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Industry Tax and Marketing News

SANCTIONS – The United States and our allies are imposing sanctions against Russia, which continues its incursion into Ukraine.  Apparently U.S. banks have been pulling back from exposure to Russia in recent years.  The same can’t be said for European banks, which are bracing for fallout from the sanctions against Russia.  The actual Russian invasion of Ukraine triggered the predictable reactions of higher oil prices and stock market declinesMore on specific sanctions here, as well as the U.S., UK, EU, Canada and Japan blocking some Russian banks from accessing the SWIFT global banking network.
INTEREST RATE HIKES –  There is almost a cottage industry developing around predictions of future Federal Reserve actions to tighten credit by hiking interest rates.  The next Fed meeting is scheduled for mid-March.  There seems to be little question that the Fed will increase its benchmark interest rate.  The only question remaining is by how much and how frequently.

“EXCESS DEATHS” – “Excess deaths” are defined as those in excess of what would normally be expected.  According to CDC statistics, “the United States now has recorded more than one million ‘excess deaths’ since the start of the pandemic.”  While the vast majority of those excess deaths resulted from Covid, there were also increased numbers of deaths from heart disease, hypertension and other ailments.
LIFE CLAIMS – In a typical year, life insurers’ mortality experience is very close to what was forecast.  The past two years have, of course, been far from typical, with the pandemic causing a sharp increase in both individual and group life insurance death claims.
SENIOR EXPLOITATION –  Effective March 17, member firms will be allowed to place temporary holds on securities transactions in cases of suspected financial exploitation of older adults.  Along those same lines, FINRA is reporting a six-fold increase in romance scams, with some using romance to lure people into bogus investments.
BURIED – The IRS taxpayer advocate testified to the Senate that the IRS has about 17.6 million tax returns that require manual processing, with paper processing remaining the Service’s “biggest challenge and that will continue throughout 2022.”
PREMIUM TAX CREDIT – The IRS has issued guidance for recipients of ACA premium tax credits.
RMD REGS – The Secure Act of 2019 dealt with required minimum distributions (RMDs), but left many questions unanswered.  The IRS has just released proposed regulations that contain in-depth information on how the Secure Act RMD rules will work.  The proposed regs are open for a 90-day public comment period, after which a public hearing will be held on June 15.
DEMAND BOOMING – Demand for estate planning is booming among millennials, with 75% of respondents in a new study indicating they have a will-based estate plan and making their wishes about health care and final expenses known.  Primary motivators for the planning were having a child, losing a loved one and buying a home.
EARLY IRA DISTRIBUTIONS – Ever heard of a SOSEPP?  Many people haven’t.  It stands for a ‘series of substantially equal payments’ (SOSEPP) that can be taken from an IRA prior to age 59-1/2 without a premature distribution penalty.  While an early spend down of retirement assets isn’t to be encouraged, some people may need access to the funds due to an unexpected cash shortfall.  A recently-released IRS Notice has made the SOSEPP option more attractive.

CREATING MEANINGFUL CHANGE – This is an interesting article on how to create meaningful change in our health care system.  “For truly meaningful change, policymakers must seek solutions that move our health care system away from a fee-for-service system.”
SAVINGS TOOK A BEATING – A survey of older adults found that almost 60% of them had lost more than 10% of their savings in 2021. The primary culprit?  Consumer prices in 2021 rose about 7% for all items.

NEEDS A MAKEOVER – According to the American Association of Long-Term Care Insurance, LTC is needed now more than ever, but needs a makeover/rebranding.  People don’t want to go to nursing homes.  The suggestion then is to focus more on LTC enabling older adults to age in place in their own homes for as long as possible, serving as “nursing home avoidance protection.” 
JUST NOT INTO YOU? – Nearly half of visitors to financial services websites leave after just one page.  What to do about it?
BY THE NUMBERS – This issue’s “numbered” articles: 3 ways tech will change how insurance agents do business 4 Questions Investors Need to Consider Now 5 Great Habits to Grow Your Business 5 Economic, Market Predictions Amid Russia-Ukraine Tension 6 Top Form CRS Failures FINRA Found in 2021 6 Quick Stats on How Retirees Use Medicare Advantage 10 Reasons You’re Worth Your Fees 11 situations when people wish they’d bought insurance earlier 15 Most Expensive States for Long-Term Care: 2021 22 Retirement Goals for 2022
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