Posts by plfarnworth

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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To Hear or Not to Hear – Part 3

Posted by on May 31, 2018 in Financial Planner Boise ID | Comments Off on To Hear or Not to Hear – Part 3

To Hear or Not to Hear – Part 3     Choosing a Hearing Aid Several factors need to be considered when selecting a hearing aid. The type and severity of your hearing loss Manual dexterity – how easily can you manipulate the small device. Lifestyle – how active, phone use The hearing aid one person likes might not work for someone else; even if it is identical hearing loss. In a survey of people wearing hearing aids 33% feel multiple program settings was important to adjust to the environment quiet or loud. 20% felt an automatic noise level adjustment was the most important feature. Why are hearing aids so expensive? Hearing aids are sold in relatively low volume compared to other electronic equipment (i.e. television, DVD players, cell phones). Manufactures spend millions of dollars on research and development every year. Research and development results in improvements in product size, quality and performance. That cost gets passed on to the consumer. Ongoing servicing of hearing aids is usually provided for free at the time of service. 70% of those surveyed who use hearing aids waited 2 or more years after noticing a hearing loss to buy hearing aids. 50% blamed the delay on high costs. Affordable Solutions Very few health insurance policies cover hearing aids. Some Medicare plans can offer partial coverage or discounts. You should anticipate paying for these yourself. You can use a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) at work. Employer will cover expense upfront while you deduct medical cost form your pay check over the year. Health Savings Account (HSA) is another source for covering the cost of hearing aids. This plan may be offered by your employer or you can do independently. Buy only what you need. Hearing aids can come with many bells & whistles. Do you need blue tooth? It might be convenient but adds hundreds of dollars to the cost. Be sure and get a written contract Check the details of a trial period. What is the last date to return and be refunded? What is the length of the warranty and what does it cover? What are the services provided? Cost of loss and damage insurance. Look for bargains. Costco is competitively priced but has fewer models available. Buying on-line may be cheaper. However, you will probably pay for local technicians to service your hearing aids. To get the most value from your hearing aids, you need to be consistent in using them. The brain ‘adapts’ to what it hears. You are exercising a muscle. Inconsistent use of hearing aids confuses the brain; you lose speech recognition. The brain has to readjust to hearing ‘life noises’. Wearing hearing aids more will help a person become comfortable with a ‘new’ normal. Audiologist Patricia Chute states “It’s going to bring people back to hearing but because of the way we process sound, it’s not going to bring them back to normal hearing”....

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To Hear or Not to Hear – Part 2

Posted by on May 22, 2018 in Financial Planner Boise ID | Comments Off on To Hear or Not to Hear – Part 2

To Hear or Not to Hear – Part 2 Who do you see about your hearing? Be aware that most audiologist professionals are attached to a store front. Many hearing aid brands promote their own products in their store. You may find a few private practices that have a selection of brands they prefer to use. An audiologist has a doctoral degree, over 1000 hours of clinical training and has passed a licensing exam. A hearing aid specialist usually has some formal training. More states are requiring licensure. Specialists may have an exam. Many states require 2 years of supervised training. A qualified hearing aid specialist can provide testing and fitting of hearing aids. If there is any medical issues with your ears, you will need to see an audiologist or an ears, nose & throat doctor. Items to look for in choosing a service Offer walk in repair services Tested in a sound proof booth You receive a copy of your hearing test results Fit with hearing aids and review instructions Test hearing aids with the phone Provides written material that covers the information the provider reviews with you. You may want to bring a friend or family member with you. Somebody that is taking notes and confirm your lack of hearing. The testing begins with questions, medical history and quality of life issues with your hearing. How is it impacting your work? How is it impacting your relationships? How are you compensating? We started with Consumer Reports as a place to evaluate hearing aids. Costco scored well in their survey. The Boise location has an audio center with a sound proof booth. We scheduled for testing. My husband flunked the first round. He had too much wax in his ears for the testing equipment to work. We stopped at a ‘doc in the box’ to have his ears cleaned out. We returned to Costco a week later to resume the hearing test. The results were, my husband has lost much of the high tones but hears 80% of the base sounds. He is border line for needing hearing aids. The tinnitus is his primary issue and hearing aids don’t really resolve that. His hearing tests were part of member benefits for Costco. We felt it was quality service, a knowledgeable technician. The technician suggested we adjust the balance of treble and base for easier TV viewing. Increasing the treble and lowering the base, this was...

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To Hear or Not to Hear – Part 1

Posted by on May 8, 2018 in Financial Planner Boise ID | Comments Off on To Hear or Not to Hear – Part 1

To Hear or Not to Hear – Part 1   We recently explored the complicated world of hearing aids. My husband is one of 48 million of that suffer from some form of hearing loss. Older adults are the majority of those with some hearing loss. One third of people between ages 64 to 74 report some loss. That number grows to 50% for the population over 75. Signs of Hearing Loss One of the first signs of hearing loss is turning up the volume of the TV or radio. You may have difficulty hearing people- especially if they are behind you. You hear men’s voices easier that women’s; women’s voices are in the higher range of tones which are lost first. You may find yourself cupping your hand behind your ear (This behavior I observed in my dad – often in noisy environments). What do you do if a friend or family member needs to deal with their hearing loss? Hearing loss can be a sensitive topic to address like weight loss. Keep in mind that hearing loss impacts the quality of life. It makes social interaction difficult and socializing is important for overall health. Hearing well may impact how well you can perform your job. Approaching your family or friend is in their best interest. There are websites and phone apps that have sample hearing tests. Try these out and see how you score. Avoid the ‘tell mode’ lead with questions. Click here for online hearing test -> Hearing Test In our home, my husband was having trouble hearing the TV at lower volumes. He was also dealing with tinnitus which is a constant ringing or buzzing in your ear. He initiated the testing process. However, with my dad, he resisted the thought of hearing aids. Until it impacted his job. His employer told him he needed to address the issue. Causes of Hearing Loss Medications like some antibiotics or too large of doses of Aspirin. Loud noise Continued exposures to a noisy environment. Smokers are more likely to experience hearing loss. Mineres can lead to hearing loss. In my husband’s situation, his military service on a missile site exposed him to high power radar. Causes of Tinnitus Tinnitus is ringing or buzzing in the ear. This also can be caused by exposure to loud noises. It can also be the result of middle ear infections, head trauma, and aging. The ringing may be reduced by diet and managing stress.  ...

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