02Aug
While There’s Still Time: Questions for Your Elders
Intergenerational Planning

One moment my mother could speak and the next she suffered a devastating stroke that stole her voice for the remainder of her life.

Here are some of the questions I wish I had asked “while there was still time”…

  1. What is your most important life lesson?
  2. What advice do you have for me to help me avoid regrets in life?
  3. What are your top three values?
  4. Tell me about a difficult or painful time in your life and how you got through it.
  5. What did you learn from this experience?
  6. What beliefs do you hold that are timeless?
  7. What is an important question I did not ask?

These conversations are labeled with one word – “Priceless.”

May you make the time to give your loved ones – and yourself – this priceless gift.

If you are interested in more questions of this type, contact us and we’ll provide them for you.

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

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25Jul
Why Housing Affordability Matters and Where We Are Now
Economy

I recently read some research on the housing market written by Stephen Leeb in the July issue of The Complete Investor.

In it, he notes that homes are the largest U.S. household asset.  Homes are far more widely distributed than stocks, on which we tend to focus much of our attention.

The January 2000-March 2016 S&P/Case-Shiller Composite Home Price Index brings us some good news.

Housing affordability is higher than at any time before 2009.  The reason this is so important is that a decline in home affordability can reduce consumer spending which negatively impacts certain corporate profits.

Worse case there can be mass foreclosures as we have also seen.

So the current housing indicators are very positive for the U.S. economy.

If you would like investment ideas based on this, let’s have a conversation to be sure that any recommendations are suitable for you.

Barbara A. Culver
CFP®, ChFC®, CLU, AEP®
Resonate, Inc.
(513) 605-2500
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19Jul
How Can LTC Insurance Help You Protect Your Assets?
Issues of Aging

Plan to create a pool of healthcare dollars that you can use when the time comes.

How will you pay for long-term care?  At the moment, you may not be able to answer that question – but long-term care insurance can provide an answer for you.

Why are baby boomers opting to make long-term care (LTC) coverage an important part of their retirement strategies?  The reasons to get an LTC policy at or after age 50 are very compelling.

Click link below for complete article.

How Can LTC Insurance Help You Protect Your Assets?

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15Jul
Stepping into Your Model of the World
Blogs / Articles

Many financial professionals believe that it is the responsibility of the client to adapt to the personality and processes of the advisor.  They tend to rigid and believe that “their way is the right way to do things.”

The Resonate team is completely the opposite.  We believe that it is our responsibility to “step into the clients’ model of the world,” gain your trust and to be flexible as we learn how to work successfully with you.

How do we do this?

First, by creating safe space which invites the open conversation about the world of the client.

(Safe space is space without judgment.)

Since our lives are a microcosm of the world at large, we expect to hear about client stress, tension, regrets and uncertainty.  In addition we also are privileged to hear about what is going well and celebrate that together.

The client model of the world also reflects the larger world because it contains many aspects ranging from business to personal and from finance to family.  Just as the world continues to evolve so do our clients lives.

If you are seeking the experience of working with a team of professionals dedicated to understanding you and your changing world and then partnering with you to get from where you are to where you want to be, Resonate is the place for you.

We welcome you to our family.

Barbara A. Culver
CFP®, ChFC®, CLU, AEP®
Resonate, Inc.
(513) 605-2500
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13Jul
Common Retirement Misconceptions Can Derail Retirement Dreams
Issues of Aging

As I hold conversations with client about their retirement dreams, certain misconceptions seem more prevalent than others.  Today, I have chosen to list the misconception along with the facts.

  1. “My spending patterns won’t change much when I retire.”

The reality is that, assuming you live long enough, everything will cost more in retirement. Retirees spend disproportionately more on items such as health care.  Housing can also cost more if the current house is paid for and the new retirees decide to add a second home, to relocate or need the services of a retirement community.

(Source: Consumer Price Index; January 1981 through December 2015 through JP Morgan.)
  1. This misconception is a combination of “I’ll continue to work during retirement,” and “I don’t have to retire until I am ready.”

While 67% of employed Americans plan to work beyond age 65, only 27% actually achieve that goal.

Here are the top three reasons that cause people to retire earlier than planned.

  • 60% of the people who intended to work beyond 65 cannot due to health reasons.
  • 27% cannot keep working because the current employer either downsized or closes.
  • 22% of the time, the person intending to work has to quit to provide care of a spouse or family member.
(Source for this section #2 is Employer Benefit Research Institute, Matthew Greenwald and Associates. March 2015 through JP Morgan.)

One of the key benefits of working with a professional is, in addition to knowing the truth, “plan for the worst and hope for the best.”

On behalf of Resonate, I invite you to review existing plans to see if they are still on track or to create your plan for the first time.

Barbara A. Culver
CFP®, ChFC®, CLU, AEP®
Resonate, Inc.
(513) 605-2500
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07Jul
Financial Planning for Divorced Women
Women / Widows

The steps toward a post-divorce action plan…

A divorce is one of the most stressful circumstances a woman can experience. It can leave you feeling as if some things are beyond your control. Do not let that feeling interfere with your effort to maintain control over your financial life.

Financial planning after a divorce is not radically different than financial planning before a divorce. The basic principles are the same. The big difference comes down to how you start – or rather, how you start over.

Complete Article

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05Jul
Tax Changes in 2016
Taxes

2016 ushered in some interesting tax changes.

I will summarize some of the key changes in this blog.

Social Security: There is no hike in the 2016 Social Security wage base.  It remains at $119,500.

The earnings test also did not change.  If, at any time in 2016, you are 66 or older, you may earn $41,880 and not have to repay any Social Security benefit.  (There is no earnings cap once a beneficiary turns 66.)

Any one ages 62-65 can earn up to $15,720 and keep their full Social Security benefits.

Medicare: Most people will pay $104.90 for Medicare Part B.

For those in the upper income brackets, the combined Part B and D premiums plus surcharges can be as high as $340.90 a month.

Health Savings Accounts: The annual cap on deductible contributions to HSA’s increases to $6750 in 2016.

The limits for deducting long term care premiums per person are:

Under age 40: $390
41 to 50: $730
51 to 60: $1460
61 to 70: $3900
70 and older: $4870

The estate and gift tax exemption for 2016 increases to $5,450,000 and the top tax rate remains at 40%.

There is significant new legislation that applies to executors of taxable estates.  Executors are now required to report to the IRS and heirs the basis of inherited assets within 30 days of filing the IRS estate tax form 706.

Please know that Resonate can definitely assist providing cost basis information and works cooperatively with your other advisors toward creating best results for you and your loved ones.

The source for this information is the April 2016 Kiplinger Tax Letter.

Please be sure to meet with your tax advisor to see how this information applies to you.  The let’s coordinate his or her advice with that of your Resonate team to be sure you are using all tax laws to your benefit.

This is especially important for anyone interested in legacy planning.

Barbara A. Culver
CFP®, ChFC®, CLU, AEP®
Resonate, Inc.
(513) 605-2500
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01Jul
Will Our Money Last as Long as We Live?
uncategorized

When tragedies such as shootings in the South Carolina church or the Orlando bar happen, people often question how long they might live.

While no one knows for sure, of course, here are some interesting facts from the October 9, 2014 USA Today article by Larry Copeland.

Life expectancy in the USA rose in 2012 to 78.74 years.

Life expectancy for a woman is 81.2 years and for men it’s 76.4 years.  That difference of 4.6 years has not changed from the 2011 figures.

Since we also know that 800,000 women become widowed each year in the U.S., this gives special reasons for women to be sure that their finances will be adequate to support them throughout life expectancy.

We work with all clients to answer the questions:

“Will our money last as long as we do?”

“What lifestyle can we afford?”

“Can we gift to our children and grandchildren?”

“Can we help our grandchildren with college expenses without hurting ourselves?”

These questions are especially important when one member of the couple has passed on.

The Resonate team is ready to listen to your questions and concerns and to partner with you to create solid, supportive answers.

Barbara A. Culver
CFP®, ChFC®, CLU, AEP®
Resonate, Inc.
(513) 605-2500
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28Jun
Brexit – Observations from Leeb
Economy

To our Resonate family, your families and friends,

It is during times like these that your Resonate team chooses to stay especially close to you.  We filter through much of the “noise” and attempt to distill out the “news.”   I thought these observations from Stephen Leeb were of interest and hope you do as well.

Global markets are scrambling after the Brits voted to leave the European Union by a 52-to-48 margin.  Interestingly, more than 3.7 million British citizens and U.K. residents have signed a petition calling for a second EU referendum.  Clearly, many people did not understand the ramifications of Brexit.

Whether the U.K. now regrets Brexit or not, it seems the votes will count, and global investors must now deal with the fallout.  Not surprisingly, as we noted last week, in the event of a Brexit stocks would likely dive for a few days.  Indeed, the S&P 500 logged its worst day of the year on Friday; it fell 3.6 percent.  Those hardest hit, of course are the companies who do the most business in Europe.

On June 27, the S&P was again firmly in the red, and shed another 1.8 percent.  The drop in the U.K. market has been small, about in line with that in the U.S., but it’s partially masked by the fall of the British pound to a 31-year low against the dollar.

The U.K. must now negotiate with the EU for terms of breakup, though the “leave” campaign leaders state they will wait until summer vacations have ended despite the insistence of some within the EU that negotiations begin immediately.  It’s possible the U.K. could enter a recession within a year as the uncertainty of the situation, among other ramifications, reduces business investments, tightens financial conditions, and levies possible negative impacts on trade.

Leeb urges investors not to read too much into the initial market reaction, but to pay close attention to how political leaders manage the fallout, which will have far more long-lasting ramifications.  An orderly exit and dedication of EU leaders to keep the union and euro zone intact would help to minimize disruptions; if the European leaders allow the situation to get out of hand, however, which could lead to the breakup union, all bets are off.

Although the stock market volatility since the Brexit vote may appear reminiscent of the dark days of the Financial Crisis of 2008, this time there are no financial bubbles waiting to pop on the scale of that U.S. housing bubble.  A full-blown financial crisis is unlikely, but due to the unprecedented exit and the uncertainty over what comes next, it is not surprising that the referendum has thrown global markets into turmoil.

Fortunately for U.S. investors, Brexit’s direct impact on the American economy should be, tangible, but small, perhaps shaving off a quarter of a percentage point from 2016 GDP growth.  But again, the full scope of the Brexit fallout won’t be known for years, and the actions of the political leaders in the months ahead should provide telling clues.  At this time, investors should not panic, but remain vigilant.

Easy as it may be to let Brexit and the associated drama distract us, it’s important that investors remember that the current drama will not materially affect the issues.  Over the long term, the world must address many problems: specifically, resource scarcity, cyber security, and the transfer of power from the West to the East.

Not to mention a presidential election…

Until next time, live with purpose and remember who and what is most important in your life.

Barbara A. Culver
CFP®, ChFC®, CLU, AEP®
Resonate, Inc.
(513) 605-2500
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28Jun
Women Retirement Challenges
uncategorized

A new study has raised eyebrows about the retirement prospects of women.  Download the article attached.

Do Women Face Greater Retirement Challenges Than Men?

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