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In Uncategorized

Worthless Medical Insurance

Be careful of “junk insurers.”   Short-term insurance plans are meant to be a stop-gap measure for people between jobs. But many don’t offer meaningful coverage. Zeke Faux in Bloomberg Business reports about Marisia Diaz.  She bought a plan from health Insurance Innovation for $400 month, a maximum and a $7,500 deductible.   When her husband had a heart attack, she was left with a bill for $244,447.91. What she wasn’t told is the plan didn’t cover preexisting conditions, limited the number of doctor visits, and capped hospital coverage at $1,000 a day and $5,000 per surgery.  Ouch! (Or whatever expletives you…

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In Uncategorized

Should Your Spouse Know How Much You Are Spending?

Not always!  An argument about over-spending is a fight that is well worth having – and solving!  But what about things you can afford, but don’t agree on?  Are you getting blasted for the price of your new skinny jeans? Are you fuming about the ridiculous cost of play-off tickets? Then maybe it’s time for a bit of financial independence. Three separate checking accounts: yours, mine, and ours, can restore peace in a relationship.   The joint account pays your bills and the separate accounts are for your eyes only.  The playing rules must be fair, even if you have unequal…

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In Random Thoughts

Will The Impeachment Hearing Effect the Markets?

This is a good question.  Markets don’t like uncertainty and investors have a tendency to pull back when there is doubt. Oddly enough, when Trump tweeted he would be releasing the transcript of his phone call with the President of Ukraine, the stock market jumped up a little bit. This was followed by a sizeable sell-off.  Markets are rebounding today. We’ve only had three impeachments proceedings in America history: Jackson, Nixon and Clinton.  Only two of these are in an era of modern financial markets.  Nixon’s impeachment, from October 1973 to January 1974, saw a significant decline.  It’s worth noting…

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In Investments

Do Lower Interest Rates Help or Hurt Us?

Trump is calling for the Federal Reserve to “get interest rates down to zero, or less…” Lowering interest rates is a way to stimulate the economy. Buying cars and refinancing homes allows us to have more discretionary income. That’s good. Seniors who rely on savings for retirement have decreased spending power and can’t keep pace with inflation. That hurts. If the government refinances its outstanding debt, they would have to pay high premiums to buy back their bonds – some as high as $1.40 for every $1. That’s not good. If interest rates are negative the banks may have to…

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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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