What to Do About Retirement Health Care Costs?
Health Care Costs

(The source of this information is a research paper recently produced by Vanguard and Mercer Health and Benefits.  I found it helpful and hope you do as well.)

There is a great deal of fear swirling around the issue of the expense of health care in general and, particularly, in retirement.

One of the reasons for this is because we read statements like: “It’s going to cost $250,000 or more to cover health care costs in retirement.”

However, we do not talk about the cumulative cost of travel, food or other parts of our retirement budget.  Why is that?  Because expenses like travel and food are more controllable – more consistent.

Health care, however, is far less predictable.  In addition, it gets complicated from the need for Medicare Parts A and B and the never-ending options for supplemental policies and drug coverage.

New products offering protection that leverage your assets are constantly evolving as well.

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Should I Name Individuals or a Trust as the Beneficiary of My Qualified Retirement Plan/IRA?

As opposed to leaving money outright to an individual, many of you have asked us regarding whether you should designate a revocable living trust as a beneficiary of an IRA.

While this is a legal question as opposed to a financial planning question, I do want to offer reasons why people may choose one or the other beneficiary designations.  Please note that I am referencing an article called “Designating a Trust as an IRA Beneficiary” written by Brian Dobbis, Director, Retirement Solutions for Lord Abbett, May 11, 2018.

  1. Because qualified retirement plans and IRAs are typically not subject to probate because of the beneficiary designations, many individuals simply choose to leave these qualified assets to their heirs outright.  With proper use of the beneficiary designation, you do not need to use a trust to have a qualified asset bypass probate.
  2. The primary reason for naming a trust over an individual as the beneficiary of an IRA or qualified plan is to provide post-death control over the assets.  This means that the individual or individuals named as the beneficiary of the trust do not have total control over the asset.  Rather, the terms of the trust control the distribution of the asset and/or its earnings.

If you choose to use a trust as the beneficiary for qualified assets, here are a few key points for your consideration:

  • Confirm with your attorney that the trust qualifies as a “look-through” or “see-through” trust.
  • Talk with your tax advisor or estate attorney regarding the income tax implications of using a trust versus an individual as beneficiary.
  • Be sure that trust documentation is provided to the IRA custodian no later than October 31 of the year following the IRA owner’s death.

Please note that the trustee of the trust is responsible for overseeing and implementing the terms of the trust.  Therefore, another key decision has to do with who you choose to name as trustee.I hope this provides some helpful information for those of you who are considering changing beneficiaries for your existing retirement plans or IRAs as well as for those of you who are naming beneficiaries within the near future.


Barbara A. Culver
Resonate, Inc.
(513) 605-2500

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Memory Loss

As you may or may not know, Resonate has extensive experience working with individuals, couples and families facing dementia and Alzheimer’s.  We have a special compassion which stems from twelve years of personal experience with my own father.  Therefore, we are constantly watching for the latest from thought-leaders in this space.  I hope you fine this helpful.

Your Resonate team welcomes a conversation with you and yours at any time.

Barb Culver

Why memory loss may not be the most worrisome symptom of dementia

Contributing Author

Carolyn McClanahan, MD, CFP®
Financial planner, emergency room physician, thought leader

A lot of attention is now focused on the harmful consequences of memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease for financial decision-making. And for good reason. But it is important to understand that dementia is bigger than Alzheimer’s, and Alzheimer’s is not just about memory loss.

Alzheimer’s is just one kind of dementia. Unfortunately, dementia comes in many forms. There’s vascular dementia, Lewey Body disease, frontal lobe dementia, etc. In fact, there are over 100 types of dementia, and Alzheimer’s accounts for (only) between 60-80% of all dementia cases.

Memory loss is but one symptom of Alzheimer’s. There are numerous consequences of Alzheimer’s, including having difficulty planning or problem-solving, confusing time and place, demonstrating poor judgement, and behaving impulsively. Here is the list of warning signs published by the Alzheimer’s Association. Memory loss is but one of ten symptoms.

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How to Plug 3 Retirement Leaks

As more people flock to low-fee funds and inexpensive investment advice — including robo-advisors and target-date funds — investors need to be mindful that there are other potential leaks in their portfolios. “There are a lot of inefficiencies in money management, and in fact, those inefficiencies collectively are actually much more
impactful on your long-term financial health than the fees that you pay for financial products,” says Matt Fellowes, CEO and founder of Washington, D.C. based investment advisory United Income.

In a report published earlier this year, Fellowes and his colleagues noted that while investment management costs for retail investors have dropped by more than 50% over the past 35 years, the benefits of lower prices may be undermined by other costs that aren’t tied to fees. They include taxes, mismanagement of Social Security, and subpar investment returns.

United Income found — after analyzing 62 different retirement solutions and more than 26,000 potential combinations of future market returns — that reducing these portfolio leaks generated seven times more wealth in retirement for a typical retiree than would saving 1 percentage point on investment management fees.

Put another way: Investors who plug these other leaks have a 42% better chance of generating enough money for retirement than those who focus exclusively on minimizing fees.

Here are some of the biggest leaks retirement savers need to plug.

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Warren Buffett’s Investing Style

I found the this article to be on interest.  I hope you do to!

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Thinking About Having a ‘Green’ Funeral? Here’s What to Know
Issues of Aging

Here’s an interesting article from the New York Times.

Barbara A. Culver
Resonate, Inc.
(513) 605-2500

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Income + Tariffs + Inflation = Underperformance

I found this blog to be extremely interesting – hope you do too!

Eaton Vance Advisory Blog

Feel free to contact me if you’d like to talk.

Barbara A. Culver
Resonate, Inc.
(513) 605-2500

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Keeping Volatility in Perspective

Based on the continuing market volatility, I thought that you might find market perspectives from various economists and portfolio managers employed by the Capital Group to be encouraging. 

(Many of you will recognize the name of the Capital Group’s subsidiary –  The American Funds.)  Founded in Los Angeles, California in 1931, the Capital Group ranks among the world’s oldest and largest investment management organizations.  It has more than $1.7 trillion in assets under management and has offices around the globe in the Americas, Asia, Australia and Europe.  (Source: Wikipedia)  Robert Lind, the company’s European economist says, “There is mounting evidence that near-term momentum is building in the global economy and the cycle appears to be self-sustaining, particularly with respect to Europe.  The synchronization of global growth has raised the possibility that the cycle can be stronger for longer.”

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More Tax Tidbits

If you or anyone you know suffered losses from Hurricanes Harvey or Irma, check out Rev. Proc. 1018-09 for guidelines regarding the acceptable amount of loss you can take.  The $10,000 cap for deducting state and local income taxes in 2018 is causing a flurry of activity. Many states are working to create ways around the cap.

Here is a provision in the new law getting very little “press”. I think it is very important and want to be sure you understand it.  Under previous law, inflation was measured by the consumer price index for all urban consumers. This is called CPI-U.

This is being replaced with Chained CPI.

Here are the differences:

  • CPI-U measures the cost of goods and services consumed by a “typical urban household”.
  • Chained CPI assumes that if a particular good or service becomes too expensive, consumers will seek a less expensive alternative.

The result is that Chained CPI grows more slowly than CPI-U.   This means that the eligibility for certain inflation-linked deductions and credits will grow more slowly in the future.


Barbara A. Culver
Resonate, Inc.
(513) 605-2500

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The Future of Retail

Chances are you know there is a sea change going on in the retail industry. But you may not realize how far and how fast the online tide is rising. Singularity University founder Peter Diamandis invites you to recall the powerful retail networks created by Sears, J.C. Penney and Macy’s. Since 2006, the stock value of Sears has fallen from $14.3 billion to $300 million—a 98% drop.

Over the same time period, JCPenney’s stock value fell from $18.1 billion to $1.2 billion (-94%) and Macy’s, worth $24.2 billion in 2006, is now worth $9.3 billion (a 62% drop). Less dramatic but still significant price declines can be found at Kohl’s (-54%), Nordstrom (-28%), Best Buy (25%) and Target (-20%). Diamandis notes that in 2017, over 6,700 physical stores closed their doors.

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