Financial Planner Boise ID

Financial Planner Boise ID

Be Happy!! Give!!

Posted by on Dec 13, 2017 in Certified Financial Planner Boise ID, Certified Senior Advisor Boise ID, Financial Advisor Boise ID, Financial Planner Boise ID, Financial Planners Boise ID, Financial Planning Consultant Boise ID, Financial Services Advisors Boise ID | Comments Off on Be Happy!! Give!!

“It is better to give then receive.” That is more than a quote. Generosity is one of the measurements that the World Happiness Report uses to evaluate the happiness of a nation. The more generous a nation is; the more likely the people are content. The US rated #2 on the World Happiness Report. The World Giving Index is used to score a nation’s generosity. It uses a few criteria like: Helping a stranger Donating money Volunteering time Being generous doesn’t always require money. Giving of your time, simple acts of kindness can impact others. If your giving isn’t generating a “happy” response maybe it is time to create a giving plan. A giving plan allows you to be intentional about your giving. And it is relatively easy to create. Creating a Giving Plan The first step is to identify 2 or 3 causes that are important to you. Those causes may be varied from environmental issues to animal protection. My top two causes are children and veterans. The second step look for charities that support your causes. This is the step that may take some time. The charity needs to meet the needs, have results and be good stewards. Fortunately, tools like www.charitynavigator.org and www.guidestar.org can help you evaluate your options. Established, effective charities will provide reports sharing how many they have served, the increase in activity from prior years. They will also keep administrative expenses under 25% of total expenses. With my cause for children, I support One Child Matters, and Idaho Youth Ranch. I will be adding a children’s charity in 2018 that is serving the Idaho City population. For my veteran’s cause, I support Helping the Home Front and Mighty Oak Warriors. And our office organizes a Christmas for a veteran family in need. I had been “advertising” in a resource newspaper for Idaho veterans. However, after several requests, they did not provide information on how many they were serving, what needs were being met. I was told 100% of the money remained in Idaho. My response was, “How much of that paid salaries? Are you volunteering your time?” Administrative costs are a part of operations, but they need to be reasonable. We are currently looking at a new resource for veterans for the 2018 year. The third step is to establish on annual donation target. How much do you want to give to each organization? What is your total donation goal? I read a book on giving that inspired me to donate one million dollars over my lifetime. That won’t happen without intentional giving. Creating a Giving Plan has many benefits: Intentional giving increases the impact on issues that matter to you. Giving to local charities can develop rewarding relationships. Eventual decline in charity solicitations and junk mail. Easy to say “no” to solicitations that don’t match your giving plan. I believe the US is a generous nation. The World Giving Index says we are. Make a difference in your community, state, nation or world. Be an intentional giver- Create a Giving...

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Control Your Medicare Premium

Posted by on Nov 28, 2017 in Financial Planner Boise ID | Comments Off on Control Your Medicare Premium

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Is Medicare an option at 65? Do you have to sign up for Medicare?

Posted by on Nov 1, 2017 in Certified Financial Planner Boise ID, Certified Senior Advisor Boise ID, Financial Advisor Boise ID, Financial Planner Boise ID, Financial Planners Boise ID | Comments Off on Is Medicare an option at 65? Do you have to sign up for Medicare?

Is Medicare an option at 65? Do you have to sign up for Medicare? Turning 65 is a well celebrated birthday- especially if you have been buying your own health insurance. You are now eligible for Medicare! You have a 7-month window to sign- up. 3 months before your birthday month Your birthday month 3 months after your birthday month. If you are receiving social security benefits when you reach 65, you will automatically be enrolled in Medicare. Otherwise, you have to reach out to Medicare when you are ready to enroll. Many are still employed when they reach 65 and are covered by an employer plan. Or they may be covered by a spouse’s plan. As long as you have credible insurance coverage, you do not have to sign up at 65. You do need to check with your HR department. They may expect you to sign up for Medicare- at least Part A- hospital coverage- which is free. If HR is expecting you to sign up for Medicare, they are expecting Medicare to be the primary payer. In that case, if you don’t sign up for Medicare you may be responsible for medical expenses. If you are on an employer health care plan, you can sign up for Part A only. Part A is hospital coverage. You can delay signing up for Part B, – outpatient services-, and Part D which covers prescription drugs. However, if you have an employer provided, high deductible insurance plan with a Health Savings Account (HSA), don’t sign up for ANY part of Medicare. Once you begin Medicare you can no longer Fund an HSA. You may use your HSA to pay Medicare premiums and medical expenses. But you can no longer put new money into your HSA. If you delay Part B and Part D past age 65, then you have new deadlines to worry about. Once you stop working and no longer have group health coverage, you have 8 months to enroll in Part B. Miss that deadline, for the rest of your life, you will pay a late enrollment penalty. The penalty is 10% of your premium for each 12-month period you don’t have coverage. The window for Part D is shorter. You need to sign up within 2 months of losing drug coverage. You miss that window and it is 1% of your monthly base premium. The penalties can add up quickly. You may be farther ahead to have the cheapest drug plan then incur a lifetime of premium penalty. Making the choices on Medicare insurance coverage can be confusing and time consuming. Once a decision is made, you are not likely to revisit the plan. However, you should periodically evaluate your plan. Especially your drug plans as the formularies can change. Medical expenses are a large part of your retirement expenses. Take the time to plan and reduce your total...

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FSA or HSA- Which should you use?

Posted by on Oct 18, 2017 in Certified Financial Planner Boise ID, Certified Senior Advisor Boise ID, Financial Advisor Boise ID, Financial Planner Boise ID, Financial Planners Boise ID, Financial Planning Consultant Boise ID, Financial Services Advisors Boise ID | Comments Off on FSA or HSA- Which should you use?

  FSA or HSA- Which should you use? Which employer health plan should you use? Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or Health Savings Account (HSA)? If you have both options available, consider the following:        Flexible Spending Account (FSA)         Health Savings Account (HSA) Best used when you expect major medical expenses such as surgery or braces.   Best used when you are mostly healthy and want to save for future medical expenses. Based on your tax bracket your deduction could save as much as 35%.   Based on your tax bracket your deduction could save as much as 35%. This plan is available only through an employer.   May be offered by employer.  Individuals and self-employed may also use this plan. Usually partnered with a health insurance plan that has smaller deductibles such as $500.   Must be partnered with High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP).  The lowest deductible for a single is $1,300 and family is $2,600.   You can deduct up to $2,550 from your paycheck per year. The maximum is the same for singles and families. You may deduct contributions of up to $3,350 for single and $6,650 for a family each year. An extra $1,000 is available for those over 55.   Must ‘use it or lose it’ each year! Your employer may allow for $500 rollover into the next plan year OR an additional two months extension to use your benefit.   No “lose it” with this account. No limit on the amount you can accumulate.  However, to remain tax free, you can use this money only for medical expenses.   You can withdrawal money before you can put it in, up to the amount you have chosen to contribute for the year   You pay your medical expenses directly from the Health Savings Account. FSAs are tied to your employer and cannot be moved.   HSAs are portable and can be moved.  If possible, keep HSA separate from your health insurance.  It makes changing insurance easier. If your employer has both the FSA and HSA Programs, evaluate your choice on a year by year case. You can move between the programs. HSA’s are good to fund heavily to help with medical expenses during your retirement years. Rules change for HSA when you start on Medicare. (More on Medicare in the next blog post.)    ...

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Equifax Hack Update

Posted by on Sep 26, 2017 in Financial Planner Boise ID | Comments Off on Equifax Hack Update

  200,000 credit cards were stolen in the Equifax hack; complete with card numbers and expiration dates. Monitor your credit cards statements closely. Investigate any charges that look unfamiliar no matter how small. Often cards are tested with small purchases. The 3 times my credit card has been accessed, the credit card company caught 2, as they were large and unusual purchases for me i.e. $800 of janitorial supplies in Florida. The third time was a small charge that slipped past the credit card company. I called the company phone number listed on the statement to confirm I had not done business with them. Equifax is offering free credit card monitoring. Trans Union is temporarily free. To really protect your credit, you need to freeze your credit at all 3 credit bureaus. (Look at Protect Yourself From Identity Theft  for contact information.) Credit monitory only alerts you when there is a problem, it doesn’t prevent stolen identity. A credit freeze prevents anybody taking credit out in your name. What I am reading and clients emails, Equifax has been difficult to place a credit freeze. They have been hard to reach by phone; then requesting submission of your requests by mail. Some have had success on-line; others have had problems reading their PIN- the number needed to lift the credit freeze. Be patient and be persistent to get your credit freeze put in place. If you mail your information, send it overnight or certified. You need to track the sending and receiving. If you notify Equifax by mail, they will mail your PIN to you. Keep your PIN with your important paper file. You may need it later if you move, buy a car, employer background check. The breach at Equifax occurred because they were lax in updating their software. Apache Struts software sent out a patch to fix a security issue in March. Equifax delayed installing the patch until May, resulting in their security breach. Their error should be a lesson to us- make all software updates immediately. Hackers look for those opportunities to gain access. Microsoft has had numerous updates lately, 25 of them more critical. Be sure you set your computers for auto updates. One Possible positive result from this chaos; the senate is drafting a bill banning credit bureaus from charging consumers for a credit freeze. This is one I think may get a unanimous vote! It gets...

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Protect Yourself From Identity Theft

Posted by on Sep 12, 2017 in Certified Financial Planner Boise ID, Certified Senior Advisor Boise ID, Financial Advisor Boise ID, Financial Planner Boise ID, Financial Planners Boise ID, Financial Planning Consultant Boise ID, Financial Services Advisors Boise ID | Comments Off on Protect Yourself From Identity Theft

A data breach at the credit agency Equifax may leave you exposed! The hack revealed critical personal information that may be used by identity thieves. This is one of the most consequential data breaches in history – nearly ALL of the U.S. adults have credit histories on file with Equifax. This could impact you! You can see if you were a victim of Equifax’s hack by visiting equifaxsecurity2017.com/potential-impact/ enter your last name and last 6 digits of your social security number. You can also wait to receive a letter from Equifax. Credit Monitoring services only alert you to when there has been a breach. You can do some of that by closely monitoring your credit card statements. Look for charges you don’t recognize and follow up. Hopefully your credit card company will notify you when they see irregular, sizable charges. A more permanent solution to identity theft is to freeze your credit with all three credit bureaus. A security freeze, also called a credit freeze, locks your credit file at each bureau with a special PIN. That PIN must be used in order for anyone to access your credit file, or add a new credit in your name. Credit bureaus rarely suggest freezing your credit. That restricts information given to banks and other companies that grant credit. Their recommendation is “credit monitoring”. As we already discussed, that alerts you AFTER there is a problem. How to freeze your credit: You need to contact all 3 of the credit bureaus individually. This can be done online or over the phone. You will be asked a few questions to confirm your identity. Experian: 888-397-3742 www.experian.com/freeze/center.html Transunion 888-909-8872 www.transunion.com/credit-freeze/place-creditfreeze Equifax 866-349-5191 www.freeze.equifax.com/freeze/jsp/SFF_PersonalIDInfo.jsp You may want to leave Equifax to last as they are receiving high traffic. There may be a nominal fee ($0-10$) at each credit bureau. To lift your freeze, contact the bureau used by the lender and provide your PIN to temporarily lift the freeze. This can only be done on line or over the phone. It may take a few days for the freeze to be lifted. After your credit has been secured, you may want to verify the freeze has been reinstated. This may seem time consuming and cumbersome. However, fixing your credit after an identity theft requires much more effort. This is definitely a case where an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of...

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