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Celebrating 21 Years of Service 1999-2020

The Journey Forward Doesn't Have to Be Alone.

The Simple Choice for all your Personal financial Matters

Personal Financial Planning for those who lost a loved one.

Advice that is Independent, Thoughtful, and Fee-Only.

Download Our Survivor's Brochure for More Information: Survivor Planning Brochure.pdf

Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all the darkness.

~Desmond Tutu

Our philosophy is simple. We want to get to know you in order to help you make the best decisions possible.

As a firm, our focus is to understand your goals and develop a plan to reach them. We will meet with you to present an analysis and discuss our recommendations. Together, we implement the recommendations and monitor your progress. From here, we will plan regular meetings with you to assess the progress toward your goals and, when necessary, we will make adjustments to your financial plan.

Because there are many factors that may change in your situation or the environment, it’s of the utmost importance to us to be proactive and knowledgeable in the financial industry. We are committed to staying up-to-date on relevant tax, estate and social security laws in order to provide you with the best financial advice for your particular situation.

Michael Aloi Photo

Michael Aloi

Team Leader & Senior Financial Planner


Those who lost a loved one face challenges others may not understand. I should know, I lost my mother at a young age and it has shaped considerably who I am. I remember watching my Father struggle financially and learned later some of the mistakes he made. Mistakes that effected our options later as we grappled with how to pay for college to my Father being unprepared for retirement. This is why I created Survivor Planning.com to help others understand their options and plan for a better future. 

My firm is Summit Financial, LLC which is headquarted in Parsippany, NJ. My office is in Stratford, CT but I work with clients nationwide. Summit is an independent Registered Investment Adviser with over 250 employees and in business since 1982. I have been with Summit since 1999. Since then, I have built a financial planning process that emphasizes listening to my client, developing thoughtful solutions, and working as their trusted adviser for many years to come. 


  • Certified Financial PlannerTM, Practitioner 
  • Masters of Science in Personal Financial Planning
  • Accredited Wealth Management AdvisorSM
  • Accredited Asset Manager SpecialistTM

Stan Gregor Photo

Stan Gregor

Noreen Brown, MBA Photo

Noreen Brown, MBA

Director of Portfolio Management
Mara Stempler Photo

Mara Stempler

Chief Financial Officer
Barbara Hawkesworth Photo

Barbara Hawkesworth

Chief Legal Officer
Joe Rowek, J.D., LL.M. Photo

Joe Rowek, J.D., LL.M.

Senior Tax Specialist
Sarah Rich Photo

Sarah Rich

Director of Human Resources

The Journey Forward Begins With Taking the First Step

Our Solutions for Widows & Widowers

The Survivor's Financial Plan

When you lose a loved one, your world is turned upside down. On top of all the grief there's the financial issues as well. While it may not make sense to rush into major money decisions right away, inevitably there are legal and financial decisions that will have to be made. Our Financial Plan for Survivors can help you organize your financial affairs and ensure you make the best decisions when it comes to your money. There is a one-time flat fee -- half paid up front, the balance due after the presentation -- for the Survivor's Financial Plan. (Scroll down for more information.) This fee is also 100% refundable if you are not happy with your plan. The Survivor's Financial Plan consists of five parts:


1. Understand where you are now: When you lose a loved, a good first step is to get organized. My Survivor's Organizer Checklist will help ensure you don't overlook any accounts, insurance policies, or legal documents. My job is to help you take a complete inventory of your financial assets, debts and insurance policies. We then organize these into a balance sheet. 

2. Understanding your goals: Once we have a list of assets and liabilities or debt, it's time to start to plan. Through an intensely personalized approach, I want understand what are your short, intermediate, and long-term goals. A goal may be to retire and maintain the same amount of spending. Another goal may be to downsize the house and move closer to family. Either way, the first step is to prioritize your goals -- what's most important to you? 

3. Develop the plan: The plan will help you answer the big questions on your mind. Here I'll help you answer questions like: Should you stay in the house or downsize? Do you have enough money to retire? Do you need to work? Where will the money come from? How should you invest the money?

My job is to create a retirement plan that addresses all of the money questions you may have. When we’re done, you’ll have a better idea of how to meet your expenses, where the money will come from, and should you downsize the house or not. In addition, you will not only know what you need (income) to fund your retirement lifestyle, and what your investments will generate; but you’ll also know how to bridge the shortfall – if any.

  • An extremely important part of the Survivor's Plan is to help you analyze your options for the assets you inherited. Certain assets you may have inherited come with different payout options. Most have a certain timeframe to make this decision as well, within 60 days for example. If you inherited a pension, annuity, IRA/Roth IRA, 401(k) or other workplace retirement plan, employer stock or the beneficiary of a life insurance policy there may be various ways to take the asset. Certain distribution elections may help prolong the tax-deferral and possibly save you money on income taxes. The second step in the Survivor's Plan is to help you make the best distribution election on all the different assets you inherited. 
  • Probability of Success: Part of the Survivor's Plan is calculating the probability of success for each goal. For example, your children may want you to sell the house, but do you? The goal planner will help you see the financial impact of moving. 

4. Implementing the plan: After we agree to the plan, I'll work closely with you to ensure the all of the facets are implemented in a phased and orderly manner. The goal of my 5 Step Survivor's Plan is to make transitioning into the next phase of your life as seamless and stress-free as possible.

5. Ongoing reviews:  The 5 Step Survivor's Plan ensures that we maintain a long and enduring relationship with you. We’ll continue to monitor and review your retirement plans, and consult with you frequently about any changes or updates needed to address your evolving retirement lifestyle needs.

  • Support for the big decisions you will make: Whether it's Social Security, Medicare, or some other workplace benefit, our retirement planning professionals will be right there when you need them, including: Whether to apply or not? When to apply? What to do with those funds…and much more.
  • Looking out for you in retirement and beyond: Our service isn’t done yet. To live a long and fulfilling retirement, you’ll need help with many other facets of your life – Health Care, Insurance, Charitable Giving and Legacy Planning. When you need advice, my team and I will know exactly how to respond!



Retirement Cash Flow Forecasting and Scenario Planning

Investment Review and Suggestions

Income Planning for Retirement 

Annuity Review and analysis 

Life Insurance Review

Long Term Care Planning

Social Security Claiming Strategies 

IRA and 401(k) RMD (Required Minimum Distribution) Calculations

Pension Analysis


We work on a hourly or per project basis.   Please call or 

EMAIL ME for your complimentary consultation. 

 "Above all else, I believe my job is to act as an advocate for my client, ensuring every financial planning decision he or she makes is in their best interest. That is my fiduciary duty." -Michael Aloi

Our knowledge and insight into the stock market enables us to craft an investment portfolio uniquely tailored to you. Through ongoing collaboration and monitoring, our team is able to discover new avenues for you to invest your wealth and accomplish your goals. In addition to managing your investments, we’ll educate you on the rationale behind each investment decision so you’re well-versed in the logic of our approach.

When you work with us, we will:

Identify Your Short- and Long-Term Objectives
As these objectives change, we’ll strategically adjust our approach according to the current state of the market so you continue to generate returns.

Determine Your Optimal Risk Tolerance
Through a series of questions, we’ll pinpoint the exact amount of risk needed for you to achieve your goals and remain confident in our services.

Follow a Timeline That’s Right For You
After outlining your objectives, we’ll design a strategy that aligns with your optimal timeline for achieving your returns.

Whether you’re five years away from retirement or 20 years away from retirement, we’ll help guide you through the steps necessary to secure enough assets for your optimal retirement lifestyle. After evaluating your current financial situation, we’ll identify the income sources and opportunities that are most advantageous for you as you prepare for your life past employment.

Our retirement planning services involve:

Your investment strategy and ensuring you’re investing your wealth in the stocks that best align with your objectives.

Your spending habits so you continuously make decisions that benefit your broader financial picture.

Potential income streams and ways you can continue to contribute to your nest egg while still securing the basic necessities.

Minimizing income and estate taxes is important. Here's how we can help:

Provide Recommendations
We provide financial planning recommendations on how you may minimize income and estate taxes. This could include gifting strategies, stretching IRA distributions, reducing Required Minimum Distributions, using Roth accounts, and other tax-advantaged investments like municipal bonds.  

Give Insight
We provide insight into tax-efficient investing.  This may include advice on asset location - such as purchasing certain investments in tax-deferred accounts. We also provide insights on how best to take workplace plans like pensions, stock options, or deferred compensation. We can also help you with your philanthropic goals including leaving a legacy to your  favorite charity. 

Establish Actionable Next Steps
We will develop a plan which will list the financial planning steps to minimize income and estate taxes. We hope to work with your accountant and tax attorney to coordinate recommendations. We do not prepare tax returns or draft legal documents, however our in-house planning team can review your Wills/Trusts and Tax Returns to provide a second set of eyes. 

Connect With Us

When you look back on your life 30 years from now, what do you want to feel — regret or relief, disappointment or fulfillment, embarrassment or pride? We all have the power to change the direction of our story. Let us help make sure your next chapter leads you to the destination you’ve been dreaming of.

We look forward to joining you on your journey.

Social Security for Widows and Widowers

Social Security is one of the most important, yet confusing government programs. The list of rules seem endless. Yet many clients depend on Social Security for retirement income. Here is a primer on Social Security1


Workers are eligible for Social Security once they:

  • Have earned 40 retirement credits — one credit is earned for every $1,410 in earnings (in 2020) and a maximum of 4 retirement credits can be earned per year 
    • Have paid into Social Security for at least 10 years
    • Are at least 62 years old

Your monthly benefit amount

This is known as Primary Insurance Amount (PIA) — the monthly dollar amount of your Social Security benefit at full retirement age.  

  • PIA is based on an individual's highest 35 years of Social Security-covered earnings (wages at a job that paid into Social Security)
  • PIA is capped at $3,011 in 2020
  • Your PIA can be found on your Social Security statement (available at: ssa.gov/myaccount)

Survivor benefits

When a spouse (or ex-spouse) passes away, the surviving spouse can claim the deceased spouse's PIA, plus any delayed retirement credits earned. Survivor benefits can be received independently from their own individual benefit. You must:

  • Be at least 60 years old
  • Have been married at least 9 months and currently widowed or remarried after age 60

Social Security Analyzer

If you are unsure or have questions, our Social Security Analyzer can help. We can help you decide whether waiting to collect Social Security makes sense. The Social Security Analyzer can also help us find the best age to switch from the widow's benefit to your retirement benefit. The rules on Social Security may be complicated, but the advice doesn't have to be. 

For your complimentary Social Security Report, please email me:

1. Information compiled from https://www.ssa.gov/