January 1, 2023

Year in Review: Family, Goals, and Gratitude

It’s been some time since I shared updates about my family and me. This holiday season, all my sons, Nathan (26), Jacob (24), and Jack (22), were home. However, we faced some challenges. Jack’s flight was delayed due to weather, and Jacob had a car accident on Christmas Eve. Thankfully, he emerged unscathed, but the sight of the wrecked car was alarming.

The year has been fruitful for my sons. Nathan received a promotion at the Canton Symphony Orchestra. Jacob transitioned from managing a pool hall/restaurant to working for a company organizing contractors for big-box stores. Jack left his charter boat job to work at Schock Boats in Huntington Beach, where he’s now the yard manager and handles warranty claims. I’m proud to share that Jack received the largest year-end bonus among all employees at his company.

Laura and I spent most of the summer boating, though the high marine diesel prices were a concern. We also visited Cedar Point a few times and are considering getting the “Food” package next year. We’ve made a few trips to Florida, enjoying the St. Petersburg area. Laura is scheduled for surgery in February, so our winter travel plans remain uncertain.

One of my goals for the upcoming year is to go on another cruise. It’s been a while since our last one in March 2020. With the easing of vaccine restrictions and COVID-19 becoming more manageable, I’m eager to travel again.

I encourage everyone to set their goals and act on them. Whether it’s traveling or home renovations, it’s essential to plan and enjoy the quality years of life. I was reminded of the importance of enjoying life when we lost some clients this year. It’s crucial to make the most of our time and cherish the moments with our loved ones.

P.S. I hope our Money Management clients enjoyed Manuela’s famous chocolate chip cookies. They’re a delightful treat!

P.P.S. Tax season is here. If you haven’t taken advantage of our $90 CPA prepared tax service, I recommend doing so. It’s vital for your Certified Financial Planner™ to have a relationship with your CPA to ensure minimal tax liability year after year.

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The 4-Step Social Security Claiming Checklist

If you’re considering claiming Social Security benefits or have already done so, this checklist can guide you:

  1. The Benefits Associated with Each Claiming Age
    • Age 62: Earliest age to start collecting Social Security.
    • Age 65-67: Full retirement age, depending on birth year.
    • Age 70: Maximum age to delay taking Social Security for the highest benefit.
  2. How Your Social Security Benefits Are Evaluated
    • Factors include the time you retire, your 35 highest-earning years, inflation, and Medicare considerations.
  3. Your Supplementary Income
    • If you have other income sources, like part-time work, retirement accounts, annuities, or savings, consider using them before claiming Social Security to maximize your guaranteed income.
  4. Spousal Situation
    • Some couples claim based on one spouse’s earnings record, while others use a split strategy, starting claims at different ages. The higher earner might benefit from waiting longer to collect.

Recipe of the Month

Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage

This sweet and sour red cabbage is an easy side dish that’s perfect with sausages or pork chops and can be prepared in just 30 minutes.


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 large red cabbage, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the thinly sliced red cabbage and toss to coat with the butter. Sauté until slightly wilted, about 5 minutes.
  2. Sprinkle sugar over the cabbage and toss to coat evenly. Add the balsamic vinegar to the pot.
  3. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until the cabbage is tender but not mushy, stirring often, for about 30 to 45 minutes.
  4. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

What's in Season

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Madeira Beach, FL 33708

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Great Lakes Benefits Inc. is a Financial Advisory firm. Investment Advisory Services are offered by Great Lakes Benefits & Wealth Management, an OH Registered Investment Advisor.

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