Carol Trzcinski

Carol has more than 30 years of relevant consulting experience. She assists clients with all aspects of their plans, including objective setting, investment monitoring, expense analysis, employee education input, vendor and manager negotiations, and ongoing analysis of services and performance. Her clients include private and public companies and non-profit organizations. Before joining Highland in 2000, she was a principal and director in a regional employee benefits consulting firm. Carol is a graduate of the University of Toledo. She was also a member of the Phi Kappa Phi honor society and served as valedictorian of her class.

Recent Posts

UNTAPPED: Despite CARES Act Provisions, Retirement Savers Leave Balances Untapped and Benefit from Staying the Course

In March 2020, Congress passed the $2 trillion relief package “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act” (CARES Act) to provide emergency assistance for individuals, families, and businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Among other provisions, the CARES Act made accessing a retirement saver’s qualified plan balances easier and less costly.

Through December 2020, individuals can take a coronavirus-related distribution (CRD) from their 401(k) account of 100% of their account balances (up to $100,000) without incurring the usual 10% penalty. Not only that, the CARES Act has allowed individuals up to three years to pay the taxes owed on the withdrawal, softening what otherwise could be a major tax blow. The act also permits repayment of the withdrawal to the plan (if the plan allows it) or an IRA to avoid taxes.

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The CARES Act: A Checklist of Considerations for Retirement Plan Sponsors

The Coronavirus pandemic overtook our daily lives and thriving economy like a violent storm. Almost as quickly, Congress reacted with legislation to lessen its impact on American workers by passing the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Providing nearly $2 trillion in economic relief, the Act included temporary provisions to help employees access their retirement funds if they’d been impacted directly by COVID-19.  One of the benefits offered is an unmitigated win for those 70½ years old and older: 

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SCHOOLED: The SECURE Act Passed the House with Flying Colors. Why it’s Failing in the Senate. (And why that matters.)

On May 23rd, in a blue moon, bi-partisan, super-majority effort, the House passed a bill intended to encourage retirement savings. It appeared to be that simple. Even elementary. Given the passage of the bill by a vote of 417 to 3, the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act, seemed a sure thing for quick approval in the Senate.

But…Not. So. Fast. The bill has been suspended in the Senate due to “holds” placed by several Republican senators which have stalled its expedited passage under “unanimous consent” and, instead, re-routed it through committee consideration and a more typical schedule of floor debates and votes. And why would Senator Ted Kruz (among others) object to the bill?

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How’s your Relationship with your Money?

The Complicated Relationship between Women and Money

Research shows that when you ask a woman about her relationship to money and investments, she’ll likely say, “It’s complicated.” It sure is.

In the 1980s, a woman-empowered commercial for perfume said that women could “bring home the bacon, and fry it up in a pan…and never let you forget you’re a man” To that we say, you have come a long way, baby.

A few decades later, women are not only bringing home some bacon, almost 4 in 10 are the primary breadwinners for the family.

And there’s more:

  • 51% of women report they are CFO of the household, making daily spending decisions and managing family budgets and cash flow.[1]
  • 53% have responsibility for managing the household’s long-term saving and investments.[2]
  • Women control the majority of private wealth in the U.S. (at 51% of the total, or $14 trillion) and that share is expected to grow to $22 trillion by 2020.[3]
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    Twists and Churns: Annuities No Sure Path to Retirement Readiness

    On every path to retirement security, there should be a blinking sign that reads: “Annuities This Way: Proceed at Your Own Risk.” Which is an entirely appropriate retirement planning thought.

    What’s your appetite for investment risk? If you’re risk averse, it would appear that annuities are an iron-clad, guaranteed, safe investment option. They may be. They may also rope the plan participant into needlessly long investment commitments for which investors pay excessive fees. But not always.

    That’s the problem with annuity contracts: too few investors know exactly what they’re buying. And that makes the annuities route to retirement a difficult one to navigate.

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