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15Dec
Inflation Ahead: Beware! – Part 1 of 2
Economy

One of the observations I have from creating projections for funding future goals such as college or retirement is that it is often very hard for clients to understand the impact of inflation.  So, I decided to write a two-part blog about inflation.  Part One covers the causes of/and multiple definitions for inflation.  Part Two discusses the risk and impact of inflation, because we are living longer.

What causes inflation?

There are several possible answers.  The recent damage caused by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma and California wild fires results in higher prices because there is a temporary shortage of goods.  Therefore, prices are bid up as people compete to obtain what they need.  Fortunately, these situations are temporary.  Inflation is also caused when businesses purposefully restrict supply thereby artificially raising prices.  This happened in the 1970’s when OPEC agreed to limit oil production in an effort to increase oil prices.

The primary cause of inflation is an increase in the money supply.  You have probably heard the phrase, “Too much money chasing too few goods and services increases prices.”

What is the difference between inflation and the Consumer Price Index (CPI)?

The CPI is an index… or “a number used to measure change”.  It measures the change in prices paid by consumers for goods and services.  It reflects the spending patterns of urban wage earners, consumers and clerical workers.  Interestingly, the CPI does not include the spending habits of people living in rural (non-metropolitan) areas, people in the Armed Forces, and anyone incarcerated or a patient in a mental institution. (Source:InflationData.com)

Price Inflation (what we simply call inflation) is the “percentage increase in the price of the basket of goods and services over a specific period of time”.

The key to this definition is knowing what is in the “basket” that is being measured.

Interestingly, it is “all items less food and energy”.  This means the basket includes goods and services such as transportation, medical care, vehicles, clothing, and housing.

Barbara A. Culver
CFP®, ChFC®, CLU, AEP®
Resonate, Inc.
(513) 605-2500

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19Jun
Did You Know about This New Charitable Deduction?
Retirement

Pet therapy for children and the elderly is now considered a charitable purpose by the IRA’s standards.  An organization that has others take their therapy dogs on visits to hospitals and nursing homes at no cost to the patient or facility, now qualifies for tax exemption as a 501 (c)(3) charity.  These pet therapy sessions are intended to improve the well-being of patients, lessen distress and encourage socialization.  Donors can now deduct contributions made to the group.

(Source: The Kiplinger Tax Letter May 19, 2017)

In the same Kiplinger Tax Letter, Knight Kiplinger suggests that things are looking up for the housing market.  As home prices rise, underwater mortgages are falling steadily.  Currently 10% of homeowners owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth, however this statistic is projected to be 8% by year-end and even fewer next year.  Having fewer folks upside-down on loans means more homes hitting the market.

And finally, Kiplinger warns us to expect more destructive cyberattacks to strike in the coming months.  Recent U.S. intelligence agencies data breaches have exposed hidden security flaws to criminals and other nations.

Microsoft urges Uncle Sam to quickly reveal such security holes so they can be covered.

Although future attacks will be more difficult to stop as malware becomes more sophisticated, there are ways to help fend off hackers.

  • Spend money on anti-virus / anti-malware software and keep it up-to-date with virus definitions
  • Install software updates often and quickly to plug security holes – especially on your operating system such as Microsoft Windows.
  • Back up data regularly with an external remote local hard drive.  Keep it disconnected from your computer between back ups.  Also take advantage of web-based back up storage.
  • Don’t click on suspicious email hyperlinks or unknown attachments without proper vetting.

Your Resonate team continues to increase our security measures on a regular basis.  For example, our broker-dealer, Valmark Securities requires all Resonate employees to undergo ongoing cybersecurity training.  We also back up our files daily.

Of course, we still know that hackers continue to increase their sophistication as well.

As always, we would love to hear from you.

Barbara A. Culver
CFP®, ChFC®, CLU, AEP®
Resonate, Inc.
(513) 605-2500

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24May
What the Worldwide Aging Population Means for Women: Part 3
Health Care Costs

The first two parts of this blog provided the information supporting the fact that women face an unfair disadvantage in terms of planning for a successful retirement.

If you’ve not yet read parts one and two of this blog, please take a few moments to do so.

Here are the action steps that women can take to help prepare themselves for healthcare and retirement costs.

  1. Tell your story and expect to be heard and honored. You and your planning needs are unique.  You deserve the opportunity to “share your story as well as your hopes, fears and dreams”.

Regardless of your current life experience and financial knowledge, you deserve to be listened to without judgment.

You deserve to have all of your questions answered honestly and completely.

You deserve transparency around fees, commissions, and any other form of advisor compensation.

  1. Create a plan and follow it. Again, this is “your plan”.  It needs to be designed specifically for you to get you from “where you are to where you want to be”.
  1. Invest with appropriate risk level. Again, your investment portfolio needs to be designed specifically for you and what it is you want to accomplish.
  1. If you are of a pre-retirement age, be prepared to save aggressively to meet your goals.
  1. If you are already retired, then the allocation of your investment portfolio may be even more critical because you may no longer have the capacity to continue to save to reach your retirement goals.
  1. Be sure you understand how programs such as Social Security, Medicare, and employer-sponsored retirement plans can best be coordinated for maximum results.
  1. Consider products such as life insurance with long-term care riders, products that are designed to create guaranteed lifetime income in retirement, products that are designed to create income tax savings, and anything else that may be appropriate to help you reach financial peace of mind.
  1. Once your plan is in place, be sure to continue with annual conversations with your team of advisors.

As you can see, planning done well is complex and involves the integration of both programs, products and planning.

Do you remember the old Greyhound bus slogan, “Go Greyhound and Leave the Driving to Us”? 

It is suggested that the new slogan might be “Keep Texting and Leave the Driving to Us!”

Whether you find yourself familiar with the first slogan or relate more to the new slogan, we invite you to a conversation at Resonate.  Regardless of your age, our motto is to help you define and discover what Richness of Life means to you.  Then, it is our job to help create the pathway for you to experience this desired destination.

Barbara A. Culver
CFP®, ChFC®, CLU, AEP®
Resonate, Inc.
(513) 605-2500

 

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19May
What the Worldwide Aging Population Means for Women: Part 2
Health Care Costs

In the first part of this three-part blog, we talked about why the U.S. demographics of an aging society present more of a challenge for women than for men.

Here are some additional thoughts for your consideration:

In part one, we suggested that the fact that women still tend to outlive men by 3 to 5 years definitely contributes to the financial challenges that women face in retirement.

Here is a chart that supports that information:

The second reason that women face an uneven challenge is because we still experience a disadvantage in the work place.  In addition to the fact that women are still more likely than men to leave the workforce intermittently, we also know that women are more likely to hold lower- wage and part-time jobs, both of which are detrimental to funding future retirement.

So what can women do about this?  That will be the focus of part three in this series.

If you’ve already read enough, please contact us now.  Otherwise, please be sure to read part three.

Barbara A. Culver
CFP®, ChFC®, CLU, AEP®
Resonate, Inc.
(513) 605-2500

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11May
What the Worldwide Aging Population Means for Women: Part 1
Health Care Costs

In his annual letter to shareholders, BlackRock’s Larry Fink shares these thoughts on April 10, 2017.

“The graying of the population in developed countries is without precedent in human history.

While most developing countries outside of China can look forward to a demographic tailwind for many years, developed countries are rapidly aging.”

 

 

(1)

“According to estimates by the United Nations between 2015 and 2030, the number of people in the world aged 60 years or over is projected to grow by 56%, from 901 million to 1.4 billion.  The number of people aged 80 years or over, the “oldest old” persons, is growing even faster. Projections indicate that in 2050 the oldest old will number 434 million, having more than tripled in number since 2015, when there were 125 million people over age 80.”

If you happen to be female, the situation is even worse.  For decades to come, women’s life expectancy on average will continue to be 3 to 5 years longer than that for men.  This results in higher healthcare expenses in addition to coping with inflation for a longer period of time. (2)

If you are age 50+ and in relatively good health, please do not wait any longer to contact us!

We will work with you to determine what you need in the way of income and assets to help assure a successful retirement.  Then, we will work with you to create a plan to fulfill that goal.

Barbara A. Culver
CFP®, ChFC®, CLU, AEP®
Resonate, Inc.
(513) 605-2500

 

Source:
(1) World Bank
(2) “Missed Opportunities” by Sue Watt, Morningstar April/May 2017
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14Apr
What Makes Women Breadwinners Different?
Investing
Part Three of a Three-Part series

If you have not read the first blog in this three-part series, “An Overdue Apology to Women”, dated April 7, you might find it helpful because it is applicable to this blog as well.

The first piece focused on how women clients are often discounted in the relationship with the financial advisor.  It resulted in my apologizing on behalf of the industry to anyone who has experienced this type of discriminatory treatment.

The second part in this series centered on how single women are often victims of “product-pushers” as opposed to professional advisors who are also fiduciaries.  See previous blog titled: “Are You Ready for Disturbing Survey Results about Single Women and Financial Advisors?”

This third part in the Women’s Series shares some important information on women breadwinners.

Who qualifies as a woman breadwinner?  Anyone who earns at least one-half of the household income and is also involved in the financial decisions.

Often, these professional women hold positions in middle management through executive positions.

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11Apr
Are You Ready for Disturbing Survey Results About Single Women and Financial Advisors?
Investing
Part Two of a Three-Part Series

If you have not read my previous blog, “An Overdue Apology to Women”, you might find it helpful because it is applicable to this blog as well.

The first piece focused on how women clients are often discounted in the relationship with the financial advisor.  It resulted in my apologizing on behalf of the industry to anyone who has experienced this type of discriminatory treatment.

While this blog continues on the same theme, the focus is now on the single woman as opposed to a member of a couple.

This includes the population of women who simply choose to remain single as well as those who may be divorced.

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07Apr
An Overdue Apology to Women
Blogs / Articles
Part One of a Three-Part Series

While the topic of this blog focuses on women, I am writing it to be read by both genders.

Why?

Because, as we all know, the woman in a marriage typically outlives her husband.  It is also true that, in general, a single woman has an extended longevity compared to a single man.
(Source: Vanguard, “Plan for a Long Retirement

Statistics reveal that 70% of the time a widow chooses a new financial advisor within weeks of her husband’s passing.  (Source: CNBC, “For Some Widows, Breaking up with an Advisor is Easy to Do”, Ilana Polyak, 10/11/14).

Why does this happen?  Among others, here are some of the reasons given:

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28Mar
What Keeps You Up at Night?
Blogs / Articles
There can be many answers to the question ranging from “my health, my kids, my grandkids, our currently divided country, how to afford the cost of education, the rising cost of health care”, to name only a few.  I want to share an interview with Richard Orlando.

Orlando is CEO of Legacy Capitals, and Ned Dane of the Oppenheimer Family of Funds asks the questions.

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14Mar
HSA Account Owners Beware!
Health Care Costs

The interaction among employer-sponsored health plans, Medicare and health savings accounts (HSAs) is increasingly complex.

Many Americans become eligible for Medicare at age 65.

The exception to the rule is if someone is 65 and still covered under his or her own employer-sponsored health care or that of a spouse.

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