The 4 Digital Skills Everyone Will Need For The Future Of Work

Sound unlikely? I don’t think it’s as crazy as it seems, especially when we think of everything that has changed in the last ten years, like social media, artificial intelligence, and automation.

The work human beings do will continue to shift as some jobs become obsolete and new jobs emerge – and the experience and skill set we’ll need in the future look very different from the ones we need today.

Soft skills will grow in importance as the demand for the things machines can’t do continues to increase. However, the ability to understand and work confidently with technology will still be critical. With that in mind, here are four digital skills you need to cultivate to thrive in the new world of work:

Digital Literacy

Digital literally refers to the skills needed to learn, work, and navigate our everyday lives in our increasingly digital world. When we have digital literacy skills, we are able to interact easily and confidently with technology. This means skills like:

● Keeping on top of emerging new technologies

● Understanding what tech is available and how it can be used

● Using digital devices, software, and applications – at work, in educational settings, and in our everyday lives

● Communicating, collaborating, and sharing information with other people using digital tools

● Staying safe and secure in a digital environment

Data Literacy

We’re currently right in the middle of the fourth industrial revolution, a movement that is defined by many waves of new technology that combine digital and physical worlds. For instance, you’ve probably noticed the flood of “smart” everyday devices on the market today, from watches to thermostats that are connected to the internet.

All of that new technology is underpinned by data – and that’s why data literacy is one of the critical skills we’re going to need in the future.

Data literacy means a basic ability to understand the importance of data and how to turn it into insights and value. In a business context, you’ll need to be able to access appropriate data, work with data, find meaning in the numbers, communicate insights to others, and question the data when necessary.

Technical Skills

“Technical skills” is a broad category these days – it’s not just IT and engineering skills that will be needed in the workplace of the future. As the nature of work changes and workflows become more automated, a wide variety of technical skills are still enormously valuable.

In essence, technical skills are the practical or physical skills needed to do a job successfully. Demand for these skills goes far beyond coding, AI, data science, and IT – although admittedly, those skills are indeed in very high demand. If you’re a plumber, you have technical skills. Same for project managers, carpenters, nurses, and truck drivers.

We will need more specific technical skills in every industry as new technologies come on the scene, so you should be prepared to continually learn and focus on professional development through a combination of training, education, and on-the-job training.

Digital Threat Awareness

Cybercriminals are getting smarter and more nefarious as the world becomes more digital. This means new threats that could have enormous impacts on our personal and professional lives.

Digital threat awareness means being aware of the dangers of being online or using digital devices and having the tools you need to keep yourself and your organization safe.

With so many of our activities happening online (from making doctor’s appointments to ordering Friday night takeaway) happening online, our digital footprints are larger than ever.

Digital threat awareness means understanding the biggest threats in our everyday lives, including:

● Digital addiction

● Online privacy and protecting your data

● Password protection

● Cyberbullying

● Digital impersonation

● Phishing

● Data breaches

● Malware, ransomware, and IoT attacks

In general, lowering the risks of these digital threats means we all need to develop a healthier relationship with technology and teach others how to get the most out of tech and have it enrich our lives without being dominated by it.

To stay on top of future trends and future skills, make sure to subscribe to my newsletter and have a look at my new book, Future Skills: The 20 Skills & Competencies Everyone Needs To Succeed In A Digital World. Written for anyone who wants to surf the wave of digital transformation – rather than be drowned by it – the book explores why these vital future skills matter and how to develop them.

Bernard Marr is an internationally best-selling author, popular keynote speaker, futurist, and a strategic business & technology advisor to governments and companies.

Source: The 4 Digital Skills Everyone Will Need For The Future Of Work

Critics by Deloitte

EMERGING technology is reshaping the world of work. Automation is revolutionizing business models, tools, tasks and delivery modes. Workers can already see the transformation happening, as artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and other digital innovations are being used increasingly in the workplace.1 The likely effects of automation are mixed. On the one hand, some jobs are at risk of being fully or partially automated and/ or replaced by robots and AI.

On the other hand, these changes could increase efficiency and access to services. Employers and workers require the necessary digital and soft skills to take advantage of the new opportunities they are expected to face.  However, almost half the population of the EU is considered as lacking basic digital skills3 and one-third of the European citizens reportedly have no or almost no digital skills at all.4 

Approximately 40 per cent of employers are struggling to fill their job vacancies due largely to a lack of necessary skills, while 30 per cent of graduates are working in a job where the competences they acquired at university are not required.5 This skills gap could threaten the stability of the labour market as well as the ability of EU industry to innovate. The challenges of upskilling and reskilling could be imminent for many individuals, businesses and governments.

The dignity, well-being and self-fulfilment of individuals as well as the prosperity of society could depend on it. Within this context, impactful public policies for workers’ inclusiveness are important. In this vein, the involvement of a wide range of stakeholders, including workers, companies, public authorities, education institutions, training providers and social partners6 can be crucial.

The ‘future of skills’ receives considerable attention from governments around the world and stands high on the political agenda of many international organizations. As an example, the EU has adopted an overarching strategy – the New Skills Agenda7 – to tackle a wide range of skills-related challenges. Many of the tools contained in this initiative aim at empowering individuals to develop new skills or to exploit the skills they already have.

Nevertheless, even with the most innovative policies in place and the mobilization of huge public resources,8 the success of any skills strategy depends heavily on the motivation of individuals and their decisions to take a step forward.  Hence, it is of great importance for policymakers and other stakeholders to understand the impact of technological change from the perspective of workers in order to develop effective policy tools to create a future that works for all.

A number of academic studies already shed light on the potential changes in the labour force of the future. This article which presents the opinions of more than 15,000 workers across ten European countries, was designed to contribute to the overall debate by giving voice to the workers themselves and potentially bring them closer to policymakers. This paper provides insights on how the workers surveyed view the impact of new technologies on their work, how they perceive their own preparedness for automation and technological change, and which policy measures they expect from governments and others.

Building on the analysis of workers’ attitudes, the paper concludes with a number of suggestions for further consideration at policy level to address the skills gap and its challenges. Both the EU and national governments aim to close the skills gap and increase digital skills significantly through a wide range of initiatives, one of the most important being vocational education and training. But how do European workers see the need for action in order to equip themselves with all the skills necessary for Industry 4.0?

Even if workers do not perceive a threat of losing their job due to automation, most still expect some changes in the nature of their job and the skills required for it.About 50 per cent of workers surveyed across all sectors believe that automation will give them an opportunity to develop their skills. This is particularly true among respondents with higher levels of education: 57 per cent of those with a university degree hold this view, compared to just 41 per cent of those surveyed with lower educational attainments.

When asked about the expected impact of automation on the nature of their skills, more than 35 per cent of respondents do not think that it will make their current skills outdated, whilst 28 per cent believe that it will. This divergence of opinions may be explained partly by different expectations across occupations.For instance, in the survey results, workers in elementary occupations (e.g. manufacturing labourers, agricultural labourers, etc.11) show a greater tendency to believe that technology will reduce their job opportunities, whereas workers in other occupations tend to disagree with this statement (figure 4).

The expectation among workers that some of their skills may be outdated by technology could influence both the self-perception of their level of preparedness and their motivation to engage in training activiti…

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The Future Of Sales And The Pervasiveness Of Technology

I was recently a guest speaker at the Sales Leadership Conference organized by Dr. Karen Peesker, Co-Founder of the Sales Leadership Institute, a department at the Toronto Metropolitan University (formally Ryerson University) in Toronto, Canada. The conference was hosted by IT World Canada, Microsoft, DHL, Rogers and other community leaders. The conference goals were to bring university professors, students, industry leaders, and academicians to share their learning programs, identify gaps and requirements to advance the sales profession and most importantly, tackle a vision for the future of sales.

The strongest theme of the conference was the business imperative for advancing digital literacy, data literacy and ensuring that technology was firmly embedded in all sales learning programs. Digital literacy is best defined as an individual’s ability to find, evaluate, and clearly communicate information and knowledge through using diverse digital platforms. It is best evaluated by an individual’s interaction skills with technology and includes: grammar, composition, typing skills and the ability to produce text, images, audio and designs using technology.

This point was acutely reinforced by Fawn Annan, the CEO of IT World Canada (ITWC), with her high impact video conference address, where she identified how pervasive technology is in shifting the global sales landscape. Her panoramic and rich perspectives highlighting how diverse technologies – AI, analytics, IoT, driverless cars – are collectively impacting the world of a sales professional at work, and in society.

Annan quoted Gartner Group’s research stating that “a seller’s decision making is now based more on data, analytics and AI, versus intuition and experience” – prior stable hallmarks of a sales professional. This means that sales professionals will need far more digital literacy and data literacy training to be able to function in a far more data centric world. Other key takeaways from this video included:

1.) Hyper automation is advancing a buyer’s sales journey, and that a seller only has 26 moments to engage and influence a buyer in his /her purchasing journey. In other words, finding the right moments is even more important in following the customer data crumbs.

2.) Consumers check their cell phones on average 47 times/day and these frequent check-in’s, according to Google, are referred to as micro-moments. Hence the increased value of AI driven advertising as well the increasing intrusion consumers feel in invading their privacy.

3.) Over 76% of consumers transact and ship on mobile devices, and this number is increasing year-over-year. Hence, sales professionals’ primary interaction devices must be mobile and portable.4.) Sales applications exist throughout the sales buyer’s journey and increasingly, they are AI applications. According to McKinsey, the fastest growing companies invest more in AI sales digital tools than slower growth companies. A major contributor of sales performance success is having a robust sales software infrastructure. Hence, companies must accelerate their investments in sales intelligence software toolkits for advancing competitive advantage.

5.) Annan profiled two companies in her video address: SalesChoice and RingCentral. SalesChoice’s focus is on accelerating the growth of sales professionals and is a comprehensive AI platform well known for its proven sales use cases. Solutions include:

· Predictive Opportunity Scoring (focusing on the best deals with highest probability of a win outcome),

· Predictive Sales Forecasting that are securing prediction levels of up to 95% accuracy,

· Monitoring your data to ensure the AI predictions are on solid foundations,

· Relationship intelligence, with their new alliance partner, IntroHive, to bring even more win or loss signals to the attention of sales professionals. Who would not want to buy software that can predict your future outcomes at the top of your funnel and predict a win or a loss on every sales deal outcome, and identify the depth and breadth of your customer relationships across your enterprise?

· Mood and Health Intelligence: SalesChoice is active in innovation research with the Ontario Center of Innovation (AVIN program) and Purolator, propagating the importance of health in advancing employee productivity, and reducing attrition. Did you know that according to Payscale, sales account management was ranked as the second most stressful job, with 73% of respondents rating the role as “highly stressful.” Salespeople are under a lot of pressure to meet quota, convert quickly, and keep approval rankings high.

So increasing health approaches are critical to ensure sales talent don’t burn out or give up. Estimates of annual turnover among U.S. salespeople run as high as 27%—twice the rate in the overall labor force. In many industries, the average tenure of a sales professionals is less than two years. Given that the costs to recruit a sales professional is 20% and the time it takes to ramp up a sales professional is around 9 months, you can see how expensive it is to not retain your sales talent.

AI can act like a crystal ball. With good data, the mathematical genius in an AI algorithm and computational power is like the holy grail to guide sales professionals to greater deal outcome success and hopefully to happier behaviors and positive win outcomes as well.

The second company profiled was Ring Central, where Annan highlighted their collaboration and call center solutions, using AI methods to optimize building more productive customer interactions. Leaders like Sheevaun Thatcher, are advancing sales modernization programs at Ring Central, integrated diverse disciplines from: Adult Learning, Interactive Design, Strategic Planning, Collaborative Leadership, Diversity and Inclusiveness and always connecting the dots seamlessly. If there is a leader to watch advancing the field of sales and learning enablement, it is Sheevaun Thatcher.

Annan consistently highlighted that having advanced AI solutions can make a major difference to your digital conversion success, and reinforced that the old tools of looking in the rear view mirror are simply yesterday’s approaches. Due to the rapid speed of our world’s changing footprint, having smarter and forward looking (predictive AI analytics) toolkits is the only way that companies can grow faster, and more importantly, survive.

Increased AI Sales Toolkits Knowledge and Competency is Key.

Educating sales professionals to be ready for a smarter AI focused workplace will require skills, knowledge and proficiency in using modernized toolkits. So sales training must offer hands-on and practical skills development in universities to hit the ground running and bring value to a company immediately upon hiring.

Companies that use AI for sales in pre-sales have seen a 50% boost in leads, a 60-70% reduction in call time, and a 40-60% cost reduction. Numerous toolkits are in the market identifying the ideal buyer prospect and even knowing the propensity (density) of a buyer’s interest in your solution. Knowing where you customer is in their buyer journey is an inflection point for engaging in a micro-moment. Leading solutions advancing leads using AI are profiled in this blog.

In addition to pre-sales, other AI approaches can be used in opportunity scoring, predictive forecasting, and even mood / health indicator correlated to win rates. These are all areas that SalesChoice, a former ITWC Digital Transformation Award recipient, has been pioneering in.

According to the 2021 Buyer Experience Study, 80% of SaaS buyers report the buying process has too many steps and results in frustration for both the buyers and sellers. Hence, what this means for developing sales training programs is that skills not relevant to technology will need to be balanced with those that are. For example, empathy and two-way listening is key. Strong sales professionals understand that a buyer comes to solve a specific problem and not to buy your product. Understanding your buyer’s need is key in order to find a path for resolving it rapidly and reducing buyer and seller friction.

Research has shown that identifying the needs of your buyer can shorten sales cycle by as much as 65%. Customers (buyers) are coming into sales cycles far more informed from online sources. Hence, sales professionals need to learn more consultation skills to unravel the customer’s needs using relevant problem solving skills, enabled with as much prior information on the buyer as the buyer has on the seller.

Increase Training on Collaboration and Selling Virtually

With continued reliance on working virtually, the sales professionals will need to use a variety of online sales toolkits, ranging from a leading CRM (HubSpot, Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, etc.,), calendar management system, and collaboration system (like Zoom, or Microsoft Teams) etc. Expertise for effective collaboration will need to include skills in emotional intelligence, written skills, video presence (posture, smiling vs frowning), and voice skills (how you sound impacts how people want to listen). Other key skills like relationship development are increasingly valued in our network economy as building trust online must be mastered in seconds to capture a conversion in a micro-moment exchange.

Increase Digital Literacy Skills

There are many skills in digital literacy – from being able to use software, operate a digital device, to the ability to manage complex cognitive, social, emotional and motor skills to function effectively in digital high-tech environments. Key areas in digital literacy for a sales professional will need to include: the ability to understand reading instructions in digital environments, create or analyze simple to complex graphical displays in user interfaces, use diverse visualization methods, extract knowledge from non-linear, hypertextual navigation, and ascertain the quality and the validity of the information that is being presented.

Increase Data Science and AI Skills

In our data rich world, it is imperative for sales professionals to develop stronger data literacy skills. Data literacy skills include the ability of a sales professional to identify, understand, operate on, and use data effectively. Gartner Group defines data literacy as “the ability to read, write and communicate data in context, including an understanding of data sources and constructs, analytical methods and techniques applied, and the ability to describe the use case, application and resulting value.

Further, data literacy is an underlying component of digital dexterity — an employee’s ability and desire to use existing and emerging technology to drive better business outcomes.” Gartner Group is predicting that by 2023, data literacy will become essential in driving business value, demonstrated by its formal inclusion in over 80% of data and analytics strategies and change management programs.

However, traditionally sales professionals possess stronger skills in relationship building, listening and understanding people’s emotional states. A recent survey found that out of over 7M sales professionals on Linkedin, only 0.4% indicated they had studied math. This mirrors my experience as well leading sales teams or building software for sales professionals. Data literacy is a major gap in sales and to bridge this gap, companies will need to invest in training sales professionals in math, statistics and AI general concepts. This also will shift the hiring profile as increasing digital literacy and data skills are imperative to lead in the changing data rich world.

Conclusion

The Sales Leadership Institute and the leadership of Dr. Karen Peesker is an excellent initiative that requires government and industry support, as close to 5% of the North American labour population is comprised of sales professionals. Sales is an important profession focused on selling a company’s products or services, and also one that manages the customer’s relationship from an account management perspective.

Skill development in digital literacy, data literacy, relationship intelligence, and not losing sight of the softer skills (communication, written and oral, and listening) are all critical to advance the sales profession and be prepared to compete in a world that, as Annan shared in her video address, is increasingly technology centric.

SalesChoice, an AI SaaS company focused on Ending Revenue Uncertainty and brining more Humanity to Sales to avoid attention deficit disorder using AI and Cognitive Sciences. A former Accenture, Xerox and Citicorp executive, she bridges governance, strategy and operations in her AI initiatives. She is also a board advisor of the Forbes School of Business and Technology, and the AI Forum. She is passionate about modernizing innovation with disruptive technologies (SaaS/Cloud, Smart Apps, AI, IoT, Robots and Cobots), with 14 books in the market, with The AI Dilemma just released. Follow her on Linked In or on Twitter or her Website. You can also access her at The AI Directory.

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Source: The Future Of Sales And The Pervasiveness Of Technology

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6 Tips For Conducting a Digital Literacy Assessment

Digital literacy is a skill that is a fundamental need for most institutions, especially with the amount of technology used in the world. Unfortunately, many companies and institutions are not investing enough time or money to cultivate this skill.

One way this could be addressed is by conducting what some people call digital literacy assessments. These are tests and surveys that measure an individual’s digital literacy level.

By understanding where these individuals stand, the institutions and companies will be able to craft and plan for learning programs to heighten this skill. There are a few tips to conducting these assessments that can help them go smoother and be more efficient, and below we will look at some of these.

Get Buy-In

Whenever you institute a new program, the first important thing is to get the senior members of the staff or group to get on board. This may be challenging in some cases because these senior individuals may be worried that they won’t score well.

To get that buy-in, though, it is merely a matter of having a meeting or sit down with them and showing them all the numbers that help put your new stance in digital literacy in perspective.

Show Don’t Tell

Like with anything, it is best to show these individuals how the digital literacy assessment will benefit them and their team. This means explaining to them that the more literacy they have in the digital world, the more their lives will be impacted in a good way. This can even extend to the home.

Consistency Matters

Once the assessments begin, to keep these individuals’ buy-in and make it a part of your institution’s culture, you will need to make sure they are consistently executed. Pick a schedule and use it religiously to take away your team’s stress and discomfort taking these assessments.

Cybersecurity Is Important

There are a lot of areas to cover when it comes to digital literacy. When creating your assessment, one of the most important to include is cybersecurity. Things like how to spot suspicious emails and such are essential to keep your personal info and the institution’s computer system safe. Therefore it is a vital piece of digital literacy.

Barriers to Adoption

When rolling out your digital literacy assessment, make sure to answer any push back you may get. This means sitting down and considering the barriers that individuals will put up to avoid these assessments.

Employee Resistance

The last tip we have is to go into this process expecting there to be pushed back. By expecting it, you will be able to pivot when confronted with it or pleasantly surprised when there isn’t any.

Concluding Thoughts

Having a digital literacy assessment in place is becoming a necessity if you want to run your institution at its highest efficiency and productivity. Hopefully, these six tips have helped you in your planning process.

By Matthew Lynch

Source: 6 Tips for Conducting a Digital Literacy Assessment – The Tech Edvocate

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How To Turn Your Retirement Account Into a Personal Pension Plus

Just as you insure your home against the risk of fire and flood, so too can you insure another of your most valuable investments from risk: your retirement savings.

Retirement is a source of significant anxiety for Americans. It’s reported 40% of us fear retirement more than death. Outside of government jobs, pensions have nearly all disappeared. Important changes aimed at addressing some systemic issues are coming, but experts like Wade Pfau believe new Social Security legislation may not be enough. Combined with the potential of a recession (as the bull market keeps running), economic pressures posed by COVID-19, and 10,000 Baby Boomers retiring every day, this is hardly surprising.

With the near extinction of employer-provided pensions, Americans increasingly have to figure out their own retirement income plan, though many of us lack the tools or training to do so.

The ‘Fragile Decade’

Financial literacy is an often-neglected area of education among Americans; this causes financial planning to feel opaque and overwhelming. For many, retirement boils down to, “How much money do I need to save by the time I retire?” But it’s not that simple, and not planning for sequence-of-returns risk is a major pitfall.

Because retirement accounts are typically tied to the stock market, and the stock market is inherently volatile, it’s possible for an unexpected downturn to significantly impact a retiree’s income stream if it happens during the so-called “fragile decade” – the five years leading up to retirement and the five years that follow.

Simply put, if you experience significant losses due to some combination of withdrawals and poor performance during the fragile decade, it is difficult to recover. You’re in a position where your earning years are either behind you or almost behind you, and most of your retirement (if not all of it) is still ahead. Given that retirement can last 30 years or more, that could spell disaster during your most vulnerable years. That’s sequence-of-returns risk, or sequence risk.

Insuring Your Retirement Like You Insure Your Home

So, is your retirement at the mercy of the risks inherent in the stock market? Maybe. But it doesn’t have to be. An annuity can be an effective way to ensure your retirement’s durability by reducing your income stream’s exposure to market risks. Just as you insure your home against the risk of fire and flood, so too can you insure another of your most valuable investments from risk: your retirement savings.

Some financial advisers have been hesitant to offer their clients annuities, for a variety of reasons. Among these reasons are high costs and limited liquidity, as well as the lack of a death benefit. Many believe they’re just too complicated. While these complaints were true of some types of annuities, they aren’t true in general. Not anymore.

These objections are being overcome as modern annuities tend to be simpler and less costly. These innovations have inspired many financial advisers to change their position on annuities; in fact, a 2021 survey conducted by RetireOne and Protective Life found fewer than a quarter of financial advisers would not recommend an annuity to a client, even if it was the best fit for the client’s needs.

But some of those objections still are worth examining. Most annuities do have liquidity restrictions and many are not historically good at protecting against inflation.

Contingent Deferred Annuities

A contingent deferred annuity (CDA) has the same overall advantage of other income annuities – guaranteed income regardless of stock market downturns, badly-timed withdrawals, and so forth – but this type of annuity sidesteps some of the remaining hurdles.

A CDA acts as a sort of “risk wrapper” for your IRAs, Roth IRAs and taxable brokerage accounts, but the insurance portion is unbundled from the underlying accounts so that investments in ETFs and mutual funds may be covered. The amount of income you receive from the CDA (your coverage base) is calculated from the total of your initial investment, and will not drop below that amount, no matter what the markets do. In fact, your coverage base may go up, and those annual income payments can range from 3% to 6%. Keep in mind that excess withdrawals CAN impact your coverage base, however.

The CDA’s income payments trigger when you need them and are paid by the insurance company for the rest of your life, even after your assets are depleted. Until then, your financial adviser continues to manage your retirement assets for you.

This means that, if the stock market trends very well, the accounts the CDA is safeguarding will grow and so will the amount that your income payments are based on, giving you a bigger cushion later in life. But if the market does poorly and your accounts shrink, your CDA continues to pay out at the same rate, regardless of how poorly your investments perform. And, subject to the claims paying ability of the insurance company, they continue even if the underlying accounts are depleted. It’s guaranteed income for life.

How Do CDAs Work?

That sounds great, right? But you’re probably asking how it all works and, perhaps most importantly, what it’ll cost. Again, this is insurance. It isn’t free. But, it’s all more straightforward than you might think.

The first question to ask is: What do I want to cover? A CDA is typically designed to cover mutual funds and ETFs. The best CDAs offer many approved mutual funds and ETFs to choose from. The chances are your retirement accounts are already set up to work with them. You decide the total value you want to insure, and that sets your initial coverage base.

It’s important to reiterate that these funds stay where they are. Your financial planner continues to manage them, and you retain the same level of control you always had. In some cases, you can continue to add funds to that coverage base, too. Depending on the specific CDA you’re paying for, you may even increase the income you get from the CDA by doing so. You can also withdraw funds from your retirement account normally, though withdrawing funds too frequently can have an adverse impact on your annuity income.

Once you trigger your payments, those payments continue for life. They’re withdrawn from the covered accounts, but the rate of payment stays constant even if the value of the covered accounts drops – even if it drops to zero.

Another salient point: You don’t need to trigger payments if you don’t need that income, and you can cancel that coverage once you feel confident that your other retirement income streams are sufficient to maintain your quality of life. If you don’t want to pay fees for coverage you don’t need, then you don’t have to.

And speaking of those fees, you’re usually looking at something about 1% to 2.2% of the account value withdrawn each year from the accounts being covered. Those fees can be variable, based on the account value, or they can be fixed based on your total initial investment. A fixed fee means your fee is established when you establish your initial coverage base, and it remains constant as account values fluctuate. The fee does not increase if your retirement accounts give you particularly good returns, but the reverse is also true: If your accounts do poorly, you don’t see a reduction in your fees.

Here’s one of the best parts: Triggering your payments doesn’t necessarily trigger a taxable event. If you’ve been deferring your taxes with a Roth IRA, covering that Roth with a CDA allows you to draw income from that account upon retirement, without the usual tax implications of withdrawing money from a traditional IRA or a taxable account.

All these benefits make CDAs an efficient method for de-risking your portfolio as you near retirement. It’s a great way to make the fragile decade less fragile.

A ‘Personal Pension Plus’

Pensions are rare these days. Entire generations have entered the workforce without the promise of a pension. Your parents may have pensions. But do you have one? Probably not.

A CDA can turn your existing retirement accounts into something very pension-like, one that can protect your income during that crucial “fragile decade.” And, with the dual advantages of being able to cover retail mutual funds and ETFs, and the inheritability of the asset, a CDA really is a “Personal Pension Plus.”

When dealing with investment accounts, it is easy to get tunnel vision about Return on Investment, and how much money you have saved. But what you’re trying to achieve is the best quality of life possible, once your earning years are over. You want to have the greatest possible spending power during your retirement. A CDA can help you do that by turning your retirement account into a guaranteed income stream…for life.

Edward J. Mercier

Edward J. Mercier is president of RetireOne®. He has more than 25 years of experience spanning investment and insurance products, including sales, distribution, clearing and general management. He has held multiple senior leadership positions at Charles Schwab & Co., most recently as general manager of investment management distribution and clearing services.

Source: How to Turn Your Retirement Account Into a ‘Personal Pension Plus’

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What The Wealthy Don’t Want You To Know About Money

When someone says they want to “strike it rich,” they often mean with a once-in-a-lifetime event. Think, a lucky investment, winning the lottery, or selling an idea on Shark Tank that catapults them into the pantheon of millionairehood.

While it’s not impossible to get wealthy off a one-shot, the truth is that most “new money” millionaires didn’t get lucky. Instead, they built their wealth with smart financial planning, expert advice, financial literacy and goal setting.

And if that’s news to you, you’re far from alone. While the rich aren’t sitting on some big, unknown money secret, they don’t often go out of their way to educate the masses.

But we do.

Without further ado, here are the 14 secrets that the wealthy don’t want you to know about money – and how you can make them work for you.

Getting Started

1. Setting goals is the secret to getting started.

“Wealth” is a subjective term. If you’re living on $25,000 a year, then $1 million and an LA mansion may seem incredibly wealthy. But if you’re living in LA on $1 million a year, then wealthy probably looks more like $100 million and a garage full of expensive cars.

This discrepancy in perception and values are part of why it’s important to determine what “wealth” means to you – and then set goals to get there. For instance, you may decide you want to change careers, start a family or become a millionaire by 35. Then, it’s about devising an action plan with annual achievements to make your to-dos been-dones.

2. Always align your spending with your goals.

As you’re building wealth (and after), keep your spending in line with your goals. Know what you care about, be it attaining a lifestyle, achieving feats or passing on wealth. Then, take care to avoid wasting resources on things and activities that have no value to you – and invest heartily in education, hobbies, passions and goals that do.

Whether that’s forgoing restaurants while you take night classes or skipping the new car to buy a rental property, spending money on the things that advance your goals pays off in the long run.

3. A solid savings strategy bolsters success.

A savings strategy buffers your finances and increases your liquidity. While the goal is to save 15-20% of your income every month, beginning with just 1% is better than nothing!

One great way to ensure consistent savings is to automate depositing a portion of each paycheck into your savings accounts. Adding extra funds when you get a bonus, raise, or even Christmas presents can help you build wealth even faster.

You’ll also want to have a smaller, separate emergency account to cover unexpected expenses. Aim to build anywhere from 6-12 months’ worth of expenses in your emergency fund – and when you use it, replace it!

4. Keeping up with the Joneses is a one-way ticket to Poorville.

You might think that a lavish lifestyle is a true reflection of wealth – and for many, it is. But plenty of “wealthy” people drown in debt to keep up appearances. Meanwhile, those with true wealth often live frugally, invest often, and spend under their means.

The reason is simple: the desire to appear wealthy sabotages your goals and puts your money to work in dead-ends. Shrugging off the desire to keep up with the Joneses and focusing on your own wealth-building, not trying to show off, is the best way to ensure you can afford all the fancy toys you want later.

5. Hire a winning team.

One of the biggest “secrets” about wealthy people is that they rarely know what they’re doing. What they do know is that they can pay someone else to handle their affairs and dispense advice.

For instance, a fee-only financial adviser can point you to new money-making strategies, which your financial lawyer can vet for legal consequences before your tax professional minimizes your burden to Uncle Sam.

While the upfront cost seems prohibitive, investing in a support system now increases your chances of success later.

Making Money Work for You – Not Someone Else

6. Using other people’s time (and money) helps you get ahead.

Two of the best ways to become wealthy are to become your own boss and use other people’s money instead of your own. As an employee, you work to enrich your boss; and using your own capital limits your success to how much you can personally front.

But starting or buying a business, often with capital raised from banks or investors, accomplishes both goals at once. And if owning a business isn’t your forte, you can still use borrowed funds to invest in real estate, the stock market, or someone else’s big idea.

7. Fees eat success for breakfast.

Every time you pay a fee to manage your money or service a debt, you’re funding someone else’s path to wealth. Whether you pay banking fees, high-interest debt, foreign transaction fees, overdraft fees, ATM fees, commissions on investments, mutual fund expense ratios…

The point is, there are a lot of fees out there, and the more you pay, the less you have. Thus, when possible, opt for no-fee accounts, low-cost index funds, and 0% APR credit cards.

8. Watch your credit card usage (or avoid them entirely).

Taking out a credit card encourages living beyond your means and paying interest to do so. As such, many financial experts advise cutting up your cards, avoiding them in the first place, or only using them to further your goals. (For instance, if you use them to cover bills and pay off the balance immediately to build your credit).

If you do use credit cards, look for rewards cards that pay out in cashback or air miles, carry fraud protection, and have extra perks like built-in travel insurance. And never, ever take out a high-interest store credit card.

9. Charity is good for the soul – and your wallet.

Donating money or supplies to charitable causes doesn’t just further noble goals; it’s also good for your finances. If you itemize your tax returns, you can deduct charitable contributions to qualified organizations. And the more you can deduct, the less you’ll have to pay come tax time.

Investing: The True Secret to Wealth

10. Your money should work for you.

One of capitalism’s unfortunate realities is that working hard doesn’t always equate success. If your only income is trading time for money, your earnings potential is capped at the number of hours you work in a week.

But the wealthy understand capitalism’s dirty secret: the true path to success lies in passive income. Whether that’s investing in stocks, buying real estate, or funding someone else’s business plan, anything that pays an “unearned” profit accelerates your earnings potential beyond the hours in a day.

11. Every minute you waste is one less minute you’re wealthy.

In investing, your most valuable asset is time. The earlier you start putting your money to work in the markets, the longer your capital can accrue compound interest. Even just $25 per week is better than nothing!

On a similar note, it’s important to distinguish between time and timing in the stock market. While one major investment can catapult you to riches, you’re far more likely to lose money than make it big betting wildly.

The wealthy understand that riding out an “unsexy” buy-and-hold strategy – making regular contributions into a diversified portfolio – is one of the most reliable ways to get rich.

12. Allocation is key.

When you invest in the stock market, how you allocate funds carries significant consequences. Typically, it’s a good idea to keep dividend-paying bonds, stocks, and mutual funds in your tax-advantaged retirement accounts, while individual securities reside in your brokerage account.

This strategy has three advantages. To start, it utilizes government-sponsored tax strategies and spreads your wealth to minimize impacts in retirement. At the same time, diversifying your holdings across accounts and assets helps ensure you’re not too heavily invested in one area.

13. Diversification gets you everywhere.

Investing in stocks, bonds, and mutual funds is a great way to kickstart your wealth, but it’s not the end of the road. As your wealth grows, expanding into illiquid or physical assets, such as real estate, gold, and even artwork, can help you secure your wealth.

Though these investments cost more upfront and are more difficult to offload, there’s a reason that being a real estate tycoon is equated with riches. And because these assets aren’t as susceptible to market swings, they can pay off even when other investments falter.

14. As your wealth and confidence grow, turn to private markets.

One of the greatest secrets of the ultra-wealthy is that the stock market gets your feet wet – but private markets hold the real wealth.

Business ownership, angel investing, and other private equity moves come with greater risk than stock market investments. But their potentially higher returns and diversification do wonders for your portfolio, especially if you’re hell-bent on generating true wealth.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website.

Q.ai, a Forbes Company, is powering a personal wealth movement, using artificial intelligence and advanced quantitative techniques to revolutionize

Source: What The Wealthy Don’t Want You To Know About Money

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