Blog

A Plan For Non-Retirement

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By Steve Tepper, CFP®, MBA One of our favorite statistics here is the average retirement age in the United States, which has been 62 since about the time the federal government began allowing people to take Social Security retirement benefits early. We love this statistic even more when it is combined with another statistic: When…

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The Most Critical Question in Retirement Planning

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 By Allen Giese, ChFC®, CLU® I’ve been a financial advisor for a long time—over 25 years. And over that time I’ve helped more people than I can count make better decisions about their retirement planning. But here’s the thing—over that time I’ve seen what people definitely regard as their most important concern. This is…

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Calculating Risk Tolerance

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By Steve Tepper, CFP®, MBA The investment part of our clients’ financial plans tends to be a simple, yet elegant thing—a low-cost, well-diversified portfolio containing a handful of mutual funds, which themselves contain thousands of individual stocks and bonds. At first glance, most of our clients’ portfolios look pretty similar to each other. Among all…

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Bitcoin 101: What You Should Know About Cryptocurrency

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By Mia Kitner Bitcoin has made recent headlines, and by now we are all familiar with the term cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrencies are digitized currencies that are rising in popularity, and many wonder if the frenzy behind them is a bubble or not. Fiat Money vs. Cryptocurrency To understand what bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies are, we must…

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Parents of College Students: Please Read

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By Steve Tepper, CFP®, MBA You’ve sent your kid off to school. Congratulations, and if you need a good contractor to convert that bedroom into an exercise room, let me know. And keep that name for four years from now just in case you need to convert it back! College is a time of mixed…

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Great Questions to Ask a Financial Advisor

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 By Allen Giese, ChFC®, CLU® Imagine you are meeting with a new financial advisor tomorrow who was recommended to you by a close friend. What questions should you ask him or her? Hi, I’m Allen Giese, founding partner with Northstar Financial Planners in Plantation, Florida. The short answer is: Basically, you should feel free…

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Northstar’s Reading List

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By Mia Kitner Reading a good book can lower your stress and improve your focus, and studies have shown that the habit can improve your short-term and long-term memory. While these benefits have probably been known for some time now, we still struggle to find the time to read more.   With the holidays fast approaching,…

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Your Year-End Financial Checklist

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By Steve Tepper, CFP®, MBA This month we once again give you our annual reprint of a handy financial checklist. So here are a few things to think about in between tree decorating, light untangling, and latke frying: Employer-Sponsored Retirement Accounts: In order to take a deduction for contributions to an employer-sponsored plan such as a…

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Wealth Management: So Much More Than Just Investment Consulting

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By Allen Giese, ChFC®, CLU® So there’s a lot of advisors out there these days calling themselves “wealth managers.” What is a wealth manager, and how is it any different than a financial advisor or a broker? I think if you asked most people, even most financial advisors, they’d be hard-pressed to tell you what…

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Pet Projects

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By Steve Tepper, CFP®, MBA If you are inclined to spend money like the rich, famous, and ultra-affluent, here are some ideas: Louis Vuitton offers a monogrammed carry sack for $2,550. From Versace, you can get a 22K gold-leafed bowl for $1,128. And Michels VIP Parfums carries a range of fragrances from $180 to $4,800.…

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Cybersecurity, Identity Theft, and What We Should All Know

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By Mia Kitner By now it’s not news that cybersecurity concerns have taken center stage in the country. Equifax, one of the three leading credit reporting agencies in the U.S., has admitted that they were hacked around May–July and that personal information of more than 145 million Americans had been compromised. Sadly, as alarming as…

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The Emerging Market Bounce

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By Steve Tepper, CFP®, MBA You’d have to be a little crazy to invest in emerging markets right now. There are so many problems in the second and third world, they could hardly all be listed in this short article. But here are a few key drivers of expected weakness outside of the U.S. and…

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