Healthcare Open Enrollment

The Affordable Care Act has changed the face of individual insurance and will continue to do so going forward. In order to prepare you for the 2017 open enrollment period we wanted to provide you some helpful information. Open enrollment for 2018 runs from November 1st, 2017 through December 15, 2017. Effective date is Jan 1, 2018. There are many new plans and rates! Learn how to get the most out of your healthcare plan without having to sacrifice your needs or empty your pockets. Call our office at 989-692-2200 to get started.

Cashing Out Retirement Accounts

If you’ve been putting money away into a retirement account for a few years, it can be tempting to dip into those funds. However, withdrawing from your 401(k) or IRA early usually means penalties. The penalties can be significant: Forbes reported that Americans paid an estimated $5.8 billion in penalties on retirement account withdrawals … READ MORE

Early Holiday Shopping

It seems like holiday displays creep up earlier and earlier every year. Forget about waiting until after Thanksgiving – wreaths, stockings and ornaments are sharing the shelves with Halloween displays in stores across the country! Financial professional Mindy McIntosh talks with WSMH about how to make the most of holiday shopping before Halloween. READ MORE

Book of the Month

Written by ABC World News’ Real Money expert and healthcare advocate Michelle Katz, Healthcare Made Easy is the ultimate resource for understanding and navigating the Affordable Care Act. You will learn how to get the most out of your healthcare plan without having to sacrifice your needs or empty your pockets.

“The best way to cheer yourself is to try to cheer somebody else up.”

– Mark Twain

Penne with Spinach and Sausage


Salt and pepper
1 pound penne pasta
1 pound Italian sausage, casings removed
1 clove garlic, minced
2 14.5-ounce cans tomatoes, diced (with juice)
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
5 ounces baby spinach
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated (plus extra for serving)


1. Bring salted water to a boil in a large pot.
2. Add penne pasta, and cook until al dente (or still firm); roughly 11 minutes. Drain pasta once done.
3. Sauté sausage in skillet over medium-high heat until it browns, breaking up sausage in small chunks as you cook.
4. Add minced garlic to sausage, and sauté for 30 seconds.
5. Pour the two cans of tomatoes with juice into the sausage, and add the oregano and basil.
6. Bring tomato-sausage mixture to a boil, then turn heat down to medium and simmer for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally until sauce thickens slightly.
7. Add cooked pasta into sauce, and stir until combined.
8. Toss in the baby spinach, and cook until just wilted.
9. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste, and remove skillet from the heat.
10. Add shredded mozzarella, and combine into pasta.
11. Serve and top with grated Parmesan cheese.

How to Have More Energy as You Age

As we age, our energy levels tend to decrease. But that does not mean we have to stop feeling energetic. With some tweaks to our lifestyles, we can improve energy levels and boost our mood along the way. Follow these tips to get started:

1. Diet: Avoid eating high-glycemic foods, including rice, white bread, and sugar-sweetened beverages. These foods can spike blood sugar levels and cause energy crashes. You also want to eat the right amount of calories for your energy output. Talking with a dietician can help you properly manage your diet.

2. Exercise: Physical activity is important for maintaining proper health as you age. While you may not be able to do the same activities as before, you can still stay active—whether through walking regularly, going to the gym, or other activities. Be sure to consult your doctor before doing any new exercise.

3. Sleep: Most people need at least 7 hours of sleep each night to feel energized the next day. If you are having trouble sleeping, try to change your routine⎯go to bed and wake up at the same times each night and morning. You may also want to avoid caffeine in the evening and keep your bedroom cool and dark.

Eco-Friendly Fall Lawn Tips

Autumn is a great time to do yard work and prep for spring growth. You can minimize the pollution and waste you create with these tweaks to your lawn care:

Avoid gas-powered tools: Whether you need to rake your leaves or clear your gardens, the tools you use can make a green difference. Gas-powered tools are real energy hogs and can create as much pollution as 80 cars. Opt instead to use manual tools (such as rakes) or electric-powered tools for cleaning up around the yard.

Fertilize with organic products: Slow-release, organic fertilizers are great for your yard⎯they’re made from natural materials and have essential nutrients. By using these products, you will enrich the earth rather than pollute it.

Compost leaves: Fallen leaves are great for the yard, since they can decompose and deliver important nutrients back to the earth. Rather than collect them into a plastic bag to throw away, try composting them. By the spring, you’ll have healthy soil to add to your lawn and garden.