate. As it relates to the back-door Roth contribution, if the two steps are made in quick succession: an after-tax traditional IRA contribution closely followed by a subsequent Roth conversion, the IRS may conclude that the two transactions were really just one transaction, and that the tax payer has just made an impermissible Roth IRA contribution.

So, does this really mean that the back-door Roth conversion is impermissible? Nope. However, it does mean that care must be taken to separate the transactions. Most experts agree that the key consideration is time. Make the non-deductible contribution to a traditional IRA, then wait to proceed with the conversion. How long to wait? Good question. There is no consensus among experts, but the most conservative suggest waiting at least a year to perform the conversion. This adds a slight wrinkle, and your after-tax contribution is likely to accumulate some gains over that time, and those gains will be taxable (but not penalized!) in the eventual conversion. This is a small price to pay, however, for the value of funding a Roth IRA, and the gains likely further legitimize the separation of the two transactions. It would also be advisable NOT to maintain any records indicating that the plan of the contribution was ultimately to convert.

This article is informational only and does not constitute tax advice. Please consult a tax, legal, or accounting professional before engaging in any transaction.


The AI Revolution: How Independent Financial Advisors Can Stay Ahead of the Curve

The AI Revolution: How Independent Financial Advisors Can Stay Ahead of the Curve

How can independent financial advisors leverage Chat GPT?

The financial services industry has long been known for its use of cutting-edge technology to drive innovation and growth. In recent years, the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) has brought about new possibilities for financial advisors looking to grow their business and better serve their clients. Chat GPT, in particular, is a powerful tool that financial advisors can use to leverage the power of AI and enhance their operations. Let’s explore how Chat GPT and other AI technology will change the financial services industry and what financial advisors can do to stay ahead of the curve.

Learn more about Open AI and Chat GPT:

What is Chat GPT?

Chat GPT (Generative Pre-trained Transformer) is a state-of-the-art artificial intelligence language model developed by OpenAI. It is a machine-learning algorithm that is trained on a large dataset of text to understand the structure and patterns of natural language.

It can be used to generate natural language responses to a wide range of inputs, such as questions, prompts, and commands. It is designed to mimic human language patterns and can generate responses that are grammatically correct, coherent, and contextually relevant.

It also has a wide range of applications, including customer service chatbots, language translation, text summarization, and content creation.

Overall, Chat GPT represents a significant advancement in natural language processing and has the potential to revolutionize the way we interact with technology—and each other.

Explain Chat GPT to me like I’m a 5 year old.

Chat GPT is like a really smart robot that can talk to people and answer their questions. Just like you ask me questions and I answer them, people can talk to Chat GPT and it can answer their questions too. It possesses a big brain that helps it understand what people are asking and comes up with answers that make sense.

How can independent financial advisors leverage Chat GPT to help with their marketing efforts?

As mentioned earlier, Chat GPT is a powerful AI tool that can help financial advisors in many ways. One of the ways that Chat GPT can be used is to assist with marketing efforts. Here are some ideas on how financial advisors can use Chat GPT for different marketing activities:

  1. Writing social media copy: Financial advisors can use Chat GPT to help write compelling social media copy that attracts attention and engages their audience. To do this, simply input a brief description of the message you want to convey and Chat GPT will generate a variety of potential social media posts. You can then choose the one that best fits your messaging and style. For example:

    “The SECURE Act 2.0 has been making headlines lately, and for good reason. Retirees may be particularly interested in proposed changes to IRA contribution limits, catch-up contributions, and required minimum distributions. Check out our latest podcast to learn more.”

  2. Writing email updates: Financial advisors can use Chat GPT to help write email updates that provide valuable information to their clients and prospects. Simply input the key points that you want to convey and let Chat GPT generate a well-written email. For example:

    “Dear valued clients,

    As we continue to monitor the state of the economy and the impact of current events, I want to take a moment to reassure you that we are committed to helping you navigate through any potential challenges.

    We understand that times of economic uncertainty can be particularly stressful, especially for retirees who rely on their investments and savings to support their lifestyles. However, it’s important to remember that downturns are a natural part of the economic cycle, and that there are steps we can take to help you weather the storm.

    One of the most important things we can do is to focus on the long-term picture. While market volatility can be concerning in the short term, history has shown that markets tend to recover over time. As your financial advisor, our role is to help you stay invested in a way that aligns with your long-term goals, while also managing risk to ensure that your portfolio remains well-positioned to weather any potential downturns.

    Additionally, we can work together to explore other strategies that may help to reduce risk and protect your investments during uncertain times. This may include diversification across different asset classes, regularly rebalancing your portfolio, and taking advantage of tax-efficient investment strategies.

    At this time, I want to assure you that we are closely monitoring the situation and staying up-to-date with the latest news and analysis. We will continue to provide you with regular updates and recommendations to help you navigate through any challenges.

    Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions or concerns. We are always here to support you and help you make informed decisions.


    [Your Name]”



  3. Writing blog posts for their website: Chat GPT can be used to help financial advisors generate new blog post topics and even provide a first draft of the content. To do this, simply input the topic or title you want to cover, and Chat GPT will provide a number of potential blog post topics, and even suggest an outline and initial draft. For example, “5 Investment Strategies for a Volatile Market.”

  4. Creating content for SEO: Financial advisors can use Chat GPT to help generate content that is optimized for search engines. By inputting keywords and phrases related to their target audience and industry, Chat GPT can suggest content that will help improve search engine rankings. For example, “How to Maximize Your Retirement Savings: Tips for Young Professionals.”

  5. Creating FAQ questions and answers: Chat GPT can be used to help financial advisors generate FAQ questions and answers that can be added to their website. This can help provide valuable information to clients and prospects and improve their website’s overall search engine rankings. For example, “What is a 401k and how does it work?” or “How can I minimize taxes on my investment income?” By creating an FAQ section on your website with often searched questions, you can help build valuable content users may find useful.

These are just a few examples of how financial advisors can use Chat GPT to enhance their marketing efforts. By leveraging the power of AI, financial advisors can save time and resources while still providing high-quality, personalized content to their clients and prospects. However, it’s important to remember, all content will need to be reviewed by compliance before it can be used and also to ensure accuracy. One of the limitations of Chat GPT is that the information provided is not always accurate!

What are potential challenges with Chat GPT?

While Chat GPT and other AI technologies have a lot of potential to transform the financial services industry, there are some challenges that businesses may face when implementing this technology.

Accuracy: While Chat GPT has made significant advancements in natural language processing and understanding, there is still a risk that the AI may misinterpret or misunderstand certain requests or queries from users. This could result in incorrect or inaccurate responses, which could harm the user experience and undermine the trust and credibility of the financial advisor. It could also land them in hot water with their compliance department and other regulatory entities.

Security: As with any digital technology, there is a risk of data breaches and cybersecurity threats. Chat GPT may collect sensitive information from users, such as their financial information or personal details, which could be targeted by hackers. It is important to ensure that proper security measures are in place to protect user data and maintain compliance with regulatory standards. Watch out for phishing and other scam attempts that may pose as a chat bot or AI to try to collect personal data. You should never input any personal data of yours, or your clients, into Chat GPT.

User experience: Chat GPT is still a relatively new technology, and users may not be familiar or comfortable with interacting with an AI-powered chatbot. It is important to design the user interface in a way that is intuitive and easy to use, and to provide clear instructions and support for users who may have questions or need assistance.

Ethical considerations: As with any technology that collects and analyzes data, there are ethical considerations around how the data is used and whether it is being used in a fair and transparent manner. It is important to ensure that proper data governance and ethical standards are in place to protect user privacy and maintain trust in the technology.

Overall, while Chat GPT has a lot of potential to transform the financial services industry, it is important for businesses to be aware of these potential challenges and take steps to mitigate them to ensure a successful implementation of the technology.

Will Chat GPT, or other AI technologies, replace financial advisors one day?

While Chat GPT and other artificial intelligence (AI) technologies have made significant advancements in recent years, it is unlikely that they will completely replace human financial advisors anytime soon.

Financial advisors bring a unique set of skills to the table that go beyond just providing information and advice. They are trained to assess a client’s financial situation, goals, risk tolerance, and other factors to create a personalized financial plan. They also have the ability to provide emotional support and reassurance during times of financial stress or uncertainty, which can be crucial to a client’s overall financial well-being.

Chat GPT and other AI technologies, on the other hand, are currently best suited for providing general financial education and answering simple questions. While they can analyze data and provide recommendations, they lack the human touch and personalized attention that financial advisors can provide. Take this prompt and output for example:

That being said, Chat GPT and other AI technologies can be used to augment the work of financial advisors, helping them to streamline their processes and provide more personalized recommendations.

Why should I care about Chat GPT and other AI technology?

We’re just beginning to see what AI can do and its potential to revolutionize the way we all do business and interact with technology. The financial services industry has been leveraging AI for some time to analyze large amounts of data and make recommendations to DIY investors. It’s important to follow along with this technology because it has the potential to further disrupt the financial services industry and provide significant benefits to both advisors and their clients.

Here are some reasons why:

Enhanced efficiency: AI technologies can help financial advisors automate administrative tasks and streamline their workflows. This can free up time for advisors to focus on higher-value activities, such as providing personalized advice and building relationships with clients.

Improved customer experience: AI technologies can help financial advisors provide a more personalized and engaging customer experience. For example, they can used to create chatbots that can answer common client questions and provide instant support, even outside of regular business hours.

Data analysis and insights: AI technologies can be used to analyze vast amounts of financial data and identify patterns and trends that might be missed by human analysts. This can help advisors make more informed investment decisions and better serve their clients.

Competitive advantage: As AI technologies become more prevalent in the financial services industry, financial advisors who adopt these tools early can gain a competitive advantage over their peers.


In conclusion, AI technology is transforming the financial services industry in many ways, and Chat GPT is a powerful tool that financial advisors can use to enhance their operations. By investing in AI technology, staying up-to-date on industry trends, and emphasizing the human touch, financial advisors can stay ahead of the curve and provide better service to their clients. However, it’s important to remember that AI technology is not a replacement for human expertise and experience, but rather a tool that can help financial advisors better serve their clients.

P.S. This article was mostly written by Chat GPT 😉

Perry Boles, Chief Marketing Officer

Perry Boles, Chief Marketing Officer

Perry plays a vital role in supporting the growth of independent financial advisors. With a sharp strategic mind and a talent for creating impactful marketing campaigns, Perry helps financial advisors expand their client base and reach their business objectives.

At the helm of a skilled marketing team, Perry inspires his colleagues to think outside the box and develop innovative solutions to complex marketing challenges. He places a strong emphasis on delivering measurable results for the firm and its clients, ensuring that each marketing campaign has a tangible impact on their success.

Perry is a visionary leader, driven by a passion for marketing and a commitment to excellence. He cultivates a supportive and collaborative work environment, encouraging his team to take ownership of their projects and bring their unique ideas to the table. Under his leadership, the marketing team at CreativeOne continues to set new standards for innovation and results in the financial services industry.

Perry Boles, Chief Marketing Officer

Perry Boles, Chief Marketing Officer

Perry plays a vital role in supporting the growth of independent financial advisors. With a sharp strategic mind and a talent for creating impactful marketing campaigns, Perry helps financial advisors expand their client base and reach their business objectives.

At the helm of a skilled marketing team, Perry inspires his colleagues to think outside the box and develop innovative solutions to complex marketing challenges. He places a strong emphasis on delivering measurable results for the firm and its clients, ensuring that each marketing campaign has a tangible impact on their success.

Perry is a visionary leader, driven by a passion for marketing and a commitment to excellence. He cultivates a supportive and collaborative work environment, encouraging his team to take ownership of their projects and bring their unique ideas to the table. Under his leadership, the marketing team at CreativeOne continues to set new standards for innovation and results in the financial services industry.


Long-term care is a family affair.

Long-term care is a family affair.

Rosalyn Carter once said, “I like to say that there are only four kinds of people in the world. Those who have been caregivers. Those who are currently caregivers. Those who will be caregivers, and those who will need caregivers.”

Chances are, at some point in our lives, we will be both care providers and care receivers. Whether it’s for aging parents and family members—perhaps our spouse, or maybe a friend or neighbor—we will all be responsible for providing care. That care could be either physical, emotional, or financial. Long-term care solutions are about providing income when long-term care is needed. Some say that long-term care solutions allow the family to provide a higher level of care. You see, when the income issue is solved, we can focus on our loved ones and enjoy friendly camaraderie and loving companionship without the physical strain or monetary concerns.

With November also comes the beginning of the holiday season. Another thing you might not know is that the holiday season is often a time for increased call volume surrounding long-term care concerns. Why? Because families are gathering together for the holidays and family members might notice that a loved one isn’t as mobile as they once were, or maybe they’ve become “forgetful.” These changes can be subtle, or they can be harsh.

If your clients need long-term care, you may want to help them navigate that process. Rest assured that they will never have to go it alone. We’re committed to providing service at every turn.

Download our white paper on the importance of long-term care to your practice now.

Here are some additional stats and resources you can share from some of the best carrier partners we work with.

Why long-term care protection matters?

Play Video

1. Dhue, Stephanie and Epperson, Sharon. “Americans can expect to pay a lot more for medical care in retirement.”
May 16, 2022.
2. Keenan, Teresa A. “Long-Term Care Readiness report.” AARP Research. Published June 2022.
3. Carbonnell, Josefina. “The long-term care dilemma: Who will take care of you?” The Palm Beach Post. May 18, 2022.
4. Gleckman, Howard. “Is long-term care a predictable need, or an unexpected one?” Forbes. April 15, 2022.
5. Estimate calculated using projected rise in national median costs of care from 2022 to 2032. National Cost of Care Calculator, LTC
News. 2022.
6. Kerr, Nancy. “Family caregivers spend more than $7,200 a year on out-of-pocket costs.” AARP Research. June 29, 2021.


Say Hello to iStructure

Say Hello to iStructure

An Innovative Approach to Structured Installment Sales

In December 2021, Independent Life introduced an innovative structured settlement indexed annuity product, iStructure. iStructure is the first uncapped Index-Linked Structured Settlement Annuity option in the market. iStructure is powered by Franklin Templeton and Bank of America’s quantitative insights. Independent Life focuses on the structured settlement market so that professional consultants can utilize these modern annuity products in conjunction with other financial products and government benefits to produce optimal solutions. With the availability to help with personal injury cases, structured attorney fees, structured installment sales (business or real estate property), taxable settlements, and settlement trusts, iStructure serves as a multi-functional tool for advisors and their clients.

What is iStructure?

iStructure is a tax advantageous planning tool for mitigating capital gains taxes during the sale of highly appreciated capital assets that qualify for installment sale treatment under IRC Section 453. iStructure is primarily used for structured installment sales (business or real estate property) to turn the proceeds of a capital-appreciated asset into a series of customizable periodic payments that are protected against market downturns and increase when the underlying index is positive. As featured in The CPA Journal, “When the right set of circumstances presents itself, there may be no simpler way to defer, reduce, or completely eliminate long-term capital gains taxes when selling real estate, businesses, or certain other appreciated assets than a structured installment. If planned properly, unlike many of the other options that focus mostly on tax deferral, a structured installment sale can eliminate taxes on gains altogether, even if the gain is significant.”

Clients that are interested in selling their business or are sitting on highly appreciated real estate properties could use the structured installment sale as an exit planning solution. The benefits potentially include an increase in income, customizable payment options, market downside protection, and protection against inflation. Read our Business Sale Case Example and Real Estate Sale Case Example to learn more about the benefits of iStructure for business and real estate sales. iStructure can also be a unique solution for a client receiving a settlement from a personal injury, wrongful death, or workers’ compensation cases (when working in conjunction with a personal injury attorney) or used on the fees the attorney would make on the case.

How does iStructure work?

Clients elect the start date, format, and duration of the future recurring payments. On each annual adjustment date, the guaranteed annual income increases based on the growth in the underlying index. Utilizing Franklin Templeton and Bank of America’s World Index allows for the potential to achieve consistent returns while preserving capital to continually generate additional income. The use of iStructure can be an incredibly powerful tool but can be a cumbersome process that goes beyond day-to-day business. iStructure should not be considered a one-size-fits-all option for all clients due to its complexity but instead, as an option that can be implemented on the side.

Want to learn more or need additional resources?

CreativeOne is your destination for professional expertise as you look into the benefits and necessary steps into implementing iStructure. Please contact Paul Fulena or Tonio Fulena to learn more or call 800.992.2642 to schedule a meeting.



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New IRS SECURE Act Regulations and Missed RMDs


I read your 2/28/22 Slott Report on the updated SECURE Act information for non-eligible designated beneficiaries (non-EDBs) that requires annual RMDs to continue if the original owner was taking them prior to his death and also requires the account to be emptied by the end of year 10.

Since the Roth IRA does not have RMDs, is it correct to assume that the non-EDB of an inherited Roth IRA would also not be required to take RMDs and only be subjected to the 10-year rule?

You are correct. The new IRS regulations specifically say that Roth IRA owners are considered to have died before their RMD required beginning date (RBD). Since the new annual RMD requirement applies only when an IRA owner dies on or after his RBD, beneficiaries of inherited Roth IRAs are spared from this rule. However, those beneficiaries still have to empty the account by December 31 of the 10th year following death.

I do taxes for an 80+ year old lady with an IRA. She said she never received a letter from the company she has her IRA with to let her know she needed to take a withdrawal for 2021. The company, of course, says they did.

I am trying to find a way to rectify this situation. She is filling out the paperwork for the 2021 RMD, but because she is two months past the due date, technically she owes the penalty. Should we file her taxes for 2021 and just wait for the IRS to catch up with this?

There is a 50% excise tax for missing an RMD. However, the IRS will usually waive that penalty if the IRA owner takes the RMD and files Form 5329 with the IRS. The Form 5329 should include an attachment explaining why your client did not take the 2021 RMD. She does not need to pay the excise tax unless the IRS comes back and assesses it (which is unlikely).


Required Minimum Distributions and Inherited IRAs


Hello. I was reading the 2/28/22 edition of the Slott Report and noticed the section titled “Beneficiaries Hit w/Annual RMDs and the 10-Year Rule.” It was my understanding that starting 1/1/20, most non-spouse beneficiaries would have 10 years from the year of death to distribute the IRA, with no RMDs required.

Will adult individuals who inherit a traditional IRA from an 80-year-old parent in 2020, for example, now have to start taking annual RMDs, with the remaining balance withdrawn in the 10th year?

This is a great question. The IRS just recently released proposed SECURE Act regulations. In the regulations, they do take the position that, if the IRA owner died on or after his required beginning date, then annual RMDs would be required, as well as the SECURE Act’s 10-year rule. In your example, an adult child, who inherits a traditional IRA from a parent who dies at age 80, would need to take annual RMDs from the inherited IRA (for years 1-9 after the year of death) and also empty the account by the tenth year following the year of death. If the IRA owner dies before his required beginning date, then no annual RMDs would be required during the 10-year payout period.

If a Roth IRA was inherited before 2019 and the non-spouse beneficiary is taking RMDs under the old stretch lifetime rules, will the new changes to the IRS life expectancy table apply to that inherited Roth IRA staring in 2022?

And, if yes, will the IRA custodian automatically make the changes (apply the new factors), or does the beneficiary have to do something?

All beneficiaries who are required to take annual RMDs from inherited IRA can use the new life expectancy tables issued by the IRS starting for 2022 RMDs. For a non-spouse beneficiary, this may mean resetting her factor by finding her age in the year following the Roth IRA owner’s death on the new table and then subtracting one for each year that has passed through 2022. Custodians are likely to make the changes automatically, but if you have any questions you should contact them or reach out to a knowledgeable tax or financial advisor.

SECURE Act Regs Bring New Roth IRA Advantage

Roth IRAs have always been a great retirement savings tool. While pre-tax retirement accounts allow tax deferred savings, a Roth IRA promises tax-free benefits. They allow you to receive years of earnings in retirement without tax consequences. Those tax-free distributions also have the side benefit of not increasing stealth taxes such as IRMAA surcharges and taxation of Social Security benefits. Add in the fact that a Roth IRA does not require RMDs during the owner’s lifetime (unlike qualified plans and traditional IRAs), and it is easy to see the Roth advantage. The newly released SECURE Act regulations have added another benefit to the Roth IRA tax break list with their unexpected interpretation of the 10-year payment rule.

In the new regulations, the IRS has taken the position that when an IRA owner dies on or after their required beginning date and the 10-year rule applies, the account is also subject to annual RMDs. This surprising interpretation of the SECURE Act will affect a lot of IRA beneficiaries because most IRA beneficiaries will be subject to the 10-year rule under the SECURE Act and many IRA owners die when they are older and beyond their required beginning date. Now these beneficiaries are subject to the hassle of having to calculate annual RMDs during years one to nine of the 10-year period using tricky rules. They must take taxable distributions to avoid a hefty 50% penalty for missed RMDs.

Good news for Roth IRA beneficiaries! The IRS confirms in the regulations that all Roth IRA owners are considered to have died before their required beginning date. This means no annual RMDs from inherited Roth IRAs are required for beneficiaries subject to the 10-year rule. An inherited Roth IRA offers complete flexibility within the 10-year period and completely avoids the complicated RMD rules. And, best of all, the Roth IRA can grow tax-free for ten years before any distributions are required.

Example: Rodney, age 75, dies in 2022. The beneficiary of his Roth IRA is his daughter, Rhianna, age 50. Rhianna will be subject to the 10-year rule, but she does not have to take annual RMDs. She can let the Roth IRA grow and accumulate tax-free earnings for ten years. The entire inherited Roth IRA must still be distributed by December 31, 2032, but it will be a tax-free distribution.


The Most Controversial Part of the New IRS Regulations

The part of the new IRS SECURE Act regulations causing the most reaction is the one requiring annual required minimum distributions (RMDs) for some IRA or workplace plan beneficiaries subject to the 10-year payment rule.

Under the SECURE Act, IRA or plan beneficiaries who are not “eligible designated beneficiaries” (EDBs) are subject to the 10-year rule. (EDBs are surviving spouses; children of the IRA owner or plan participant who are under age 21; disabled or chronically ill individuals; and anyone not more than 10 years younger than the owner/participant.) Non-EDBs must empty the IRA or plan account by the end of the 10th year following the year the owner or participant died. On the other hand, EDBs are allowed to stretch required minimum distributions (RMDs) over their life expectancy.

Prior to the issuance of the new regulations, most commentators believed the 10-year rule never required annual RMDs for years 1-9 of the 10-year period. In the past, the IRS has given out mixed signals on this issue. However, in the new regulations, the IRS very clearly says that certain non-EDBs are subject to both the 10-year payment rule and a requirement to take annual RMDs in years 1-9 of that 10-year period.

Only non-EDBs who inherit on or after the owner or participant’s required beginning date (RBD) are subject to the annual RMD requirement. Non-EDBs who inherit before the decedent’s RBD can take as little or as much as they want over the 10-year period. But the rule requiring distribution of the entire account by the end of the 10-year period still applies.

So, what is the RBD? It’s the date by which the first RMD is due. For an IRA owner born before July 1, 1949, it’s April 1 of the year following the year she turned age 70 ½. For an IRA owner born on or after July 1, 1949, it’s April 1 of the year following the year she turns 72. For plan participants who don’t own more than 5% of the company sponsoring the plan, the RBD can be delayed until April 1 of the year following the year of retirement.

What if you are a non-EDB who inherited in 2020 after the owner/participant’s RBD and you didn’t receive your 2021 RMD (because you didn’t know it was required)? Should you take the missed RMD now? Keep in mind it’s possible that 2021 annual RMDs in this situation were not required based on the fact the new regulations technically weren’t effective last year. (This is a murky legal question.) It’s also possible the IRS will issue relief for missed 2021 RMDs later this year. Holding off taking your 10-year-rule 2021 RMD until later in 2022 won’t subject you to any higher penalty than if you take it now. So, if you are in the affected category of non-EDBs, you may want to delay your “missed” 2021 RMD until later in 2022 when we may know more. Talk this over with a knowledgeable financial advisor.

Meanwhile, we’ll let you know about any further guidance from the IRS on this issue.


Age of Majority and the New SECURE Act Regulations

The 275 pages of proposed SECURE Act regulations, released by the IRS on February 23, are chock full of little details. Each of these tidbits will have some impact on particular IRA owners and retirement account participants.

One such new rule pertains to the age of majority. When is a minor child recognized as an adult? Existing IRS guidance deferred to the age of majority under state law. This created some confusion as most states said age 18, a couple said 19, and Mississippi said 21. Why is this important? The age of majority dovetails with the opportunity a minor beneficiary has to stretch inherited IRA account assets.

The new regulations draw a universal line in the sand. The age of majority is now recognized as 21.

The minor child of an IRA account owner is considered an eligible designated beneficiary (EDB). As an EDB, that minor child is allowed to use her own single life expectancy to calculate an annual required minimum distribution (RMD). This will allow the child to stretch IRA payments until she is 21. At that time, the 10-year payout rule will apply, and the now-adult child will have another 10 years to maintain the inherited IRA. (Future Slott Report entries will discuss the new guidelines governing the 10-year rule.)

Example: Meredith dies at age 48. She had an IRA, and her only daughter Sally, age 10, was listed as the beneficiary. Sally is an EDB, so she is permitted to stretch IRA payments over her own life expectancy. (When RMDs start in the year after death, when Sally is 11, she will use the single life expectancy factor of 73.9.) Sally can take annual RMD payments until she is 21. At that point, the 10-year rule will apply. Sally must then empty the account by December 31 of the tenth year following the year she turns 21.

Additionally, the new SECURE Act regulations changed a provision which allowed minor children who were still in school to extend the age of majority to as late as age 26. This is no longer an option and, as such, should minimize confusion. The “still-in-school” language is no more. The age of majority, as recognized by the SECURE Act regulations, is fixed at 21.

Stay tuned for more summaries of the SECURE Act regulations in the coming days and weeks. There is lot to dig through in those 275 pages, and we will do our best to bring you the pertinent highlights…and lowlights.


SECURE Act Regulations Are Here

On February 23, 2022, the IRS released the long-awaited proposed SECURE Act regulations. The new regulations clock in at 275 pages and offer guidance on many SECURE Act rules. They also include a few surprises. Here are some highlights.

Eligible Designated Beneficiaries

The SECURE Act did away with the stretch IRA for most beneficiaries, but those who are considered an eligible designated beneficiary (EDB) can still take advantage of it. The regulations clarify exactly who is an EDB. They specify that a minor child of an IRA owner is considered an EDB until his 21st birthday. The regulations also provide guidance on determining who qualifies as disabled, particularly for beneficiaries under age 18.  Also, a new documentation requirement is imposed on chronically ill and disabled EDBs to qualify for the stretch.


The SECURE Act upended the rules for trusts as beneficiaries of IRAs, and guidance addressing the outstanding issues were sorely needed. The newly released regulations keep many of the rules that existed for trust beneficiaries prior to the SECURE Act such as the rules for look-through trusts. If a trust satisfies the look-through rules, then the beneficiaries of the trust are considered designated beneficiaries.

The regulations also attempt to answer some of the many issues with trusts that were raised in private letter rulings over the years. This includes when beneficiaries can be disregarded for purposes of identifying RMD payments, the impact of powers of appointments, and state laws that permit the terms of a trust to be modified after death.

The SECURE Act carved out special rules for trusts with disabled or chronically ill individuals allowing the stretch even if the trust has other beneficiaries. The new regulations provide guidance on these trusts and also add minor children of the IRA owner as another category of EDB that can still qualify for the stretch even if there are other non-EDB trust beneficiaries.

Beneficiaries Hit with Annual RMDs and the 10-Year Rule

The IRS has taken a somewhat surprising position on the new 10-year rule imposed by the SECURE Act. If the account owner dies before her required beginning date, the 10-year rule only requires that the entire account be emptied by December 31 of the tenth year following the year of death. There are no annual RMDs. However, the new regulations say that if the IRA owner dies after her required beginning date, then not only does the 10-year rule apply, but also annual RMDs are required in years one through nine.

Spousal Rollovers

The regulations include a new rule for spousal rollovers that seems to be intended to prevent spouse beneficiaries from using the new 10-year rule to delay RMDs. The rule requires “hypothetical missed RMDs” to be taken when a spousal rollover is done in some circumstances.

50% Penalty Relief

If the IRA owner was required to take an RMD in the year of their death, the rules require the beneficiary to take that RMD if the IRA owner did not do so prior to death. This rule can be hard on beneficiaries when the IRA owner dies late in the year. The new regulations provide some relief in these situations by providing an automatic waiver of the 50% penalty that usually applies when an RMD is missed. This waiver is available as long as the beneficiary takes the year of death RMD by her tax-filing deadline, including extensions.

Stay Tuned

The new regulations are proposed to apply for determining RMDs for 2022 and later. Public comments are being accepted and a hearing is scheduled in Washington for June 15, 2022. The IRS will then issue final regulations at some point in the future. That could take some time. Stay tuned to the Slott Report for more information on the new SECURE Act regulations!


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