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How Millennials can Maximize Their HSA Benefits in 2024

Historically, those approaching or entering retirement have significantly underestimated their cost of living, particularly when it comes to healthcare. This trend is beginning to change, however, with younger generations getting ahead of future expenses by exploring a wider range of retirement avenues, including health savings accounts (HSAs). According to the 2022 Devenir & HSA Council Demographic Survey, one in five Americans in their 30s had an HSA at the end of 2022. 

Additionally, younger consumers are not just saving to their HSA, they’re also taking advantage of the investing options. The Employee Benefit Research Institute’s (EBRI) Analysis shows how younger generations are becoming power users of HSAs, with Millennials and Gen Z representing 60% of all investment accounts. 

As younger generations continue to embrace HSAs, including Millennials, who make up more than one-third of the current workforce at 39.4%, it’s critical they understand how to maximize HSAs for both short- and long-term goals. 

If you belong to one of these generations, keep reading for how you can maximize your HSA. 

READ: Mapping Out Financial Success with Retirement Planning

How HSAs work

There are many advantages to having an HSA. Begin by familiarizing yourself with the account options so you can maximize your usage. 

Here are some quick facts:

  • An HSA is an individually owned, tax-advantaged account. 
  • The money you put in can be used for qualified medical expenses at any time, including during retirement.
  • The 2024 maximum contribution amount for individuals is $4,150 and $8,300 for family coverage.  
  • HSAs have a triple tax advantage: tax-free deposits, earnings, and withdrawals

To open and contribute to an HSA, you must: 

  • Be enrolled in a high-deductible health plan (HDHP).
  • Not be enrolled in any part of Medicare.
  • Not be claimed as a dependent on another’s taxes.
  • Not have any other non-permissible health coverage, such as a medical plan other than an HDHP or a flexible spending account (FSA).

During annual enrollment, many employers will offer HSAs, but if yours does not, you can still open one with an HSA provider. Your HSA is tied to you, so your account will stick with you throughout every life stage, with unused funds rolling over each year. 

Using your HSA for saving and investing 

When it comes to getting the most out of your HSA, your young age paired with the ability to start saving early are great assets. 

As mentioned earlier, being intentional about investing within your HSA is a great way to potentially maximize your HSA dollars. Just like your other retirement accounts, strategic allocation can significantly affect your savings — particularly if you intend to earmark some or all these dollars for the long-term.

Your HSA should be viewed as one piece of your overall financial portfolio. Regularly review all the accounts you are actively contributing to, such as your 401(k) and emergency fund, as well as any debt you are currently paying toward your student loans or other financial obligations, to ensure balance and diversity. 

READ: 4 Tips for Tax-Efficient Investing

Spending your HSA correctly

In addition to maximizing your contributions, be sure you understand what is considered a qualified medical expense that your HSA dollars can cover. If you use your HSA for a non-qualified expense, you’ll have to pay ordinary income tax on the withdrawal and will be hit with a penalty fee of 20% of what you took out. 

Some examples of qualified medical expenses include:  

  • Your deductible.
  • Dental treatments, exams or cleaning costs.
  • Prescription drug costs.
  • Vision expenses such as contact lenses or glasses.
  • Chiropractic or acupuncture fees.
  • Hand sanitizer.
  • Eye surgery.

You can find a full list of HSA-eligible expenses in the IRS Publication 502

Your HSA use changes when your life changes 

As you move through life and your financial goals change, so will the way you utilize your HSA. When you’re in the early stages of being an account holder, you’re likely also just starting on the salary spectrum, so you may be contributing less. You may also be spending more, particularly if you have a family.  As you move further into your career, you may be earning more and can therefore save more in your HSA. Toward the end of your career, you will hopefully be able to take full advantage of the saving and investing opportunities that your HSA provides. Finally, once you retire, you can keep as much of your HSA invested as possible while utilizing it to cover qualified medical expenses.

Your HSA is a lifetime account, and if you start maximizing its benefits at a younger age, it has even more time to grow with you and help meet your ever-changing needs. 


Brian Hutchin headshotBrian Hutchin is executive vice president and director of UMB Healthcare Services. With more than 25 years of financial industry experience, he is responsible for the overall strategy and management of the Healthcare team, including sales, implementation and relationship management. Additionally, Brian serves as an executive team member for the Institutional Banking division, providing input on the strategic direction of the department and overall growth of the business.

Mastering Retirement Planning: Strategies for High-Net-Worth Individuals

High-net-worth individuals don’t get to where they are by happenstance — it’s the outcome of a journey marked by choices, and at times, the lessons learned from mistakes.

Although 84% of wealthy Americans have financial plans designed to mitigate long-term risks, there’s more potential for mistakes in the second half of life compared to the first. When it comes to retirement planning, I like to use this analogy: Every year, thousands of people climb Mount Everest and studies show that the death rate is highest during the descent. This is similar to retirement planning where the likelihood of financial mistakes is highest leading up to and during your retirement years.

A recent study on retirement conducted by Northwestern Mutual, surveying 500 affluent pre-retirees and retirees, found that respondents underestimated their life span by an average of nearly two decades, with 81 years old the average self-reported life expectancy. Experts say 100 years old is what you should actually plan for, suggesting that many pre-retirees and retirees are ill-prepared when it comes to long-term retirement planning.

To help ensure you’re prepared for your golden years, consider these planning opportunities.

READ: Mapping Out Financial Success with Retirement Planning

Look at the big picture

As life expectancy continues to grow, longevity risk, or the risk of outliving your income, has increased.

The financial changes that may occur over such a long life include recessions, periods of high inflation, higher taxes, rising healthcare costs and more. And while there’s no single solution to the multitude of longevity risks, a comprehensive financial plan should include strategies to help mitigate financial-related longevity risk factors.

Save strategically

By getting specific about how you’d like to and when you will need to use assets in retirement, you should identify the right blend of financial instruments to ensure your hard-earned dollars go as far as possible. As you’re putting your money to work, keep these ideas top of mind:

Tax considerations

It’s important to pay particular attention to taxes by looking through the lens of income taxes, capital gain taxes and estate taxes. Additionally, by selecting the right mix of taxable and tax-advantaged financial instruments, you can minimize the impact of taxes, helping your dollars work as hard as possible for you both today and in retirement.

Asset allocation

Selecting the right asset allocation for your risk tolerance, investment time horizon and each life stage helps ensure your assets are appropriately positioned for growth, preservation or somewhere in between.

READ: 4 Key Asset Allocation Strategies for 2023

Income protection

By protecting your income during your earning years through a mix of disability insurance products, you can keep your retirement saving strategy on track in the event an unexpected change in your health or physical condition prevents you from working.

Guaranteed retirement income

Setting up sources of guaranteed income can help cover your essential living expenses in retirement. What’s more, guaranteed income sources like qualified and nonqualified income annuities help mitigate the risk of outliving your assets.

A plan for long-term care

The fact that most Americans turning 65 will need long-term care at some point, along with the rising cost of care, means you’ll want a multi-pronged plan in place to help pay for these services.


Having a legacy plan in place ensures that your family’s wishes and assets are carried out in the event of illness or death.

Decide what you want to do in retirement

Whatever you decide to do with your time when you retire, it’s important to start planning in advance. Identify how you want to spend your time and who else has a role in those plans, including a financial advisor who can help achieve those goals. From there, develop a purpose plan to connect all aspects of your finances with what you want out of life once you reach retirement.

When people feel more secure in their financial situation, it frees up time and energy to focus on other parts of life that bring happiness and fulfillment. Northwestern Mutual’s study on retirement found that 66% of recent retirees who work with a financial advisor feel optimistic about their hobbies, passions and interests compared to 53% of recent retirees who don’t work with a financial advisor.

Trust in financial advisors

Those who use an experienced financial advisor are more likely to take the strategic actions needed to achieve their long-term financial goals. Of the affluent individuals surveyed, 70% work with a financial advisor compared to just 37% of the general population. What’s more, over half of wealthy people consider financial advisors to be their most trusted source of financial advice—more than four times any other source.

Retirement planning for high-net-worth individuals can be a complicated undertaking. Revisiting your retirement plan often and following the steps outlined above can help you gain the financial freedom to live the lifestyle you want in your golden years.


Scott Sparks HeadshotScott Sparks is the CEO and founder of Northwestern Mutual’s Sparks Financial. All investments carry some level of risk, including loss of principal invested. This publication is not intended as legal or tax advice. Financial Representatives do not render tax advice. Consult with a tax professional for tax advice that is specific to your situation.

Financial Independence for Single Women: Trends and Strategies for Long-term Wealth

It is hard to imagine that in 1974 women were just being given the opportunity to have a credit card in their own name and secure a mortgage without a male co-signer. Fast forward 50 years and women have made huge financial strides. For example, single women now make up 17% of all homebuyers, compared to single men at just 9%, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). In addition, women are poised to inherit a large share of the $30 trillion that will be passed down from baby boomers, according to Investopedia. 

As financial considerations and options continue to shift and evolve, being mindful of personal priorities, goals and choices is paramount to success. Knowing where you are, where you want to be and what it will take to make it there requires focus and intentionality. Consider these strategies to ensure you’re set up for financial success now and in the future. 

READ: Becoming a Stay-at-Home Parent — Navigating the Pros, Cons and Financial Implications

Financial considerations for the single woman 

There is an abundance of financial advice and best practices for the traditional family. However, there are specific nuances to keep in mind if you fall outside this category. Establishing a plan based on personal goals and needs is essential in ensuring you are using your wealth to its full extent. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Identify your financial priorities. Whether you want to travel, buy a home, continue your education or are ready to retire, making a list of your short- and long-term goals and aspirations will help ensure you can achieve them.
  • Establish a financial plan. Determine your current budget and any disposable income. Make sure you are tracking your current income and spending. Monitor your savings to make sure you have an adequate amount of emergency savings as well as an appropriate plan for any long-term savings goals. Carefully evaluate any current or future debt and how it will affect your overall cash flow.
  • Address important financial commitments. Outside of your personal finances, plan for other potential financial commitments like caring for elder parents or family members, or upcoming major purchases.

READ: Securing Your Financial Future — Key Considerations and Questions for a Solid Plan

Create financial security with multiple income streams

According to the Pew Research Center, women have surpassed men and now account for more than half of the college-educated labor force in the U.S. Despite the increase in women attending and graduating from college, there is still a significant gender gap in pay that has remained relatively stable over the past 20 years. In 2022, women earned an average of 82% of what men earned, according to a Pew Research Center analysis. 

For these reasons, women may choose to have multiple streams of income to create financial security. Additional income doesn’t just mean a second job — it can come in many forms, including rental properties and passive income like investing in the stock market. If you choose to have multiple streams of income, it’s important to work with a financial advisor to ensure your financial plan encompasses these activities, and you are set up for success when tax season comes around. 

Saving for retirement should be a priority

Regardless of your age or marital status, saving for retirement should still be a priority. In the U.S., the average life expectancy of women is 79, which is six years more than men. For these reasons, saving for retirement is even more important to ensure you have a plan to live out your golden years in comfort. 

READ: What Does the Secure 2.0 Act Mean for Retirement Planning?

Here are a few steps to consider when starting a retirement savings strategy: 

  • Determine your unique needs. A common standard for post-retirement income is 70% of the annual salary you made while in the workforce. The average retirement lasts about 20 years, so you should plan to fund at least two decades of post-work life. 
  • Review your options. There are a variety of retirement plans to choose from that may provide tax benefits including:
  • Set your goals and begin saving. Start the habit of contributing a small amount from each paycheck. Using an automatic payment, like a direct deposit into your account, helps you establish regularity and enables you to consistently save. 

Being financially independent is something to be proud of, and should be protected so you can fully maximize and enjoy what you have earned. Working with a financial advisor and understanding how you can best plan and save to support your goals will help ensure you are achieving that throughout your life. 


Gattis KimAs a financial planner, Kim Gattis is responsible for creating dynamic plans for individuals, families and business owners. As part of the wealth team, she helps clients identify their life priorities, and assists them with formulating a plan to meet their specific needs while helping them find direction and meaning through the process of wealth accumulation, preservation and transfer. Kim joined UMB Private Wealth Management in 2009. 

Becoming a Stay-at-Home Parent: Navigating the Pros, Cons and Financial Implications

Making the decision to leave your job and stay home with your kids may not be an easy one. Whether it’s only temporary until your children are old enough for school, or whether it’s a permanent change, there are so many factors that go into making the right decision for your family. And, of course, you’ll want to be sure to understand the financial implications as well. Can your family afford it? How will it impact your financial future?

Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of having a stay-at-home parent in the family.

READ: Navigating the Post-Pandemic Workplace — Struggles, Solutions and the Return to Office Culture

Pros of having a stay-at-home parent

If you have a stay-at-home parent in your household, you don’t have to worry about one of the most stressful — and costly — parts of raising a child: finding childcare. Stay-at-home parents could save their families $9,000 to $18,000 per year on childcare alone, just for one child. The more children you have, the more a stay-at-home parent could help you save.

Additionally, your family can benefit from having a stay-at-home parent when it comes to involvement in your children’s everyday lives. Having the opportunity to meet their friends, drive them to and from extracurricular activities, and being available when they need you can build a strong relationship and provide lifelong benefits.

And while working parents may deal with feelings of guilt regarding the time spent with their children or struggle to maintain a good work-life balance, it’s not a concern for stay-at-home parents.

Cons of having a stay-at-home parent

One of the biggest disadvantages of having a stay-at-home parent in the family is the impact on your finances. Typically, the biggest expense category for families is housing, and unfortunately, this isn’t an area where you can simply choose to scale back on your spending.

Not only can it be more difficult to pay the mortgage or the rent when your family’s income decreases, but you may have to reconsider your lifestyle. You may not be able to continue taking a family vacation each summer, for example. If those types of expenses are important to you, you’ll have to take a hard look at your new budget and make cuts in other areas.

READ: Managing Summer PTO — 4 Easy Tips

Another potential downside of having a stay-at-home parent is simply the fact that many people find purpose, connection and meaning in their professional lives. Even a parent who is excited to stay at home with the kids may occasionally feel isolated or unfulfilled. More reluctant stay-at-home parents may struggle with these feelings even more.

Besides these pros and cons, there are several other considerations from a financial perspective that families need to keep in mind before making the decision to become a stay-at-home parent.

The impact on retirement planning

Even if you modify your budget to align more closely to your new income, that’s really only taking the present and the near future into account. But the financial implications of a stay-at-home parent can last decades.

For example, in 2023, individuals are able to contribute a maximum of $22,500 per year to their 401(k) retirement accounts. With two working parents, a couple could contribute an annual maximum of $45,000. However, when one parent leaves the workforce, only the working parent is able to contribute their $22,500 — a decrease of 50%. 

And as a result of becoming a single-income household, families may decide to contribute less money to retirement so they can spend on other things. Instead of the working parent maxing out their contributions, they may choose to put a smaller percentage of their salary toward retirement. 

In both of the above scenarios, not only is there less money being contributed to the family’s retirement fund, but it also impacts the amount of interest that is able to compound over the years until retirement.

READ: Mapping Out Financial Success with Retirement Planning

How becoming a stay-at-home parent could save you money

While the shift to a single-income household could make finances a little tighter, you may be able to save more money than you think when one parent stays at home. Not only is there the issue of childcare costs, as mentioned earlier, but there are other expenses often associated with work that can add up. 

The cost of gas or public transportation going to and from the office is one major expense — and besides that, the amount of time you spend during that commute. By cutting those expenses (and yes, time is an expense), as well as other work-related costs such as dry-cleaning, office lunches and more, a stay-at-home parent could help you save in ways you didn’t expect.

Consider part-time or work-from-home jobs

With all the ways the world has changed in the last several decades — and especially the past few years — there are plenty of opportunities for families to benefit from a second income even with a stay-at-home parent. 

Whether you choose to pick up a gig job, such as driving for a rideshare app, work part-time on the weekends or find a position that is fully remote, the additional income could help cushion your family’s finances. And at the same time, you’ll be able to keep all of the advantages of having a stay-at-home parent.

While these are just some of the financial concerns to keep in mind before you decide whether a stay-at-home parent is right for your family, there are many other factors that you’ll want to consider. Before making any big changes, it can be a good idea to enlist the help of a financial team who can work with you as your family’s needs evolve.


Zach Nicol Umb PhotoZach Nicol serves as senior vice president, regional manager of UMB Private Bank. Zach leads a team responsible for the acquisition, growth, and support of new and existing customer relationships.

Mapping Out Financial Success with Retirement Planning

Planning your retirement can be overwhelming, but it is also one of the most important things you can do for yourself. You may think that this happens later in your life when you’re about to retire. However, it starts earlier than you think.

Here’s everything you should know about retirement planning to help you build a financially stable future.

READ — Choose Your Own Adventure: What’s Your Investment Path?

Why Should You Consider Retirement Planning?

Retirement planning is setting up your finances so you’ll have enough money to cover your living expenses after you stop working. Determining how much money and income generated from investments you’ll need are all part of the plan. This will ensure that your needs are met, and your savings can sustain your day-to-day in retirement.

There are many reasons why you should consider retirement planning as early as you can. Here are some of them:

  1. Planning your retirement early can help determine when you can stop working and how much money you’ll need to live comfortably without working.
  2. This can also help you decide the type of retirement lifestyle you want.
  3. It may even relieve some of your stress and anxiety concerning your financial security after retirement.

What Do You Need to Consider?

Retirement Age

You don’t want to be working until your bones are frail and brittle. As such, it’s essential to know when you want to retire and how much time you have until then. Knowing when you plan to stop working will help guide you through the rest of the process.

Income Needs

After determining when you want to retire, it’s time to consider how much money you’ll need each month. This is where income concerns come into play. This includes the cost of necessities like housing and food or other expenses like entertainment and travel.

If you plan on taking up a new hobby or pursuing a sideline entirely different from your career path, your income needs may be higher than others.

When planning your income needs, consider your current financial situation. This will help you determine how much money you can save and what expenses to eliminate. Also, don’t forget to leave some room for inflation as this can affect the prices of your needs.

Investment Options

The investment options available vary from person to person based on their needs, goals, and risk tolerance levels. If you’re a risk-taker and have disposable income that you don’t mind losing, stocks may be a good option. But for those who like to keep it safe, government bonds are one of the best options for you.

The best investment strategy is not to put all your assets in one basket. You can split your money into stocks and the other 60% into bonds. This means you have more chances of generating a greater investment. Make sure you follow the strategy that suits your needs for the present and future.

How Much Do You Need for Retirement?

The first step in figuring out how much money you’ll need for retirement is how long you’ll live. The longer your retirement period, the more money you’ll have to save and invest. This ensures you have enough income when the time comes to stop working.

Your age is also important. If you’re in your 20s or 30s, it might make sense to focus on saving up as much as possible. Doing so can take your worries away about running out of cash later in life if something unexpected happens, like a medical emergency.

On top of this, your retirement savings should keep pace with your lifestyle. Although there will be changes to it when you grow old, you may have non-negotiables that you’d want to spend on.

Also, don’t forget to leave some room for inflation and tax rates since these will significantly affect your expenses.

READ — What Does a Recession Mean for Your Finances? 

What are the Types of Retirement Plans?

Employee-Sponsored Retirement Plans

The money you contribute to these plans is tax-deferred. This means you don’t have to pay taxes on your contributions until you withdraw the money later. Additionally, many employer-sponsored plans offer matching contributions that help boost your savings even more.

It has several types, including thrift savings plans, 401(k)s, 403(b)s and 457, all of which are tax-advantaged savings plans, giving you tax benefits for contributing money.

Individual Retirement Accounts

This is one of the most popular methods for retirement savings. It allows you to save money tax-free and deduct contributions from taxable income depending on the account type.

You can choose from two types, varying in their tax benefit. Traditional IRAs don’t let you pay taxes when withdrawing during retirement. However, when you remove them, you’ll need to pay any growth within the account.

Meanwhile, Roth IRAs require you to pay taxes at your rate when withdrawn during retirement. However, withdrawals are made tax-free once retired, giving Roth IRAs a better advantage over traditional ones if your tax rate is expected to be higher when retired than when working.

Pension Plans

Pension plans provide long-term income in exchange for contributions made by both the employee and employer. They’re meant to supplement other retirement savings vehicles such as an IRA or 401(k).

Self-Employed Retirement Plans

Self-employed retirement plans allow you to set up your retirement plan and save for your future without relying on other people or companies. This can be a 401(k) or an IRA; the only difference is that it is flexible and customizable to suit your needs.

Save Up for a Financially Stable Future

Having a financial game plan is essential for any young professional. Whether you’re a stay-at-home parent looking to build a retirement fund or have several decades of work, having a plan can often be the difference between retiring financially stable and retiring with financial headaches.

By outlining an action plan and taking steps to maximize your retirement contribution, you’ll be able to make the saving process for retirement easier and more rewarding. But that’s a big part of it—it’s up to you to create your roadmap for success.


MarcdanerMarc Daner is a Registered Investment Advisor with three decades of experience. He is a staunch and knowledgeable advocate for financial success. He can help plan for a secure retirement; manage assets, liabilities, and cash flow; and avoid or defer income, capital gains, and estate taxes.

How to Best Choose a Location to Retire

We have heard a lot about how the pandemic has caused Americans to reassess their careers, leading millions of workers to quit their jobs. But COVID-19 has also had an impact on older workers, who in many cases, have decided to leave the workforce altogether. According to research by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, the number of retirees in the U.S. jumped seven percent from January 2020 to October 2021 (or by 3.3 million, primarily age 65 and older).

Maybe you are one of the three million professionals who recently opted for retirement. Or maybe you’re considering hanging it up in the near future. Either way, you might be thinking about where you want to live once you have more free time.

Colorado has one of the lowest property tax rates in the country — or place Utah, Idaho, Texas, or Florida on your radar.

There are many factors to consider when figuring out where to spend your golden years. The following, is a look at the various aspects that might play a role in your decision.

Cost of Living

For many retirees, finding a locale where they can stretch their nest egg is a top priority. Taxes are a big part of that equation. If you want to avoid extremely high property taxes, state or local, then you might want to opt out from high profile areas along east and west coasts. Instead, consider maintaining your roots locally — Colorado has one of the lowest property tax rates in the country — or place Utah, Idaho, Texas, or Florida on your radar, all states that have either low or no state income/inheritance taxes.

Housing costs can also make a big dent in your budget, and again, it may not surprise you that the majority of the top-10 most expensive U.S. cities are on the coasts. As well, due to the rise in remote work, some formerly more affordable markets have seen a huge increase in housing prices in the last year, such as Phoenix, Austin, and Boise. Areas with high housing costs often struggle to attract workers for the retail, healthcare, and transportation industries, which might make it difficult for you to access vital services as you age.

If you love beaches and big cities but don’t want to break the bank, it might make sense to consider southern states like Georgia, which has housing costs slightly below national average. A little research might yield other possibilities that provide both affordable cost of living and good quality of life.

If you plan to spend time skiing, hiking, fishing, or golfing, choosing a town that already offers those pursuits will make life easier.


If you are a foodie, love to go to the theater, or like to visit art galleries and museums, check to see how accessible you will be to such amenities. Most major U.S. cities will suffice, but if you don’t want to live in a metropolis, a suburb offering public transportation into the city might be a good compromise. If travel is a priority, having a major airport close by helps, but a good regional airport with a lot of connecting flights works well too.

Recreation might also be a consideration if you’re eyeing an active retirement. If you plan to spend time skiing, hiking, fishing, or golfing, choosing a town that already offers those pursuits will make life easier. Of course, many resort towns (such as Aspen and Lake Tahoe) fit the bill, but they can also be expensive. An alternative might be a city located about an hour away from the slopes or a lake, which could allow you to save some money and maintain relatively easy access to the activities you enjoy.


As we get older, living someplace warm or at least with a moderate temperature might be a lot more fun than say, shoveling snow, or incurring inclement weather. Unpredictable weather-related events, such as forest fires or floods, can also be cost prohibitive. Getting homeowners insurance may not be obtainable in some parts of the country or can be so expensive it may not make sense to live there. Check with your insurance agent before you move or buy a place in another part of the country to better understand the risks involved.


Are you someone who likes to volunteer, serve on boards, or give back to your local community? Before you move, evaluate the opportunities your new city offers for community involvement. Smaller towns tend to need more help, and may welcome your time and talent.

Maybe you want to teach at the local community college or mentor youth at the local YMCA. Does the not-for-profit organization you are now involved with have branches or affiliates in other locations? Could they provide good contacts or connections to help with your integration into the community? Reviewing options beforehand may help make a smoother transition.

Family and Friends

Nothing matters more than being close to family at the end of the day. Hopefully retirement will give you more time to spend with the ones you love. Personally, seeing my two granddaughters every weekend is the highlight of my busy week. So I know that when I retire, I want to be close to them or in a place my family can access easily and likes to gather. Being close to family is also practical, given that as we age, we require more care, which often falls to family. Having friends nearby is also crucial, particularly if you’re moving someplace new. They can help you get settled and introduce you to others.

All in all, before you settle on a place to spend your retirement, make sure you do your homework. Changing where you live is a huge decision, so the fewer surprises, the better. Make sure it makes sense financially and you aren’t giving up too many of the important things you like now. Make a list, and prioritize what matters to you most today. You may not be able to get all the things you want, but be picky — these are the best years of your life, and you deserve to live in a place you enjoy.


Thumbnail Fred Taylor HeadshotFred Taylor is a managing director and partner of Beacon Pointe Advisors’ Denver office. He helps individuals and families build wealth, live off their wealth and leave a legacy for future generations. A former economic advisor to Governor Bill Ritter, Fred has more than 35 years of financial services experience.


Important Disclosure:
Frederick Taylor is a Partner, Managing Director at Beacon Pointe Advisors, LLC. The information contained in this article is for general informational purposes only. Opinions referenced are as of the publication date and may be modified due to changes in the market or economic conditions and may not necessarily come to pass. Forward-looking statements cannot be guaranteed. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. Beacon Pointe has exercised all reasonable professional care in preparing this information. The information has been obtained from sources we believe to be reliable; however, Beacon Pointe has not independently verified or attested to the accuracy or authenticity of the information. The discussions, outlook, and viewpoints featured are not intended to be investment advice and do not consider specific investment objectives or risk tolerance you may have. All investments involve risks, including the loss of principal. Consult your financial professional for guidance specific to your circumstances.

A Q&A with retirement planning and wealth management experts

Capstone Investment Financial Group is a Best for Colorado company and investment firm focused on long-term, quality portfolios. Their services include retirement planning and wealth management.

Their goal is to help clients pursue their financial futures. Capstone Investment knows that everyone has different needs and priorities when it comes to financial planning. They strive to provide options for everyone, including those who seek to make a difference with their investments.

We spoke with Financial Advisor Lindsey Simek about Capstone Investment’s commitment to ethical investing and doing business better.

Best for Colorado: How long has your company been Best for Colorado?

Lindsey Simek: We were accepted as a Best for Colorado company just recently in 2021.

B4CO: Tell us more about your company in general. What do you do? What is your mission? What makes you different?

LS: We are an investment firm. We focus on quality, long-term types of investments and portfolios. As financial advisors, we are fiduciaries, meaning we put our clients needs above ours at all times. We are fee only and do not sell any type of financial products. We help clients plan for their future, retirement and long-term financial goals.

At Capstone Investment Financial Group we provide portfolios that give our clients diversity and exposure to the market at their comfort level. We also offer portfolios that are environment, social and governance (EGS) based, allowing for impactful investing for those clients that want to make a difference. Here at Capstone we make it a priority to enable our clients, employees, partners and owners to pursue their financial future in order to achieve their dreams and follow their passions.

B4CO: How did your company first hear about Best for Colorado, and why did you decide to join?

LS: We were familiar with The Alliance Center and not only liked but respected what it had to offer. We feel that sustainability can be achieved in all sectors, so we wanted reach out to see what we, as an investment firm, could do. Once we reached out, we found Best for Colorado and the amazing opportunity to become a participating business. We feel this will allow us to demonstrate what we have to offer when it comes to sustainability and impactful investing.

B4CO: What is a challenging aspect of your work?

LS: The most challenging aspect of the investment business is people’s reluctance to work on their financial goals. All too often individuals put off planning and saving and then have unrealistic expectations.

B4CO: What is an achievement your company is proud of?

LS: Our firm ranked in the top 100 financial firms in Colorado. Factors such as ESG implementation, high retention and always putting clients first all have contributed to our company’s success.

B4CO: Why would you recommend joining Best for Colorado to other companies?

LS: I think being a Best for Colorado company has so many obvious benefits. By joining the group we have access to other companies and individuals that have the same concerns and want to achieve the same goals. We are able to see, meet and interact with others that are looking to better our cities, state and planet as whole and do it in so many different ways.

By joining Best for Colorado we are able to work within a community that is all about making an impact, and we are able to experience the multiple ways—ways we never would have even considered—that this can be accomplished.

B4CO: Is there anything else you’d like to share?

LS: At Capstone we are very proud of the ESG platform that we have built. We have provided our clients with quality portfolios that focus on impactful investing. While this isn’t a concern for all of our clients, for many of them it is a top priority. As a company, are able to provide them peace of mind while building on their financial future.

Best for Colorado is a program of The Alliance Center. It allows Colorado companies to measure and improve their social and environmental impact, regardless of where they are on their corporate social responsibility journey. Best for Colorado offers programming and tools for all Colorado companies, including B Corps, to improve their practices and connect participating companies with local resources, education and support.

Where should you put your retirement money?

During the times of uncertainty and political turmoil, many of us start thinking about how to protect and grow our assets and make sure we lease them to our loved ones in the most efficient way possible.

There are as many opportunities to grow money as there are people with great ideas. Some people choose to save for retirement outside of the conventional vehicles like 401(k)s and IRAs.

When systemic market failures surfaced around the globe in 2008 and caused massive market turmoil, seasoned investors as well as novices were caught off guard.

What was supposed to be safe turned out not to be. Many Americans who were counting on the appreciated value of their homes to convert to a stream of income for retirement were left vulnerable, finding themselves with far less to work with than they expected.

Another example of misreading risk has to do with asset allocation, which is a risk reduction strategy where you divide your money among a variety of investment types that do not go up or down in value at the same time. Diversification reduces risk.

However, when markets stopped functioning and there were few, if any, buyers of anything, pretty much everything dropped in value. In a severe down market asset allocation does not necessarily protect you very well from loss the same way it does in an up market. For many people, all their assets declined in value.

Without succumbing to fear, it is generally prudent to assume you are facing greater risks than meet the eye. This means staying alert, vigilant and knowledgeable and, most importantly, being open to changing direction if need be.

Following is a survey of types of investment what you might consider before making choices on saving for retirement. It is important to know your criteria. What is important to you? What is going to allow you to sleep comfortably at night?

Businesses have long been used a ticket to retirement. There are many ways to use a business to fund retirement. These include crafting company retirement plans that permit the owner to direct sizeable assets to fund his or her retirement to growing a business with an eye to either selling or stepping back from day-to-day operating responsibilities and taking some form of distribution or compensation. Consider buying a business to run in retirement. Obviously, operating a business is not for the faint of heart, but if your skills and comfort match up well with a business opportunity, it may be right for you. Related to ownership of a business is ownership of rental property where you can generate enough cash flow to cover property expenses with enough left over to supplement retirement income. Another way to generate income is to receive royalties or licensing fees for intellectual property you created and protected.

Financial institutions

If you are looking for tax benefits as you save for retirement, invariably you will need to work with one or more financial institutions, such as banks or brokerages. The IRS requires you to put tax-qualified retirement savings in the hands of an approved custodian—usually a financial institution.

Whatever funds you have placed in their hands are known as custodial holdings. In this day and age of mergers and acquisitions and rapid invention of new investment products, there are increased unknowns around institutional reliability.

Fortunately, unless the investment itself goes sour, there is a fairly robust firewall between the fortunes of the custodial institution and the safety of your investment.

However, when the public perceives institutional weakness they may want to pull assets out and, if they do, this could drag down investments you have with the custodian in question for no good reason.

It is more difficult to identify good companies given that large financial institutions are becoming one-stop shops with a huge variety of types of products and services.

For example, insurance companies buy and sell lines of products from one another, which means that your insurance policy or contract may not stay with the company from which you purchased it. In addition, servicing companies are often hired to handle customer relations.

The primary institutions that handle retirement investments are insurance companies, banks, investment and asset management companies, and governments—local, state, and federal.

Insurance companies offer products protecting against loss. For retirement purposes, annuities, along with long-term care insurance, are the main insurance company products of interest.

For the most part, annuities do not benefit from sitting inside retirement plans since they already enjoy certain tax advantages.

Capital gains, interest, and dividends occurring within any annuity go untaxed until funds are paid out of the contract. There is no “double” tax-deferral benefit from having an annuity within an IRA or 401(k).

Insurance products can be purchased from the companies directly but more commonly are available through brokers—some who sell products from different carriers and some who sell only for one company. You should either visit different companies for quotes or use an independent broker.

In addition, you can put your insurance policy into an irrevocable life insurance trust (“ILIT”) to make sure it’s protected from estate taxes, creditors, and divorces.

Investment and asset management companies comprise the institutional backbone of retirement saving. These companies are regulated by the federal Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) and by state securities divisions.

Investment and asset management companies serve three functions: custodians of your accounts, providers of services and investments, and “making a market” (where a sufficient number of buyers and sellers trade goods, services and securities).

You may have a custodian who has no direct involvement with your actual investment. For example if you own 10 shares of stock XYZ and it is held in an IRA brokerage account at ABC Investments, ABC has nothing to do with XYZ directly but must keep tabs on your account and find a buyer for your stock should you elect to sell it and execute the transaction.

Part of making a wise selection around who you want to be the custodian and manager of your money is knowing how much help and guidance you want and need. You may find yourself with multiple custodians and investments if you have had several employers with different 401(k) plans or have inherited portfolios. It may take some doing to organize your holdings so they are manageable.

Banks (including commercial banks, cooperative banks, and credit unions) offer savings products that can be appropriate for retirement planning. Many of the largest ones now provide investment and insurance products and services as well.

Types of investments

Just because there are tax-qualified retirement programs does not mean you must use them to fund your retirement. Remember, the objective is always to create a stream of income to handle your expenses from the day you retire until the day you die. If you have a different way of creating sufficient passive income to take care of you in retirement, then do it!

Cash and cash equivalents are the starting point for investing. This category includes cash in your pocket, checking and savings accounts, money market accounts and, when you own mutual funds, the cash portion of the fund that is usually invested in short-term debt.

Typically, these investments pay low interest rates. They make sense when safety and liquidity are the prime objectives, giving you instant access to your money.

However, even money markets can be vulnerable if demand dries up for whatever investments it holds during skittish markets.

Fixed income investments are debt instruments, meaning they are asking to borrow money from you and in return they will pay you interest plus return the principal at a specific date in the future.

The simplest form this takes is Certificates of Deposit (CDs) which have maturity dates ranging from three months to five years. All government offerings are fixed income investments. The U.S. Treasury sells Treasury

Bills, Treasury Notes, Treasury Bonds, Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS), Savings Bonds, and EE/E Bonds. Municipalities, states, various special purpose authorities, and quasi-governmental authorities all sell debt. In addition, corporations raise money selling bonds in the open market. The riskier the venture issuing the bonds, the higher the interest rate you should expect to be paid.

Equities or stocks come to mind whenever you think of long-term investing. They are securities which, when owned, give you actual ownership of the company. Today, institutions (like other businesses, pension funds, mutual funds, investment houses, etc.) own most of the shares of the largest, most prominent publicly-traded companies. Equities are considered a good place to invest in a rising economy. Some pay dividends, providing income even if the value of the stock has dropped.

There are also groupings of stocks, called indexes, based on some classification characteristic. These are helpful to get a quick indicator of how well a grouping is doing as a proxy for that segment of the overall economy. Size is used as one classification characteristic. Another is industry sector.

Mutual funds were invented to tap into that large pool of capital sitting in the hands of the less well-to-do. In the United States, mutual funds were created in Boston in the 1920s. The new industry did not recover from the Depression until the mid-1950s. Since then it has continued to expand, with trillions of dollars invested today and more than 10,000 mutual funds available to consumers.

The mutual fund concept pools dollars from many investors into one investment vehicle comprised of a grocery basket of individual securities, including stocks or bonds or other investments, all depending on the objective of the fund. Investors enjoy the benefits of diversification and can put together a portfolio to match their risk tolerance, goals, and financial situation. 401(k) and similar programs offer enormous choice in funds for participants.

Exchange traded funds (ETFs) trade like individual stocks but are a collections of many stocks or other securities. ETFs experience price changes throughout the day as they are bought and sold, whereas the price of a mutual fund changes only once, at the close of business each day.

Rather than redeeming shares from the mutual fund company, owners of ETFs who sell receive their money from ETF buyers on a stock exchange. Like mutual funds, ETFs offer diversification and are typically structured to represent an index of underlying stocks, bonds, or commodities. You get the benefit of 20, 30, or more individual holdings you might not be able to afford to buy individually.

A disadvantage of ETFs is that trading volume can be erratic, which can result in large spreads between what a seller wants and what a buyer is willing to pay. An advantage is no minimum purchase is required, although you do have to pay a commission to buy or sell.

Separate accounts are mutual fund-like accounts managed by a brokerage company or financial advisor. They differ from mutual funds in that the individual actually owns the individual securities, which are pooled with those of other investors. (Separate accounts are not to be confused with subaccounts or separate accounts in insurance products.)

Precious metals are an investment often held by true believers. People who trust the physicality of a metal are attracted to it as a reliable, dependable investment that has a tangible, measurable, marketable value no matter what is going in world economies or in high finance. Precious metals are perceived as a hedge against inflation or trouble in the financial markets.

Precious metals can qualify for inclusion in a retirement account like an IRA, but under the IRS rules you must invest in one, one-half, one-quarter, or one-tenth ounce U.S. gold coins, or one-ounce silver coins minted by the U.S. Treasury. You can also invest in certain platinum coins and certain gold, silver, palladium, and platinum bullion. And you can avoid the rigmarole of direct ownership by purchasing precious metal mutual funds.

Collectibles are essentially prohibited as investments in tax-qualified retirement accounts. This would include such items as artwork, rugs, antiques, metals, gems, stamps, coins, alcoholic beverages, and other collectibles. However, that is not to say you cannot earmark them for your retirement and sell them on the

open market when the time is right. Be aware that highly appreciated items may incur a significant capital gains tax, especially if the items were acquired for next to nothing and have now become extremely valuable.

Real estate is one of the overlooked allowable investments for tax-qualified retirement purposes. Real estate can be purchased directly using money already within an IRA, although you cannot live on the property or incur any direct benefit. These are somewhat complex transactions and you give up tax benefits typically associated with real estate ownership; however, in the right circumstances with the right guidance a real estate IRA could be appropriate.

Aside from a tax-qualified real estate venture, the most common retirement savings strategy is to invest in one’s own home, eventually paying off the mortgage and then coming up with an exit strategy since the IRS permits a tax-free gain of $250,000 on the sale of one’s residence for an individual or $500,000 for a couple as long as certain requirements have been met. But with housing markets barely recovering from the slide in values, it may mean rethinking one’s dependence on equity in a primary residence as the cornerstone of funding retirement.

Regardless of what you choose to put your money into, you should consider talking to a qualified professional. Sometimes business owners and their families rely on the business alone, without the thought of succession planning, insurance, or what happens if the main “producer” is out of the picture.

Diversifying your assets and investment will make sure you are prepared for any situation.

We anticipate that 2021 will be a year during which many people will turn to planning or revising their current financial, business, and estate plans, as the change of administration will likely bring many changes in taxes, interest rates, and retirement savings laws.

It’s important that you review your options and make informed decisions in a proactive manner.

Retouched 75 Anastasia Fainberg is the managing member at Legacy Law Group Colorado, PLLC and advises clients on family estate and business matters. Anastasia helps businesses succeed through proper planning and strategic guidance. To learn more and connect with Anastasia, go to: