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Brown Bear, Black Bear, What Do You See?

On a recent trip to the Detroit Zoo, we saw an orphaned brown bear cub named Jebbie taking a dip in his swimming hole.  As he looked at the crowd watching his bath, the Eric Carle book I read to my children “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” came to mind. Last week the S&P 500 dipped into Bear Territory and clients have asked me, “What do you see?” and “What should I do?” First and foremost, do not panic!  Bears like most animals can sens
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Divorce Planning: A Guide to Prepare You for the Divorce Process

Divorce Planning: A Guide to Prepare You for the Divorce Process Has your marriage come to an end? There are few events in life more painful than divorce, but you need to take the divorce planning process very seriously. After all, there are many important details that need your attention. This means that you need to keep your emotions in check and focus on the road ahead rather than grieving the past. There will be plenty of time to grieve once the divorce is finalized. When you are over 50, e
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5 Tips to Deal With Grief as a New Widow

5 Tips to Deal With Grief as a New Widow If you are a new widow, please know we are deeply sorry. We understand that losing your partner is one of the most devastating events you can experience in life. Right now it will seem like your life has completely stopped, and you may not be able to see beyond the day ahead of you. Everyone grieves differently, and no doubt you are wrestling with many different emotions since your husband passed away. Even though it doesn't seem like it now, your li
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The 6 Phases of Retirement You Need to Prepare for

The 6 Phases of Retirement You Need to Prepare for      Did you know there are at least six stages you’ll go through for retirement?   As you prepare to navigate life as a retiree, take note of these phases that you can expect yourself to go through.  Phase 1: Pre-Retirement  The pre-retirement phase is the planning stage. This is the time you’ll spend thinking about when you’ll retire, what you’ll do post retirement, and how y
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3 Barriers to Retirement and How You Can Combat Them

3 Barriers to Retirement and How You Can Combat Them    We don’t know one woman who doesn’t want financial success.     That’s the dream, right?    Bills are paid. Check.    There is income coming in. Check.    You have plenty of money saved up for retirement. Not yet? That’s okay.     Don’t be discouraged if you haven’t been able to set up the retirement fund you’ve always
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Planning for Travel

Planning for Travel Whether you want to take a dream trip around the world or simply want to visit your cousin in Indianapolis for a few days, you can benefit from some pretrip planning. If you plan far enough in advance of your departure, you'll usually get better rates on airline fares, lodging, and packages than if you wait until the last minute, particularly if your travel plans are flexible. If you're traveling to a foreign country, you may need time to obtain a passport or a visa
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Minimizing Taxation of Your Social Security Retirement Benefit

Minimizing Taxation of Your Social Security Retirement Benefit Your Social Security retirement benefit may be taxable Did you know that you might have to pay federal income tax on your Social Security retirement benefit? If the only income you had during the year was Social Security income, then your benefit usually isn't taxable. However, if you earned other income during the year or had substantial investment income, then you might have to pay federal income tax on part of your benefit i
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What should I do if I determine that my income during retirement won't be enough

Fortunately, you may have no need to despair. The further you are from retirement, the more time you have to resolve the expected shortfall. Even if you are closing in on retirement, there may be steps you can take to bridge the gap.In some cases, the best solution is to cut back current expenses.   This will enable you to put more     money into your IRA, 401(k), and other retirement savings vehicles.   Not sure where to cut back then you might want to cr
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Roger, Connie & Steve's Story

Roger, Connie and Steve met at college and have been a dynamic trio ever since.  All three got their degree in accounting while Roger went on to get an MBA and Connie minored in marketing.  Each got hired after graduation – Roger worked for an automotive supplier in purchasing, Steve as a staff accountant for a big CPA firm and Connie as CFO/Controller for a trucking company. They got together on a regular basis to play trivia at a local watering hole swapping stories
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Joan's Story

Joan loved the retail business.  She opened a specialty home goods shop in a vibrant upscale downtown with great foot traffic.  Business was good, especially when the economy was booming and there was a market for her cultivated collection of art, custom design and furnishings.  Occasionally during an economic downturn, business would be slow, but Joan anticipated such times and squirrelled money away and has always bounced back.  Joan’s daughter Elizab
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James' Story

 James came to us to help determine if he should take the buy out his employer was offering.  He was anticipating retiring in a couple years and wanted to see if you could afford to retire now.  He only had a few weeks to make the decision.    James was 60 years old, recently widowed after 27 years and one child.   He and his wife, Regina, had saved well.  She was a physical therapist.  They both contributed to their 401k’s and to a brokera
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Alex & Christine's Story

Alex and Christine were excited about retiring next year when they both turned 65 and Medicare eligible.   They came to us to prepare an income and tax strategy plan for their retirement and to determine when to start taking their social security benefits.   They were both 64.   Alex works with a small manufacturer as an engineer and Christine is a nurse.   They have 3 children and 7 grandchildren. In our initial meeting, they shared their dreams for
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Brian & Tina's Story

 Brian and Tina recently married, second marriage for both.   Brian is 64 previously divorced and Tina 62 was a widow.   Both had children from their prior marriages.Their goal was to retire in 3 years, when Tina would be eligible for Medicare.  They wanted an income and tax strategy that would provide income for as long as they needed.  They were also conflicted on how to ensure the other spouse would be taken care in the event of death but also to not disinhe
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Jennifer's Story

Jennifer came to us to help her retire.  She is divorced, 50, looking to retire at 62 and move to Florida to be near her sister. Jennifer worked in skilled trades for Ford Motor Company.  She had worked with them for 25 years.  She delayed contributing to the 401k, making her first contribution when she was 35.   She was concerned if she was saving enough to accomplish her goals.   Having watch her mother suffer with Alzheimer’s, she was also concern
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Rich & Brad's Story

Rich returned from serving in Vietnam and went to trade school on the G.I. Bill. He bought a work van and started a home improvements company, taking on handyman jobs and some remodeling. He got married and worked hard to build the business and allow Mary to stay at home with their two children Brad and Stacy.
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Kyle's Story

Kyle started mowing lawns and shoveling snow when he was just a teenager trying to earn money to buy his first car.  It made a great summer income when he was home from college and helped him graduate debt free.  Kyle started working in a corporate job utilizing his finance degree as a commercial loan officer for a local bank.  But as he extended credit to businesses, he had this nagging urge to start his own landscaping business.Kyle started small with a truck, trailer, a commerc
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Susan's Story

Susan and Vic were married for 50 years. They raised two children.  Adored their three grandsons, never missing a soccer game.  Returning from grocery store one day, Susan found Vic had passed away in his favorite chair watching the Lions game. Vic had handled all the finances.  Even though he tried to involve Susan, she had no interest in learning.  “That was his job”.   After the funeral, Susan was lost.  She was grieving, overwhelmed an
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Kathy's Story

Kathy and Steve were married for 40 years.  They raised 3 girls and have 6 grandchildren.   About 2 years after Steve retired, they found that wanted different things.  After a year of counseling, they decided to divorce.  Divorce after age 50 - aka "gray divorce" - is becoming more common. Divorce after retirement can have a significant effect on the nest egg.   Together your retirement was solid, apart not so much.  Kathy and Steve wo
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Megan's Story

Megan graduated top of her class from law school where she met her husband, Jason.  They each joined established thriving law practices and worked long hours to establish their own clients and pay down their college loans.Unfortunately, Jason and Megan often disagreed about their finances.  Jason was eager to start a family, but Megan wanted to focus on her career and work towards becoming a partner at her firm.Megan contacted the Financial Center for Women after seeing Paula’s s
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Kendra's Story

Kendra lost her husband to cancer.  Her children were just entering middle school and high school.  Kendra’s husband had faithfully contributed to his workplace retirement and had a small life insurance policy he had purchased when they were first married. Kendra was referred to the Financial Center for Women by a friend who knew we specialized in helping widows transition their financial plan after the loss of their spouse. We assisted Kendra in filing for survivor Soc
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Attaining Financial Freedom

Your financial health is important and learning to maintain it can help you achieve financial freedom. The prospect of sitting down and planning your finances might seem overwhelming to begin with, but as the saying goes, every journey begins with a single step!The first and most important part in examining your financial health is defining for yourself what financial freedom looks like.
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