Course Learning Objectives
Learning Objectives for Ethics Course:
(Instructors will have 50 minutes to address each learning objective.)
1- To understand the six principles of ethics identified by the Certification Board, a division of the Society of SCRFA. CRFA must agree annually to uphold, abide by, and practice the principles in accordance with this Code of Ethics in order to protect the value of the designation and protect the public they are called to serve.
2- To examine the 30 rules that support the principles and talk about how the rules apply to the six principles through open discussion and examples.
3- To create discussion based on six case studies with emphasis on how the principle and supporting rules apply to each case and reach a determination – is there a need for disciplinary action and if it is needed, then what disciplinary action applies.
a. On-line course will have discussion threads (updated with
new cases quarterly.)
b. Seminar classes will discuss the cases in the class room or
instructor may assign specific cases as homework.
c. Students will identify the need for disciplinary action for each
case, identify the disciplinary action they would recommend
and provide evidence to support their recommendation.
d. Students will comment on recommendations offered by other
students and debate why they agree or disagree with their
Learning Objectives for Session One:
1- To assist the financial advisor in understanding the terminology associated with tax returns.
2- To develop a method of analyzing the 1040 individual tax return that creates an understanding of the client’s financial position and investments.
3- To learn the various schedules that are part of the tax return and the information that each schedule contributes to the financial overview.
4- To use the data incorporated in each schedule to help develop objective recommendations.
5- To identify possible areas that require the CRFA recommend the client and CRFA meet with other professionals who offer products that the CRFA does not provide the clients.
6- To encourage the CRFA to develop a partnership with a tax professional that allows open discussion between the client, tax professional and financial advisor.
7- To introduce the student to the importance of IRS Publication 17 tax guide and the recommendation to download the publication file to an icon on their desktop so the individual tax information is only a click away.
Learning Objectives for Session Two:
1- To ascertain when clients should take Social Security based on their financial position, age, income and goals.
2- To develop education tools that can be used by clients in understanding the reduction in amount they will receive based on the timing of the distribution.
3- To develop a program that utilizes financial products that does not increase the tax on Social Security.
4- To demonstrate the efficiency of creating a folder on the computer desktop to house the various Social Security bulletins available on their website that may pertain to their client’s financial position.
5- To inform the advisor that information and worksheets may be found in IRS publication 915 (Social Security and Equivalent Railroad Retirement Benefits) and the importance of adding this publication to the advisor’s desktop folder of research material.
6- To update the advisor concerning the latest information pertaining to Alternative Minimum Taxes (AMT) and how investments impact the client.
7- To identify how to use the AMT Assistant that is found on the IRS website and identify whether the client will quality for AMT tax.
8- To develop a financial plan incorporating information from the identified IRS publications and utilizing the AMT information.
Learning Objectives for Session Three:
1- To learn how to read investment statements in order to develop an overall picture of the client’s investments and understand the client’s portfolio summary, portfolio positions and monthly activity.
2- To help the financial advisor develop an understanding of form 8929 (reporting capital gains and losses) and the terminology used by the IRS concerning portfolio sales so the advisor may educate their clients.
3- To direct the advisor to IRS Publication 17 information for another education tool to use when meeting with clients.
4- To develop an understanding of the Net Investment Tax imposed by section 1411 of the Internal Revenue Code. The NIT applies at a rate of 3.8% to certain net investment income of individuals, estates and trusts that have income above the statutory threshold amounts.
5- This information may help guide the financial recommendations from the advisor and provide answers to the client’s questions.
6- To gather information from Schedule E of the tax return that will identify assets held by the client for an extended time line due to a lack of understanding of how to liquidate the assets or make an asset exchange.
7- To help the advisor discover the investment strategy of the client by reviewing any 1099 B forms that may be included in the client’s tax return. The activity reported on this form will indicate whether the client has short term goals and chases profits or divest a product in the event of a loss or the client has long term goals and rarely sells assets.
Learning Objectives for Session Four:
1- To identify ways the advisor may recommend the client reduce capital gains.
2- To learn how 1031 exchanges are designed, how this product may help the client and explain how to identify the requirements for an independent intermediary (another professional on the team).
3- To explain the characteristic of a Capital Gains Elimination Trust/Charitable Remainder Trust and how to use an Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust for this product.
4- To increase knowledge so that the agent can explain Exchange Funds to their clients.
5- Have an understanding about Stock to Cash financing and gain sufficient information to provide the client details of this option.
6- How to Calculate the Exclusion Ratio on Immediate Annuities and the Taxable Equivalent Yield and other annuity taxable events.
7- To identify the characteristics of preferred dividends and their taxability.
8- To discuss in-depth Tax-Qualified and Non-Tax-Qualified LTC Plans and understand the importance of sharing the knowledge with clients.
Learning Objectives for Session Five:
1- To learn how to protect retiree assets and time horizons associated with the protection.
2- To become familiar with the various Life Expectancy Calculators.
3- To learn what to look for in homeowners and car insurance policies and how to help clients understand the policies that they have purchased.
4- To understand that when assets are not titled correctly, they might not pass to the intended heirs and provide information to help educate the client on proper titling of assets.
5- To learn how to compare and contrast Medicare and Medicaid services.
6- To identify the four basic forms of Medicare coverage and understand the coverage that each plan offers.
7- To develop an understanding of the premiums for Medicare Part B and Part D and premium impact for higher income beneficiaries.
8- To explain to clients the impact of the 2013 Medicare tax in the amount of 3.8% for households with wages and taxable fringe benefits in excess of thresholds.
Learning Objectives for Session Six:
1- To identify products that allow clients to sleep at night and help clients “make it through” their retirement years by developing long-term objective investments based on a system or methodology that is free of emotions, fallible judgment and is totally mechanical.
2- To develop an understanding of TIPS, preferred shares, bonds, fixed annuities, mutual funds vs. individual instruments, bonds and bond funds, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and when the advisor should recommend the products and identify when it is better for the client to have a fixed annuity or a tax-free bond.
3- To become informed about the three types of Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs), how they are impacted by special IRS rules and how they can be the right choice for specific clients.
4- To understand the components of Morningstar and how to read their report and identify why Standard Deviation is more meaningful when compared to other statistical measures such as Beta and Sharpe Ratio.
5- To identify the investment products used for Unit Investment Trust and how they function. Secure the knowledge to compare and contrast Exchange Traded Funds to UITS.
6- To incorporate The Grangaard Strategy, or a similar strategy, as an asset management theory that is designed to provide inflation-proof income throughout retirement, without significantly depleting retirement assets. Learn how to incorporate ladder strategy as it provides stability by spreading investment evenly through multiple purchases.
7- To use technology for calculating the optimal balance between fixed-rate investments for income and investments in stocks for growth.
8- Utilize ranking systems such as Standard & Poor, Dow Dividend Strategy, Value Line ranking strategy, STARS research and Monte Carlo Simulation to analyze the historical profitability of investments and impact of inflation.
Learning Objectives of Session Seven:
1- To understand the true cost of variable annuities, how the fee to own an option impacts the product and the benefit of using variable annuities to beat the timing of the market.
2- To identify the different types of Equity Indexed Annuities, how they have performed, the fixed participation rate the advisor should demand on behalf of the client, the importance of annual reset without the restriction of averaging and the significance of the annual cap on performance.
3- To evaluate the difference among insurance rating companies such as A.M. Best, Moody’s, S&P, Fitch and Weiss.
4- To provide alternative source of cash flow for client through Reverse Mortgages (restricted by some states), including the Department of Housing and Urban Development update that impacts this product.
5- To discover how to ethically transfer an old life insurance policy into an annuity.
6- To differentiate between managed care plans and Medigap insurance; compare original Medicare only with Original Medicare + Medicare Supplement (Medigap) health insurance.
7- To be able to inform clients about the “guaranteed-issue” rights for Retirees who are purchasing a Medigap policy and identify the gaps they cover. Compare the difference between the two options of Medigap and Medicare Advantage, Medicare Part C. Understand Medicare Part D and develop a plan for helping clients select the best Medigap plan.
8- To identify health insurance options for early retirees and assist them with selection of coverage that meets their needs.
9- To review the estate tax laws, estate tax exemption, unified credit and gift tax exemption per individual and the potential tax problems that make it possible for financial advisors to help their clients with estate planning.
10- To identify the issues of an IRA in estate planning, convey the need for a beneficiary including stretch IRA, and how to use insurance and irrevocable insurance trust to help pay estate taxes.
Learning Objectives of Session Eight:
1- To review the official definition of an Individual Retirement Account and the requirements that must be met by the product.
2- To examine What’s New for the Current Year, the rollover restriction and the phase out for the current year, and the tax credit available to taxpayers.
3- To identify the tax laws that can determine what assets retirees should own in their retirement plans to obtain the lowest lifetime taxes. Laws include the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Spousal IRA Limit and pre-tax and after-tax retirement plan contributions.
4- To become familiar with the IRS reporting requirements, how to calculate an RMD using IRS worksheets, determining which tables are correct for the client, lack of RMDs for Roth IRAs, and states where the RMD is tax free or a portion is tax free.
5- To study how to successfully convert traditional IRAs to Roth IRAs (this includes IRAs that have had periodic distributions and the method of recharacterization of a contribution).
6- To discover when the agent should recommend a Roth conversion, rollover funds from a qualified employer’s plan into a Roth, how to calculate the savings on a Roth and help clients reduce taxable estates and leave more for the beneficiaries.
7- To recognize the IRA Custodian questions that all financial advisors should be prepared to address with their clients.
8- To know how to pass an IRA to owner’s beneficiary through alternative transfers such as IRA Asset Wills and naming a Trust as an IRA Beneficiary.
9- To be aware of the estate tax for a spouse and how to calculate section 72t distributions using Minimum Distribution method, Fixed Amortization method and Fixed Annuitization method.
10- To recognize ways to protect clients from rollover mistakes for IRAs and 401k, educate clients on basic retirement account rules under the Bankruptcy Abuse Protection and Consumer Protection Act of 2005.
11- To identify prohibited IRA investments and transactions and be aware of the penalties that will be imposed by the IRS if they audit the account.
12- To educate clients who are ready to retire on which pension option they may select that meets their needs.
13- To provide the client with multiple alternatives for inherited IRAs: a) Stretch IRAs, b) how to title inherited IRAs, c) should a beneficiary ever disclaim an inheritance, d) options available to a surviving spouse and e) working with non-spouse beneficiaries including a separate account.
14- To know the options available if the owner of the IRA did not name a beneficiary.
15- To assist grandparents with funding grandchildren’s education using IRS Publication 970 and other options that may provide funding. The first option is UTMA/UGMA and the financial advisor has the opportunity to grasp an understanding of the ideal investor for this product.
16- To be familiar with Coverdell Education Savings (formerly Education IRA), Section 529 plans, using life insurance as potential aid and hiring children to work in the family business.
17- To use Variable annuities, or Roth IRAs, or Educational Trusts or College Target Date Funds whereby money can be paid directly to the college and may not impact the student’s financial needs.
18- To make sure the financial advisor understands Donor Advised funds and the flow of assets through this fund and educate the client concerning Community Foundations and how this vehicle can be utilized to leave assets to charities.
19- To discuss various trusts that may provide the client options for estate planning, emphasize the opportunity for the financial advisor to become a quarterback for a team that consists of an attorney and their client. Trust discussed is: Charitable Lead Trusts, Charitable Remainder Trusts and Wealth Replacement Trusts.
20- To be aware of how the client can gift assets: a) gift a home while still living in it, b) use of land easements for clients who are property rich, c) private foundations and identify the maximum tax deductions for contributions.