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Live the Life of Your Dreams

Hilltop’s Favorite Spring Happenings in the Triangle

Hilltop’s Favorite Spring Happenings in the Triangle
By: Kali Whitaker It’s easy to understand why spring is a favorite season for many North Carolinians. Flowers are blooming, temperatures are {mostly} temperate, and there’s no shortage of fun events to enjoy with friends and family. To help you fill your spring weekends, we’ve rounded up a few of our favorite events going on across the Triangle this season: Pittsboro, Saturdays Visit The Belted Goat at The Fearrington Inn on Saturdays at 3pm for a free wine tasting. The Goat is Fearrington Village’s personal wine and coffee shop and boasts knowledgeable and helpful sommeliers who will hand-select wines for the tasting and guide you through choosing the perfect bottle to take home to enjoy. Raleigh, April 7th Enjoy the spring beauty of the JC Raulston Arboretum at the Raulston Blooms Festival from 9 am to 4 pm. At only $10 per family (free for JCRA members), there’s no excuse not to enjoy unique food trucks, local artisans and more! You can also spruce up yo ...

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Retirement is a Great Time to Engage with Your Community

Retirement is a Great Time to Engage with Your Community
When you retire, you don’t have to travel the world to expand your horizons.  You can grow wherever you live.  In our October retirement panel event, we explored several ways to make the most of your retirement.  Of course, we learned about travel options (see “Enjoying the Latest Travel Trends in Retirement”).  But we also explored ways to become more worldly without crossing the county line. For inspiration and ideas on local enrichment opportunities, we heard from: Meri Mitchell, Director of Development at Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Triangle, shared thoughts on volunteerism in general and mentorship specifically.  Garry Crites, Director of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Duke University, encouraged us to never stop learning or teaching.  Daniel Dinkins, Manager of Operations at UNC Chapel Hill Visitors’ Center, enlightened us on engaging with familiar locations from a fresh perspective. Meri started with a reminder that s ...

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Enjoying the Latest Travel Trends in Retirement

Enjoying the Latest Travel Trends in Retirement
by Chris Hostetler & Kali Whitaker One of the great joys we experience as advisors is living vicariously through clients of ours who are traveling the world.  Often, this is the payoff for years of hard work and careful planning.  So we were excited to host an educational panel recently, “Envision the Retirement of Your Dreams”, with speakers discussing a range of ways to make the most of your time after the career phase of life. Two of our panelists were travel specialists.  Karen Garr is a travel consultant with Maupin Travel in Raleigh.  Tony Lewitt is a hobbyist travel agent who has developed a particular passion for cruising.  Both Karen and Tony shared some ideas and trends that could make travel more enjoyable for you. How many times have you said “When I retire, I’m finally going to (insert grandiose goal here).”  Maybe it’s walking the Great Wall of China or seeing the turtles in the Galapagos; maybe you just want to spend ...

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5 Top Fall Activities in the Triangle

5 Top Fall Activities in the Triangle
By Kali Whitaker, Client Services Coordinator As the leaves turn and college sports kick into gear, we love what the Triangle offers this time of year.  If you’re looking for the best ways to celebrate the season with family and friends, here are some of the things we are looking forward to. Triangle Oktoberfest – Oct 6-7 – Cary’s Booth Amphitheatre From polka bands to the Stein Hoist competition, this event brings a taste of Germany to the Triangle and is sure to delight festival goers of all age. Admission for children 16 and under is free, and don’t worry – beer is regulated and confined to 21+ only zones. The venue will feature numerous local and regional food vendors serving your favorite German treats, so grab your lederhosen or dirndl and enjoy a slice of Bavaria in Cary!    Hill Ridge Farms – Ongoing – Youngsville Hill Ridge Farms is a fun, family-friendly adventure only minutes north of Raleigh, in Youngsville. Create wo ...

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Should I Stay or Should I Go? Options in Senior Living - Part Two

Should I Stay or Should I Go?  Options in Senior Living - Part Two
In this post, we’ll explore costs, advantages and disadvantages of some the options in senior living, as discussed by the panel of specialists hosted by Hilltop in May.  If you don’t know some of the terms we’re referencing, check out last week’s post. It seems like a lot of folks are talking about Continuing Care Retirement Communities.  What’s the advantage of these types of facilities? The great advantage of Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs) is that they roll all levels of care into one, says Julie Kopetsky, senior relocation specialist and president of Your Next Move.  In a CCRC, you can live independently, receive some level of assistance or receive skilled nursing.  Those sound great!  Are there any down sides? It is complicated and expensive to build retirement communities, so there may not be many of them near you.  There may also be a long waitlist and a fee to join the waitlist.  Further, being on the waitlist ...

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Should I Stay or Should I Go? Options for Senior Living – Part One

Should I Stay or Should I Go?  Options for Senior Living – Part One
You probably hate uncertainty, and you probably don’t like to think about becoming physically dependent, dying, or aging in a nursing home.  Put all of this together, and it can be hard to even think about where you’ll live as you age, who will take care of you, or how you’ll pay for it all.  Yet, if you don’t make plans in these areas, you are giving up control over some of the most important decisions you’ll ever make.  We’ve seen concern about this among our clients, and studies have shown that Americans at large are underprepared for the costs and legal implications of late-life disability and dependence.  Independent living, continuing care retirement communities, advance healthcare directives, etc – just understanding the terms can be overwhelming!  But enough of the bad news.  There are many good senior living options these days.  If you know the terminology and who to ask for help, planning to age may be easier than you ...

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What Can an Escape Room Teach You About Financial Planning?

What Can an Escape Room Teach You About Financial Planning?
When you truly trust the people you work with, you aren’t afraid to be locked up with them, at least for a little while.  At Hilltop, we recently put our mutual trust to the test and went to an escape room for a little bit of team building.  If you don’t know what an escape room is, I should explain: the host locks you in a room, and you escape by finding clues, solving puzzles, and answering riddles.  (Of course, there’s a panic button that lets you out in a hurry – as our host explained, the fire marshall frowns on locking people in.)  This was an exciting and fun-filled experience, and after we finished, I couldn’t help but see some parallels with financial planning:   Work together and use everybody’s skill set During our escape room experience, Brittany, the team’s math major, deciphered one particular clue pretty quickly.  But she had to explain it to the rest of us a couple times before we understood what she had done. ...

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Do right, even when things get muddy

Do right, even when things get muddy
In my spare time, I enjoy training for and running obstacle course races.  These involve such challenges as crawling through mud, climbing over walls, and experiencing mild electric shocks.  Fun, right?  No, I’m serious, it is tremendous fun.  But to you, this may sound crazy, so you’ll choose not to participate.  That’s fine, it’s not for everyone.  This is a voluntary challenge, and I have chosen to subject myself to it. Similarly, we at Hilltop have accepted a challenge that many financial advisors eschew.  When we became a Registered Investment Advisor one year ago, we took on a burden known as the fiduciary legal standard.  This means that we must act in our clients’ best interests at all times, which is the rule for RIAs.  We strive for the fiduciary standard not because it’s fun, but because it’s the right thing to do.  However, the Department of Labor is on the verge of enacting a rule that would cha ...

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