Thomas L. Finn, CFA  Fort Washington Investment Advisors, Inc.
Q. Being in my mid-60’s, I’m reconsidering investments my heirs can depend on. What’s your long-term outlook on conservative, U.S. Treasury backed securities?

A. The upside of conservative U.S. Treasury backed securities is a 100 percent return of principal and a consistent income stream. The downside is a low interest (coupon) rate and the potential loss of purchasing power. We recommend a diversified portfolio of securities — some with little risk like Treasuries and others with more risk like stocks — to meet the investor’s need for reduced volatility while protecting the purchasing power of the funds.”
Kathy Ligzinsky, CLTC Retirement Resource Center
Q. I always thought long-term care insurance was too expensive, but my insurance advisor urges me to reconsider. Why should I?

A. If you consider the alternative to not having long-term care insurance, it is not too expensive. Anyone who has helped a family member search for a nursing home, or hired a home health aide, understands that long-term care itself is very costly. Since people are living longer there is a greater chance that they will ultimately need care. Moreover, having to provide care will have a severe impact on family members, and paying for it can devastate one’s retirement funds. An affordable long-term care policy can be designed to suit one’s needs depending on age and options chosen. A properly designed program allows families the choice of keeping loved ones at home, and bringing in professional or informal caregivers to handle the most time-consuming, embarrassing and stressful work.
Jay Wertz, CFP Johnson Investment Counsel, Inc.
Q. What are the estate and probate advantages of a Roth IRA over other forms of individual retirement account investments?

A. The main advantage of a Roth IRA is that under current law, funds contributed to a Roth IRA grow tax-free and are not taxed upon distribution. Unlike traditional IRAs, distributions are not required at age 70 1/2, making a Roth IRA a potent way to build wealth for retirement.
Charles "Chip" Pettengill, CFA, CIC, CPA Bahl & Gaynor Investment Counsel
Q.  How should people react to the stock market’s current instability?

A. When clients express concern about the current market environment, I ask them if their risk tolerance or time horizon has changed? Sometimes there are health issues, job changes, or other events that may cause us to change the investment plan. Frequently, people forget what they decided a few years ago, or when they were not as emotional. Everyone — including me — likes it when stocks go up. However, the markets rarely go up in a straight line. Often the most difficult decision is to stick to the original plan and keep the course by doing nothing. Frankly, that is when we really earn our keep as advisors.
Marc C. Littlecott, CGPA The Salvation Army
Q. Besides an attorney, who else might I consult about estate planning?

A. To really eliminate, or at least reduce, state and federal “death” taxes — while at the same time helping out some favorite causes — a certified gift planner (CAP, CSPG or CGPA) is a key component to an estate planning team. These individuals lecture to attorney groups and financial planning societies because the discipline is so specialized and ever-changing. You can usually find one through a major charity, though there are independent ones here locally. A good CPA probably knows one you can talk to, usually in the privacy of your home and always without cost or obligation. Though they may work for a major charity, they are ethically bound to advise you on the best ways to give to as many charities as you want.
Garnet Wahlund CFS LUTCF Cincinnati Intestment Counsel
Q. Is an IRA rollover the best way to give me maximum control over my retirement assets?

A.  IRA’s do tend to have more flexible rules than employer-sponsored retirement plans. IRA’s also tend to have fewer restrictions, which could help your beneficiaries avoid rules that some employer plans place on inherited assets, and could make it easier to stretch the account into possibly decades of tax–deferred growth potential. The biggest benefit: IRA’s typically offer more investment options than company plans.
Brian P. Gillan, ESQ. Wood & Lamping LLP
Q.  My aging father has Alzheimer’s Disease. Should he have a new will?

A.  Probably not, but the people around him may.  If dad’s will leaves everything to mom, his illness is not a reason to change that.  However, mom’s will should not leave money to dad nor name him the executor.  This is also true for mom’s life insurance and retirement accounts.
Kenneth J. Schoster, CPA.  Ripp & Kingston Co. PSC
Q. “I’m lucky: I like and trust my lawyer, my accountant, my financial planner and my insurance agent. How do I decide which one to pick as the 'quarterback' of my estate planning team?”
A. Picking a “quarterback” is the most important step in developing your estate plan. You must not only select someone you trust, but someone who has confidence in your team of financial, legal and tax professionals. The “quarterback” must understand your goals and be able to clearly communicate those goals to the other team members. They must have a proven track record in the estate planning area with access to necessary resources. Finally, the advisor should be independent and able to provide full disclosure and explanation of fees associated with all professionals on the estate planning team.