Posts by plfarnworth

Cyber Security Updates

Posted by on Sep 19, 2018 in Financial Planner Boise ID | Comments Off on Cyber Security Updates

How much is your personal information worth? On the dark web, not much. Your Social Security number can be sold to a hacker for just $1. Your debit card number with bank information or credit card number will put a crook back just $5 each. Medical records tend to go for about $60 because they contain so much information. Creating accounts online could actually help protect your identity. Security expert and writer, Brian Krebs wrote about the strategy this month on his blog. Krebs explains that creating online accounts to manage your various accounts (banking, Social Security, your cable and internet, etc.) can be helpful because it ensures that a hacker won’t create the account for you (and then control it). Krebs shares the stories of victims who were defrauded after criminals set up fraudulent accounts in their names. You can read their stories here. Google Chrome will now alert you if a website is not secure. The browser update is a way for Google to push for more Internet encryption and keep users safe. If you reach a site with the “Not Secure” image in the address bar, think twice about entering login credentials or payment information. This feature is available in Chrome 68 and later. Companies begin tracking your typing, scrolling, and clicking to prevent fraud. Some banks and retailers have invested in technology that tracks how you interact with their website or app. The particular way you type and scroll can create patterns the merchant can use to determine if it is really you. This type of behavioral monitoring software works behind the scenes—you are probably unaware of when you are being tracked. For that reason, many security experts do not like the practice. Fraudulent Amazon charges have been hitting Wells Fargo debit card users in recent months. Wells Fargo customers have reported seeing fraudulent charges described as “Amazon Prime” membership fees on their statements. Wells Fargo has said this fraud is widespread. If you are a Wells Fargo debit card user, be sure to check your statements...

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My Class Reunion: What I Learned About Enjoying Life

Posted by on Aug 21, 2018 in Financial Planner Boise ID | Comments Off on My Class Reunion: What I Learned About Enjoying Life

Have you ever been to your class reunion? I recently attended one of those- enough decades past that people are more real with their journey of life. Hell, they actually have experienced some life. After listening to story after story of people’s experiences since high school. I concluded people fell into three categories. Group 1- They disliked their job and were enduring until retirement or they were preparing to retire early. Group 2- They started in one job after high school or college and found themselves in completely different professions today. A few were wanting to make career changes at this time. Close to the finish line- they want to keep working just not doing what they are doing. Group 3- Those who loved what they were doing and retirement is not on their radar. This sadly was a small group and people were generally self-employed. Why the difference between the groups? Mitch Anthony in his article titled “Locating Your Core” reflects on three areas that impact your satisfaction with your job. Essence – What matters most to you? Who are you at the core? What excuses are you making for not honoring your essence? Environment – Is my essence allowed to flourish here? Am I growing toward what I want to be? “Am I challenged in positive ways?” Income – Do I feel fairly compensated for the value I bring? What is my paycheck costing me (in terms of life quality)? Has the money become a tether to misery? People in Group 1 of my high school reunion found themselves in positions that didn’t match their essence. They weren’t doing something they were passionate about. Often, they were in secure positions or jobs that paid well. A few had military careers that has limited choices –some fared better than others in the military. People in Group 2 made choices along the way – some significant shifts others only minor. One woman left architecture, went back to school and pursued a physician’s assistant position. Not really a complete shift, she started as pre-med but had a professor who discouraged her. She had lots of medical books on her shelf before she went back to school. She is content in her job now. Career shifts aren’t always easy to make. You want to be moving towards a goal- not running from your job. A career coach can help you make this shift. (Check out Stacey Harshman’s website http://yourfulfillinglife.com/. I teach a class with her.) One engineer had a miserable experience as a manager at a large corporation. That company burned through that position every few years. When he began a position at another company, he fell in love with his career again. Looking forward to the work week not experiencing the Sunday Evening Blues. Those in Group 3 didn’t see a lot of shifts along the way. They started on a career path that took a few bends and turns, yet continued to grow and expand their opportunities. Their jobs were fulfilling and retirement wasn’t a consideration. A few of us thought we would evaluate retirement at 70. One classmate had worked a good paying job in a narrow niche. When his job was eliminated, he floundered a few years to find a new career. He surprised himself and his family taking a position working with developmentally disabled adults. He has found it to be rewarding and challenging. Each day is a new experience- never a dull moment. Fortunately, his financial future was secure so he could take this position. Sometimes you need to evaluate supporting your current lifestyle or...

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Social Media and The Search for The ‘Perfect Wedding’

Posted by on Jul 17, 2018 in Financial Planner Boise ID | Comments Off on Social Media and The Search for The ‘Perfect Wedding’

Social Media and The Search for The ‘Perfect Wedding’ Social Media is putting pressure on couples to have the ‘perfect wedding.’ Pinterest can overwhelm a bride with all the option to include in your BIG day. The Pressure of Social Media. In addition to the standard bachelor/bachelorette party, & rehearsal dinner are websites to share the couple’s love story, photo booths, food trucks and lawn games. The venue is the largest cost followed by videographers and DJ’s at the wedding reception. The focus has been on creating an unforgettable day for the wedding guests; generating that WOW factor. It is a competition to see how many Instagram pictures are posted during the wedding reception. What Is The Real ‘Cost’ of The Wedding? The average cost of a wedding in 2016 was at an all-time high of $35,000. 1 in 8 weddings were over $40,000. Sociologist Dr. Pepper Schwartz says “The whole thing has gotten out of hand. The wedding has become the highlight rather than the beginning of something.” Kim Horn a wedding planner with 3 decades of experience agrees. “The focus is NOT on the relationship and the long-term commitment.” IBISW research firm observed the wedding industry generates $55 Billion a year. Their research shows advertising sends the message that large amounts spent on an engagement ring and wedding is an indication of commitment. If you spend more, your marriage will be successful. Reality is just the opposite. The more you spend, the more likely your marriage will end in divorce. Two economic professors, Andrew Francis and Hugo Mialon, at Emory University did a study. 3000 couples were included in the study. The couples were married just once and were across all income levels. Their findings – The more you spend on the Big Day – the shorter the marriage. Spending more than $20,000.00 ups the odds of divorce 3-5 times compared to couples spending between $5,000 – $10,000.  The odds of staying married were even better if the festivities were under $1,000. Improving Marriage Longevity. Francis & Mialon study showed other factors improving the longevity of the marriage are: Relatively high household income (not surprising since finance is in the top 5 reasons for divorce.) Regular attendance at religious services (couples who pray together stay together.) Having a child with one’s partner. Having a honeymoon regardless of the cost. (Keep that date night going.) The number of guests in attendance also reflected on the marriage longevity. Having more than 100 guests in attendance, is a big boost to the marriage longevity. This seems contrary to the findings for low cost weddings. The more in attendance, the higher the costs. However, the sense of community and support for the couple more than offsets the cost factor in longevity for a couple’s marriage. Conclusion – Celebrate the couple, celebrate the commitment. Don’t go into debt for a wedding....

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Cyber Security

Posted by on Jul 3, 2018 in Financial Planner Boise ID | Comments Off on Cyber Security

Cyber Security Placing a credit freeze with all 3 credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and Transunion) can prevent identity theft. Be aware it may not prevent all thefts, as thieves are learning new techniques.  Emerging threat: Your current credit freeze won’t stop this growing fraud Have you frozen your credit? There may be one more thing you need to do. The Identity Fraud Institute has received multiple reports of people having fraudulent cell phone accounts opened in their names even after freezing their credit at Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. How? The director of the Identity Fraud Institute, Carrie Kerskie discovered that mobile phone companies were not using any of the big three credit bureaus when new account applications came in. Instead, they checked applicant’s credit using the National Consumer Telecommunications and Utilities Exchange (NCTUE). The NCTUE was founded by AT&T and maintains payment and account information reported by telecommunications companies. You can check your records at the NCTUE by calling (866) 349-5185. You can also freeze your file by calling this number or you can do it online. Security expert Brian Krebs, however, attempted to place the freeze online with no success. Complications of a credit freeze You may also find you need to access your credit for other reasons besides applying for loans. If you have frozen your credit reports, you probably know that you must temporarily lift the freeze while you shop for credit. But lenders aren’t the only ones that rely on credit-report data. When you apply for a checking or savings account, the bank may use your credit report to verify your identity. Auto and home insurers may want a look at your record, too. Services that generate a credit score may not function if your reports are frozen. If you must lift your freeze, ask the institution which credit agency’s report it checks. You may get away with removing the freeze at only one of the major agencies rather than all three. Or you may also provide a onetime access code to a credit agency for a company with whom you are doing business. New scams targeting seniors are on the rise! The first scam mimics local phone numbers and calls unsuspecting seniors pretending to be from the county clerk office. They tell the victim that they missed jury duty or that they were involved in a court case and are being fined. In the second scam, a call comes in pretending to be from the local police in regards to unpaid parking tickets. Again, they ask for payment now. Read this story for some more information on how you can help protect the seniors in your life from these scams. Do you have an online account with the Social Security Administration? It could protect your personal information. The Social Security Administration no longer mails statements to those 60 and younger but encourages everyone to create an account online to check your earnings and estimated benefits. However, 86% of people ages 50–59 have not made an account online, according to MassMutual. Not setting up an account yourself leaves you vulnerable, because someone else could set up an account in your name and even try to claim your benefits. You can set up your online account here.    ...

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Don’t Just Work for Money, Work for Meaning

Posted by on Jun 15, 2018 in Financial Planner Boise ID | Comments Off on Don’t Just Work for Money, Work for Meaning

Don’t Just Work for Money, Work for Meaning In a recent survey of 12,000 workers worldwide conducted by the Energy Project, only 50% of respondents found meaning in their jobs. Imagine spending 40 hours a week doing meaningless work. It’s soul-sucking, but it doesn’t have to be that way. We understand why so many people stick with jobs that don’t provide meaning—it’s the money. And working “for the money” is not all bad. Having financial security so we can provide for our families is obviously a worthy reason. However, as important as money is, feeling that the work we do is meaningful matters too. It’s better for our health. It’s better for our relationships. And it just makes getting up in the morning much more desirable. In an article in The Atlantic, author and cultural commentator David Brooks said, “There is no income level at which people are not desperate for meaning.” The good news is, there are proactive things we can do to derive more meaning from our work. For some of us, finding that meaning in work might require a company or career change. For others, it could be as simple as reframing how we think about our current jobs and finding new ways to engage our talents. Here are a few strategies for maximizing your sense of meaning from 9 to 5. Craft a new job out of your current job. Hospital custodian isn’t a job that most people would consider meaningful, or even desirable. But Amy Wrzesniewski, now a professor at the Yale School of Management, found that many of the custodians she talked to didn’t consider their jobs low skilled or unfulfilling. Instead, they felt they were part of a team that was helping people get better. They may not have been performing surgery or prescribing drugs, but they believed their job was an important part of a bigger process. In addition to basic cleaning duties, these custodians also went out of their way to bond with patients and visitors. They talked to unvisited patients, and even kept in touch with some after they were discharged. Rather than trying to find a different job, these custodians had crafted a more meaningful job out of their assigned work. The job crafting concept can provide a new perspective on the work you do. Your current job might provide opportunities for expression, connection, and creativity that you never realized were there. Try to reconfigure your approach to daily work tasks around these opportunities. Focus on WHY, not what. It’s easy to get so bogged down in the things we have to do at work that we lose sight of why we do them. It can be helpful to your sense of meaning to consider the end result of your work, especially as it impacts other people. For those happy hospital custodians, the Why was helping the ill. Your Why doesn’t have to be that altruistic – although, somewhere at the end of all that paperwork and accounting there’s a person with a need you helped fill, a problem you helped solve, an experience of joy you helped deliver. Your Why could be the meaning you find from engaging your unique skillset. Instead of sagging under the weight of all that copy you have to edit, appreciate how your work engages your writing skills. Maybe a problem along the company’s supply chain engages your critical thinking. The company itself could also be your Why, if you’re working for a business that has a mission that you really believe in. You could also find a meaningful Why in the...

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