Test Time!!!! 🤓🤪😬🤯😱

All right. I consider myself a pretty smart guy (no comments)!!!

I started working in the financial industry right after college in 1995. I read (almost every day) about financial topics. And I recently read about a “test” in the “401k Specialist” (Issue 2). According to the article, only 26% of older Americans with $100,000 of investable assets were able to pass the test with a score above 61%


So I decided to take the test.

It took me ten minutes.

I think every adviser should take this test.

I think every adviser should have their clients take this test.

It was really eye opening, frustrating and educational.

So I am encouraging anyone who is reading this post to take the test. And to share the test with everyone they know.

I scored a 76% (29/38). Please take the test and share with me (and everyone else) what score you received.

You can take the test for yourself by CLICKING HERE.

71% of your clients want it . . .

Whether your firm has a selling agreement with us or not, spring is a great time to work with your clients and have them do some “spring cleaning”. As summer fast approaches, it’s a good time to help your clients get fully organized.

What a better way than to offer a “401k Review” (or whatever their employer sponsored plan is - 403b, 457, TSP, etc).

Did you know that according to Charles Schwab * 71% of people with money in their 401k plans “would like personalized investment advice”!

7 out of 10 of your clients!

And even better, 7 out of 10 of your competitors clients, would like personalized investment advice for their 401k plans!

Just ask yourself a simple question (and be really honest about it), if you don’t provide the advice to 7 out of 10 of your clients, who will?

*Charles Schwab - 2018 401k Participant Survey - August 2018 - Pg 9.

Marketing Materials Being Added

We have been talking to advisers on a daily basis. Every conversation leads us to more insight about what advisers are seeking. Since we solved the problem of creating a repeatable, systemic advice delivery system for your clients, the main two questions we receive are:

1) How much should I charge for the service?

2) How do I market this service?

I have found the first question is a difficult one to answer. You as the adviser know your clients and your markets much better than we do.

However, I have found that advisers usually set their pricing based off of one or two strategies.

The first one is to create three different pricing options based off of the services being offered. Usually a Silver, Gold, Platinum strategy. More services are included with each model. The pricing is set off of the “compromise pricing strategy”. Uber uses this strategy after you a complete a trip and they ask if you would like to include a tip and offer you choices of $1, $3 or $8.

The more popular strategy is to set a pricing tier based off of the balance of your client’s assets in their plan. Normally, advisers have told us they charge three different prices based off of the 401k values. A normal strategy would be pricing set with “buckets” such as, under $100k, over $500k and in between.

You have the option to set the price for each one of your clients between $25 per month to $250 per month. Then we collect the recurring fee through Stripe, take our $12 per month and remit your firm the rest.

The second most popular question we hear is about how to market the service. We have just created a new section on our website and are in the process of uploading materials for you to review, edit and use (obviously you would need to send them through your compliance department prior to use). So please check out that section under the “Financial Professional” section or CLICK HERE.

Currently we have uploaded a brochure, language for an email and social media and a Power Point presentation for you to use. The Power Point also has sample language for each slide and is an excellent tool to use in a group setting. Many advisers have found success in scheduling “lunch and learns” using the Power Point and getting in front of multiple prospects at one time.

If you have any questions about pricing and/or marketing materials, schedule a call with our CEO, CCO and Co-Founder Kevin. CLICK HERE to schedule a call that’s most convenient for you today!

Advisers: You've asked, we listened!

So far 2019 has been awesome! I have spoken to many advisers and we have agreements with more firms, more advisers and we are providing advice to more participants than ever.

And we are just getting started!

As I have been speaking to new advisers every day, there has been a couple of “themes” that have popped up. I believe that if I hear the same thing from a few advisers, then it is worth looking into. So there are some exciting changes that we will be making to benefit you, the advisers, to help you offer this service to your clients.

First, we will be re-writing our “Participant” page. We have a “Direct to Consumer” (DTC) model, but we have very few participants using this channel. So we are going to re-write the “Participant” page to reflect that they need to be working with their adviser for this service. We want to enhance your business and have you use us as one of your many tools for helping your clients. So the new “Participant” page will soon reflect this.

The second exciting enhancement that we will be making, is the “pricing” schedule. We are going to remove references to all pricing from our page and let you set your own price for the service. I have talked with many advisers that would like multiple pricing options. So after hearing your concerns about the pricing, speaking to our SEC lawyer and talking to Mark about what we “technically” need,'; we will be making the change. We should have this up and running before the end of the first quarter.

We need to amend our ADV, our current agreements and make some technical enhancements on our setup page. Once these changes are made, you will be able to set your own monthly price for the service. So you can soon set variable pricing based off plan size, the amount of services you will provide to the client, etc. We will retain our current flat fee of $12 per participant per month and remit back to your firm anything above $12. each quarter.

I am confident that these two changes will help you incorporate Plan Confidence into your practice. So please give us a few weeks to work on the legal and technical aspects and we will let you know when these new enhancements are “live”.

As always, we appreciate all the advisers that are currently offering their clients Plan Confidence. We are always looking for feedback on how to make the service better for you.

So don’t be shy about letting us know how we can be better and stay tuned as we roll out some of these exciting changes!



Semi-Tactical Model Overlay

Semi-Tactical Model Update

As of June 11, 2018

Last week the markets continued a negative trend. The selloff continued as the year end seems to be pricing in new year volatility.

On Tuesday, December 11th at 9am EST, the “Semi-tactical” models put out a “sell” recommendation to all that are using the models.

This was due to three trading days in a row of 2 or more (out of 3) “sell” signals of the S&P 500 on stockcharts.com ($spx). Due to many plans still having (out dated - IMHO) short term trading restrictions on employer sponsored retirement plans, we cannot run a “pure” tactical strategy. Our “semi-tactical” models are designed to (hopefully) avoid a prolonged market downturn (like the Oct 2007 - March 2009 period).

Other tactical strategies may be designed for better“timing”, more frequent trading and the hopes to buy at a low and sell at the high point of a market cycle. Usually these strategies are better suited for Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) than they are for Employer Sponsored Defined Contribution (DC) plans. IRAs have many of the same tax consequences as DC plans, but can be set up without short term trading restrictions.

As with all investment strategies, please consult your financial adviser for the options that are best suited for you.

Thanks for reading our blog!

-Kevin T Clark, RF


Winter is coming . . .

I am a fan of Game of Thrones (GOT) and I am currently re-watching the HBO series in preparation for the final season next year. If you don’t watch the show, “winter is coming” is the phrase for the upcoming “White Walker” (Zombie) attack. Everyone knows it’s coming, but most are too busy in their “day to day” struggles of trying get ahead (or stay alive).

So I would like to be the first one to tell all of my fellow investment adviser friends . . .

Winter Is Coming!

There is a financial revolution that has begun. There are changes currently ongoing in the way advice is being “consumed” by your clients (and future clients). This is due to the changing demographics and the financial technology (fintech) that threatens every “living” adviser.

I was an investment adviser for over 20 years before I focused on the fintech that I helped create for my practice. However, I (like Jon Snow in GOT) fight for the living. I sold my financial firm late last year so I can focus on helping every adviser in America arm themselves with the proper fintech to defeat the “robo-advisers”.

For the past several months, myself, my partner Mark and Tracy (marketing/admin guru) have been working days (and many nights) to get you ready for winter. We have re-designed our website, rebuilt some internal operations and have streamlined our processes to help you, the living, breathing, investment adviser.

Your clients need ongoing advice for their work sponsored retirement plans. We have created the Software as a Service (SaaS) that allows you to deliver your advice to your clients with a few clicks of the mouse. We want to help every decent, honorable and living adviser help their clients.

I am going to use our new blog format to write not only about our SaaS, but also about the journey of starting a small company as it grows into a household name. As of the current date, Plan Confidence is only known by a couple of thousand of hard working Americans. I have vowed to continue in my pursuits until we are a household name and every American has access to ongoing advice for their 401k (or other work) plans.

I also created our firm (unlike our competitors) to not complete with you. We don’t talk to your clients or custody assets. So we do not get in the way between you and your clients for the future rollovers.

We will work tirelessly to help every adviser who wants help in helping their clients. I am here for you. My firm is here for you.

Because as we all know . . . Winter Is Coming!



Plan Confidence: Semi-Tactical Models Update

In late August/early September, we unveiled our “Semi-Tactical” model for our Plan Confidence advice service (Software as a Service – SaaS).

The “Semi-Tactical” models mirror our “Strategic” models when they are fully invested.  However, I watch the daily stockcharts.com for the S&P 500 index ($spx) and the level of the Volatility Index (VIX).

There are 3 components of the chart that I monitor.  The RSI (relative strength indicator), the 50 and 200 day moving averages and the MACD (moving average convergence divergence).  I monitor these numbers everyday.  If we are fully invested, I wait for two (or more) of the indicators to go negative (sell signal).  However, since most of the advice through our SaaS is going to Employer Sponsored plans (401k, 403b, etc) I need to be cognizant of “short term trading restrictions” that many plans have written in their documents.

Therefore, we cannot run a classic “tactical” strategy and try to “time” the market.  Many tactical strategies have more trading than the quarterly re-balance strategic counterparts.  Too frequent trades in many employer plans could be blocked, delayed or have (IMHO) excessive fees charged to the participant.  So I am cognizant of “false positives” and cannot run a pure “tactical” model over the assets I advise.

So I run (what I call) a “semi-tactical” model.  I wait for three days in a row of 2+ sell signals before making any recommendations to move money out of the stock market.  This helps us avoid the “false positives” but also means that we take a little more loss in a declining market (correction or sell off).  

On Friday, October 12th, my strategy indicated 3 days in a row of 2+ “sell” signals.  Monday, October 15th all of the clients in the Plan Confidence “Semi-Tactical” models received an email (or push notification on their phone if using our app) that informed them to sell their equity (stock) holdings and put them in cash.  Of course, the Dow rallied 547 points on Tuesday (so those who sold on Tuesday were best off).

I fully expect the volatility and roller coaster ride of the stock markets to continue for a couple of weeks.  (We are exactly two weeks away from the mid-term elections).  However, even though we will have “political risk” baked into our markets for the next couple of weeks, I will be solely reliant on the charts to make decisions on when to re-invest the money that is now sitting in cash.

For those of you using our Semi-Tactical models, please be sure to monitor your email/push notifications at 9am CDT every day.  For those that are just reading the blog, I will let you know (about a week after) when the charts show that the models should be fully invested again.

I thank you for reading our blog and look forward to any questions, comments, concerns or compliments that you may have.

-Kevin T Clark, RF

Kevin is the Co-Founder, CEO and CCO of Plan Confidence Corporation (PCC).  PCC is an Internet Only Registered Investment Adviser with the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC).  PCC provides advice to participants with money in their employer sponsored defined contribution (DC) plans (401k, 403b, etc).  PCC also uses “Co-Advisory” agreements with many Registered Investment Advisers (RIAs) throughout the United States to provide investment advice to their clients.