Taking Security Seriously


Ever wonder what steps we take to ensure the security of your information?

This is a topic we take very seriously here at The Center. There are a variety of ways we work to ensure the privacy of your data. One of the steps we took was to hire our IT Manager, James Brown. James brought with him not only an in-depth knowledge of networks, hardware, and software but also an eye for security best practices. A core value of our firm is to seek continuous learning. While we have a large number of individuals on staff who seek new certifications on the topics of investment management and financial planning, it is also just as important in the world of technology and security. While James possessed a large amount of knowledge on the topic of security, he felt it is important to remain on top of the latest threats. This is why he sought to obtain the CompTIA Security+ certification.

In “non-geek speak” CompTIA Security+ certification is an assessment of an IT professional’s cybersecurity skills in risk management, disaster recovery and computer security best practices.

CompTIA Security+ is a vendor-independent global cybersecurity certification for IT Security professionals. Security+ certified professionals have proven competency in:

  • Network security

  • Threats and vulnerabilities

  • Compliance and operational security

  • Cryptography

  • Access control/identity management

  • Application, data and host security

This is not an easy test to pass, let alone on your first try! So join us in congratulating
James on achieving this! We know he spent countless hours for the benefit of you, our
client, studying to pass.

In addition to James, we also have an excellent resource available to us in security through
our relationship with Raymond James. James requested that Raymond James perform a
scan of our externally facing addresses and ports. This is a vulnerability assessment that
checks for a variety of ways a hacker could make their way into our system and gain access
to your data. After their threat assessment, we were found to have no vulnerabilities, a
clean bill of health so to speak.

James will be sharing some of what he has learned in his upcoming webinar on “Staying
Safe with Computer Best Practices

Angela Palacios, CFP®, AIF® is the Director of Investments at Center for Financial Planning, Inc.® Angela specializes in Investment and Macro economic research. She is a frequent contributor The Center blog.

Are You a Peyton or a Cam Investor?

Contributed by: Sandra Adams, CFP® Sandy Adams

As we approach Super Bowl Sunday, considered the greatest American sports day, the farthest thing from our minds might be our investments. And given the volatility of markets thus far in 2016, that might be a welcome break!  However, the quarterbacks in Super Bowl 50 provide us the opportunity to observe two very different personalities in sports that we can relate to our investment personalities.  Which quarterback are you more like?

 Peyton Investors:

  • Value consistency of performance over the long term.  Peyton Manning has been a quarterback in the NFL since 1998 and will be playing in his 4th Super Bowl on Sunday at the age of 39 and 320 days (the oldest quarterback to play in the Super Bowl).  He is a five-time league MVP and is one of the NFL’s ELITE quarterbacks.  He is the epitome of performing at a high level over the long term.
  • Desire to use experience and wisdom built over time to make low risk decisions, even in times of high stress.  Peyton has experience in the playoffs – while it is his 4th trip to the Super Bowl – he has done so under 4 different coaches.  He has worked with different players, different coaches and in different situations over a lot of years, giving him the ability to handle himself and his team in almost any situation. 
  • Aim for balance and an even keel.  Just like when investment markets are stressful, the Big Game can get stressful, but Peyton seems to always have a cool head and not overreact based on emotion.

Cam Investor:

  • Get a rush from a new and exciting investment opportunity.  Cam Newton was drafted into the NFL in 2011 by the Carolina Panthers, so is still very new to the league.  His youth, size and athleticism make him a clear standout amongst current NFL quarterbacks.  In addition, he has a clear affinity for excitement and taking risks – dazzling the crowd with exciting plays and athletic feats not seen before. 
  • Desire change on a more often basis.  Cam changes up his play selection on a more often basis; surprising the defense is his goal.  For an investor, this translates into someone who change his portfolio to the newest investment idea on a regular basis.
  • Wish to celebrate successes.  Of course I had to go there…we’ve all seen Cam celebrate…it’s his thing. Whether it’s the chest pumping or the “Dabbin” – Cam likes to celebrate his successes.  The only problem with too much gusto – what happens when the success ends?

So, as we approach Super Bowl Sunday and you sit down to enjoy the big game, keep an eye on Peyton and Cam and see if you can identify with either of them – as a quarterback or as an investor.  And no matter which team wins, know that we at The Center were watching and cheering along with you. And don’t think of us as the Cam or the Peyton – we’re the coach with the eye on the ball and the experience to help you call the plays.

Sandra Adams, CFP® is a Partner and Financial Planner at Center for Financial Planning, Inc. Sandy specializes in Elder Care Financial Planning and is a frequent speaker on related topics. In addition to her frequent contributions to Money Centered, she is regularly quoted in national media publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Research Magazine and Journal of Financial Planning.

This material is being provided for information purposes only and is not a complete description, nor is it a recommendation. Any opinions are those of Sandy Adams and not necessarily those of Raymond James. Investing involves risk and investors may incur a profit or a loss regardless of strategy selected. Holding investments for the long term does not insure a profitable outcome.

A Webinar in Review: Cyber Security and How to Keep Your Information Safe

Contributed by: Clare Lilek Clare Lilek

As more and more of our personal information makes its way onto the web or into our devices, cyber security is a growing concern. Did you know that there are 12 victims of cybercrime per second?! That’s over 1 million victims per day, and 378 million per year! The numbers are staggering and the threat is all too real. That’s why Nick Defenthaler, CFP®, hosted a webinar on cyber security with guest presenter Andy Zopler to help us combat these prevalent fears. Andy Zopler, Chief IT Security Officer with Raymond James, has been doing IT work for over three decades and has been focusing on the financial services for the past 15 years. Over an hour’s time, he explained the growing epidemic of cyber fraud and not only told us how Raymond James combats such attacks, but also gave the attendees tips for practicing cyber safety in their daily lives.

Let’s set the scene: we are currently living the second technology revolution (the first being the industrial revolution). The advancements and growing pervasiveness throughout society has made technology extremely influential in how we live our lives. The technology explosion has changed the way we interact with and conduct our finances, and how criminals can access our personal, financial information. Andy Zopler addressed these concerns by first identifying the threat actors.

Knowing who the threat actors, or bad guys, are is crucial to understanding our own fear and the reality of what type of attacks are most likely to be perpetrated. Andy talked about how external factors such as criminals, spies, and hacktivists are what make up most of our concerns. Of course there are also insider and partner threat actors as well; but of the five mentioned, criminal threat actors are the most common concern. Criminal threat actors want your money, which makes them scary, but also, quite predictable. Raymond James screens about 1.5 million spam and fraudulent emails every day that are sent to their financial advisors across the United States.

The sheer amount of attempts can be worrisome, but Andy explained how Raymond James defends the company and its financial advisors (including The Center) every day. The strategy includes:

  • Protect – using creative solutions to stop attacks from happening.
  • Detect – assume that all protections will fail, so remain vigilant for fraud.
  • Develop – invest in the training employees to cultivate the highest talent.
  • Partner – Raymond James only partners with trusted and well vetted third party vendors.

This is all done at the Raymond James Cyber Threat Center, which is a key component to the cyber security strategy. Andy then explained to all attendees the different layers of defensive measures Raymond James uses to protect financial information.

Finally, Andy gave concrete actions and best practices that all of us can use individually to keep our sensitive and private information safe and out of the hands of criminals. Those tips include:

  • Secure your computers (with Antivirus, firewalls, and software updates).
  • Restrict your browsing behavior.
  • Strongly encrypt the files on your PC.
  • Change your passwords frequently and don’t share passwords among sites. When saving passwords, it’s best to use an application on your phone or put it on a piece of paper – don’t save it as a word file on your computer! Also, when possible, opt for “two factor authorization.”
  • Use multiple personal emails.
  • Use a separate computer for online banking.
  • Insist on having verbal/phone confirmation for “high risk” transactions.
  • Back up your data! On a hard drive or in a secure cloud.

Raymond James and everyone here at The Center work diligently to protect your financial information and to stop fraud and cybercrime from affecting clients. We encourage you to watch the video and rethink your own personal practices. Don’t be one of the victims of cybercrime, instead invest in your cyber security just as you invest in your future.

Clare Lilek is a Challenge Detroit Fellow / Client Service Associate at Center for Financial Planning, Inc.

This material is being provided for information purposes only. Any opinions are those of Clare Lilek and not necessarily those of Raymond James.

A Day for Competition and a Day for Vision!

Contributed by: Kali Hassinger, CFP® Kali Hassinger

In previous years, The Center has held an annual Retreat at some point in December. This was always an opportunity to review the year, look to the future, and have a little bit of fun, too!  This year, however, we started a new tradition! Instead of one day to cover fun and business, we took two separate days to accomplish two very different goals – Competition and Vision! 

On December 11th, The Center hosted a holiday staff appreciation day at the Detroit Curling Club.  Yes, that kind of Curling.  The Curling that you’ve watched during the Olympics and thought, “Oh my gosh! I could totally do that!” Turns out, it isn’t that easy. Although it may look totally doable, Curling actually requires a lot of accuracy and finesse!  I have a whole new respect for Curling athletes (in addition to the respect for their incredible sense of style – I highly recommend a quick google image search for “Curling Olympic Uniforms”).

The office broke up into four teams and everyone dressed up to show their Curling spirit.  As usual (and as you may have guessed), it got pretty competitive!  There was plenty of friendly fire on the ice, but Amanda Toia was named the Curling MVP with an incredible game winning shot!  The day was set aside for fun and bonding, and it was great way to close the year.

In January, however, we used our energy for the New Year to focus on the days ahead.  “Vision” was the buzzword of the day as we brainstormed ways to improve personally and professionally. We don’t believe in complacency at The Center and we are always working toward new goals. It was a time to assess our current strategies and decide on how to improve upon them. 

A large part of the day focused on reviewing the firm’s Vision 2020 that was developed by the office in 2012. This Vision 2020 functions as an ideal guide on how the office would develop and improve by the year 2020.  As we reviewed the document, however, it became clear that The Center has already accomplished many of the goals set forth in the Vision 2020. Of course there are still matters that we are working on and ways to further improve, but it was great to see the vast amount of progress that has been made in just a few years. 

Although it was a luxury to take two days away from the office, both days proved themselves to be unique, worthwhile, and effective.  We absolutely want to thank our clients for their patience and understanding while the office was closed. Please know that we used this time to refocus and rejuvenate, but mostly to become a better firm for our clients!  

Kali Hassinger is a Registered Client Service Associate at Center for Financial Planning, Inc.

Our 30th Anniversary Party at Ford Field

Contributed by: Nancy Sechrist Nancy Sechrist

This coming Sunday is Opening Day at Ford Field.  It was just a few short months ago that we were celebrating an event of our own on the Lion’s big stage, so we thought we’d do a little bit of reminiscing…

When you’re celebrating 30 years serving clients, you have to do it in a big way. Around here, there’s not much bigger than the home of the Detroit Lions, Ford Field.  About 300 of our clients, Center team members, and family helped us celebrate. Entertainment included talented musicians, a magician, a juggler, and caricature artists. The fun performers and the delicious food gave an old Detroit nostalgic feel to what we called the “Street Fair” themed event. A photographer used green screen technology to help guests create their own photos to take home.  And the Detroit Lion’s mascot Roary wandered around showing off his sense of humor and taking pictures with everyone. Many also enjoyed a tour of Ford Field. Some of us even got to have a little fun throwing a football around right on the field itself before the party started. 

We also had an additional reason to celebrate … the retirement of two of the founders of the company, Marilyn Gunther and Dan Boyce. Enough can’t be said about the genuine gift of guidance, direction, accomplishments, and mentoring that Dan and Marilyn have given. We credit them for building The Center up from scratch and passing on the real meaning of the soul of the company. In the beautiful, sunlit atrium, Tim Wyman delivered a gracious presentation thanking the founders as well as our clients for making The Center what it is today.

Nancy Sechrist is the Office Manager at Center for Financial Planning, Inc.

Dan Boyce’s Ted Talk: On Becoming a Better Planner & Person

Contributed by: Center for Financial Planning, Inc. The Center

In a matter of 18 minutes packed with self-revelation, Dan Boyce laid out his personal roadmap to success. The Center’s founding partner was picked to deliver one of three “Ted Talks” to thousands in the financial planning industry at the 2015 Raymond James National Conference in Las Vegas. Dan talked, not just about running a successful business, but being successful in life. Both, as it turns out, can be built on the same foundation. That realization, Dan says, was an eye-opener:

“The sheer audacity of this smacked me between the eyes.”

Among his “Ted Talk” key points, Dan emphasized the importance of growing through knowing. True wisdom doesn’t come from raw data, information, knowledge or judgment. To truly be wise, you must seek to understand.

Dan also delivered an inspiring message on being true to yourself. Sandy Adams, who says Dan has been one of her most important mentors, said his message really resonated. “To be a planner is to become a better person and that’s something I strive to do each and every day.”

Other important steps on the path to success include seeking and embracing feedback and developing intellectual curiosity. Both are things Dan said he personally values. Nancy Sechrist, The Center’s Office Manager, said the best thing she heard at the conference was Dan Boyce’s Ted Talk message about how to become your authentic self. “I think that resonates with everything you do career-wise, your home life, family, and just encompasses everything.”

The Center Supports Gleaners’ Vine and Dine Fundraiser


2014 marks the third year Center for Financial Planning has helped sponsor the Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber’s Vine and Dine event to benefit Gleaners Community Food Bank.  Vine and Dine allows guests to experience music, wine, and food from some of the best artists, caterers, and restaurants in metropolitan Detroit.This year’s event was held at the Cranbrook Institute of Science where guests were treated to a special “behind the scenes” tour of the museum as well as see National Geographic’s touring exhibition, Women of Vision.

As a part of The Center’s 2020 Vision, we are deeply committed to community service and aim for our combined sweat equity and financial contributions to create $100,000 of community support each year.  The Vine and Dine event is one on the ways we are building up to our 2020 Vision goal.  This year, The Center team has also volunteered with Gleaners to donate and assemble food packages because we are moved by their commitment to fight against hunger in southeastern Michigan.  Gleaners has successfully collaborated with the Feeding America network, member agencies, and program partners to deliver millions of pounds of food to the people who need it most.  

Links are being provided for information purposes only. Raymond James is not affiliated with and does not endorse, authorize or sponsor any of the listed web sites or their respective sponsors. Raymond James is not responsible for the content of any web site or the collection or use of information regarding any web site’s users and/or members.

Memorable Marriage of Art & Music

 Imagine creating visual art while soaking up a classical music concert performed just for you. That was the concept behind the Detroit Chamber Winds & Strings (DCWS) 2014 Rendering Beethoven Concert which explored art, music, and abstract expressionism.

The Center proudly sponsored the first-of-its-kind performance, held at the College for Creative Studies. DCWS musicians performed Beethoven’s Serenade Op. 25 for Flute and Strings. The music served as inspiration for visual arts students and faculty who created abstract works of art before a captivated audience. The exploration of the connection between the visual arts and music was a memorable and thought-provoking experience for all in attendance.

Links are being provided for information purposes only. Raymond James is not affiliated with and does not endorse, authorize or sponsor any of the listed web sited or their respective sponsors. Raymond James is not responsible for the content of any web site or the collection or use of information regarding any web site's users and/or members. C14-038752

Save the Date: May 4, 2014 Cystinosis Fun Run/Walk

 On May 4th we will hold the 8th Annual Cystinosis Fun Run/Walk in honor of Kacy Wyman. In the past we have had over 400 walkers and runners support the event and Kacy. We understand that there are many worthy causes and feel very fortunate that so many have chosen to support Kacy’s cause in the past – and appreciate you considering a financial contribution for our May 4th event.  All proceeds benefit Cystinosis Research Network. CRN is an all-volunteer, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. The CRN Federal Tax ID# is 04-3323789.

Thanks to 37 pills a day, eye drops 8-10 times per day and 7 liters of water Kacy’s condition is stable – but we need a cure. Community supporters raised near $30,000 for the Cystinosis Research Network last year. These funds help with continued research projects to improve the quality of life for those dealing with Cystinosis and other rare diseases, and ultimately a cure! Your financial support is making a difference in Kacy’s life and all of the children enduring this rare disease called Cystinosis (Sis-ta-know-sis). Your support drives research and gives us hope that a cure will be found during Kacy’s lifetime. Thank you again for considering.

Checks should be made payable to:
Cystinosis Research Network