FOUR REASONS TO STEP UP YOUR SUMMER READING GAME

Whether you’re tossing a few paperbacks into your beach bag, digging into a “bucket list” book on the back porch, or catching up on the latest bestseller during a long plane ride, summertime is when many of us are at our most literary (including HighTower's own CEO, Elliot Weissbluth).

GAPS AND GOWNS: SHOULD YOUR HIGH SCHOOL GRAD TAKE A GAP YEAR?

Graduation season is wrapping up: from kindergarten to law and medical school, students of all ages are celebrating these milestones and starting their summer vacations. Most American high school graduates will head to college in the fall: according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 70% of students in the graduating class of 2016 were enrolled in colleges or universities as of October of that year.

UNOBSTRUCTED INSPIRATION

At HighTower, we believe that financial health is a component of overall wellbeing. Advisors in our community are passionate about making a difference in our clients’ lives—not just their portfolios. Our upcoming Apex 2017 summit is dedicated to the idea that financial success is not an end-goal, but a catalyst to achieving an extraordinary quality of life. So we invited speakers who know a few things about leading fulfilling and inspiring lives

EARTH DAY: MORE THAN JUST A HASHTAG

Decades before Americans celebrated #National Selfie Day or #National Puppy Day, the first Earth Day (no hashtags yet) took place on April 22, 1970.

DO YOU FEEL LUCKY?

In the 1950s, Frank Sinatra asked luck to be a lady. In the 80s, Madonna declared that she’d found her lucky star. And in 2013, Daft Punk were up all night to get lucky.

Toxic Relationships: Get Out or Be Poisoned

In hindsight it seems obvious: we look back on bad relationships and think, “Why didn’t I end it sooner? Why did I stay so long?”

Why Emotional Intelligence Helps You Succeed at Work

As our gadgets get smarter (phones, watches, cars), the emotional component of intelligence remains uniquely human—and highly valuable. Increasingly, given the choice in candidates, shrewd hiring managers will favor a smart applicant with high emotional intelligence (EI) over an equally smart candidate who is emotionally clueless.

Get Better at Your Job—by Taking More Vacations

One of the most common mixed messages in the workplace is “You work too hard.’’ Americans, who already have far less time off than our peers in other wealthy countries, tend not to use all of the vacation days we do have: we left a cumulative 658 million days of paid time off unused in 2015. According to Project: Time Off, employees at all levels skip vacations due to fear of not meeting management’s expectations about commitment, along with valid concerns about the pile of work to catch up on when they return. But neuroscience tells us that time off is essential—and that our brain is never so “off’’ as it seems. Scientists who study the work and relaxation patterns of high-achieving artists and musicians conclude that long interludes between intense bursts of concentrated work fuel the flowering of creativity needed to create new art and music. Even for those who don’t work in the arts, a four-day weekend in a cabin without Wi-Fi may help to solve problems that baffle us at work. Research indicates the “resting’’ brain is using about as much energy as when we are immersed in problem-solving, which implies that deeper mental processes are at work in ways that are useful but not yet well understood. The bottom line is this: vacation time has value. So take your time off. Your brain will thank you—and your work will improve.

Not Just a Portfolio: an Unobstructed Life

At HighTower, we are in the business of delivering financial advice to people who are conscientious about managing money, but who measure their true net worth in something other than dollars.

This Is What the Uberization of Financial Services Looks Like

2016 could be the year that financial advice “goes indie.” That’s why the hottest job in my industry this year isn’t a new gig: it’s the independent financial advisor. At the end of 2014, the big national securities firms managed 38% of retail (consumer) assets — down from around 50% before the financial crisis. The share held by independent advisors has almost caught up: it’s at 36%. When we launched HighTower in 2007, we predicted that crossover was inevitable where independent financial advisors would advise more assets than the large brokerage firms.

Why the SEC Should be More Like the FDA?

The FDA and the SEC hypothetically play the same role in our lives: to protect us from products that could harm us. If you’re selling a new drug, you can't escape the strict oversight of the FDA. But if you’re selling a new investment product, you’ll have a much easier time getting it past the SEC. Prescription drugs must be safe and effective, but there is no law stating that investment products have to be effective. Or even that they have to be safe.

Are You Getting the Best Financial Advice?

When you go to a financial advisor, you’d assume he—or she—is looking out for your best interests. But not all advisors are required to put your interests before their own. That’s about to change though, at least for any advisor being compensated for making recommendations to anyone who’s participating in a retirement plan, like a 401(k), or who owns an Individual Retirement Account (or IRA).

Out of Office: You Need to Unplug to Recharge

Like most entrepreneurs, I’m “on the grid” most of the time, answering emails from my cell phone, texting, taking conference calls in the car, and so on. Building a business in today’s world demands near-constant connectivity. But most of us catch a break at 35,000 feet. When the FCC announced it was considering a proposal to lift the ban on in-flight cell phone use, some travelers responded with cries of opposition and outrage. The possibility of being stuck beside someone shouting over terrible reception for hours is enough to strike dread into the hearts of many of us frequent fliers.

Do The Scary Stuff

“Do the uncomfortable.” This advice came from my mentor at my first “career” job—the man who taught me to be a lawyer. Only he never actually spoke those words to me. Instead, he simply put me into situation after situation. Sometimes, when you are in uncomfortable situations…you feel uncomfortable. I recognized then that it was intentional. He didn’t tell me to take on challenges that intimidated me. Instead, he dumped them in my lap. One gift after another, and I’ve been grateful since #AdviceThatSticks.

Financial Services Has an Accountability Problem

The financial services industry has a problem: people don’t trust us. Although it is gradually rebounding, financial services ranks last in terms of consumer trust – behind the pharmaceutical, energy, automotive, tech and food and beverage industries. Among Millennials, trust in financial planners is especially low.