Archived Newsletter Articles

Cybersecurity Best Practices

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The WannaCry ransomware attack last month affected individuals and businesses in more than 150 countries and infected more than 230,000 computers. It illustrated yet again the need for everyone using any device connected to the internet to employ best security practices at all times. Ransomware occurs when malicious software is installed on a computer, encrypting…

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FRS Pension Option 1 with Life Insurance: Good Idea?

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By Allen Giese, ChFC®, CLU® Here’s a concept that if you’re an FRS special risk employee approaching retirement, I’ll bet you’ve heard. The idea is, if you’re married, you choose Option 1 for your pension. That’s the option where if you die before your spouse, then your spouse gets no continuation of benefits—they get nothing.…

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The Talk Every Adult Should Have with Their Parents

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By Mia Kitner Let’s talk about “the talk.” It’s the talk with our parents that we as adult children tend to avoid—sometimes out of fear and other times because it is, simply put, difficult. The thoughts that may race through our minds tend to revolve around “Will they think I am being greedy?” or “I…

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Social Security for Divorcees

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By Steve Tepper, CFP®, MBA Spousal benefits are an important part of Social Security, and for many people, those benefits are still available even after divorce. While rules on spousal benefits for married couples are pretty well known to retirees and those retiring imminently, spousal benefits for divorcees are not as well known. The spousal…

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Advisor Compensation 101

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By Steve Tepper, CFP®, MBA There’s big news in my world: After several months of searching, I have a contract to buy a condo downtown. Without a doubt, my real estate agent’s most important quality throughout this process has been patience! I changed my mind about price range, view, amenities, buying or renting, and many…

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Self-Directed Accounts—Be Careful!

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By Allen Giese, ChFC®, CLU® Miami-Dade firefighters: In your 457 deferred comp plan or your FRS investment plan, do you use the self-directed account? If you’re not, are you thinking about it? Then this video might be for you. Hi. I’m Allen Giese, and our firm, Northstar Financial Planners, helps Miami-Dade firefighters make better decisions…

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Social Media and Our Finances

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By Mia Kitner As a millennial myself, I can’t help but be associated with all the positive and negative connotations we hear about our age group. We “live in our phones” and “live in the moment, not thinking about the future” (avocado toast, anyone?). It’s true our phones are more than the mobile devices our…

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The Buffett Challenge: Year 9 Update

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By Steve Tepper, CFP®, MBA Nearly 10 years ago, Berkshire Hathaway CEO (and arguably one of the best investors on Earth) Warren Buffett issued a challenge to the hedge fund industry—a $1 million bet that they could not put together a portfolio of hedge funds that would outperform an S&P 500 index fund over a…

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Love Paying Extra Taxes? Then a Deferred Comp Loan Is for You!

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I’m Allen Giese, President of Northstar Financial Planners in Plantation, Florida. Our firm specializes in helping Miami-Dade fire fighters make better decisions with their money. I want to talk to you today about a huge mistake that we see so many fire fighters make, and most of the time they don’t even realize it. It’s…

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Should Investors Sell After a “Correction”?

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Stock prices in markets around the world fluctuated dramatically for the week ended August 27. On Monday, August 24, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1,089 points—a larger loss than the “Flash Crash” in May 2010—before rallying to close down 588. Prices fell further on Tuesday before recovering sharply on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Although…

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The Wisdom of Yogi Berra

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September 22, 2015 marked the passing of baseball legend Yogi Berra at the ripe young age of 90. The Hall of Fame catcher was also well-known for a lifetime of malapropisms, many of which we have quoted in the pages of this newsletter over the years. Beneath the surface, his quotes often contained simple, easily…

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The Myths of Bonds

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Bonds have a place in just about every portfolio. At Northstar, we prefer to buy bond mutual funds rather than individual bonds for many reasons, but they serve the same purpose: To lessen the high volatility associated with equity investing. Unfortunately, many bond investors have different goals in mind, and those goals are often based…

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