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Elyse moderator at Private Wealth Forum

On June 14, 2017, Elyse Foster, CFP® moderated a panel titled “Opportunistic Alternative Investing” at the Private Wealth Mountain States Forum held in Denver.  This yearly, invitation only, day-long investor education and professional networking event was attended by many large family offices, registered investment advisors, private banks and wealth management firms.  They were able to delve into the issues and strategies surrounding asset allocation and asset protection specific to the high-net-worth community of the Mountain States region.









Hikes We Like








One of the many things to love about Colorado is hiking.  You can do it in spring, summer, fall and winter and there are so many trails to explore.  Many of us here at Harbor enjoy hiking and will be sharing some of our favorite hikes with you this year.












Paying Off Student Loans

SOURCE:  Financial Planning Association

Actively managing your debt is an important step, and your student debt may be one of the biggest financial obligations you have. There are many strategies that could help you manage student loans efficiently. Here is a checklist.

Choose a federal loan repayment plan that fits your circumstances:

The Standard Repayment Plan requires a fixed payment of at least $50 per month and is offered for terms up to 10 years. Borrowers are likely to pay less interest for this repayment plan than for others.

The Graduated Repayment Plan starts with a reduced payment that is fixed for a set period, and then is increased on a predetermined schedule. Compared to the standard plan, a borrower is likely to end up paying more in interest over the life of the loan.

The Extended Repayment Plan allows loans to be repaid over a period of up to 25 years. Payments may be fixed or graduated. In both cases, payments will be lower than the comparable 10-year programs, but total costs could be higher. This program is complex and has specific eligibility requirements. See the Extended Repayment Plan page on the U.S. Department of Education website for details.

The Income-Based Repayment Plan (IBR), the Pay as You Earn Repayment Plan, the Income-Contingent Repayment Plan (ICR) and the Income-Sensitive Repayment Plan offer different combinations of payment deferral and debt forgiveness based on your income and other factors. You may be asked to document financial hardship and meet other eligibility requirements. See the U.S. Department of Education’s pages on income-driven repayment plans and income-sensitive repayment plans for more information.

Take an inventory of your debt. How much do you owe on bank and store credit cards? On your home mortgage and home equity credit lines? On car loans? Any other loans? Consider paying extra each month to reduce the loans with the highest interest rates first, followed by those with the largest balances.

Free up resources by cutting costs. Consider eating out less, reducing snacks on the go, and carpooling or using mass transit instead of driving to work. You may also be able to cut your housing costs, put off vacations and reduce clothing purchases.

Think about enhancing your income. A second job? A part-time business opportunity?

Consider jobs that offer opportunities for subsidies or debt forgiveness.

Federal civil service employees may be eligible for up to $10,000 a year for paying back federal student loans. See the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s Student Loan Repayment Program for more information.

Nurses working in underserved areas may be eligible for loan assistance through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ NURSE Corps Loan Repayment Program.

Service members in the U.S. Armed Forces are eligible for support. Check out the service-specific programs offered by the Air Force, the Army, the National Guard and the Navy.

Teachers can consider programs such as Teach for America and the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program.

Sign up for automatic loan payments. Many loans offer discounted interest rates for setting up automatic electronic payments on a predetermined schedule. A reduction of 0.25% per year may look small, but over the life of a 20-year loan, it can reduce your total interest cost by hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

A last resort is seeking loan deferment or forbearance. Students facing significant financial hardship may be able to put off loan interest or principal payments. To see whether you might qualify, look to the U.S. Department of Education’s information on Deferment and Forbearance.


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What I’m Reading…

Hillbilly Elegy

By J.D. Vance


An interesting, poignant and often humorous memoir of growing up poor and white in the Rust Belt, Hillbilly Elegy has been on numerous bestseller lists for months and has been heavily reviewed.  Valued and respected by conservatives and liberals alike, the book has also been touted to a certain extent as a explanation for the political division and turmoil surrounding the recent election.  All this by an author only in his early 30s.  J.D. Vance makes it out of Ohio and the Appalachian hillbilly culture he was born and raised in; the book is about how he does it, the people who help him and his thoughts on why others in his same situation often don’t make it.



1st Annual Employee Volunteer Day

We recently had our first Harbor sponsored employee volunteer day and were all pretty excited about the agenda for the day. We had a bit of work to do at Harbor that morning, then lunch at the office to celebrate Megan’s 5th year at Harbor (actually she has been here longer if you count her time as an intern), and then off to the Humane Society of Boulder Valley.)

Lisa, the director, gave us a tour of the amazing facility and explained how they take in new animals for adoption and the different services they provide based on the needs of each animal. They provide behavior modification training, medical and veterinary services which are also open to the public.  They also assess the animals and are then able to suggest what type of home environments they would best thrive in – this is most helpful in placing cats.  The last stop of the tour was the adoption area where we were able to see and love on some sweeties that were awaiting adoption.

The Humane Society of Boulder Valley provides shelter and care to more than 7,000 animals each year, with about 93% of these animals being adopted.

After our tour we were ready to get to work. The HSBV’s annual fundraiser, Puttin’ On the Leash 2017, would be held soon and they had asked us to wrap up raffle items.  We also worked on some of the table decorations.  I was hoping we would be walking dogs or petting cats, but when we toured the facility we were told they have over 600 volunteers throughout the year and over 150 on an average day– so many that they had to set up a system to prevent the dogs from being over-walked!  So, no, they did not need us to do any dog walks.

Next we cleaned up our work areas because they had a surprise for us….. puppies!  I really don’t think there is anything cuter than a puppy.  Unless, it is two puppies.  Click here if you want to see more puppies….

Thank you Harbor and HSBV for a wonderful day! Looking forward to the next Harbor Employee Volunteer Day.





Megan Miller has earned CDFA® Accreditation

Megan has earned the Certified Divorce Financial Analyst accreditation.  A Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA®) provides:

*Expedited understanding of assets in a divorce from an expert-saving time and money

*Determining which assets fit each spouses needs saves time and money

*An understanding of your financial future is reassuring and allows more time for other negotiated aspects of the divorce

*Proper analysis and planning can avoid costly mistakes

*Developing a realistic budget assists in a more fair settlement

Megan’s experience includes creating settlement scenarios, detailed cash flow analysis, and development of a process for the assets division during a divorce negotiation. She is available to review proposed settlement scenarios with regards to future financial implications.  This will include a detailed cash flow analysis for 10,15, 20 or more years, as well as a future net worth statement to illustrate the long term effects on the asset division.  Megan’s extensive background in finance uniquely qualifies her for this specialty.

In addition to her CDFA® accreditation she is a CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and CIO (Chief Investment Officer) for the firm.

Megan will be presenting a Second Saturday Divorce Workshop July 8, 2017 at Harbor’s office. For details, please contact our office.


Elyse’s new board position with HSBV

Elyse Foster, CFP® and Principal of Harbor Financial Group, Inc. is serving as Chair for the Humane Society of Boulder Valley Board of Directors for 2017-18.  HSBV‘s mission is to protect and enhance the lives of companion animals by promoting healthy relationships between pets and people.   They provide shelter and care to more than 7,000 animals each year, with 93 percent of these animals being successfully adopted or reunited with their guardians.  For more information go to


Megan Miller Promoted to Chief Investment Officer

Harbor Financial Group is pleased to announce the promotion of Megan Miller, CFP® to Chief Investment Officer.  Megan has been with Harbor since 2012 and was most recently a Wealth Manager and Vice President of Operations.

Congratulations Megan!











What I’m Reading…

Red Notice

By Bill Browder

This is a true story about a Wall Street outsider whose family background and interests led him to Russia just after the breakup of the Soviet Union. He becomes a billionaire via his hedge fund, and as interesting as this process is, the story is just about to start.  In the process of following the money Browder uncovered widespread political corruption.  He was expelled from the country after exposing government official’s theft of the people of the Soviet Union’s money.  While Browder is out of Russia his lawyer is tortured and dies in prison.  Browder’s investigation of the death exposes a cover up at the highest levels of the Putin regime.

This is current events at the highest levels, the risk to Browder’s life is real, the Kremlin wants him dead in retaliation for his crusade for human rights in Russia.  A must read made even more interesting by Putin’s high profile in American politics.


Harbor Client Appreciation Party

Many clients and associates attended our wine and cheese party last October making it a huge success. Started in 2008, this Client Appreciation event held in our Boulder office has become a biannual tradition, and every two years, we look forward to spending this time with our friends.

The cheese and salume boards prepared by Cured were fantastic and were complemented superbly with the wine and beer selections from Superior Liquor.

We thank all who came – it was wonderful to enjoy an evening of good conversation with good friends and good food.