Tuesday, May 16, 2017

WSJ Wealth Adviser Briefing: Retiree Pessimism, Benchmarking for RIAs

As people get into their 60s or 70s, they start to spend less in order to conserve their assets. A new study sheds light on one possible reason why: pessimism.

When it comes to finances, “our ability to reliably anticipate the future weakens as we age,” says study author Matt Fellowes, former chief executive of HelloWallet, a Morningstar Inc. subsidiary that helps employees manage their paychecks and workplace benefits.

For the many Americans who haven’t saved enough for retirement, this tendency toward frugality isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

But for those who have saved diligently, “they are not enjoying retirement in the way they should,” says Mr. Fellowes, who plans to launch an online financial advisory service aimed at people 50 and over this summer.

Published Monday, the study examined responses to the University of Michigan surveys of consumers from 1978 to 2014. The study found that in 2014, in comparison to people under 35, adults over 64 were 30% to 40% less optimistic about their future financial health and the U.S. economy and stock market. This “optimism gap” persisted when Mr. Fellowes controlled for income, education and gender.

The study also found that people spend less as they age—about 2.5% less, on average, in each successive year between 60 and 70 and by more in later years.

Below, some of the best analysis and insight from WSJ writers and columnists, and occasionally beyond, on investing, the wealth-management business and more.


Growing pains
. President Trump has laid out a goal of getting the U.S. economy to grow at above a 3% rate over the long term. Two obstacles stand in his way. The work force isn’t producing enough new workers, and the productivity of those working isn’t growing fast enough. 271

Streetwise. The strongest message from a low reading on the market’s fear gauge, the VIX, is merely that the market has gone up a lot. But there is cause for concern.

Monday’s markets. U.S. stocks rose amid a jump in commodities prices. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 85.33 points, or 0.4%, to 20981.94. The S&P 500 rose 0.5% to notch its first close above 2400 and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.5% to 6149.67. U.S. crude oil rose 2.1% to $48.85 a barrel.

Talk about an IPO pop. When went public 20 years ago today, it had a market capitalization of $660 million. It has since grown into a $460 billion e-commerce giant. For investors who got in at the start, the stock price has grown nearly 50,000%.

Watching Your Wealth podcast. Waldron Private Wealth’s Matt Helfrich answers the age-old question of how much is enough money to give to your children and talks the importance of having a financial plan in place that is easy to execute.

Subscribe to the Watching Your Wealth podcast at or on iTunes. And find the full archives of Watching Your Wealth here.


Adviser Voices
. Jon Beatty, senior vice president of Schwab Advisor Services, recommends that registered investment advisers who want to develop their firm to try a benchmarking survey for new ideas and insights into weaknesses.

– Advicent Innovation Summit / New York, May 18
– Fi360 Conference / Nashville, Tenn., May 21-23
– CFA Institute’s 70th Annual Conference / Philadelphia, May 21-24
– FPA NorCalConference / San Francisco, May 30-31
– AICPA Engage 2017 / Las Vegas, June 12-15
– FPA NexGen Gathering / Chicago, June 23-25
– In|Vest 2017 / New  York, July 11-12
– RIIA Summer Conference 2017 / Salem, Mass., July 17-18
– XYPN17 And FinTech Competition / Dallas, Aug. 28-31
– Insider’s Forum 2017 / Nashville, Tenn., Sept. 6-8
– APFA Financial Advisor Boot Camp / Los Angeles, Oct. 5-6
– ADISA 2017 Annual Conference / Las Vegas, Oct. 23-25
– IMCA Private Wealth Advisor (PWA) 2017 / Chicago, Oct. 16-17
– FPA Minnesota 2017 Annual Symposium / Minneapolis, Oct. 16-17
– FinCon 2017 / Dallas, Oct. 25-28
– The SRI Conference / San Diego, Nov. 1-3


The Wealth Adviser briefing covers topics of special interest to wealth managers, financial planners and other advisers. It’s delivered to subscribers by email each workday morning; you can sign up for email delivery here: send tips, suggestions or other comments to or Wealth Editor Brian Hershberg at

Follow WSJ Wealth Adviser on Twitter: @WSJadviser

May 16, 2017 at 03:13PM

from Brian Hershberg