22Dec
Investing to Make a Difference
Investing

As Resonate re-branded itself is 2015, we found these things to be of primary importance to us:

“Encouraging our clients to clearly define what is most important to them about life and money” and then “Aligning our clients’ money with their life and purpose to express social, political and environmental values which lead to creating meaningful outcomes.”

This has led us to consider the following in offering investment choices to our clients:

  • “Investing in businesses which pass certain ethical practice screens;
  • “Considering social, political or environmental impact as important in investment decisions;
  • “Providing values’ based investing.”

What does it mean to invest in businesses that pass certain ethical practice screens?

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20Dec
Women and Social Security
Retirement

Did you know that 55% of Social Security beneficiaries are women?

Social Security is important for all seniors, but it’s a particularly valuable program for women for a combination of reasons.

  1. The Social Security Administration data continues to indicate that, on average, women have shorter lifetime work histories than men.  This is true in spite of the growing number of women in the workforce.
  2. Next, because women still tend to outlive men by an average of 5 years, they will receive payments longer than men. (Source: Centers for Disease Control and  Prevention)

Unfortunately, the widow will receive only one Social Security check.  While it represents the larger of the two checks that the couple had received, this reduction in income is still significant.  As of December 2015, retired male workers were receiving an average benefits check of $1,500 per month, compared to $1,182 for women.  (Source: www.ssa.gov)

This is depicted in the chart below.

(Credit also to the Motley Fool “6 Social Security Facts you’re Probably Not Aware of”, Sean Williams, September 15, 2016.)

This is one of the reasons that the Resonate team specializes in working with women.  Whether married, never-married, partnered, divorced, or widowed, we welcome you.  We know how to take the complicated issues and make them clear and understandable; we are committed to working in your best interest, and are excellent at helping create a plan and pathway to get you from “where you are to where you want to be”.   We provide financial peace of mind so that you can relax and enjoy life.

Let’s talk!

Barbara A. Culver
CFP®, ChFC®, CLU, AEP®
Resonate, Inc.

(513) 605-2500

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16Dec
How to Keep Your Family Connected
Intergenerational Planning

family-connectionFidelity Investments recently published the results from the “2016 Family and Finance Study”.

Here are the key findings:
While adult children are willing to help their parents as they age, four in ten families disagree on the roles and responsibilities children should assume.

  1. For example: 93% of parents state is it unacceptable for them to be financially dependent on their children, but only 30% of the adult children feel the same way.
  1. Four in ten families disagree on the roles children will play as parents age in terms of caregiving, advocates, financial power of attorney and executor (trix) of the estate.
  1. 67% of families disagree about the appropriate time to initiate a conversation about finances.
  1. Additionally, most families avoid talking about retirement living expenses, health, and long-term care expenses and content and location of estate documents.

This is exactly why Resonate created a “partner” consulting company named Connect-Gens that offers “Purposeful Planning: Conversations Beyond the Balance Sheet”.  We understand that initiating this conversation can be difficult.  We understand the content is often very emotional, and that the direction of the conversation is unpredictable.  Since most people choose to avoid that which we either cannot control or represents the unknown, families do not engage in these essential conversations.

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13Dec
Social Security Myth
Issues of Aging

soc-securityThere seems to be an increasing amount of misinformation circulating in regard to the Social Security system. The following information is sourced from: www.ssa.gov.

The purpose in writing this blog is to correct this myth:

The Social Security System is going to be bankrupt by 2034 (or any other year you may have heard).

Here’s why this statement is not true:

People who are employed will continue to contribute to Social Security from each and every paycheck.

In fact, we now know that those earning over $118,500 a year will pay Social Security taxes up to $127,200 of annual earnings.  This represents a 7.3% increase in the “maximum taxable earnings amount” from 2016 to 2017.

What is true is that the 2016 Social Security Board of Trustees report does anticipate the program will exhaust its $2.8 trillion-plus in existing spare cash by the year 2034.

What this means is the Social Security administration would pay out in benefits what it receives in payroll taxes.

Without other changes to the Social Security system, the trustees anticipate this could lead to a 21% reduction in benefits across the board.  Of course, there are many options that could be implemented between now and then to create better results for those receiving a Social Security check.

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05Dec
Practical Caregiving Tips for Advocates and Their Aging Loved Ones
Issues of Aging

caregivingAs many of you know, Resonate’s reputation is growing rapidly on a national level as we continue to provide resources and facilitate conversations on the Issues Associated with Aging.

In addition to many of you, I, too, have served in the roles of caregiver and advocates for aging parents.  I understand the stress, heartache, fatigue, and joy that often accompany these necessary roles.

I recently saw some very practical “Caregiving Tips” in the November issue of AARP.

  1. “Now which key is it?” When someone has difficulty sorting through the choices of keys (s) he owns, use nail polish to distinguish them.  Also, keep the number of keys to a minimum.
  1. “Remember sponge rollers?” In addition to proving a cushion for sleeping, they can also be used to push onto items such as pens, toothbrushes, and silverware to create an easy grip.
  1. “I broke another glass today.” Consider substituting plastic for glass.  Alternatively, place four to five ordinary rubber bands around a glass for easy gripping.

Now let’s focus on you… the advocate and/or caregiver.

These roles can be very stressful…especially because we so often feel inadequate or unprepared.  It is crucial for you to manage the stress before it manages you.  Here are some suggestions from the Brandywine Senior Living website:

  1. Know your stress triggers. Create a plan ahead of time regarding what you need to do when you feel these triggers activate.
  2. Attend a local support group specific to the situation with which you are dealing.
  3. Ask for help. To whom can you delegate or with whom can you share some of the load?
  4. Keep a journal. The simple act of writing to express your feelings is a wonderful outlet for stress.
  5. What actually needs to be done today, and what can wait?
  6. Take care of yourself physically, emotionally, spiritually, and psychologically. Consider respite stays, schedule massages, stay as flexible as possible, practice forgiveness.
  7. Find answers to your financial questions. Oftentimes, finances are major source of stress.  Having a plan for how best to use existing assets, navigating the world of long term care, and medical insurance can relieve much of that stress.

The Resonate team offers resources in each of the seven areas above.

We look forward to hearing from you, so that we can create a framework of support for you and your loved ones.

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

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30Nov
LGBT Financial Experience
Planning for the LBGT Community

Prudential Insurance Company recently published the 2016-2017 results from the “LGBT Financial Experience” survey.

keep-calmThe top financial concerns are:

1.  Am I saving enough for retirement?
2.  What impact does inflation have on my retirement goals?
3.  What can we expect in terms of health care costs in retirement?

Our own conversations with clients add this important dimension:

When we are ready, how do we find “gay friendly” retirement communities?

If you have similar questions and concerns, let’s talk and begin to create choices and solutions now.

If you have questions that are more of a legal or tax nature, our virtual team will join in the conversation.

The important thing is to take action and start the conversation with us now.

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

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22Nov
Resonate – A Special Place for Widows
Unique Process for Widows

qtq80-UCmIECResonate has a special place in our practice for widows.

I have been amazed at the resilience I see many widows demonstrate as they create a new vision for their life going forward.

Yet we also know that being widowed can be a very scary, sad and difficult space.

Just as we create “Diminished Capacity Directives” as guidelines to use during the aging process while everyone is as healthy and clear-headed as possible, I think it makes sense to also have the “What If I Am Widowed” plan in place on a pre-need basis.

Why is this important?  Because 700,000-800,000 women lose their husbands each year and will be widowed for an average of 14 years.
(Source: “Advice for Widows” Charest Company LLP)

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18Nov
The Most Overlooked Issue in Retirement Planning – Parts 4 & 5
Health Care Costs

question-markWhat will you pay for health care in retirement?

This is the final installment of the blog series.  See previous posts from Nov. 2nd and 14th.

Here is the third factor that influences what you will pay for health care in retirement:

Your Source of Coverage:

Some Americans are still fortunate to have a certain percentage of their health care benefits provided by their former employer.

For most Americans, this is not the case.

Most retirees need to choose between an Original Medicare, plan which includes buying supplemental Medigap insurance, OR to choose a Medicare Advantage Plan.

Here’s a chart comparing the two:

medicare-chart-resized

(Source: Merrill Lynch)

The fourth and fifth factors of heath care premiums in retirement are:

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14Nov
The Most Overlooked Issue in Retirement Planning – Parts 2 & 3
Health Care Costs

question-mark

What will you pay for health care in retirement?

In Part One of this series, I shared that Fidelity research suggests that a 65-year old couple retiring in 2016 will need an estimated $260,000 to cover their retirement health care costs.  Please reference the entire blog dated Nov. 2nd.

In addition to your own genetics and health history, five factors will have a significant influence on your overall costs for care.

In this blog, I cover the first two factors:

Where You Live:

While Medigap and Medicare Advantage plans are offered in each state, the premiums can vary by as much as 30%.  (Source: HealthView Services.)

Here is their research on the 10 states with the highest cost for Part B, Part D and supplemental insurance for a 65 year-old person.

State First Year Total Over 20 Years
1. Florida  $3,710  $152,184
2. Michigan  $3,707  $152,175
3. Maryland  $3,695  $151,438
4. Massachusetts  $3,686  $151,110
5. Nevada  $3,682  $151,014
6. Louisiana  $3,651  $149,661
7. New Jersey  $3,683  $148,865
8. Illinois  $3,595  $147,203
9. Texas  $3,592  $146,969
10. Indiana  $3,549  $145,235

Source: FA Magazine

If you want to check out rates for where you live, go to the Medicare Plan Finder and enter your information.

Here is the next factor that will influence your retirement health care expenses:

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09Nov
Election Results
Economy

flickr-donkeyhotey-democratic-republican-partyNow that the election results are clear, this is what we expect to happen.

Until President-Elect Trump begins to reveal who he will select as Cabinet members and close advisors, the market may react negatively.  This is because the market typically does not like uncertainty.  This uncertainty extends from domestic policy to global trade and how other world leaders will respond to our election results.

Of course, no one knows how long this may last.

Hopefully, like the response to the unexpected Brexit vote, this, too, will be short-lived.

What we have done in anticipation of this:

For those of you who take cash distributions for living expenses, we already have between 6 and 12 months of your cash need escrowed.  Therefore, we will not be selling positions to raise cash in the near term.

Our investment philosophy is that we stay invested for the long term; we do not try to time the market based on daily events.

With that said, please remember that we have diversified your portfolio and that no Resonate client is 100% invested in the U.S. stock market at this time. Most Resonate clients are closer to a 60-70% equity position.  While we expect to see a drop in share price, there is no indication that any large U.S. companies will stop paying dividends due to election results.

Some of you will see this as an opportunity to buy quality companies “on sale”.

Also remember that many of you own annuities with guaranteed protected values which convert into guaranteed lifetime income.

Summary:

In the near term, expect volatility; if you find it agitating, listen to as little of the news as possible.

As always, reach out to us if you want to talk.

Until next time, live your purpose!

Barbara A. Culver
CFP®, ChFC®, CLU, AEP®
Resonate, Inc.

(513) 605-2500

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