September 2023 – Newsletter
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Thriving Through Retirement

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Retirement can last 25 years or more. So rather than think of it as a finish line, it’s important to see it as a new, decades-long phase of life. It’s an opportunity to redefine your life’s purpose.

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September 4 – Paramount office and the financial markets closed for Labor Day

September 15 – 3rd quarter estimated tax payment due, if required

October 15 – Medicare Annual Election Period begins

October 16 – Deadline to file and pay 2022 personal income tax return if you received an extension

October 16 – Deadline to make a 2022 contribution to a Keogh, SEP or other eligible plan if you get a filing extension

Second Annual Concert was a Blast!

Thanks to all our clients and guests who were able to join us last weekend for our second annual Summer Concert!

We are honored to have such great clients and hope you enjoyed the evening as much as we did!

See you again next year…

Client Spotlight- Brian & Melanie Low

There is something enchanting about lighthouses that draw visitors from around the world. Michigan has 129 lighthouses , 15 of which have volunteers that participate in “Keeper programs” to staff the lighthouses.

Brian and Melanie Low volunteer with SPLKA (Sable Points Lighthouse Keepers Association) which manages four of Michigan’s lighthouses. The mission of SPLKA is to preserve, promote, educate the public, and make lighthouses accessible to all.

“It was always on my bucket list that I wanted to be a lighthouse keeper”, said Melanie. A friend told her about SPLKA and she began, as she referred to it, the surprisingly lengthy application process. After completing the application, they had to write a letter explaining why they wanted to be lighthouse keepers, provide two letters of recommendation, join the organization, have an interview, a background check, attend training, and pass a quiz. Melanie said, “It was all very worthwhile. It’s a very professional organization and we’ve been impressed with the leadership.”

Melanie and Brian volunteer 1 week each year at Ludington North Breakwater. Unlike other lighthouses, this facility has never had living quarters. Instead, volunteers can sleep at Ludington State Park in a Keeper’s Cottage provided by SPLKA.

While the actual lights that aid ship navigation are automated, and controlled by the Coast Guard, it’s the volunteers that enable people to access and climb the structure. SPLKA volunteers collect entrance fees, ensure people climb safely, manage the gift shop, educate visitors on the history of the lighthouse and the harbor, do some ground and building maintenance, and most importantly, determine if it is safe for people to walk on the pier to get to the lighthouse. In the photo, Brian and Melanie are standing on the pier. When the water gets rough and waves begin crashing over the pier, the Lighthouse Keeper takes down the American Flag from the top of the lighthouse, signifying it is closed.

On their very first day of volunteering back in 2020, Brian was at the top of the lighthouse when a climber mentioned it looked like it could storm. Brian and Melanie decided to wait and see if a storm developed. “We didn’t want to prematurely close on our first day!” Melanie said. But after only five minutes Brian radioed down stating, “The wind is really whipping. I’m going to take the flag down now, because if it gets any worse, I won’t be able to stand outside on the deck to take down the flag”. Another volunteer, Joanie, went up to help Brian. It had gotten dark, so she decided take a video of Brian bringing down the flag with the beacon now flashing every six seconds. Brian remarked, “I could have used some help out on that ledge, but the video is a great memory.”

As the storm descended, Melanie began frantically closing all the portals on each floor and securing the building. It only took about 10 minutes, but the waves had already reached shoulder height, too high to safely walk on the pier. They were stranded! On top of that, apart from the navigation light, the lighthouse didn’t have electricity. They had to wait 2 hours in the dark before the storm subsided and they could safely leave. Brian and Melanie have quite a story to share about their first day on the job!

In addition to the 1 week per year Brian and Melanie also volunteer for special events. One example is “Night at the Light” at Little Sable Point. Local musicians play music on the beach at the base of the lighthouse. People bring lawn chairs and enjoy the music. The lighthouse is also open. Brian and Melanie sell merchandise and tickets to climb the lighthouse.

Brian and Melanie said their favorite part about volunteering is working with a great team and meeting people from all over the world. Many people come to the lighthouse to celebrate life events because the lighthouse means something special to them or signifies a memory. Others merely enjoy going to lighthouses to learn its history and climb to see the view.

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Don on the NYSE Floor

On July 19th, Don was in New York City for a Raymond James Chairman’s Council meeting. He and others from Raymond James were invited to be on the floor of the NYSE for the daily “ringing of the bell”!

Don is pictured here, underneath the infamous bell, with Mark Aho, from upper Michigan.

The Paramount Wealth Management Team

Don Hershberger, CFP®, AIF®, CRC®, Founder and President, PWM, was named on the 2023 Forbes Top Wealth Advisor Best-in-State list.

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2023 Forbes Top Wealth Advisors Best-In-State, developed by Shook Research, is based on the period from 6/30/2021 to 6/30/2022 and was released on 4/4/2023. 39,007 nominations were received and 7,321 advisors won. Neither Raymond James nor any of its advisors pay a fee in exchange for this award. More: Please see for more info.

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