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Make Succession a Success

Success After SuccessionIt's not just money that your family and loved ones receive when wealth passes from one generation to the next. There is also a set values and principles to help guide children, grandchildren and other family members toward living meaningful and rewarding lives. Wealth does not define a family—but, it can solidify a foundation on which a family's legacy can grow and flourish.

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Recently Divorced? Prepare a plan for reinvesting in you

Woman Walking On BeachIf you are going through, are considering or have recently gone through a divorce, then you understand already that the emotional toll it takes feels, at times, insurmountable. Sure, you may go to work, or continue to try to enjoy the things that you used to, but it doesn’t feel the same. There can also be feelings of guilt if you are enjoying yourself.

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What are the costs of Long Term Care for Women

Flower-hand-offTrying to picture when, or if, you may need extended care or in home care and what that might entail is a challenge, especially if you are healthy and active now. This type of planning can evoke strong feelings of fear and vulnerability and that is often why we put it off until we “really need to think about it”.
 
WHEN WILL I NEED IT?

Most often, the payoff of long term care insurance begins when we advance into later years and need health care assistance that our families and loved ones are simply not capable of providing. This comes in the form of an in-home health care worker, an assisted living facility, a nursing home or sometimes hospice care. What we don’t consider, however, is that unexpected accidents can occur in our lives long before any of those scenarios. Without a long term care insurance policy, weathering the expense of a long term rehabilitation center, in home nursing care or physical therapist can have a significant impact on the wealth that you have worked so hard to accumulate for you and your family.

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Planning for Later Years

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 There are many changes that occur as we or our loved ones enter the later years of life.  In addition to potential health and lifestyle changes, there are financial considerations to this time in life that can tremendously impact us or our family members if not handled properly.

Our workshop, “Planning for Later Years”, hosted elder care experts to address all aspects of elder care and help us gain a better understanding of the planning considerations during this time in life. Attorney Joy Riddell, who focuses on estate planning, trusts and estates, and elder law at Robinson, Boesch, Sennott, & Masse in Portsmouth, gave us great insight into estate planning documents that are important to have, as well as considerations for long-term nursing home care and Medicaid planning. Joy is passionate about helping families gain peace of mind by putting in place an estate plan that executes their wishes and helps to educate them on their options. She is a Past President of the NH Chapter of National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and is very involved in many other professional and community organizations. The following are a few of the highlights of her talk.

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Fiscal 2015 Budget Affects Roth IRA Planning

Deep within President Obama's Fiscal Year 2015 Budget, are a number of proposed changes aimed at retirement accounts.  Six out of the 7 provisions below were included in the 2014 fiscal budget, but weren't enacted.  The fact that all of the major retirement account-related proposals from last year are repeated in this year's budget indicates that they could have difficulty passing this year as well.  However, we think it's important to know what's on the table when considering your tax planning strategies.

"Harmonize" the RMD Rules for Roth IRAs with Other Retirement Accounts
President Obama's Fiscal Year 2015 Budget calls for a provision that would require Roth IRAs to follow the same required minimum distribution (RMD) rules as other retirement accounts. In other words, you would have to begin taking RMDs from your Roth IRA when you turn 70 ½, the same way you do with your traditional IRA and other retirement accounts. If this were to come to pass, it would be a MAJOR game-changer when it comes to retirement planning.

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Kids and Money

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Imagine if there were a way to increase your chances of living your life in a way that makes you feel more fulfilled, more aligned with who you are and what your values are, and more at ease about your future. Imagine you had the ability to teach this way of life to your children so they grow up with these same principles they can pass on to their children and their children's children.  Sounds great, right?

For me, talking about money at home goes beyond the desire to teach financial concepts to my children. There is disconnect in our society between money and values and this stems from the way we are taught about money. I want my children to connect with money. I want to leave them an inheritance that is worth more than just money in the bank.

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New England Women's Leadership Conference

Mindy and Alexa attended the New England Woman's Leadership Annual Summit (www.newli.org) held in June. The 2014 theme was Blazing the Trail, Igniting Your Leadership Talents. Nearly 400 women business owners and professionals attended the event from all over New England. The breakout sessions covered topics from creating a culture for talent in your business to strategies that inspire and lead. Anna Maria Chavez, CEO of the Girl Scouts of the USA was the keynote speaker, and discussed the importance of developing leadership opportunities for girls at an early age, and giving them a sense of purpose. She talked about getting rid of the negative influences in our lives and "only let your fans sit in your front row." She stated that a surprising 75% of women leaders were former girl scouts. 

The New England Women's Leadership Institute, a 501 c 3 organization, was created in the fall of 2009 to establish a stable organization devoted to the education of professional women in the areas of Leadership, Vision and Values. The institute offers a variety of cutting edge seminars and events, including the Annual Women's Leadership Summit, their flagship event. At Northstar, we are excited to support this dynamic organization and participate in its offerings.

Please contact us if you would like our feedback on this great organization or would like to join us in attending an event.

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Divorce Your House When You Divorce Your Spouse

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Divorce is never a happy circumstance, and the financial necessity of selling your home as a result can compound the emotional stress.

Even if you're inclined to keep your house post-divorce, selling is oftentimes the best solution, even if it means taking a loss. The choice to sell is much more common today than it was in the past. Unfortunately, once you've made the decision to sell, all your questions haven't been answered. Here's a list of factors to consider once you've decided to sell your home, post- divorce.

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Recently Widowed: First Steps

If you were recently widowed, you are likely feeling numb, empty and as if nothing matters. While this is completely normal, you should not be making important and possibly irreversible financial decisions during this time of crisis.

Working with a Certified Financial TransitionistSM can make all the difference in getting through this painful time without making financial decisions you may later regret. These are the first steps you should take to begin working through this journey.

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Summary of Northstar's Investment Call on 2/4/2014

Weston Wellington, Vice President at Dimensional Fund Advisors gave a great talk regarding 2013 predictions, what actually happened and some sage advice to take into 2014.

2013 was one of the best performing years on record for equity markets, but the constant stream of bad news kept many investors from participating in the upside.  It was a year for constant worry, from the largest municipal bankruptcy in Detroit to a government shutdown.

"We are thinking about the problem in the wrong way", stated Weston.  There are always things to worry about in the world and there are always things to be optimistic about.   You never know which factors will have the greatest impact and they are often already reflected in the prices of securities anyway.

As humans we feel like we have the information available to make accurate market predictions, but we don't.  In reference to Barron's 2013 Roundtable, where a group of investment experts make their economic predictions for the coming year, many of them thought there would be a crash, and one third of them had gold as one of their top picks, which was one of the worst-performing assets classes of the year.

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Tax Free Gifts Can Go To Anyone

Clients often have questions about making gifts to relatives and friends.  We thought it would be helpful to provide some background on what is known as the "annual gift tax exclusion."  This is an IRS tax law that allows you to gift a certain amount tax free each year.

Under the annual exclusion, you can give as much as $14,000 this year to as many people as you like – without any tax considerations or burdensome paperwork.  The total amount to any one person can only be $14,000.

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