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The Savage Blog

The importance of preparation

We hear the word, “prepare,” in some form, quite often from clients.

“I wish I had better prepared.”

“Can you tell me how I can prepare for the future?”

… and so on.

It is not uncommon when something as catastrophic as a pandemic leaves the world thinking more and more about some basic necessities of life that are sometimes overlooked – and wishing they had prepared. COVID-19 has heightened our awareness in many ways. Many can lay claim to knowing someone who contracted the virus, whether a family member, friend, co-worker, etc. Maybe it was even our own first-hand experience!

It has turned the focus of many toward life insurance.

It is such an important piece in life, which also happens to be one of the services at Savage that is seeing an exponentially increased awareness.

There are those who think they are covered sufficiently through their life insurance policy at work. The reality is that may not always be enough.

In a study published in 2020 by LIMRA (an organization that helps 600+ insurance/financial services companies across 73 companies increase marketing effectiveness), and Life Happens (nonprofit providing information to consumers to help make smart insurance choices) held a study just last year. Some fascinating statistics:

  • Nearly a quarter of American households do not have coverage, and another 30 million do not have enough. (That’s roughly half of all households!)
  • The average coverage gap between what people have, and what they need, is about $200,000.
  • About 44 percent of households said they would face financial hardship within six months if the primary wage earner were to die prematurely. For 28 percent of households, financial hardship would hit within one month.
  • More than half say they haven’t purchased life insurance because they don’t know how much they need or what type to buy.
  • Six in 10 Americans say they have a heightened awareness of the importance of life insurance due to COVID-19.

    Kevin Baumeier

While these are alarming statistics, there is good news. Almost 30 percent of adults are more likely to buy life insurance over the next year. Are you one of them?

It’s more inexpensive than people realize, and to make life easier, we even accept e-signatures to ease the process.

If you already work with a financial professional at Savage, reach out to them for their insight. If not, and you would like to speak with someone about life insurance, contact Kevin Baumeier, CLU®, manager of risk services, at 419-725-7243, or kevin.baumeier@savageandassociates.com.

Kevin Baumeier is not registered with Royal Alliance Associates, Inc.

Savage leader honored with Pacemaker Award

J.R. Toland, president and CEO, Savage and Associates, was presented (virtually) the Pacemaker Award by the University of Toledo’s College of Business and Innovation. The award is the college’s highest honor, recognizing individuals for outstanding achievement in business, as well as contributions to the community and the University.

“We are proud to honor J.R. Toland as a Pacemaker, the criteria for which is ‘outstanding achievement in business or profession and service to The University of Toledo area,’” stated Anne L. Balazs, Ph.D., dean, The University of Toledo College of Business and Innovation. “Mr. Toland joins a long line of distinguished men and women from the Toledo area who are making a difference through their contributions to the community. This award dates back to 1963 and Mr. Toland is another shining example of an ethical and successful leader – a Pacemaker to celebrate!”

Toland joined the financial services firm in 1984, was named to the management team in 2000, and selected as a partner in 2012.

He is actively involved in his professional and local communities. He was recently chosen to serve on the board of Finseca upon the merger of AALU and GAMA (Association for Advanced Life Underwriting, and General Agents and Managers Association International), and is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Round Table. He serves on the board of the YMCA of Greater Toledo, and previously was board chair for the Multiple Sclerosis Society and Central Catholic High School. In addition, he coached youth football for more than 15 years.

Toland earned his Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of Toledo in 1985. He has been married to his wife Beth for 31 years. They have four adult children, Nikki, Troy, Halli and Scott.

Qualifying membership in the MDRT is based on minimum sales production requirements and gross business generated within a year. Lifetime membership is achieved in the 10th year and this status is maintained in future years by attesting annually to having met current minimum production levels and by paying the required dues. Third-party rankings and recognitions are no guarantee of future investment success and do not ensure that a client or prospective client will experience a higher level of performance or results. These ratings should not be construed as an endorsement of the advisor by any client nor are they representative of any one client’s evaluation.

Savage names new partners

Savage announced today the addition of new partners to our firm. Each with more than 20 years of experience with Savage, the new partners include:

  • Tony Desch, financial advisor
  • Jason Elchert, financial professional (Findlay)
  • Matt Holzemer, employee benefit consultant
  • Gary LeSage, certified financial planner
  • Steve Milewski, financial advisor
  • Steve Morr, financial professional
  • Pat Paule, employee benefit consultant (Bowling Green)
  • Lou Ramirez, investment advisor representative
  • Mark Smith, financial advisor

Savage sought to create a new structure that would create viability for a more robust future for the company. Just as the firm expanded from insurance to securities four decades ago, group benefits shortly after, added mortgage services nearly 20 years ago, and entered an exciting era when the new headquarters was completed in January 2019, evolution has taken place at numerous other milestones throughout the 64-year history.

The change ensures a bright outlook with continued advancement and progress in all facets of the firm.

“As Savage continues to grow, we have an even brighter future ahead as this partnership and relationship with these seasoned and very well respected professionals in our industry ensures the legacy of our firm will thrive for another 60 years,” stated J.R. Toland, president and CEO, Savage and Associates. “This is an exceptionally talented group of individuals, each with unique skills sets and areas of expertise, who will help us continue to provide great value to our clients. This partnership ensures that our independent firm, remains just that – independent years into the future just as we have been since our start in 1957. The partnership creates consistency, broadens the ownership structure, and helps us preserve the strength and future of the firm.”

Together, the new partners provide an extensive list of services and products to clients across the nation including specialization in investment and wealth management, trust and estate planning, financial wellness, tax planning, life insurance, retirement plans, employee and individual benefits, and more.

They join current partners, J.R. Toland (Savage President and CEO), Phil Johnson, Russ Karban, Kelly Savage, Mark Smigelski, Joel Tschantz, and Scott Walsh.

High five! Savage named a 2021 top workplace for fifth year in a row

Savage has been named one of the region’s top workplaces for the fifth consecutive year by the Toledo Blade.

Additionally, the company received a specialty award for exhibiting superior values.

“Savage is delighted to receive this honor for the fifth year in a row,” stated J.R. Toland, president and CEO, Savage and Associates. “I am so proud of our team of more than 120 associates, across four locations, as they carried on with such dedication and optimism amid the ongoing pandemic. Our continued growth is due to having so many high-caliber, energetic people that simply love serving others.”

Being named a top workplace is based solely on employee feedback gathered through a third-party survey administered by employee engagement technology partner Energage, LLC. The Blade partnered with Energage to conduct the anonymous survey that uniquely measures 15 drivers of engaged cultures that are critical to the success of any organization, such as alignment, execution, and connection.

“In times of great change, it is more important than ever to maintain a connection among employees,” said Eric Rubino, Energage CEO. “When you give your employees a voice, you come together to navigate challenges and shape your path forward based on real-time insights into what works best for your organization. The Top Workplaces program can be that positive outcome your company can rally around in the coming months to celebrate leadership and the importance of maintaining an employee-focused culture, even during challenging times.”

Savage has offices in Maumee, Bowling Green, Findlay and Glandorf, Ohio.

Third-party rankings and recognitions are no guarantee of future investment success and do not ensure that a client or prospective client will experience a higher level of performance or results. These ratings should not be construed as an endorsement of the advisor by any client nor are they representative of any one client’s evaluation.

Will you have enough, when you’ve had enough?

Retired couple walking dog

“How much money will I need in retirement?”


It’s a question we get asked often, from people in all age groups, professions, income levels, and geographical locations. And from people with diverse spending habits.

Of course, lots of people stand ready to share a formula or fixed-target amount they’ve heard. One recent study found that average Americans believe they’ll need $1.7 million to retire. Another often-mentioned opinion suggests you’ll need 80 percent of your pre-retirement annual earnings after retiring.

But there is no cut-and-dry answer to the question. Therefore, our response when people ask us how much they’ll need for retirement is not what most expect to hear.

“You tell us,” we say.

The fact is, how much money you need for retirement depends on the lifestyle you want when you retire. And that requires asking yourself some questions.

Do you want to live in your current home, downsize, or move to a more pleasant climate? Are you planning to drive a similar car or splurge on that rebuilt 60s classic you’ve always wanted? Are you looking to travel more often and, if so, to where?

And those are the easy questions. Harder discussions involve how you plan to pay for healthcare, at what age you will begin drawing Social Security benefits, who else depends on your income, and how much debt you still have.

Only with answers to those and many more issues could we begin to project how much money you’ll need to set aside for retirement. So don’t be surprised when a professional financial advisor responds to your how-much-money-will-I-need-in-retirement inquiry with a list of questions for you.

The good news is that collecting answers to those questions enables your financial advisor to help you begin budgeting for retirement. So while we can’t provide a one-size-fits-all solution to determining how much you’ll need when you stop working, we can help prepare you to answer the question for yourself.

Talk to Steve


Prepared by The Creative Block, Inc. Copyright 2020.
The Creative Block, Inc. does not provide investment, tax, legal, or retirement advice or recommendations. The information presented here is not specific to any individual’s personal circumstances.
To the extent that this material concerns tax matters, is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by a taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed by law. Each taxpayer should seek independent advice from a tax professional based on his or her individual circumstances.
These materials are provided for general information and educational purposes based upon publicly available information from sources believed to be reliable—we cannot assure the accuracy or completeness of these materials. The information in these materials may change at any time and without notice.

What are catch-up contributions, and should you be making them?

Man review finances on tablet

Man reviewing finances on tablet

If you’re among the millions of Americans putting money into a workplace retirement plan, you probably know that IRS rules limit annual tax-deferred contribution amounts. For example, 401(k) and 403(b) participants can set aside a maximum of $19,500 in income on a tax-deferred basis in 2020. But if you’re age 50 or older, you could be eligible to contribute amounts that exceed the standard IRS limitations.

Catch-up contributions, as the name implies, allow workers to save more tax-deferred income as they get closer to traditional retirement age. Allowable catch-up amounts vary depending on the type of retirement plan. For our 401(k) or 403(b) example, the catch-up amount is $6,500 in 2020.

Catch-up contributions only extend the amounts workers can contribute to their plans each year. They do not increase employer-match limits.

The IRS updates annual contribution limits each year—including catch-up contribution amounts—for each type of retirement plan. A professional financial advisor can explain the rules that apply to your specific account to you.

Should you get in on this?

If you’re 50 or over and looking to grow tax-deferred savings for retirement, and you already max out your plan’s limits each year, making catch-up contributions might be right for you.

On the other hand, if a large portion of your retirement savings is in tax-deferred dollars, you could be facing a sizable income-tax burden when you retire and begin taking plan distributions. In that case, there might be better retirement savings options for you than increasing your tax-deferred contributions.

Because everyone’s financial needs and objectives are unique, we can’t over-stress the importance of consulting a trained financial advisor when planning for retirement. A qualified professional can help forecast whether you’re saving enough for the retirement lifestyle you want—and help you determine if you have any “catching up” to do.

Talk to Steve


Prepared by The Creative Block, Inc. Copyright 2020.
The Creative Block, Inc. does not provide investment, tax, legal, or retirement advice or recommendations. The information presented here is not specific to any individual’s personal circumstances.
To the extent that this material concerns tax matters, is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by a taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed by law. Each taxpayer should seek independent advice from a tax professional based on his or her individual circumstances.
These materials are provided for general information and educational purposes based upon publicly available information from sources believed to be reliable—we cannot assure the accuracy or completeness of these materials. The information in these materials may change at any time and without notice.

Turnwald joins Savage to serve Putnam County area

Dan Turnwald, associate*, has joined Savage and Associates to serve clients in Putnam County and beyond. Savage is a full-service financial, insurance, and group benefits services firm partnering with clients across the nation.

“Dan has an outstanding reputation throughout multiple northwest Ohio counties,” stated J.R. Toland, president and CEO, Savage. “We are thrilled to have him on board, and this now gives clients even easier access as we expand to our fourth location.”

Turnwald has more than 15 years of experience developing life protection plans for individuals and families. In only his second year, he qualified for membership in the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) – an association that qualifies insurance and financial services professionals in exceptional professional knowledge, strict ethical conduct and outstanding client service. In 2009, he finished with the lowest lapse rating in North America, indicating very high client satisfaction.

With the addition of Turnwald and his location at 150 Church St., Glandorf, Ohio 45848, Savage – which started in 1957 – also has offices in Maumee, Bowling Green and Findlay.

(* Dan Turnwald is not affiliated with Royal Alliance Associates, Inc.)
(Qualifying membership in the MDRT is based on minimum sales production requirements and gross business generated within a year. Each MDRT status designation is granted for one year only. All members must apply every year to continue their affiliation with the Million Dollar Round Table. Third-party rankings and recognitions are no guarantee of future investment success and do not ensure that a client or prospective client will experience a higher level of performance or results. These ratings should not be construed as an endorsement of the advisor by any client nor are they representative of any one client’s evaluation.)

Are you ahead of the pack?

Man out for a jog

Do you ever wonder whether you’re doing enough to plan for retirement?

Man out for a jog
Do you question, from a savings perspective, whether you’re on track to retire when you hope to? Have you thought about how much retirement savings you should have at this point in your life?

If those questions sound familiar, you’re not alone. Clients often ask how their current financial situations compare to others in their age groups. The national statistics might shock you.

According to the nonprofit think tank Economic Policy Institute, nearly half of working-age families lack any retirement savings at all. Zero. That means whatever amount you’ve accumulated puts you further ahead than many people. Unfortunately, most individuals who do have retirement savings accounts are significantly behind where they need to be to retire comfortably.

Retirement Savings by Age Group

Looking at typical retirement accounts—for only those who have one—helps provide a perspective on how your savings compare to your age-group cohorts.

The following table uses data from the Federal Reserve to show both average and median retirement account balances by various age groups. NOTE: The material is provided for informational purposes only and not intended as investment advice.

Age Group
Average Retirement Account
Median Retirement Account
Under age 35
$32,500
$12,300
Age 35 – 44
$100,000
$37,000
Age 45 – 54
$215,800
$82,600
Age 55 – 64
$374,000
$120,000
Age 65 – 74
$358,000
$126,000
Dollar amounts rounded to nearest hundred.

What’s Your Plan?

Now that you know how you stack up to others when it comes to saving for retirement, it’s time to consider more relevant questions. First, how much income will you need in retirement? And second, what steps should you be taking toward reaching your retirement savings goals?

Every person’s situation is unique, of course. That’s why it’s helpful to work with a professional financial advisor when planning for retirement. A trained advisor can help project the retirement income you’ll need to enjoy life the way you want. And with that knowledge, your advisor will work with you to develop and execute a comprehensive retirement savings plan.

Talk to Steve


Prepared by The Creative Block, Inc. Copyright 2020.
The Creative Block, Inc. does not provide investment, tax, legal, or retirement advice or recommendations. The information presented here is not specific to any individual’s personal circumstances.
To the extent that this material concerns tax matters, is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by a taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed by law. Each taxpayer should seek independent advice from a tax professional based on his or her individual circumstances.
These materials are provided for general information and educational purposes based upon publicly available information from sources believed to be reliable—we cannot assure the accuracy or completeness of these materials. The information in these materials may change at any time and without notice.

Savage announces hiring of four area college students

Savage and Associates has hired four college students to join the advisor internship program this summer which provides formal training, access to mentors, opportunity to acquire professional licenses, and other valuable experiences.

Joining the program are the following students:

  • Cody Bartels – student from Bowling Green State University, majoring in finance
  • Lauren Hehl-Myers – student from Bowling Green State University, majoring in finance
  • Kirby McLoughlin – student from University of Toledo, majoring in finance
  • Lily Powell – student from University of Toledo, majoring in finance and professional sales

“As a major regional financial services company with more than 120 associates, many of them started at Savage right out of college,” stated J.R. Toland, president and CEO, Savage and Associates. “So we know all too well the importance of growing from within as well as ensuring the talent pool that is cultivated here in our area … stays in our area.”

Along with working to acquire their life and health license, the students will learn some of the basic risk products, meet regularly with industry experts, learn the importance of ensuring clients are well rounded in their portfolio of bank accounts, investments and insurance, as well as grow in several areas to enhance their industry knowledge. The internship program runs through mid-August.

Students interesting in learning about the advisor internship program should contact Liz Harmon, practice development and recruitment coordinator, Savage and Associates, at 419-725-7211 or liz.harmon@savageandassociates.com.

Savage and Associates adds three advisors

Savage and Associates announced the addition of three advisors to its team, bringing the total number of associates to its highest level in company history:

  • Craig Bruning, financial professional
  • Julie Fullerton*, benefits advisor
  • Joshua Holzemer, employee benefits consultant

“More than ever, Savage has the resources to service clients to a wider area and through a larger scope with the addition of Craig, Julie and Joshua,” stated J.R. Toland, president and CEO, Savage and Associates. “They each have a unique skill set and expertise that will provide great value to our clients.”

As part of his responsibilities, Bruning will assist clients in a holistic way through investments, risk management, and group health. Fullerton has more than 15 years of experience in health insurance, specializing in Medicare supplements and individual health insurance. Joining his father’s practice, Holzemer will primarily focus on employee benefits, in addition to offering investment services and individual strategies.

Founded in 1957, Savage is a full-service financial, insurance, and group benefits services firm partnering with clients across the nation.

(* Julie Fullerton is not affiliated with Royal Alliance Associates, Inc.)
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