Family Conversations:
Financial Hardship & Life Changes

When is the last time you talked about your insurance plan with your family? If you’re assuming that you should just take care of it yourself and avoid the conversation, think again. It can be hard to talk about what life would be like for your family if something happened to you. But it would be even harder for them if they were left in the dark about the details of your insurance coverage. READ MORE

Protect Your Business & Your Family

How many hats can one person wear? If you’re a small business owner, you know what comes with the freedom and creativity of being your own boss. You’re a juggler, overseeing everything from customer service to administrative details and quality control. Every day, your employees, your business partners, and your family rely on you. READ MORE

Savvy Spending for Students Going Back to School

Whether you are sending your Kindergartner or College student off to their first day in the “real world”, it takes some strategy to juggle the big shopping list of back-to-school needs. It can quickly add up but the good news is if you shop smart, you can really save a lot! READ MORE

Politics & Your Retirement

During years of political change we often hear people wondering if politics in Washington D.C. will impact our lives in mid-Michigan. Is there much difference between democratic and republican? And do we need to worry about who’s in the administration? READ MORE

Book of the Month: 7 Money Rules for Life

This no-nonsense and encouraging book gives readers the keys to get their money under control and get prepared financially for the rest of their lives. In her warm and engaging style, Hunt takes everything that she’s learned over the past twenty years and boils it all down. Presented in a conversational style and readable in a weekend, this book offers applications for each of the seven rules as well as practical advice for how to recover from past financial mistakes. These simple, unchanging, basic rules work in every financial situation, for every income level, and for every stage of life.

“I believe every human has a finite number of heartbeats. I don’t intend to waste any of mine.”

– Neil Armstrong

Grilled Halibut and Fresh Mango Salsa


2 cups plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 1/2 cups diced peeled ripe mango
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 TBSP fresh lime juice
1 TBSP cider vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt, divided
1 tsp black pepper, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 (6-ounce) halibut fillets
1 TBSP olive oil


1. Prepare grill.
2. Combine first 7 ingredients. Stir in ½ tsp salt, ½ tsp pepper, and garlic.
3. Rub halibut with oil; sprinkle with ½ tsp salt and ½ tsp pepper. Place fish on grill rack; grill 3 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Serve with mango salsa.

Flu Season is Around the Corner

Flu is a contagious respiratory disease that infects the nose, throat, and lungs. People often confuse the common cold for flu because the symptoms are similar. Be that as it may, colds are usually milder than flu. Flu can lead to serious complications, hospitalization, or even death. Pneumonia and bronchitis are examples of serious flu-related complications.

The Centers for Disease Control, along with the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, the National Foundation of Infectious Diseases, and other organizations, recommend getting a flu vaccine each year because new vaccines are developed to protect against flu viruses that research shows will be most common that year.

While how well the flu vaccine works can vary, the CDC says there are plenty of good reasons to get a flu vaccination every year. Flu vaccines can:

  • Keep you from getting sick from flu.
  • Help protect people who are at greater risk of getting seriously ill from flu, like pregnant women, older adults, people with chronic health conditions, and young children (especially infants younger than 6 months old who are too young to get vaccinated).
  • Possibly make your illness milder if you do get sick.
  • Reduce the risk of more serious flu outcomes, like hospitalizations.

Green Tips for Fall

As the leaves are turning color and dropping from the trees, keep the green alive—with this year’s fall cleaning, that is. Follow our eco-friendly and energy saving tips to have your home ready for when the wintry weather comes upon us while shrinking your carbon footprint at the same time.

Check your thermostat. When the weather starts to get cooler, we all tend to reach for the thermostat. Instead reach for a sweater, use draft stoppers in doorways, and invest in a programmable thermostat—just don’t turn the heat up. If your furnace is more than 15 years old, consider replacing it with an energy-efficient model.

Compost. Autumn is the perfect time to start a compost pile or bin in your backyard (or inside, with a special composting bin). Even if you don’t have a large garden or yard, you can still benefit from composting—it enriches soil and reduces the need for water, fertilizers, and pesticides. If you keep a small garden or containers, those plants will love the extra nutrients, too.

Conserve with your water heater. Most water heaters operate efficiently at 120 degrees Fahrenheit (49 degrees Celsius). Keeping the lower temperature could help increase the lifespan of the heater. For every 10 degrees you lower the water temperature, you can save between 3% and 5% in utility costs. Additionally, wrapping an insulating blanket around your water heater will help save energy this winter, possibly as much as 4% to 9% in water heating costs.

Conduct an energy audit. Do it yourself or hire a professional service to do it for you. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, sealing leaks around the house could potentially save you anywhere from 5% to 30% in energy costs. Check in places big and small—from electrical outlets to window frames, from baseboards to gaps around pipes. Check your basement and attic, too. Caulk and seal around plumbing and wiring leaks and gaps, and anywhere you feel a draft coming in around windows and doors.