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Market volatility can be hard. We are paying attention and we are here to help.

We also know that sometimes the best way to stay calm is to tune out the chatter. Because of that we don’t want to flood your email with updates during volatility but want you to have the information you want, when you want and need it the most. That’s where this page comes in. Please use it for reference, and know that when we have good, relevant information we will post it here.  To schedule a call to talk about what all of this means for you, click HERE.  

Stimulus Payments Won’t Cut Into Your Tax Refund

May 26, 2020 BY Shanna Tingom, AAMS®

In March 2020, the Federal Government passed the CARES Act. This act, a result of the massive COVID-19 pandemic that has infected over one million Americans, was responsible for the establishment of..

So, do I have to pay back the stimulus?


No. Unlike other stimulus programs - like some of the ones passed in the aftermath of the Great Recession - you will never have to pay this one back. It is not a governmental loan.

Got it! Will it cut into my tax refund next year?


No! The money is yours, free and clear. Indeed, the bill is very clear on this: You do not have to pay it back. It is yours and not any sort of tax credit or advanced refund. Furthermore, the income you receive from your stimulus payment will not count as income against your federal, state or local taxes. Your tax refund next year will be completely unaffected by this stimulus program. Indeed, a variety of the other changes in the CARES Act, like those that removed the 60% of AGI limit for charitable contributions may wind up giving you a bigger refund than you are used to. Due to these provisions, and others, the CARES Act is actually likely to expand your refund.

So why do so many people think this is the case?


The language of the bill led to some confusion. The direct payment was written as an "advance tax credit," which was the legal and financial mechanism by which the stimulus money was paid. The stimulus money was actually a payment that you received via the Internal Revenue Service. However, the legal structure of the tax credit led to somewhat confusing interpretations. Fear not, however: It was written this way to make it easier for the IRS to pay the money. You won't owe anything additional next year, and your refund will be unaffected by the stimulus payment.

Also not helping this interpretation was certain viral posts on social media that claimed the government was scamming you into owing more in taxes next year. Needless to say, they were wrong. Make sure you get your news from reputable news sources!

 

https://www.forbes.com/sites/advisor/2020/04/06/dont-worry-the-1200-stimulus-payment-wont-cut-into-your-tax-refund-next-april/#7cb318c95ea8

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Is The Stock Market Making You Nervous Lately?

May 19, 2020 BY Shanna Tingom, AAMS®

The history of the stock market is littered with examples of times when the market takes a dive downwards. However, there are a lot of reasons to believe that the latest market dive is one of the..

We are here to help you navigate through these times.  Contact us, today.

Source; https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/13/business/retirement/stock-market-bonds.html

 

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Beware of Coronavirus Scams 

May 12, 2020 BY Shanna Tingom, AAMS®

It appears the novel coronavirus is causing more than just damage to peoples’ health. This situation is causing some people to experience serious financial harm from scammers. They are taking..

 

Scams

 

There have been many different types of coronavirus scams created. The bottom line with all of them is they're designed to get your money or your information for fraudulent purposes. Too many people have a desire to help those who have been hurt by the coronavirus. Their good intentions do not make them immune from scammers. Scammers are looking for any situation where they can create a way to trick someone into revealing the details of their personal finances. Some common scams are being used, but there are ways you can avoid being taken advantage of by them.

 

Online Scams

 

There are many different types of online fraud, but many of these fraudulent situations have some similar features.

 

*Websites that are IT themed. They claim their purpose is to assist you when you work remotely.

 

*Websites that are coronavirus-themed. They claim to track the disease or provide a way to help those impacted by it.

 

*Online investments labeled guaranteed or safe

 

IT Themed

 

It is understood that having a good internet connection is essential for people who must work remotely. Scammers have developed sophisticated methods designed to target individuals who are working from home. The scammers track specific companies who are having their employees work remotely. They are anxious to trick those employees into providing information as well as downloading malware. This is often done when scammers pose as IT help desk agents. Company websites routinely provide employee contact information. This makes it easy for scammers to directly contact their victims. They will send these individuals an email asking them to click on a link for important information about the company's network. They may also request a victim to download a file.

 

Claims Of Preventing Disease

 

Scammers will often try and get money from people by promising to sell them a cure or preventative measure for COVID-19. These offers often come in the form of email offerings. The reality of these emails is they are often phishing scams intended to steal your sensitive information and use it to cause you financial harm. Explicit warnings have been issued to consumers by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). These warnings state there currently are no types of prescriptions, vaccines, lozenges, pills, lotions, potions, or any other products available online or in stores that can treat or cure COVID-19.

 

Investments Labeled Guaranteed Or Safe

 

Many victims of scammers have been promised to experience a high return on an investment that is safe. They will try to sell these investments as safe from any market fluctuations caused by the coronavirus. Anybody hearing such a claim needs to be very careful. A promise of gains without any possibility of loss is always empty. Since the beginning of the coronavirus, scammers have been out in force. They are seeking individuals who are uninformed and want to believe there is an investment that is profitable as well as safe. Scammers have impersonated the FDIC and made promises of investments having little or no risk. You need to realize the FDIC regularly warns people about scammers using their names to commit fraud. The agency will not send people any type of unsolicited mail requesting personal information or money. The FDIC never asks anyone for details of their finances such as credit card numbers or bank account information.

 

When the markets are sinking, and you are losing money, it may be a challenge to think clearly. This is when you are most vulnerable to a scammer. Concern for your health combined with a lack of information can make you want to learn more about it from any source. This is when you may be tempted to open an attachment or click on an outbound link. This is a time when you must be mindful and aware of what could happen to you if you fall for an online scam.

 

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Has Being Quarantined Changed Your Thoughts of Retirement? 

May 5, 2020 BY Shanna Tingom, AAMS®

The pandemic has some rethinking retirement plans, as this event has a lot worried about their post-career years.  The sentiment of US citizens aged 65 and older echoed across the nation is that they..


Indecision: The New Coronavirus Age Accessory

The best advice:  talk over your concerns about retirement plans, and don't be embarrassed. An excellent place to start is with a financial planner. No one is immune to having their lives upended. Still, people approaching sixty-five or retired already feel particularly vulnerable to making ill-fated decisions concerning finances, and one misstep could turn retirement into a hardship. This fact is particularly truthful with the ever-changing landscape of many retirement programs meaning more and more out-of-pocket expenses for seniors.

Unforeseen Circumstances Curtailing Retirement Plans

Some argue there are two schools of thought on how the coronavirus is affecting retirement. The first say if the lockdown is an indicator of what retirement looks like, they can't wait to retire. Some feel they would enjoy sleeping in, watching television all day, rarely leaving the comfort of home, and being a couch potato. The second, think if this is what retirement has to hold, they want to work as long as possible. This group of pre-retirees has become attached to their ties at work, feel valued, and even enjoy their jobs, and as they work more years, their retirement plan grows.

There is no doubt the pandemic has reached into many lives regardless of economic status, race, age, intelligence, career, or gender, and most Americans’ lives are already affected in so many ways, and more is to come. Everyone should look at their home as a haven, not a prison. Our need to return to the pre-pandemic world we left behind may be rushing to put our health at risk. In a year from now, we will miss the relaxation, time with family, time alone, camaraderie, and wonder why we didn't appreciate the silence a little bit more.

 

Source: https://www.wsj.com/articles/in-quarantine-a-glimpse-of-what-retirement-might-look-like-11587135637

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Updated Stimulus Check Info

April 28, 2020 BY Shanna Tingom, AAMS®

If you’re still someone waiting and wondering about the status of your Stimulus Check, we are here to help you understand it all.The following information will focus on what you need to know about..

Who is Getting Stimulus Checks?

In Mid April, the IRS started sending out stimulus checks to all American taxpayers who fall within the stimulus check guidelines. What people are looking for is clarification about who should be expecting a payment.

First, all American taxpayers 18 years of age or older who have had any form of income (wages/social security/investment income) in 2018 or 2019 could be eligible to receive a payment. The full payment amount will be issued to single taxpayers with an income of $75,000 or less. For married couples, the magic number is $150,000. For individuals who make between $75,000 and $99,000, a partial payment will be forthcoming. For married couples, partial payments will extend to couples who make between $150,000 and $198,000. Anyone above these thresholds will not be eligible for stimulus payments.

What is the Amount of the Stimulus Check?

The full amount of the stimulus checks will be $1,200 for single individuals and $2,400 for married couples. Partial payments will graduate down from this amount as income moves towards the top-level thresholds. In addition to their base stimulant payments, qualified individuals and couples will also be getting an additional $500 for each dependent listed on their tax returns provided the dependent is 16 years of age or younger; dependents 17-24 do not.

How Will Payments Be Issued?

Anyone who has provided the IRS with banking information from their 2018 or 2019 tax returns will be getting their stimulus payments via direct deposits. For Social Security recipients who are not required to file tax returns, the IRS will be extracting any available banking information from the SSA.

In cases where the IRS does not have banking information, those individuals will be receiving checks in the mail. The checks could take up to four months to receive checks as stated by IRS officials.

The good news is the IRS just came up with a viable way to get banking information from qualified recipients who have not filed tax returns. These individuals can go to the irs.gov website where they can get access to a temporary portal that will allow them to enter their banking information without filing an actual tax return. The portal is available now.

If you have not received your stimulus check, find out how you’re being paid — and, if you want, update your bank direct deposit information to get your stimulus payment as fast as possible.  Click: GetMyPayment

Other Relevant Information

For now, this is a one time only stimulus payment. It is possible further payments might be forthcoming should the Covid19 lockdown continue. Congress and the President are currently considering their options.

After the current stimulus payments have been dispersed, taxpayers will be getting a letter from the IRS confirming said payments have been made. These letters are expected to be mailed out within two weeks of the checks going out. Anyone who gets a letter but doesn't receive their payment should contact the IRS as soon as possible. Stimulus payments will remain available until the end of the year. 

Source:  https://cnb.cx/3euW9qa 

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COVID-19 Was Your Retirement Plan Test?

April 21, 2020 BY Shanna Tingom, AAMS®

Countless Americans are worried about the impact that Covid-19 will have on the health of their families and friends, and indeed their own well-being. However, there is another concern that could  ..

Diversification is Key


Although many securities are doing poorly right now, there are others that are doing well. Many mail-order retailers, healthcare stocks, and PPE manufacturers are seeing high earnings. Even traditional publishers are seeing an increased demand for books. Plenty of companies stand ready to make substantial profits as a result, and given that it is on a sector by sector basis, diversified portfolios are likely seeing substantial stability.


It is not just about stocks, however. Fixed income, alternative investments, currencies, and commodities have all also seen considerable volatility over the past few weeks, but through that volatility there has been a number of opportunities to gain considerably. Not all of these will be immediate, of course; some may pay considerably in the future. At any rate, diversification is a step that helps you accomplish all of this.

Appetite for Risk


More than just a need for diversification, Covid-19 has also informed a need for knowing what one’s appetite for risk is, no matter what the market conditions may be. Doing this must be done not only with an eye to the future, but with an eye to the individual appetites of the investor in question.


After all, different investors will have different appetites. Some investors may have no problem riding out a storm like Covid-19, confident that the market will prevail. Others, especially those who rely on more actively managed portfolios, may wish to fall back to a safe harbor during such a situation.


The goals of each investor, as well as his/her time left in the market, each play a large role here. Someone who is close to her financial goals may not want to risk eroding what she has gained over the years. Likewise, an investor who is younger and has the benefits of time and compound interest may well wish to search for greater rewards. 


At any rate, solid communication and a good plan will help make sure that you are prepared to meet the market on your terms. Rather than treating Covid-19 as a one-off occurrence, by addressing it as a potential market fluctuation that could happen again, you will be better suited to handle it in the future, knowing what could well come as a result, and preserving your net worth regardless of what goes on around you.

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Near-Zero Rates From the Fed and What it Means For You 


April 14, 2020 BY Shanna Tingom, AAMS®

In a response to plunging numbers on the stock market, the Federal Reserve has stepped up to offer up some much needed relief in the form of a rate cut. With near-zero rates put in place, many are..

Source; https://www.wsj.com/articles/what-the-feds-near-zero-rates-means-for-you-11584321264  

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Medicare Expands Tele-Medicine Help Due To COVID-19

April 7, 2020 BY Shanna Tingom, AAMS®

 Medicare recently announced the expansion of its telemedicine program to benefit seniors while they stay at home during the Coronavirus pandemic. This expansion will allow millions of senior..


Verma explained this will allow for a situation where a medical practice has been forced to close its offices as a result of the outbreak.

The use of telehealth services has grown slowly over recent years. Large and midsize employers offer this service for healthcare professionals and patients to connect virtually. However, researches have stated that patients’ use has been low especially if they are already well accustomed to inpatient visits with their medical professionals.

In a study done by a benefits consultant, Mercer, it was found that 88% of companies with more than 500 employees were offered telemedicine in their health benefits package. However, only 9% of eligible employees utilize this system.

If the use of telemedicine proves to be successful during the coronavirus emergency it could be made permanently and more widely available to Medicare seniors.

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Annuities Have Been Around For Longer Than You Think

March 31, 2020 BY Shanna Tingom, AAMS®

As the Stock Market wobbles, it has some thinking about “safe money” investments.  The idea of having money saved up for retirement and receiving income during that period didn't start with the..

Stock Market Plunge: Have A Plan

March 24, 2020 BY Shanna Tingom, AAMS®

Coronavirus has been plaguing the stock market for weeks pushing the markets to record lows!  Market volatility can lead to some serious stress on the part of new and old investors alike. The..

Have a Plan


Have a plan that’s made for you and your retirement.  Taking on the appropriate amount of risk for your situation can be the most important thing you can plan for.  Proper planning wins the race. Sticking with your plan will allow you to take advantage of the periods when the stock market is down. You'll be able to buy more shares. 

Keep Reinvesting


Dividends and interest tend to keep coming whether the Dow Jones Industrial Average is down or  up on a given day. It's true that there are situations that will lead some companies to cut or suspend their dividends. However, most companies will keep paying out dividends as long as possible because a cut is a sure-fire way to lose investors and see the price of your company's stock drop like a rock. Dividends from stocks and interest from bonds are two of the best ways to deal with volatility. You should keep reinvesting the capital your investments throw off. When the market is down, you'll be able to buy more shares, and this will add to your flow of dividends and interest. By reinvesting during periods of volatility, you'll be able to increase the power of compounding greatly. 

Emotions


Emotions drive short-term moves in the market.  The reason stock market corrections and bear markets are so worrisome to investors is that upside moves are almost always driven by reason and operational earnings expansion in high-quality companies, while plunges are driven by emotions.  These emotions can lead to some wild short-term swings in the stock market, but they're always outweighed over the long run by reason and operational earnings expansion.

Retirement Impact


The impact of this market plunge is different for everyone.  This is why it’s important to have a plan in place that is made for you.  How much risk should you be taking on in retirement?   If your portfolio gets out of balance, it's a good idea to rebalance it in the event of a major market downturn to take advantage of the sale price on stocks. If you have cash sitting on the sidelines, volatility to the down side can be a great time to put that money to work.

Source:  https://www.franklintempleton.com/investor/resources/tools/five-strategies-to-help-deal-with-market-volatility

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