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FALL | 2020











A supplement to

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WELCOME TO INSPIRED LIFE. At the heart of this magazine: the idea that at every age, we share a common love of this place we call home. Meet new neighbors embracing adventures—both big and small. Find real advice for taking good care of the assets and places we hold dear. Tap into a true joy for the outdoors that keeps our inner lives vibrant and our bodies well. Connect. Join in. Find smart and new ways to inspire your life Up North. —the Editors


JOURNALING TO THE LIFE YOU CRAVE After retiring to Benzie County five years ago, Leslie Hamp, author of “Create the Life You Crave,” now teaches journaling, leading her students closer to themselves.

THE BENEFITS OF SRI INVESTING Two Traverse City financial advisors weigh in on how following your heart can help you follow the money.



MOVING DOWNTOWN Living downtown can make your senior years easier and more fun—especially if you make your move to a Northern Michigan town.


FRIENDS. EXERCISE. BEAUTY. A walking group in Omena cultivates camaraderie during their weekly nature treks. Find out how to start your own group!


JUMP START YOUR FINANCIAL FUTURE Traverse City author and advisor Brian Ursu discusses his financial advice book, “Now What: A Practical Guide to Figuring Out Your Financial Future.”



ADDING A FAMILY ROUNDTABLE TO FINANCIAL PLANNING Northern Michigan financial planners explain the value of family financial transparency and how to organize your own roundtable.

FINANCE AT YOUR FINGERTIPS These five financial apps make budgeting and saving a breeze.


ADVOCATING FOR A LOVED ONE Navigating the health system? Professional patient advocates help you understand an increasingly complicated medical system. Plus, tips for advocating on your own.


STRUM: TAKE NOTE! The homegrown Society of Traverse Region Ukulele Musicians (STRUM) is more than a uke club—it’s about learning, laughing and fostering friendships.


BRINGING A CAREER’S WORTH OF KNOW-HOW TO VOLUNTEERING Dust off your career skills and make a difference, like these volunteers with Tip of the Mitt SCORE.

MyNorth Inspired Life is produced by MyNorthMedia. Advertising and editorial offices at: 125 Park St., Suite 155, Traverse City, MI 49684. 231.941.8174, All rights reserved. Copyright 2020, Prism Publications Inc. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.


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Leslie Hamp, the author of Create the Life You Crave, retired to Benzie County five years ago and now teaches journaling, seemingly effortlessly leading her students closer to themselves. She leaves her mark, makes an impact and brings about change. Sounds over the top, doesn’t it? But she’s left a trail of journaling pages in her wake that prove otherwise.

“My workshops are all about unblocking, playing, connecting and experimenting with words and images and color,” she says. “I show participants how to add simple art elements to help access information you can’t find with words alone. It’s a safe space for exploration that leads to insights and personal transformations. It’s exciting to witness.”



Born and raised in Michigan, Leslie, 65, is retired, living on Crystal Lake with her husband, Jim, and living the life she wants for herself. Having spent a professional career centered around writing, she now spends her days writing, paddling and leading journaling workshops at the Oliver Art Center (OAC) in Frankfort, as well as the Crooked Tree Arts Center in Petoskey (now via Zoom). Pre-COVID-19, I am attending one of Leslie’s workshops with eight other women in a beautiful room overlooking Lake Michigan at OAC. She starts the workshop by handing each of us a spiral-bound blank book of heavy paper. Leslie tells us we will decorate the covers, and I blanch. I cannot deface this brand new book with my amateur artwork. But there are glitter markers. It’s the first indicator that she’s good … very good. Leslie puts out piles of magazines, and we all gather with scissors. We cut out images, glue them to our covers and then paint, stamp and blend them together with stenciling. Everyone’s cover turns out incredibly different. One has a horse on it, one has a bike on it (mine), and one is nearly blacked out—the cover painted with many colors all bleeding together, many ideas at once, a blitz. Everyone agrees, though, that there’s something perfect about it, too. Leslie has infused the room with a creative charge without any warning. Another indicator. Next, she hands out journal prompt cards. There is a single word on each one, and we all get our own word. I get “Delight.” I think that’s totally lame and try to hand it back to her. “No!” she says, holding up her hand to stop me. “You got the card you were supposed to get.” Twenty minutes later, she has me writing, of all things, a letter. “Dear Delight…” It’s preposterous! It’s weird! It’s…fun! I have a whole conversation with Delight (capital D). Next, she has me write Delight’s response to my letter. It’s getting weirder, but I have to admit, better. As I write, I get this tiny unexpected thought out of nowhere: I do not have enough delight in my life. I miss it. It’s time to have fun again. This is why Leslie is so good at what she does.

Leslie and Jim lived in Ashland, Wisconsin, along the shores of Lake Superior, for 35 years, where they raised their two sons. Jim had an ear, nose and throat practice,  and Leslie worked in public relations in education for 10 years before earning a master of arts in Mass Communication in 1997. She then struck out on her own, launching her public relations business. “One of my favorite gigs was 10 years standing as the media director for the American Birkebeiner, an international cross-country ski race,” says Leslie. “The Vasa is a qualifier for the Birkie, another sweet tie to the area for me.” Leslie also taught journaling workshops for the Wisconsin Women’s Health Foundation, became a certified journal instructor through the Therapeutic Writing Institute and published her book, Create the Life You Crave. Leslie and Jim moved to their beloved family cottage on Crystal Lake in 2015. She built her journaling workshops, welcomed grandsons into their family and has built the life she craved indeed. “Now we have time for lots of hiking, biking, kayaking, paddle boarding, skiing and cooking nutritious food,” says Leslie. “My creative juices are flowing through my journaling workshops and producing feature stories on air for Interlochen Public Radio. Life is very good!”  



The last thing that Leslie has us do is, well, unthinkable. “Take your pages and paint over them,” she says. The writer in me revolts. This woman is a madman! But everyone else is all for it. Words and confessions and fears disappear under glitter markers, paint and chalk. It’s part of the process for some journalers, Leslie says. (I find that I can’t do it—I give my page a slight glaze of pale blue paint and call it good.) “When I heard people say they were hesitant to journal because they worried someone would read their words, I added ‘visual journaling’ to my classes,” Leslie says. “I show them how to cover their journal pages with simple art elements that ensure privacy.” See? She is full of ideas. I told you she was a journaling queen.

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TAKE 5 Leslie offers advice on how to journal, but with her usual “twist” (see Step 3!).


She says the “5-Minute Sprint” is a quick, easy technique when you’re feeling overwhelmed, resistant to journaling or don’t have much time. Open your laptop, the Notes program on your phone, or, best of all, grab paper and a favorite (colorful, glitter-ful or plain ol’) ink pen. Date your page, set your phone timer for five minutes and follow her three-step process: Step 1: Start with an “entrance” meditation. Find a quiet place, close your eyes and inhale/exhale deeply for three rounds of breath. Relax into yourself, leaving all thoughts and worries behind. Sometimes this is the best part. Step 2: When you’re ready, start your timer and begin writing using the prompt: What’s going on right now? Let the words flow without worrying about grammar, punctuation, spelling or sentence structure, and don’t go back to edit or rewrite. Keep writing until your timer sounds. Step 3: Re-read what you’ve written, then give yourself feedback beginning with the phrase: As I read this, I notice… Often this is the most telling part of the experience. What appeared on the page, and how do you feel about it? Leslie says, “The good news is that you don't have to be a writer or devote a lot of time to reap the benefits of journaling. All you need is a pen, a journal and a small snippet of time that's all about YOU. (JOY!)” Sign up for Leslie's free journaling course at LESLIE HAMP


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DOWNTOWN You can forget all your troubles, forget all your cares … BY ELIZABETH EDWARDS | PHOTO BY ALLISON JARRELL

In 1964, today’s seniors were coming of age and the pop singer Petula Clark’s song Downtown was hitting the charts. Fast-forward almost six decades and that song is taking on new meaning to this boomer generation. While the famous lyrics “you can forget all your troubles…” may not be completely true, living downtown can make your senior years easier and more fun—especially if you make your move to a Northern Michigan city like Traverse City, Charlevoix, Frankfort, Manistee, Marquette or Petoskey, where the hospitals are well-run, the crime rate is low and the restaurant and culture scene is lively. Realtor Dick Huey (Dick Huey Real Estate) and his wife, Susan, moved to downtown Traverse City recently from their downtown Marquette home. They loved the convenience of walking to restaurants and events in that city, but wanted to be closer to family. In Traverse City, Huey points out, they are as close to a hospital as they were in Marquette.

Munson Hospital, in fact, is only a seven- or eight-minute drive from their condo on downtown’s Washington Street. The Hueys’ decision to move to Traverse City included downsizing from their house to a condo. “A downtown condo is the new cottage on the lake,” Huey says, citing a trend he’s seen in his business. “With a condo, you don’t have to be so tied down. And there’s no yard work or maintenance. If anything mechanical goes wrong, the management fixes it.” Huey also adds that many condominiums have security systems in place. Huey admits that initially, the downsizing it took to slim down their belongings to fit into their new unit was painful. But now, he says that “less clutter is liberating.” Huey’s final piece of advice for seniors looking to move to a downtown condo is not to be anxious about being on an upper level. There are always elevators, he says. But you’ll stay in better shape if you use the steps. MyNorth INSPIRED LIFE | FALL 2020

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TIPS FOR STARTING A WALKING GROUP Interested in forming your own walking group? Consider some of the following: Send schedule reminders. Kate says Wendy is great about sending out email reminders to the group so they're always in the know when it comes to the weekly schedule. A simple reminder makes a big difference! Find a good year-round spot. The 4-mile loop in Omena is great for all seasons, as the road is largely protected from the elements. Try to find a walkway where you won't have to worry about too much ice during the winter months. Aim for consistency. The walking group in Omena rarely calls off due to bad weather, and members say that reliability is key to retaining participants. If you decide to cancel your walk one weekend, refer to Tip #1—send a reminder via email!


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Friends. Exercise. Beauty. A walking group fosters camaraderie in Omena. TEXT AND PHOTOS BY ALLISON JARRELL

It's a sunny June afternoon, and the towering trees along Omena Point Road are bursting with fresh, lime-green foliage. There's laughter ringing in the air as a group of four women walk and talk. While keeping a brisk stride, Wendy Wyatt describes what she and her friends must look like as they traverse the 4-mile loop in Omena each weekend. “We're like the James Gang, going to the saloon,” she laughs. “We like to spread out.” On this particular Saturday, spreading out isn't really an option—cars occasionally roll by. But as it's just the four of them this time—Wendy, Kate, Alison and Linda—it's an easy adjustment to switch to walking two across. “We normally don't interrupt traffic at all,” Wendy adds. “Usually on summer mornings it's not too bad.” The walking group, which can range from a couple women to eight or nine at a time, has been meeting up since Wendy initiated things back in 1997. The venue has seen several iterations—from Lee Point to Suttons Bay to Omena Point Road—and the group switched from meeting weekly on Sunday mornings to every other week for a while. Today, they meet at 10 a.m. on alternating Sundays and 2:30 p.m. on alternating Saturdays year-round. Alison, who's been walking with the group on and off since the beginning, says the loop in Omena is perfect for year-round trekking as it's protected by large trees. She enjoys it so much, that she and Wendy consistently walk the route twice whenever the group meets. Wendy's reasoning for starting the walking group is clear—a meal out with friends is great, she says, but it's not the same as connecting while exercising in nature. “There's something about getting out and just being active. It keeps you more energized … and out of breath!” She laughs while keeping up her snappy stride. The group has members who enjoy sharing their expertise in flora, fauna and birding, creating plenty of learning opportunities, Wendy says. Alison adds that the walks often double as a swap—magazines, newspapers, movies, books, even onions and garlic, have all been traded. And it's not uncommon for a larger group of walkers to pair off or split up depending on preferred walking speeds or topics of conversation. “I think one day at the end of our walk, you said, 'I've learned so much!' " Linda says to Wendy as they stroll along the shaded street. Linda estimates that she's been walking

with the group for about four years now. “And that's true, I come away with with ideas of books to read, and movies and places to go.” “And it's a potpourri of things, isn't it, Linda?” adds Kate. “It's not just about the flora and the fauna, it's just kind of a potpourri of things that we share with each other. And we're all pretty active learners.” On this particular Saturday, Alison is talking about a book she recently read about Marina Raskova—she was a Russian aviator who is considered a hero and created a team of women pilots who bombed at night during WWII. Kate says the group loves to talk about books. “That's one thing I love, and Wendy and Alison have always read something interesting. So, we get lots of ideas, and then we share.” Seeing as how it's late June, it doesn't take too long for the conversation to shift to COVID-related topics, such as recent exposure sites and updates on testing. The women all agree that continuing to walk and socialize has been a saving grace for them during the pandemic—it was during quarantine that they decided to add the 2:30 p.m. walk on Saturdays. Wendy notes that their core group of members all practice low-risk behaviors, so they feel comfortable keeping a safe distance sans masks while walking together outdoors. “Walking with friends was really my only socialization for months,” Kate says. Beyond that much-needed quarantine interaction, Alison says the group of trusted friends is a great springboard—she's come to count on their guidance and opinions. “What's nice about this group of women is that they are listeners,” Linda says. “It's nice to just be with people who really care about what you have to say and are good listeners. It's very refreshing.” The women of the Omena walking group say they love having new people join and participate. The group is open to anyone who's interested, and their members range in age. Some are mothers, some aren't. But no dads, so far, they note. “I've never heard any conversation against having men in the group, they just don't show up!” Kate says, prompting some laughter. Wendy says no matter the group or the time, the walk never has an agenda, and it will always be there for those who can attend. “If you can't make it, we'll miss you, but we'll catch you next time!” she smiles. MyNorth INSPIRED LIFE | FALL 2020

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Figuring Out Your Financial Future A Q&A with Traverse City author and advisor Brian Ursu BY MADISON DELAERE | PHOTO COURTESY OF BRIAN URSU

Brian Ursu, author of Now What: A Practical Guide to Figuring Out Your Financial Future, is not only a financial advisor with his clients’ futures in mind, but a dad who worries about the futures of his five kids. Ursu, who has been helping clients reach their financial goals for more than 30 years, decided to write a financial advice book after realizing the resources just weren’t out there for his daughter, who was newly managing an income. “I looked at the 32 years of experience I had and realized if I got hit by a bus, my kids wouldn’t have the benefit of everything that I’ve learned and that I’ve given to my clients,” Ursu says. The more research he did, the more he realized that the millennial and Gen Z generations have a lack of financial understanding, but are passionate about what they do and want to make a difference with their investing. “I felt like this book would help satisfy what it is they were after,” he says. We caught up with Ursu to talk about what it was like to write his book, and what tips he would share with young adults about preparing for their financial future. What was the book-writing process like? I write a blog every other week, so I enjoy the process of writing. I did this in the mornings from 4:45 a.m. until 6 o’ clock, so the house was quiet. I am a morning person, so this was my jam and I could just start writing. It came together perfectly in terms of the flow. I broke it down into three sections: Part 1 – the boring stuff (the fundamentals), Part 2 – the practical stuff, and Part 3 – the good stuff (investing). It flows logically—you have to start with a basic understanding of the terms and the principles. What have you learned along the way? Well, I learned, and this is going to sound horrible—kind of like the shoe-

maker’s children who had holes in their shoes—I was guilty of not passing this information along to my own kids. I had a lot more guilt than I thought I did. What is the central idea you’d like your audience to walk away with after reading?  Finance isn’t a mystery, and it’s not rocket science. If you follow these practical steps, you’re going to put yourself on a path to financial security. It is doable. I would like the reader to feel empowered and not intimidated.  What do you think young people generally misunderstand when starting their financial journey?  I feel like they’re often paralyzed by the student debt they have, and they’re trying to figure out, “How do I get out from under this? I can’t even think about retirement or any kind of investing until I can get out from under this debt.” They look at it sequentially—once I get this debt paid off, then I can start paying attention to my finances. I feel like you have to do it all at the same time. That’s what I think the book will help them understand.  What type of impact do you hope to have on those new to managing their finances?  I wrote in the book that if this helps one person put themselves on a path to financial security, I will have done my job. (And if you are that one person, email me!) And I believe that. I really want to help people who want to help themselves. Brian Ursu has been a financial advisor and wealth manager for 32 years. He pens a blog almost weekly and is the author of “Now What: A Practical Guide to Figuring Out Your Financial Future.” Visit for more information and to download a free monthly budget worksheet.

TIPS FOR MANAGING YOUR FINANCES 1. Compound interest is magical. The money that you put away when you’re young has the most impact on your financial security. So be sure to start as early as possible (even if it is a small amount). 2. What we’re seeing right now with this pandemic is that it’s really important to have an emergency fund, which amounts to three to six months of your living expenses. It gives you freedom from worry. 3. Pay yourself first. You will likely not receive a pension. Social Security will need to dramatically change due to demand. The lifestyle your future self will enjoy is based on what steps you take right now. 4. Invest with a purpose. Align your unique social concerns with the way you invest money. Money has power—you can use it for good. 5. Avoid credit cards like COVID-19. They are dangerous if used improperly. Every time you think of using your card, imagine yourself taking a cruise with strangers in the middle of a pandemic. MyNorth ESTATE & FINANCIAL SERVICES

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The Value of Adding a Family Roundtable to Financial Planning Northern Michigan financial planners, hemming& Wealth Management, explain the value of family financial transparency and how experts can make that a success. BY CARA MCDONALD

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It can be difficult enough to make individual decisions about finances, but many of those have ramifications that impact partners and children too. So it makes sense to pull the team together to get on the same financial page. Enter the idea of a family financial round table.

WHO IT’S FOR A common misperception is that financial planning and asset management are for people with plenty of assets to manage. “Not true,” says Autumn Soltysiak, a certified financial planner and partner at hemming& Wealth Management in Traverse City. “We see a lot of clients who are hardworking people—retired teachers, social workers, farmers.” She adds that sometimes those with few assets can benefit the most from a family meeting. Take farmers, for example. “They may not be coming to the table with a large stock portfolio, but rather the bulk of the asset value is in their land. The family may not want to sell that off in order to equalize how things are divided among beneficiaries,” she says. A family meeting can help prevent the loss of a legacy property. Another scenario is blended families; nearly 40 percent of married couples have previously been married. Getting everyone on the same page in a blended family is a situation financial planners see frequently. Say a husband and wife have blended finances, but they each also have kids from previous marriages. “If a spouse dies, how can we ensure the surviving spouse is taken care of as well as the children of the deceased?” Soltysiak says. The secret to success in that situation is to have the clients discuss their desired outcome ahead of time, and then bring the adult children into it. In one case, she helped the wife keep the couple’s home and balanced a fair payout to the husband’s children. “And fair doesn’t always mean ‘equal,’ ” she adds. In actuality, a roundtable allows for peace of mind for anyone, regardless of net worth.

WHAT A FAMILY MEETING LOOKS LIKE “There are two main scenarios we see for these meetings,” Soltysiak says. “Parents who are aging and want to finally share information with, and get the support of their kids, and younger parents bringing together young adult children to teach them about finances and get them started on the right foot.” In both instances, there’s a desire to share a vision of financial health and legacy, and to pass along financial values as well as to make practical arrangements that ensure assets and the wishes of clients are protected. Meetings can include immediate family as well as the family lawyer, accountant and financial planner. They can be one-time meetings to establish changes, or ongoing (such as semi-annual) to support an aging parent. “The secret to success is to have a focus and a good understanding going into it,” Soltysiak says. “Is there a problem to be solved? Are we going to talk about inheritance?” For instance, you might be juggling investments, a lake house and three different kids with different desires and needs. That’s good to know up front so the planner can put together an agenda and make sure everyone is heard. PAID FEATURE

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It’s not just about talking things through; it’s also coordinating intentions with plans and documents and follow-through. “Often there’s a will or a trust, they’ve had these drawn up, but their assets are never retitled into the trust, or they never change their beneficiaries,” Soltysiak says. “People can collect investments over time without coordinating those with what the estate documents say.” Another consideration is tax planning. An accountant will often prepare taxes for the lowest tax bill today without considering the tax bomb that might get passed on, she explains. “So sitting down together allows for really good integration of the planning.”

SECRETS TO SUCCESS These are Soltysiak’s must-follow rules for a productive family roundtable:

» Respect. “For the client, the work they’ve already done, for their intentions and desires. Our job is along the lines of being the coach of the family meeting. Making sure there is open communication, that questions can be asked.” » An agenda. “We always use an agenda to keep things organized.” » Visual aids. “We find these really help us illustrate cash-flow planning.” » An educational approach. “People are coming in with different backgrounds: We try to keep it at a conceptual level. Finances can be intimidating, so we never want to get into a situation where someone feels like they don’t belong at that table.” » An agreed-upon purpose. “The purpose is usually directed by the client, so we honor that by keeping everyone involved focused there.” Soltysiak recalls one successful meeting where the client was passionate about leaving the majority of their money to a nonprofit in town. “That was expressed ahead of time,” recalls Soltysiak. “When the client died it was understood that that’s where the money was going to go. The kids were really proud of that. There was no expectation that that money was coming to them.” In fact, she says, in most meetings she sees, adult children aren’t focused on inheritance but rather encouraging their parents to enjoy their assets in their senior years. Successful meetings will even incorporate conversations about planning for long-term care or caring for elderly parents. “These are more lifestyle questions, but they’re pretty empowering,” she says. Her advice: Talk about it before you get to the stress point. “Before the death, before you need long-term care, before there is confusion,” Soltysiak says. In the end, a roundtable is about passing on financial values—and finding peace. “From a client’s perspective,” Soltysiak says, “they may feel cautious about sharing their finances with family, but there’s something really freeing when they know their kids are cheering for them.”


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Financial Advisors in Traverse City Heather J Boivin, AAMS® 3285 South Airport Road West 231-933-5263 Yancy Boivin, AAMS® 3285 South Airport Road West 231-933-5263 John W Elwell 3588 Veterans Dr 231-947-0079

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Andrew Weaver 318 S Cedar Street 734-780-5541 Claudia F Rodriguez, AAMS® 125 Park Street, Suite 250 231-947-3032 John Tredway 806 S Garfield Ave Suite B 231-932-1290

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8/10/20 11:57 AM

The Jonkhoff family and caring staff are the ones you can trust and depend on... today and tomorrow.

You work hard for your money. Let your money work hard for you.

WE LISTEN. • TOGETHER, Financial Planning • Investment Strategies • Pre-and Post-Retirement Planning WE SOLVE • Portfolio Reviews

TBA Credit Union Investment Services Available through CUSO Financial Services*

Pictured from left to right: Dan and Peg Jonkhoff, Christy Jonkhoff-Hater and Lindsey (Jonkhoff) Rogers

Like your will, funeral pre-arrangements are a guide for your survivors and a gift of love. Call us today for an appointment as our preneed consultants, Nicole or Brooke, would be happy to meet at your home or ours.

Reserve time with CFS Financial Advisor Andrew Maniaci by calling 231.946.8794 *Non-deposit investment products and services are offered through CUSO Financial Services, L.P. (“CFS”), a registered broker-dealer (Member FINRA/SIPC) and SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Products offered through CFS: are not NCUA/ NCUSIF or otherwise federally insured, are not guarantees or obligations of the credit union, and may involve investment risk including possible loss of principal. Investment Representatives are registered through CFS. TBA Credit Union has contracted with CFS to make non-deposit investment products and services available to credit union members.

Many people support the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy because they know the best way to ensure our region remains vibrant, healthy and beautiful is to protect the critical places we all love - forever. Planning for a conservation legacy offers the satisfaction of supporting a vital cause, the excitement of knowing your gift will make a positive impact and – in many cases – substantial financial benefits to you and/ or another beneficiary through tax advantages or life income. Many arrange planned gifts to ensure their vision and annual support can last well into the future. We can work with your financial advisor to design a gift planning option that will meet your personal, financial and charitable goals, all while safeguarding the region’s most special places for future generations.

For more information contact: Marissa Duque, Director of Development (Interim) p: 231-929-7911 e:


The Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy has partnered with FreeWill to provide you a free online tool to write your will so you can support the people and causes you love the most. Leave a gift to GTRLC, to protect NorthernMichigan’s beautiful land for your family to enjoy for generations to come.


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8/10/20 12:30 PM


FOR Investment Partners Explain Benefits of SRI Investing Two Traverse City financial advisors weigh in on how following your heart can help you follow the money. BY CARA MCDONALD | PHOTO BY ROLLING FIELDS PHOTOGRAPHY

Financial advisors Mecky KesslerHowell and Kristi Avery of FOR Investment Partners in Traverse City are empowering clients to invest with a focus on their values and profit. We checked in with them about what socially responsible impact investing looks like, who it works for and why you need to think about it in an unstable market. Give us the 30,000-foot view on your field. Mecky Kessler-Howell: We specialize in socially responsible impact (SRI) investing. These days more people are familiar with investing with an eye to environmental, social and governance responsibility, which is called ESG, but SRI goes further. How so? MKH: SRI also includes clients’ values. For example, clients may not want to invest in companies that are engaged in mining, those that produce weapons, tobacco products or violent video games targeted at kids, or companies that utilize unnecessary animal testing. We customize each client’s portfolio specifically to match personal morals, ethics and values.

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How do you create a strategy out of those values? MKH: If there’s a company a client doesn’t want to support, we find a comparable company to invest in. As an investor, you don’t just throw a type of business or an entire sector out of your portfolio, you look for a well-run company that does the same or similar work. Using what criteria? MKH: First and foremost, you look at a company’s financials, which also should have a great forward-looking management team that looks out for shareholder value. With an ESG and SRI focus, you additionally look for a management team that considers, for example, employees’ well-being and/or environmental risks of a company’s operation. A sustainable company mitigates risk, making for an attractive investment. So instead of rejecting whole sectors, you tease out the businesses that are doing well by doing right by people, or the environment, and so on? MKH: Yes. For example, if a company takes care of its employees—good benefits, on-site daycare, etc.—those employees

will stay and work well, and the company doesn’t have to replace and retrain constantly, which is a draw on resources and finances. It might cost that company more in the beginning, but in the end, it will reduce costs. Let’s look at a company that is more environmentally conscious in its operation/production. That company lessens the burden of costly lawsuits and/or environmental cleanup of their site of operation. It not only mitigates some financial risk for the company and investor, but also addresses the investor’s values. Kristi Avery: We don’t discredit a company for not being perfect; that change takes time. Plus, SRI is a long-term strategy overall. We’re not day trading, trying to pick penny stocks here—we’re looking for long-term, sustainable growth. And of course, our investors want returns. When we create a portfolio of SRI investments matched to traditional investments, sector to sector, we don’t have to give up returns. MKH: That’s part of our social responsibility—to have the investors reach their financial goals. That’s very important; the client wants to earn money toward their goals goals by investing in companies with their social values.


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Are your clients comfortable with making money? MKH: They are and they should be. KA: However, we do ask clients as part of our intake if they are willing to give up returns if they decide on a very strict values-based negative screen, especially if a client opts out of a whole sector of the market. Are there misperceptions about your investing strategies you have to deal with? KA: We’re still beating down the mentality that sustainable means giving up returns. It’s not just screening out what you don’t want; it’s what you do want to support, what companies excite you, what industries excite you. Let’s get those things into your portfolio! The stuff you don’t want falls away naturally. Some of the older generation of advisors is still repeating that if you do this type of investing, you take a loss. There is a lot of solid research about how you’re not giving up returns by investing in SRI. In the recent stock market downturn, a study of socially responsible funds showed that they performed better and suffered less volatility. So, hopefully that old mentality will die out. Who is a typical client for you? KA: Right now, we work with a lot of institutional nonprofits to invest for them in ways that align with their missions and institutional values. In the last five years, there’s been more interest from individual clients using their personal or retirement savings to invest in a socially responsible way. MKH: We actually work with more couples when they share the same values. We see a lot of younger people, female and younger male investors in particular, that are concerned about the future. What prompts people to find you? KA: Any kind of change in their personal value structure. Marriage is a big one, as couples talk about combining

resources and saving for the future. MKH: If they have children or are thinking about children, couples think about what kind of world they want to raise their children in. KA: Retirement and divorce are huge, too. These are life changes that give someone the opportunity to form a personal relationship with an advisor who takes your values into account. The other thing to consider is, at FOR, we are independent and not tied to the products we use. I think that appeals to people, and when they have the option to, say, get out of their company 401K plan and pick an advisor on their own, they want someone working on their behalf as a fiduciary. What’s new in your field in 2020? KA: There has been recently published research by John Hale of Morningstar about the reduced volatility in socially responsible investing, and sustainable equity funds fairing better than their conventional peers in this recent environment. As advisors, we look for less downside, less potential risk. MKH: We are also seeing some companies taking certain environmental issues like climate change very seriously. We’re seeing corporate reaction—for example, some banks are not loaning money to the coal industry anymore. The issue of plastic waste is also huge. KA: So is water tech, and investing in clean water resources. What’s hot on your clients’ minds right now? MK: Clients are interested now in environmental justice and sustainability. That’s a reason we’re seeing a rise in ESG mutual funds/investments. It’s great and wonderful, but it’s not all that investors can do. Sometimes there are companies that investors feel are not doing a great job in their environmental operations, and investors, or groups of investors, invest their time and participate in shareholder resolutions to hold PAID FEATURE

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companies accountable. One example is how shareholders pushed the largest fast food chain to end its use of polystyrene packaging. As a shareholder you can write, you vote your proxy, you can go to annual meetings. Is there something you wish more investors knew about your business? KA: That we exist! That SRI investing is an option and a viable one. That SRI can be holistic, it can be your entire strategy, not just a niche fund to make yourself feel good. There’s just such a lack of awareness in this space and that gets perpetuated by traditional advisors who aren’t familiar. We’re not just picking a few mutual funds and throwing them into a client’s portfolio, we are taking a holistic approach to all the various investment vehicles we offer with an SRI lens. True SRI investing makes a difference. It really, really makes a difference. MKH: Education for investors out there is key; people still think you have to sacrifice performance, which like we’ve explained, is not the case. KA: I wish potential investors knew this is so much more sophisticated than a tree-hugging mentality. It goes above and beyond traditional analysis; it takes it a whole step further. We look at more granular things inside your investments so that it is truly customized and personalized. It has nothing to do with my values or Mecky’s values; it’s about the values of the client sitting in front of us. It’s their money. We’re completely agnostic. This strategy has nothing to do with a political affiliation—it is truly aligning values with how you invest your money. To be honest, my personal goal is to have someone turn to me years later and says, ‘Wow, you helped me save TOO much money.’ ”

Securities and investment advisory services offered through Western International Securities, Inc., Member FINRA/ SIPC. FOR Investment Partners and Western International Securities, Inc., are separate & unaffiliated entities.


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8/9/20 11:25 PM


Finance at Your Fingertips These five apps make wrangling your dollars easy and, dare we say it, fun. COMPILED BY ALLISON JARRELL

MINT If you’re looking for a free app that does it all, Mint is a great place to start. With Mint, you can link all of your financial accounts—checking, savings, investing, credit cards, you name it—as well as add property owned in order to calculate your net worth. Unlike some other apps that require you to input all of your data, Mint collects transaction data from all of your added accounts. This gives you a crystal-clear view of your financial picture, and allows you to budget and track your monthly cash flow and how much you’ve spent of your monthly budget. You can also add goals, such as buying a home, and Mint will help get you on the right track. MINT.COM

TIP: Use Mint’s website application (rather than the app) to create your budget. It has a super user-friendly interface that makes the process a breeze.

PERSONAL CAPITAL Like Mint, Personal Capital can also be used for budgeting and tracking your spending, but the app really excels as a tool for understanding your investment holdings. For users who have accounts in multiple places, Personal Capital will pull your investments from each company, and the result is a comprehensive view of your holdings. The app features easy-toread visuals that lay out your investments by account or asset class—equities, fixed income, real estate, etc. PERSONALCAPITAL.COM

TIP: Personal Capital also has a free analyzer tool that can scan your accounts for any fees you’re paying. This can be especially helpful for 401(k)s, which often have hidden fees.

YNAB (YOU NEED A BUDGET) YNAB prides itself in building its users a better budget and helping them gain control of their spending. The app does this by focusing on four rules: 1) Give every dollar a job. 2) Embrace your true expenses. 3) Roll with the punches. 4) Age your money. YNAB offers tools similar to other apps for setting goals, budgeting and tracking spending, but the focus on “a job EFS 20

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for every dollar” allows you to take a deep dive into thinking ahead—whether that’s investing, paying off debt or saving up for a big purchase or vacation. YOUNEEDABUDGET.COM

TIP: YNAB costs $11.99 a month or $84 annually, but you can try the app free for 34 days before making the investment. Students who provide proof of enrollment can use the app free for 12 months. POCKETGUARD Want to know exactly how much money you have for spending each month? Try out PocketGuard, a free app that’s great for finding savings among your everyday expenses. After linking your bank account, cards, loans and investments, the app calculates your monthly spending, bills and savings contributions, and then lets you know how much money is left in your pocket. There’s even an Autosave feature—tell PocketGuard how much you want to save, and it will show you how to achieve that goal. Easy, right? POCKETGUARD.COM

TIP: Not only will PocketGuard track your bills—it can actually help you negotiate better rates on your cable, cell phone and more.

CLARITY MONEY Perhaps the biggest selling point of Clarity Money is that it monitors your many subscriptions—Netflix, Blue Apron, Spotify, we know, the list goes on—so you can keep track of which ones you’d like to keep and which recurring expenses you’re better off ditching. (Clarity will even cancel those subscriptions for you!) Like other apps, Clarity Money also tracks your monthly income and spending, so you can get a quick, thorough look at your financial picture. MARCUS.COM/US/EN/CLARITY-MONEY

TIP: Clarity Money is a free app, but as it was recently acquired by the Marcus brand of Goldman Sachs, users also have the option to open a high-yield online savings account through the app.

8/7/20 9:51 AM


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8/9/20 11:28 PM


Advocating for a Loved One BY KIM SCHNEIDER

The health care system has become increasingly complicated, especially when you layer on the isolation and other challenges brought on by COVID-19 distancing, notes Linda Beck, principal and founder of Square One Elder and Health Advocacy. Too often, under any scenario, the medical system can feel impenetrable for families advocating for loved ones. As a result, families reach out to specialists like her—paid patient advocates who can help with finding the best specialist or treatment trial for a rare condition, get answers from a hospital on a patient's behalf or be a virtual health care manager. “While each provider may have a fix on their particular area of care, for many patients, no one is keeping an eye on the big picture,” Beck says. “Seeing six, eight, 12 specialists opens up the patient to conflicting diagnoses. While electronic records were supposed to solve the issue, they're too often open to inputting and access errors.” HOW TO ADVOCATE ON YOUR OWN

A first key step to advocating for family members effectively is to pull together every medical record you can find, Beck and other advocates say. Each treating physician needs to be made aware of the patient's prescription list, other specialists they're seeing and any tests they've already had. A family can put that on a thumb drive and carry it electronically to appointments, but it's also good to hand an old-fashioned copy to a provider, Beck says. Barbara Abruzzo, president of Livingwell Care Navigation, which is

based in New York and offers services nationwide, suggests adding an even shorter cover page or client profile—a paragraph or two to hand to a doctor, just like the one she'd prepare when working as an intensive care nurse. “When you say to a patient, ‘Tell me about your case,’ they go into a story rather than answer the question. This is a simple paragraph—how old they are, what are the key issues the patient is dealing with from a diagnostic perspective and what are their medications,” Abruzzo says. When more help is needed, family members can look first for free support, notes Jacqueline O'Doherty, a certified patient advocate and geriatric health manager with Health Care Connect. Most hospitals have social workers with whom you can make a virtual or in-person appointment. You can ask that they be part of a virtual care meeting and pull in the case manager, doctors on the case, physician therapists—anyone treating the patient. Every county has an office on aging, a federally funded program that can be a great resource. Also, don't forget about hospital chaplains and hospital-provided patient advocates. Most work for the hospital's risk management department, O’Doherty notes, with a goal of making sure the hospital doesn't get sued. But many, including Cornell, have great patient advocacy programs that look out for the patient. “The bottom line is that people (and families) have to be active participants to get the health care they want and to protect themselves against many of the misadventures that can happen,” Beck says. “You don't need your own

MD degree, but you do need the ability to communicate with health care providers, ask good questions and educate yourself. I say Dr. Google is informative, even if she's not infallible.” ADDITIONAL TIPS FOR ADVOCATING:

» If hiring a professional health advocate, consider looking for one with expertise in the appropriate diagnosis area, especially if dealing with a rare disorder or disease. To find one who works in the appropriate state, start with the Alliance of Professional Health Advocates ( » If you can't be with a family member in person because of COVID-19 isolation or another reason, Abruzzo advises that you picture yourself sitting at that bedside and do what you would be doing if you were there—that might be playing the person's favorite music or just keeping a phone line open and hanging out. » Communicate regularly with the hospital or appropriate physician, and escalate concerns when necessary. Establish a good time to check in with floor nurses (note: not during shift change). If unhappy with communication with the health care team or care, Nicole Rochester, CEO of Your GPS Doc LLC, advises that you ask to speak to the charge nurse or the unit director, particularly if you have a concern about nursing care. With concerns about the care plan or lack of progress, go to the department chair or the chief medical officer. “Be polite but persistent,” she says. “Your loved one needs you to be their voice now more than ever.”


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8/7/20 10:33 AM


STRUM: TAKE NOTE! It doesn’t matter who you ask or how old you are: Playing a ukulele is F-U-N. BY KANDACE CHAPPLE | PHOTO COURTESY OF STRUM


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Elise Brooks, 71, from Thompsonville, can attest to that. She’s a member of the Society of Traverse Region Ukulele Musicians (STRUM) in Traverse City, and the local, homegrown group is about far more than learning how to play the instrument. “No one in the group cares if you're an accomplished musician or a beginner,” Elise says. “Everyone is learning more every week, regardless of their level. And the laughter… friendly people playing ukuleles—and even a few kazoos? You just gotta laugh!” STRUM started in 2013 when Lake Ann resident Rachel Jones, 34, attended a music workshop in Michigan. She ran into a man who was trying to get ukulele groups started all over the state—enough so that people wouldn’t have to drive more than an hour to find one. He encouraged Rachel to start one in Northern Michigan. “I had the summer off, and I liked to play, so I put up flyers” says Rachel, a school psychologist for elementary schools in Benzie. “I met other people. And if you want to laugh, join a ukulele group!” Typically, STRUM meets the third Wednesday of every month at 7 p.m. at The Grand Traverse Circuit in Traverse City, a cultural arts and education center. But since the pandemic, the group has been meeting online every Wednesday at 7 p.m. “It’s been great fun online,” Rachel says, “as at least half a dozen of us have written parodies or songs about being in quarantine.” After running the group for a few years, Rachel handed the reins over to Bryan Boettcher, dubbed the TC Uke Man. Bryan, 40, has organized the group since, helping transition the group online and getting sheet music up in shared Google Drives for all to see. They are actually playing together more after Bryan created a 24/7 online meeting link, where they can jump on anytime, and often do. They have also added a special “Open Mic Night” at 7 p.m. on the third Wednesday of every month online, where folks can sign in and take turns sharing their own songs or leading ones they choose. On regular Wednesdays, a member is chosen to pick and lead a song, or the group might learn and play a brand new song together. During play, one member has the “floor,” so to speak, while the others mute their mics. They are playing alone, together. “Bryan organizes and leads most of our gatherings,” says Gwen Foor, 63, a long-time member who moved to Washington last year but has now been reunited with the group online. “He does a fantastic job helping those who

need it and challenging us to learn new chords, songs and strum patterns.” Bryan estimates there is a core group of 15 to 20 members, but says attendance fluctuates, with more than 100 players attending over the years. Some come just once a year for the annual STRUM Anniversary party in August, while others try to make every meeting. “We play popular songs or write funny parodies of popular songs,” Bryan says. “The ukulele is a very accessible instrument with soft nylon strings that are easier on your fingers than guitar strings. It’s portable and totable and lighter and brighter than a guitar.” He says he leads STRUM from a position of, “You can pick up this instrument right now and start.” “I always treat it as if we are a group of beginners, always learning,” says Bryan. “Our mission is to share the joy of music and the ukulele.” STRUM performs at events such as area festivals and local libraries. One of Rachel’s favorite stories is when a twoyear-old boy checked out a ukulele from the Traverse City Area District Library and joined the group on the spot. “He was definitely our youngest member, and his parents ended up bringing him to more meetings!” Rachel says. Oh. And there’s one more thing: The STRUM Sisters is a group of four women (two in their 60s, two in their 70s) who decided to meet outside the group and start their own little band. “The STRUM Sisters really warms my heart,” Rachel says. “I love that they have that relationship now because of the group.” Both Gwen and Elise are part of the STRUM Sisters. “We meet every week, learn new songs, share favorites and work on harmony singing as well,” Gwen says. “It has been an absolute joy!” The STRUM Sisters have played at nursing homes, family reunions, barn dances and even for TC’s Veterans for Peace rallies several years ago around the International Peace Day celebrations, Gwen says. Five years ago, Elise pulled her guitar out of the closet after about 30 years, and was relearning how to play it via online videos. “But playing all alone in the guest bedroom isn't as much fun as playing with others,” she says. “I bought a uke, joined STRUM, and am surprised at all the good people and experiences that have come my way since then, like the STRUM Sisters!” The group hopes to meet again in person and resume performances soon. Until then, they are in harmony online. For more information on the group, reach out to Bryan at MyNorth INSPIRED LIFE | FALL 2020

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Sixth Street •• •Traverse City, MI 49684 • 231-947-6347 • 305Sixth SixthStreet Street• •Traverse TraverseCity, City,MIMI49684 49684•305 •231-947-6347 231-947-6347 305

Model Open M-F 8:00-5:00

CHELSEA PARK II TRAVERSE CITY Butch Broad Developer/Builder 231-218-4965

Jerri Kindlinger Realtor/Broker 231-645-5020

2019 PARADE OF HOMES AWARD WINNER: Best Interior Design, Best Master Suite, Best Kitchen, Best Craftmanship, Judge’s Choice BEST OVERALL and People’s Choice WINNER! Privacy and location are key when it comes to the tranquil setting of Chelsea Park II. These 2BR/2BA, onestory condominiums offer a full basement, natural gas fireplace, and t wo-car garage. Quality construction with updated amenities such as heated tile floor in the master bath and quartz counter-tops throughout. All exterior maintenance, lawn care, and snow removal included in your low monthly association dues. Maintenance free living at it’s best! Now taking reservations on the last of our duplex units with estimated completions starting in January 2021.

Duplex units available NOW starting at $379,900


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8/9/20 11:13 PM


Bringing a Career's Worth of Know-How to Volunteering



Sharon Schappacher is no stranger to volunteering. You'll find the Petoskey resident active in her community's YMCA, Women's Resource Center, garden club and local arts center. But while she loves and supports each of those causes, there's an extra level of satisfaction, she admits, to one volunteer position she's held for the past five years: being a business mentor through SCORE. As the current director for the Tip of the Mitt chapter of SCORE, this CPA and long-time hotelier draws on both her regional connections and a long professional career to help the region’s small businesses. And, having owned and run hotels in Mackinaw City along with her current entrepreneurial investments in hotels, billboards and more, Sharon’s experience hits home with the many entrepreneurs that she mentors. “I love the feeling when I've come out of a meeting and feel I've really made a difference,” Sharon says. “I've met with so many business owners who've come in so scared, worried they're messing something up. We sit down, ask them some questions and have them tell us what's going on with their business. And at the end, we're able to give them steps to solve a problem. Sometimes I feel like I've just been a superhero. It's a pretty wonderful feeling.” SCORE is a nationwide network with some 10,000 volunteers. As a taxpayer-funded partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration, the program offers free business mentoring and education to anyone who seeks it out, and it has helped 11 million entrepreneurs since it was formed in 1964. 28

The Tip of the Mitt SCORE chapter has 24 volunteers, most in Petoskey, with some volunteers in St. Ignace and Gaylord. Volunteers bring many different career backgrounds to the work, and while most mentor monthly, others add their expertise to special projects such as when a nonprofit turns to SCORE for help in strategic planning. Among Sharon's duties is handling the training of volunteers, who sometimes need a bit of coaching themselves before realizing how well suited they actually are for the work. Rex Winter, of Boyne City—retired from a long agribusiness career at Cargill with experience in commodities sourcing, risk management and asset management—has worked with dozens of businesses and individuals looking to start a business during his five years as a SCORE volunteer. It's extra meaningful, he says, to use the things you've learned over a career to help others. “For some of us,” he says, “we're beyond the point of wanting to work, but still want to contribute.” SCORE work is 100 percent about helping a small business owner or owner-to-be make an informed decision, and small businesses drive the economy of Northern Michigan, he notes. “You're applying your experiences and resources to help entrepreneurs and small businesses fulfill their dreams and hopefully make their business successful ... I find it very satisfying to work with people, help them make a good and informed business decision,” Rex says. At the Tip of the Mitt chapter, as with many other SCORE chapters,

mentors are paired up in teams when they meet with the business or prospective business owner seeking ideas or assistance. If one mentor can't answer a question, usually the other can. The additional person adds a lot to brainstorming sessions, sometimes about product development, other times marketing, Sharon says. Often, the main success is in matching the businessperson with the right mentor for their solution—that might be a community member volunteer, or another agency or organization. During mentorship meetings, Sharon and her colleagues have helped with everything from profit calculations to spreadsheets to patents to the sourcing of supplies. Some of the region's best-known businesses have been clients. While all meetings are confidential, the clients of the year are invited to publicly share stories of their participation and success. Among those are Crooked Tree Breadworks, Van Dam Custom Boats, Great Turtle Kayak Tours and Archer Full Throttle, an online business that sells archery supplies. That business came to SCORE looking for help in setting up a local store, but took the mentorship advice and now successfully sells 20,000 archery and hunting items online. “It's all very rewarding,” Sharon says. “They all might have been successful anyway, but I think we've made it easier for them by giving advice they didn't have to learn the hard way.” GET INVOLVED

Visit to find a local chapter where you can volunteer, or to request a business mentor.

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8/7/20 10:34 AM

THE RIGHT FIT In these uncertain times, it is even more important to have a team dedicated to being on your side; experienced financial professionals that truly listen to your concerns and can provide sound financial advice that reflect these changing times. We are here FOR you. As fiduciary investment advisors, Traverse City-based Mecky Kessler-Howell and Kristi L. Avery of FOR Investment Partners want to know what you care about most. “When considering life after work, I like clients to ask themselves, ‘Where do I want to be? Who do I want to be?’ Once I have a clear idea of your values and goals, FOR Investment Partners will help you look at how to balance work and leisure, and how to make smart choices for the future.” Adds Mecky, “We work FOR you. As independent advisors, we have only your best interests and goals at the forefront of our advice.” Best of all, both Kristi and Mecky strive to help create an intentional alignment with financial investment goals and your values and missions. “I feel it is my personal social responsibility to help my client reach their financial goals according to their own values,” says Mecky. “Combined we have over 30 years of experience helping clients invest with their intention. Our goal is to help align your financial resources according to your values, and plant seeds for financial returns.”


It’s easy to reach out... 2226 South Airport Road West, Traverse City 231.933.4396 | | Securities and Investment Advisory Services offered through Western International Securities, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC. FOR Investment Partners & Western International Securities, Inc., are separate & unaffiliated entities. PAID FEATURE

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8/10/20 11:44 AM

CELEBRATING 20 YEARS OF SERVICE Much has changed through this time,” says Ms. Hintsala. “Independent living apartments are more accepted by retirees and paying rent is no longer taboo. Assisted living and adult foster care homes are providing higher levels of care, and nursing homes offer more beds as a short-term rehabilitation stay. Also, Ms. Hintsala continues, “We now have the Sandwich Generation. Those people who are still working, have aging parents and have grandchildren or children of their own at home.” Being of the Sandwich Generation herself, Connie recognizes the signs of caregiver burnout and understands the challenges (and guilt) associated with caring for aging parents and spouses.

Aaaagh! Winter is Coming….

Connie Hintsala, Senior Housing Expert at Alliance for Senior Housing

Did you tell yourself last year you’re not doing another winter at home? Senior residences are gearing up for the influx of fall and winter inquiries. September and October many independent retirees or those needing assisted living will be considering a move into a senior housing residence. Their concerns: isolation, clearing their driveway and sidewalks, walking to the mailbox, getting medications and grocery shopping or losing power. Making inquiries before the crisis, is wise. However, making all those calls is an overwhelming process. Each residence is unique in what they offer, cost and what’s included in the rent. Let us come to your home and educate you on amenities, cost, and funding options- helping you make a wise and educated decision. Our service is free but invaluable! To make an appointment, please call and talk with Connie Hintsala.

Call Connie at 888-816-4040 for a FREE assessment—we come to you!

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8/7/20 9:19 AM

Profile for MyNorth

Inspired Life and Estate Planning Fall 2020  

Friends, Exercise, Beauty: Start Your Own Walking Group! / Navigating the Health System? These People can Help / Dust Off Your Career Skills...

Inspired Life and Estate Planning Fall 2020  

Friends, Exercise, Beauty: Start Your Own Walking Group! / Navigating the Health System? These People can Help / Dust Off Your Career Skills...

Profile for mynorth

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