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Older residents urged to do estate, tax planning for retirement

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Brian McKenna, left, and Michael Urbanski of Hantz Group present financial planning to a Sliver Sneakers group at the YMCA branch in Perrysburg.

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Proactively planning tax payments on retirement investments is as important as carefully preparing them once April 15 rolls around, a pair of financial advisers told a group of senior citizens recently at the YMCA in Perrysburg.

"We're talking about the strategy of paying the tax rate that you desire," said Michael Urbanski, a certified public accountant and business partner with Brian McKenna, of the Hantz Group in Maumee.

They offered tips on protecting assets at a Silver Sneakers luncheon last week at the Fort Meigs fitness center branch. Silver Sneakers is a membership benefit for people enrolled in Medicare, the federal health insurance program for Americans age 65 and older.

"For your demographic, retirement planning has completely changed," Mr. McKenna said.

As people are living longer, they need to manage their income needs beyond active employment, setting up timetables for drawing on investments and paying taxes when it's most advantageous, he said. 

"You want to have your money invested based on when you're going to use your money," Mr. McKenna said.

He encouraged people to diversify their retirement assets into separate "pots" of money that would be invested with different growth strategies depending on when that money would be used.

For the first decade after retirement, money should be invested in stable, low-risk instruments, such as certificates of deposit, Mr. McKenna said. Money that people would need later in life can be invested in bond funds, stocks, and higher-risk securities because there is time to let those investments grow and weather the ups and downs of the market.

He said 2013 might be a good time to scale back on risk.

People should prepare for the financial impact of long-term health care such as a nursing facility, as well as conduct estate planning to protect children and other family members from the burden of debt or an inheritance that may push them into a higher tax bracket.

"You want to take all unknown variables out of the equation," Mr. McKenna said.

Many companies no longer offer long-term health care policies, he said, so options include setting aside funds in conservative investments, hybrid life insurance policies that have a rider for long-term care, and umbrella policies that protect retirement assets when the limits of typical auto and home insurance policies may not cover all claims.

 

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