Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Digital Deception: Current Trends in Cybercrime

In December 2016, Yahoo announced that data associated with more than 1 billion user accounts had been stolen in 2013. The company believes this was a separate incident from a previously announced theft of data from 500,000 user accounts in 2014.1 Although the sheer number of compromised accounts is staggering, the Yahoo breaches are just two out of many major data breaches discovered in 2016, ranging from dating sites and Internet companies to the IRS and the U.S. Department of Justice.2

Private companies and government agencies that hold personal information are responsible for protecting that data, but even the most vigilant organization can be vulnerable. Moreover, once a data breach has occurred, “aftershock” breaches can continue for years as cyber thieves exploit stolen information. Here is an overview of current cybersecurity trends and steps you can take to help protect your identity and personal accounts.


Passwords and Security Questions
An analysis of 10 million stolen passwords found that the most common password — used by 17% of users — was 123456.3 Many of the other top passwords were simple combinations of numbers or letters that could be cracked in seconds by dictionary-based hacking software. A strong password should be at least eight characters long and use a combination of lower-case letters, upper-case letters, numbers, and symbols. Avoid dictionary words and personal information such as your name and address.

You should have a separate password for each account or website, and change passwords frequently. Consider using a password manager, a program that generates strong, unique passwords that you control through a single master password. Keep in mind that security questions can be used to unlock data by thieves who claim to have lost a password. Create answers that are fictional or cannot be discovered by others.

Chips and Strips
The transition to credit cards and debit cards with embedded computer chips utilizing EMV (Europay, MasterCard, and Visa) technology has reduced fraud at checkout terminals in brick and mortar stores. But EMV technology does not protect card numbers used online; in fact, thieves have shifted efforts to digital merchants, which have seen an increase in cyber theft. EMV adoption has also stimulated an increase in new account fraud in which thieves use stolen information to create new accounts with new cards.4

The EMV rollout has been slow, and cybersecurity experts predict more widespread use of sophisticated skimmers inserted into a card reader to steal information from magnetic strip cards.5 Gas stations, a favorite target for skimmers, are not required to install EMV terminals until October 2017. When using a card reader terminal, particularly in a standalone location, be aware of anything that looks amiss, such as colors that don’t match or arrows that don’t line up. If you are suspicious, do not use the terminal and report the issue immediately.

Mobile Payments
The United States has been slow to adopt mobile payment technology, but 2016 represented a big step forward. Almost 40 million Americans made a “proximity payment” using their mobile phones at the point of sale, and more than 45 million transferred funds with a mobile payment peer-to-peer application.6

Paying with your smartphone could be safer than paying with plastic as long as you take the same security precautions you would on your computer and utilize security enhancements such as fingerprint access. Also be aware that hackers have begun to send malware through texts as well as emails.

Health-Care Attacks
According to an IBM security survey, the health-care industry was the top target for cyber criminals in 2015 — with over 100 million records compromised — surpassing the financial services industry.7 Cybersecurity experts predict that medical cybercrime will accelerate and spread to larger networks in 2017.8

For consumers, stolen medical information can lead to fraudulent and expensive claims, and collateral damage as thieves use personal data in electronic medical records to open other accounts.

Protect your health insurance ID card as you would a credit card, and monitor explanations of benefits (EOBs) from your insurance company and payment records from health savings accounts.

What Can You Do?
Here are some other security tips to help protect your identity.

Take an extra step. Two-step authentication, such as a text or email code along with your password, could help protect your sensitive data.

Monitor your accounts. Notify your financial institution immediately if you see suspicious activity. Early notification not only can stop the thief but may limit your financial liability.

Think before you click. Never click on a link in an email or text unless you know the sender and have a clear idea where the link will take you.

Shop secure. When shopping online, look for the secure lock symbol in the address bar and the letters https: (as opposed to http:) in the URL.

Minimize information. Provide only as much information as necessary for your purpose. If you are suspicious of any request for information, don’t provide it.

Protect your Social Security Number. Your SSN is the key to a whole world of personal information. Do not carry your card in your wallet and never provide your number online unless you are on a secure IRS or Social Security Administration website.

1) Yahoo, December 14 and September 22, 2016
2) IdentityForce.com, 2016
3) Security, January 13, 2017
4) Javelin Strategy & Research, 2016
5, 8) Experian, 2016
6) eMarketer, November 7, 2016
7) IBM, 2016

This article was shared by Legacy Retirement Advisors, an investment & financial planning firm.  Learn more about the services they provide and how financial planning may benefit you by scheduling a no-cost consultation by calling (805) 226-0445 or schedule a meeting online by visiting www.LegacyCentralCoast.com

 



Owners of Legacy Retirement Advisors



Legacy Retirement Advisors
565 8th Street, Paso Robles, Ca
(805) 226-0445 / Fax (805) 226-8999
www.LegacyCentralCoast.com              





Securities and advisory services offered through Independent Financial Group, LLC, a registered broker dealer and investment advisor. Member FINRA and SIPC. Legacy Retirement Advisors, Independent Financial Group, LLC, and Fidelity are not affiliated. Legacy Retirement advisors provides 401k management through Principal Financial Group.  The information in this article is not intended as tax or legal advice, and it may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. You are encouraged to seek tax or legal advice from an independent professional advisor.  Past performance is not a guarantee of future results.  

This material was written and prepared by Broadridge Advisor Solutions. © 2017 Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Latte Habit - The Power of Compound Savings




INDEPENDENCE POWERED BY INDEPENDENT FINANCIAL GROUP
Registered Representative offering securities and advisory services through Independent Financial Group, LLC (IFG), a registered broker-dealer and investment advisor. Member FINRA & SIPC. Legacy Retirement Advisors and IFG are unaffiliated entities. 

Legacy Office: 565 8th Street, Paso Robles Ca 93446 (805) 226-0445
www.LegacyCentralCoast.com

OSJ Branch: 12671 High Bluff Dr. Suite 200 San Diego, CA 92130

Legacy: Business Valuations and Why it matters to you




INDEPENDENCE POWERED BY INDEPENDENT FINANCIAL GROUP
Registered Representative offering securities and advisory services through Independent Financial Group, LLC (IFG), a registered broker-dealer and investment advisor. Member FINRA & SIPC. Legacy Retirement Advisors and IFG are unaffiliated entities. 

Legacy Office: 565 8th Street, Paso Robles Ca 93446 (805) 226-0445
www.LegacyCentralCoast.com

OSJ Branch: 12671 High Bluff Dr. Suite 200 San Diego, CA 92130

Monday, February 27, 2017

New Service Available for PG&E Employees

Attention PG&E® Employees

Active Management now available on your

401k with no Rollovers!

Help Before you Retire
Traditionally, active management of your investments was only possible by rolling over your 401k into a traditional IRA account.  Today, Legacy Retirement Advisors can now provide investment management and advice on your 401k while you are still employed with PG&E.  This is possible through the use of a Self-Directed Brokerage Account within your PG&E 401k plan.

Who could use Financial Advice?
According to a 2016 TIAA study, among Americans who use financial advisors, 77% feel they should've started seeking outside help earlier in their careers.  Meanwhile, 59% of Americans feel that to offer the maximum benefit, an initial meeting with a financial advisor should occur before the age of 35.*

Am I eligible for Active Management?
Self-Directed Brokerage Account management is ideal for participants of 401(k), 403(b), or 457 accounts.  We help you determine which of the various options should be offered based on your goals, objectives, risk tolerance, needs, and time frame.  Our retirement account management is ideal for a wide range of individuals.  Designed for both a participant who is just beginning to save for retirement as well as a participant with an established account who is preparing to retire.  

More Choices
In addition to the investment options offered by PG&E, when you use the services of Legacy Retirement Advisors, you will have access to even more investment options within your 401k.  That means you keep your 401k with your employer with no rollover necessary!  All options use diversified asset allocation strategies to control risk without inhibiting investment flexibility.   

The authors of this article are investment & financial planners with Legacy Retirement Advisors.  Learn more about the services they provide and how financial planning may benefit you by scheduling a no-cost consultation by calling (805) 226-0445 or schedule a meeting online by visiting www.LegacyCentralCoast.com

 



Owners of Legacy Retirement Advisors



Legacy Retirement Advisors
565 8th Street, Paso Robles, Ca
(805) 226-0445 / Fax (805) 226-8999
www.LegacyCentralCoast.com              




* Source: “TIAA 2016 Advice Matters Survey”, Sept. 29, 2016

Securities and advisory services offered through Independent Financial Group, LLC, a registered broker dealer and investment advisor. Member FINRA and SIPC. Legacy Retirement Advisors, Independent Financial Group, LLC, and Fidelity are not affiliated. Legacy Retirement advisors provides 401k management through Principal Financial Group.  The information in this article is not intended as tax or legal advice, and it may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. You are encouraged to seek tax or legal advice from an independent professional advisor.  Past performance is not a guarantee of future results.  

Monday, February 13, 2017

So you love your No-Load & Low Cost funds
but want a local advisor
We can help.
Your Local Office
You can find no-load and low cost funds available at Legacy Retirement Advisors in Paso Robles.  Many people find it difficult to invest on their own, particularly as they amass wealth and their financial situations become more complex. That’s when professional local financial advice can help. An experienced financial advisor provides customized portfolio management and discipline that can better position you to reach your long-term investment objectives. A good financial advisor will also build a relationship with you that goes beyond traditional financial planning and results in a more valuable financial life-planning approach.

The Big Picture
Is growth of your portfolio smart growth?  Having an understanding of what is required to reach your goals can be complicated and an investment advisor should offer more than just access to investment products.  By utilizing a financial plan of your entire portfolio (including your assets and your liabilities) will help avoid costly mistakes.  Talk to a financial advisor to see how you can benefit from a financial plan.   

The authors of this article are investment & financial planners with Legacy Retirement Advisors.  Learn more about the services they provide and how financial planning may benefit you by scheduling a no-cost consultation by calling (805) 226-0445 or schedule a meeting online by visiting www.LegacyCentralCoast.com

 



Owners of Legacy Retirement Advisors



Legacy Retirement Advisors
565 8th Street, Paso Robles, Ca
(805) 226-0445 / Fax (805) 226-8999
www.LegacyCentralCoast.com                  



Securities and advisory services offered through Independent Financial Group, LLC, a registered broker dealer and investment advisor. Member FINRA and SIPC. Legacy Retirement Advisors and Independent Financial Group, LLC, are not affiliated. The information in this article is not intended as tax or legal advice, and it may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. You are encouraged to seek tax or legal advice from an independent professional advisor. The content is derived from sources believed to be accurate. Neither the information presented nor any opinion expressed constitutes a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.  Past performance is not a guarantee of future results.  Prepared by Legacy Retirement Advisors, Inc. © 2016

Friday, February 3, 2017

Confused on why your 401k doesn't match the stock market?

If the Dow is up, why isn’t my 401k up too?

So you hear on the news that the Dow Jones Industrial Average (or Dow for short) is approaching a new record high.  You check in on your 401k account with your employer expecting to see your own account at all time high as well.  Instead, you see your account is the same as last time you checked or maybe even dropped in value!  How could this have happened?  The answer lies in boxing.  No, not the boxing sport, but the Morningstar Style Box TM.*

The Morningstar Style Box TM was introduced in 1992 as a visual aid to classify securities by size and by its value and/or growth characteristics.  It is comprised of a nine-square grid with size on the vertical axis and value and/or growth along the horizontal axis.  An old school theory of diversification is have investments in each of all nine style boxes.  It is not uncommon for 401k participants to have over 40%   in stocks and try to spread out among large, medium and small cap stocks.

How your 401k and the Dow may differ:
The Dow Jones is made up of only 30 U.S. stocks at any one time.  The current portfolio makeup of the Dow is in the “Large” category and in fact more than 85% actually resides in the “Giant” category (companies that have a market cap of $200 Billion or greater).

Image Source: http://portfolios.morningstar.com/

The average 401k is comprised of mutual funds, target date funds and a variety of fixed income options.  They typically do not offer individual stocks (aside from possibly your company stock you work for). ŧ  Therefore, since it is extremely difficult to duplicate your 401k exactly like the Dow, expect the growth of your 401k to behave differently too.  A rule of thumb is to use the Dow as a reference of the U.S. stock market in general.   A financial planner should provide a complete understanding of how your accounts behave in relation to each other.

Sources:
* = “Fact Sheet: The Morningstar Style Box” 2004 Morningstar, Inc.
 = https://www.ebri.org/pdf/briefspdf/EBRI_IB_408_Dec14.401(k)-update.pdf
ŧ = http://money.usnews.com/money/retirement/articles/2016-07-25/the-6-most-popular-401-k-investments

The authors of this article are investment & financial planners with Legacy Retirement Advisors.  Learn more about the services they provide and how financial planning may benefit you by scheduling a no-cost consultation by calling (805) 226-0445 or schedule a meeting online by visiting www.LegacyCentralCoast.com


Owners of Legacy Retirement Advisors

Legacy Retirement Advisors    
565 8th Street, Paso Robles, Ca
(805) 226-0445
www.LegacyCentralCoast.com
Fax (805) 226-8999










Securities and advisory services offered through Independent Financial Group, LLC, a registered broker dealer and investment advisor. Member FINRA and SIPC. Legacy Retirement Advisors and Independent Financial Group, LLC, are not affiliated. The information in this article is not intended as tax or legal advice, and it may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. You are encouraged to seek tax or legal advice from an independent professional advisor. The content is derived from sources believed to be accurate. Neither the information presented nor any opinion expressed constitutes a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.  Prepared by Legacy Retirement Advisors, Inc. © 2016

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Wouldn't it be nice if you knew in advance the end result of the economic year? The answer may be in your calendar...

How will this economic year do?  Look to your calendar

Have you ever heard the expression, “as goes January, so goes the year”?   It is a popular seasonal stock trend that simply states, that if the stock market (using the Dow Jones Industrial Index) is positive in January, then the year will end positive.  The problem with this expression is that it does not always hold true.  So why is it this expression so popular and believed by many?  There are two likely explanations:

It is easy to track – When each January is upon us, our focus is on what will the new year bring.  Monitoring one month’s growth in the stock market is relatively easy to track.  We get distracted with other events as the year progresses.
It occurs frequently – Since 1950, there have been 33 positive Januarys with a positive end of year.*
This is not a bad indicator to use, however there have also been positive January’s since 1950 which ended in a negative year.  This occurred four times in the years: 1962, 1974, 1981 & 2001.  Therefore, the overall probability of a positive year with a positive January is 89.0%.*

There is a better indicator than January alone.
it’s January AND February
(or the “Dual month Index” as we call it)

Whenever both January AND February have positive gains in the stock market, you are far more likely to have a positive year end.  In fact, since 1950, this has occurred 24 times and only once (in 1981) did the year not end positive. This is a probability rate of 96.0%, an increase of 7.0% over using the January indicator alone.  The average annual growth rate of the market during these 24 occurrences has been 16.12%.*   

But what happens when both months were Negative?
A positive Dual Month Index (or Dual Index for short) is hard to achieve, but not as difficult as a negative Dual Index (both negative January and February) which has occurred only ten times since 1950.*  However, regardless of its rarity, a negative Dual Index still leaves a 50/50 probability of a positive or negative year end.  We believe this is why a positive Dual Index is more meaningful and should not be ignored when it occurs.

In conclusion, maybe we should adopt a new expression,
“having a positive January is great, but for February we should wait.”

Sources:
* = https://www.quandl.com
= Report data collected from 2011 Morningstar report (“Which will you believe: today’s news or 85 years of performance?”)
ŧ = United State Misery Index

The authors of this article are investment & financial planners with Legacy Retirement Advisors.  Learn more about the services they provide and how financial planning may benefit you by scheduling a no-cost consultation by calling (805) 226-0445 or schedule a meeting online by visiting www.LegacyCentralCoast.com

Owners of Legacy Retirement Advisors

Legacy Retirement Advisors    
565 8th Street, Paso Robles, Ca
(805) 226-0445
www.LegacyCentralCoast.com
Fax (805) 226-8999







Securities and advisory services offered through Independent Financial Group, LLC, a registered broker dealer and investment advisor. Member FINRA and SIPC. Legacy Retirement Advisors and Independent Financial Group, LLC, are not affiliated. The information in this article is not intended as tax or legal advice, and it may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. You are encouraged to seek tax or legal advice from an independent professional advisor. The content is derived from sources believed to be accurate. Neither the information presented nor any opinion expressed constitutes a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.  Prepared by Legacy Retirement Advisors, Inc. © 2016