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In Uncategorized

Are You Worried About the Capital One Breach?

Things Hackers Don’t Want You To Do Darn it Capital One!  I liked you.  I trusted you.  I put my banking needs in your capable hands.  I even referred you.   How could they let this egregious breach happen?  It doesn’t take long for the anger to turn complacent.  I guess I will be seeing them in the long line of other cybersecurity victims. If you know anyone who has had their identity stolen, then you know the restoration process takes hours and months of lost time.  Add to that the frustration of dealing with an unsympathetic skeptic on the other…

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In Uncategorized

Have You Been Breached?

Find Out & Learn The 7 Things Hackers Don’t Want You To Do One of my biggest fears, for my clients and for myself, is having any kind of personal information compromised. This is more devastating than you can imagine!  When this happened to my mom a few years ago, <insert the read here, and direct reader to the blog on my website>  I thought my ears were going to blow off from anger.  There was a complete lack of cooperation from the credit card company.  Surely, it was obvious that my 82-year-old mother in Southern California was not buying…

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In Taxes

Tips for Surviving the New Tax Laws

Financial Planning fees are no longer deductible under the new Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017.  However, if you have both a qualified and a non-qualified account at the same institution, you may wish to “bunch” your fees and have them all deducted from a qualified account.  Why is that important? Fees paid from IRA’s and other qualified accounts are not treated as a distribution. The net result is that you are paying for fees with pre-tax money and the ability to take a deduction is no longer an issue. I hope this helps.  Please feel free to reach…

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In Estate Planning

What Went Right With Dad’s Estate

My dad had an annuity.  He named his six children as beneficiaries.  In our case, this was the best way to pass an annuity.  Why? By naming us separately, we could each take our distributions when it made sense for our individual needs. Here is how an inherited annuity works: whatever is contributed to the annuity is a return of principle and tax free.  Any gain is taxed to the beneficiaries at ordinary income tax rates.  So we need to ask, “What effects can income from an annuity have on the beneficiary, their personal situation and their tax brackets? Does…

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In Estate Planning

What Went Wrong With Dad’s Estate

When naming beneficiaries, my dad did a lot of things right … and one wrong thing. I blame myself for the mistake. My dad named his “estate” as the beneficiary of his life insurance policies. The insurance company will not talk to us because they don’t’ know ‘who’ the estate of Frank Thompson is. We are now in the process of hiring a Texas attorney (his state of residence) and going through the probate process. Probate is expensive and it is a lengthy process. This could have been avoided if he had named his trust or his six children as…

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In Random Thoughts

My Rant About The Equifax Breach, And What I’m Doing About It.

I am concerned about this recent Equifax breach.  The breach effected 143M consumers.  The breach started in May, and was not discovered until July.  The hackers now have the ability to commit identity fraud with the data.  So what is Equifax doing for us? I tried to see if I was one of the affected people.  I logged onto the dedicated website that Equifax established: www.equifaxsecurity2017.com.  Outside of the requisite advice to change your password, FAQs, and a notice saying that Hurricane Irma can effect hotline wait times, they offered very little advice or help. This was no spoiler alert…

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In Random Thoughts

Social Security In The News

Many thanks to those who responded to last week’s blog on Social Security.  KUSI picked up the story! Watch it here: http://www.kusi.com/clip/13592385/how-social-security-fits-into-your-plan-when-you-retire. If you have any questions or concerns about your Social Security options, please reach out to me, I am happy to help. Barbara Norman, CFP®, ChFC®…

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In Random Thoughts

Happy 82nd Birthday to Social Security!

Social Security was signed into law by President Roosevelt on August 14th, 1935. Social Security is an integral piece in retirement planning.  I think it is important to know how your benefits are calculated and how to manage your account. Your Benefit is Based On our Lifetime Earnings The Social Security Administration looks at 35 years of earning history.  If you work longer than 35 years, then they use earnings for your highest paid 35 years.  If you work less than 35 years, then they will use $0 for the years you do not work.    Next, they apply a formula…

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In Random Thoughts

Do You Know Someone Effected By Harvey? The IRS and the DOL Offer Hurricane Harvey Relief

I have several family members who live in Houston and the outer lying areas.  Floodwaters rose and threatened their homes.  My dad’s oxygen tank was cut-off with the electricity.  A call to 911 yielded an answering machine that prompted them to leave a message and get in the queue. My sister (a nurse) and her husband were pulling equipment off a shoreline to save their business.  A call came and she was mandated to work for 3 days. What a nightmare! My family was fortunate.  Two good Samaritans showed up with a generator for my father.  They had heard, through…

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In Kids & Money

Graduate Not Finding Work?

My daughter graduated in the wake of the great recession – the worst job market in 80 years! Even now, finding a lucrative career path has not been easy for many graduates. As a parent, this is disheartening to watch. But let’s not forget that people love helping people. Explore your address book for contacts of every type and don’t be shy about asking for help. Reach out to friends, family, your advisors, and anyone else you may know. One never knows what miracle is around the corner.…

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