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Week’s Best: Social Security Likely Will Be Diminished, Not Broke

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It’s become something of a parlor game these days to speculate about the coming demise of Social Security, and advisors are getting a lot of questions from clients about the potential insolvency of the retirement safety-net program. But it’s not an all-or-nothing proposition, experts say, as the program has funds to continue making partial payments for the foreseeable future. In the most likely scenario, younger workers will still see some benefits but nonetheless have to take a haircut.

In other top wealth management articles this week:

An overlooked benefit. Health savings accounts have been around since 2003 but aren’t nearly as well understood as 401(k) plans or IRAs. Increasingly, advisors are talking up the tax benefits of HSAs, seeing those often-overlooked programs as a crucial piece of a client’s overall financial plan.

Thanks, Mike. Michael Kitces, the self-proclaimed nerd and practice management guru, is a well-known figure within the financial planning world. But the wisdom of Kitces extends beyond the financial advice sector, according to our guest writer, who identifies six far-reaching lessons business leaders in any industry can learn from the wise man.

Advisors under fire. Investment advisors and companies were subject to more enforcement actions in fiscal 2021 than any other registrant, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission, and broker-dealers weren’t too far behind. The commission busted advisors for perennial trouble spots like disclosures, fees, and conflicts of interest, but it also brought novel cases in emerging areas involving cryptos and special-purpose acquisition companies.

Crypto 411. Digital assets advocate Ric Edelman wants to make it easier for advisors to find information about products and services related to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. To that end, his educational organization, the Digital Assets Council of Financial Professionals, has created a “Yellow Pages” directory. “One of the challenges advisors have is knowing who the vendors are,” says Edelman, a Barron’s Hall of Fame advisor who founded what is now Edelman Financial Engines.

Going to California. Wealthspire has grown into a burly independent advisory firm with well over $10 billion in client assets and offices in the Northeast, mid-Atlantic, and Midwest. Until this week, however, it lacked a West Coast presence. That changes now that it has inked a deal to acquire Private Ocean, a $2.7 billion wealth management firm based in California’s Bay Area.

Lastly, don’t miss our Thanksgiving week edition of the Barron’s Advisor Q&A, in which we’ve gathered some of the best recent thinking from top advisors and wealth management pros about the state of the markets, where they’re headed, and where the best investment opportunities lie.

Have a great weekend.

Write to advisor.editors@barrons.com

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