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What Are Social Engineering Scams—and How Can You Avoid Them?

What Are Social Engineering Scams—and How Can You Avoid Them?

Presented by Michael L. Stone

 

You receive an email from a website you regularly use asking you to click a link to change your password due to suspicious activity. You take a phone call from the IRS asking you to verify your bank account or social security number. You get a text saying a family member was in an accident and they need money for emergency room bills.

 

These requests appeal to your sense of trust and seem like legitimate things to ask of you, so there’s a good chance you’ll respond or comply. But beware; these are common social engineering scams, which are ploys to access your sensitive information or obtain money using psychological manipulation.

A Guide to Benefits When Changing Jobs

 

woman drinking coffee
If you’re changing jobs, you probably have a lot on your mind. As you wrap up work with your previous employer and prepare for your new role, it can be easy to let important benefits-related decisions fall by the wayside. If that happens, you could miss a limited opportunity to sign up for new benefits or miss out on making wise changes to your plans. To stay on track financially during a career transition, be sure to review the status of your retirement accounts and other valuable employee benefits.

Qualified Retirement Plans
Many employers offer qualified retirement plans, such as 401(k) and 403(b) accounts. (“Qualified” means that these plans qualify for tax advantages per IRS rules.) When transitioning to a new job, you’re entitled to keep the vested balance in your qualified retirement plan, including contributions and earnings. You’re also entitled to keep any employer contributions that have vested according to your employer’s schedule.

 

Tax-Smart Planning Strategies

Presented by Michael L. Stone

 

Minimizing your annual income taxes requires a regular review of your overall financial position. With tax season underway, now is the perfect time to evaluate some effective strategies that could help reduce your current and future taxes. Tax planning should be a year-round activity, so it’s wise to revisit these topics regularly in the context of your current financial situation.

The Medicare Advantage Do-Over: What You Need to Know for Open Enrollment


Presented by Michael L. Stone

We’ve all made decisions we wish we could change. If you enrolled in Medicare Part C, also known as Medicare Advantage, during the annual fall open enrollment and now doubt whether it’s the right health insurance for you, you may have the opportunity to complete a do-over. The Medicare Advantage open enrollment period, January 1–March 31, 2022, is a separate enrollment period that allows you to reevaluate your Medicare Advantage choice.

 

As with most Medicare matters, the details about the Medicare Advantage open enrollment period take some time to understand. A general review of Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) and Medicare Advantage (Part C) is a good starting point.

Financial Guidance for Recent Widows: What Women Should Know After the Death of a Spouse Presented by Michael L. Stone

In a 2019 UBS Investor Watch Survey, nearly 68 percent of married women from around the world reported they believe they’ll outlive their spouse. And it’s a belief that’s grounded in reality—according to U.S. Census data, women are expected to live longer than men by roughly four years by 2060. What are the implications of this when it comes to money matters? It means that many women will find themselves responsible for making financial decisions on their own—and potentially for several years—if their spouse passes before them.

Headline Risk Vs. Real Risk

We are now entering the phase of the market cycle where worries start to proliferate. We’ve already talked about Evergrandesupply chain issues, rising interest rates, and so on—and the risks for all of these things are real. As the situations evolve, though, each of these categories and others will present themselves in different ways. For example, looking at China, we have Evergrande, the demographic rollover there, trade and competition issues with the U.S., and many more. Even as one issue (Evergrande) starts to recede from investor consciousness, others will rise again.

Unsure When to Claim Social Security? Timing Has Its Benefits

Does Your Credit Need Repairing?

Many people had their financial plans derailed in 2020. You or a spouse may have lost a job or been hit with unexpected expenses for medical care, assisting family members, or other reasons. Financial stress may have forced you to make tough choices, such as deciding which bills to pay, scaling back on your savings, or borrowing from a 401(k) account. As a result, you may need to get back on track financially. One of the first areas to tackle should be your credit score.

Even if your finances didn’t take a hit during the pandemic, it’s wise to keep track of your credit score. A strong credit score forms the basis of a solid financial foundation. It affects your ability to get a job; your access to loans for a car, house, or education; and your ability to qualify for various types of insurance. Can you repair or upgrade your credit score? Yes, but the first step is to understand what your credit score and credit report are based on, as well as how to monitor your credit.

Women and the Pandemic: Planning for a Healthy Financial Future

Women and the Pandemic: Planning for a Healthy Financial Future

Presented by Michael L Stone

 

Over the past year, we’ve all felt the effects of the coronavirus pandemic in one way or another. But, as the job losses and unemployment numbers tell us, it’s staggeringly clear that women—particularly women of color—have been disproportionately affected. Women have lost or scaled back their careers, with their labor force participation now at a 30-year low. At the same time, their responsibilities in terms of child care and home schooling have risen by more than six hours per day. For many, it’s reached a crisis point.

If you’re one of the many women whose lives and finances have been turned upside down by the pandemic, you might be struggling with what to do next. Fortunately, there are strategies to address your immediate concerns and help you plan for a healthy financial future.

A Starter Guide to Selling Your House

From the moment you decide to sell to the day you hand over the keys, selling a home is often unpredictable and time consuming. By being as prepared as possible, you can keep the process moving and achieve the optimal price in the current market.