Home

How to Thrive While Life Happens

 

 

Life happens quickly, bringing a continuous mix of opportunities, uncertainty and even potential peril. The British saying from World War II Keep Calm and Carry On gives us insight into how a population kept themselves together when faced with grave and prolonged uncertainty. Now in the 21st century we need a new version of this motto, Keep Calm and Carry Very Little. We also need a skill set to put the motto into action. At Northstar, we talk about How to Thrive While Life Happens.

Continue Reading

Print Email

Your Unique Journey to Financial Wellness

In a study done by Merrill Lynch in partnership with Age Wave, it was found that 70 percent of women believe that men and women have a fundamentally different life journey when it comes to career, family expectations, aging, and finances, reinforcing the need to better understand women’s financial concerns and opportunities. In recent decades, there has been a seismic shift in women’s personal and financial representativeness.

Since 2015, women or female run households have had control of more than 50% of our nation’s wealth. With this new wave of women investors and financial heads of household comes the need to identify what can be done to reinforce independence, mitigate longevity risk, encourage financial knowledge and education, and empower women to find their path to financial wellness. Financial independence affords women the confidence in meeting their financial obligations, experience the life that they want, achieve their goals and take care of loved ones.

Continue Reading

Print Email

Have you been underpaid? What Widows need to know about Social Security

The Social Security Administration recently reported that it had underpaid $224 million to about 25,000 widows and widowers. In a random sample of this group, it found that 82 percent could have gotten a higher monthly benefit if they had claimed survivor benefits first and delayed claiming their own retirement benefits until age 70. The audit also found no evidence that SSA employees informed the people about their option to delay their retirement benefits to age 70, which is required. If you believe that you have been underpaid, we recommend contacting your local social security office to determine if they will give you any retroactive benefits.

Widow’s social security benefits are complex so we recommend that you call or visit your local SSA branch to get an initial determination of your options and then get a second opinion with an expert on social security claiming strategies to help you fully understand your benefit.

Continue Reading

Print Email

How to Approach Charitable Giving in 2018 and Beyond

Now that the tax season is a wrap for most Americans, it’s time to start contemplating how the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) will impact your 2018 and future tax plans. One of the frequently asked questions we’ve been fielding is on charitable giving: How can you keep giving, and get a little back on your taxes? Following are four practical possibilities to consider for charitable giving under the TCJA rules.

No New, But Possibly Improved Opportunities

It’s worth mentioning that none of these four tax--planning possibilities are new; they’ve all been available well before the TCJA passed. The difference is, they may be more applicable to you under the new tax codes.

Continue Reading

Print Email

Reckoning With Your Retirement After the Loss of a Spouse

Losing your spouse is hard enough without having to worry about the retirement you have built together. After many years of responsible saving and planning for a comfortable retirement together, it can be devastating to face the prospect of taking on those carefully laid plans alone. Though nothing can ever make up for the loss of a spouse, there are ways in which a widow or widower can lessen the financial burden by collecting some of a spouse's retirement funds.

Continue Reading

Print Email

Book Review: Breaking Money Silence

BreakingmoneysilenceBook By: Kathleen Burns Kingsbury (Praeger, 2017)
Reviewed by Julie Fortin, CFP®, FBS®

Mixed financial messages abound when it comes to our collective money culture. Money can often bring up feelings of discomfort, anxiety, or shame. Consequently, money can be an uncomfortable topic of conversation that is typically avoided at all cost. However, this cultural confusion and silence around money is causing more harm than good when it comes to our emotional and financial health.

Continue Reading

Print Email

5 Things Every Woman Should Know About Social Security

Nearly 60 percent of the people receiving Social Security benefits are women. While Social Security benefits are completely neutral when it comes to gender, there are ways in which women can benefit from thinking strategically about their Social Security income so that it can be of maximum value to them throughout retirement. Understanding the information in this article can help you better prepare for what you can expect from your Social Security benefits and can help you to determine when you should begin drawing from what you are eligible for.

Continue Reading

Print Email

To Tie the Knot or Not?

The Intricacies of marriage and/or living with your partner later in life

While more and more older women are choosing to live with their partners, it doesn’t mean that there is a rise in marriage among this group of individuals. In fact, many older adults are delaying a trip to the altar or putting it off entirely.

A recent poll from the Pew Research Center reports that the number of people age 50 and older who live together with their unmarried partner increased by 75% between 2007 and 2016. A decade ago, 2.3 million mature unmarried adults were cohabitating and now that number is 4 million. That is almost a quarter of all adults who live together.

Continue Reading

Print Email

Protecting Your Financial Windfall

Making Sound Financial Decisions in the Wake of Sudden Money

The last word that comes to mind when you think about receiving a large sum of money is "shock". Indeed, the very notion of being the recipient of a financial windfall brings about feelings of extreme relief and jubilation, but the term "shock" to many, sounds a bit extreme. The reality, however, is that people can and do experience Money ShockTM that can negatively impact their decision-making while in financial transition. Stress, grief, panic, fear, and distrust are just some of the negative emotions that can come with new wealth. Those, coupled with feelings of excitement, relief, and joy, plus the potential for underlying family dynamics can lead to a mix of emotions that can lead to sleeplessness, confusion, clouded judgment and lack of thought clarity among other things. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Continue Reading

Print Email

Mars, Venus, and Maintaining Good Communication in Retirement Planning

Communicating with your spouse when it comes to finances and planning for the future can have a positive impact on, not just your financial well-being, but your relationship.

According to the National Endowment for Financial Education, 31% of Americans admitted that they have lied to their spouses about finances. Financial infidelity can lead to a lack of trust in a relationship and can diminish open communication about other things beyond finances. When creating a strategy for long term financial plans it is paramount that couples share the responsibility and maintain an open dialogue with each other and their financial advisor.

Continue Reading

Print Email

The Gender Gap in Financial Well-Being

As women, we see, perhaps in sharper focus, what women do to provide emotional, spiritual, and financial support for those they care for. Women often take lower paying positions in business in order to have more time with their children. Sometimes savings are sacrificed in order to pay for education and childcare. As their parents age, more often, they become the primary caretaker of the family.

When it comes to finances, women often put others before themselves when they address the equation. While the altruism in this is commendable, it has led to a great disparity in financial well-being between women and men. In Financial Finesse's most recent Gender Gap in Wellness reportreport the key findings were:

Continue Reading

Print Email

More Articles ...