The Holiday Wrap Up

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A look back at 2018 thus far Presented by UPAL The year in brief. Last December, market prognosticators polled by Barron’s forecast a 7% advance for the S&P 500 in 2018. That prediction may come true. By early November, the S&P was up only about 5% for the year. Wall Street began 2018 in rally mode: happy to see large tax cuts for corporations, anxious to see whether a booming economy would lead to rising inflation pressure and recurring interest rate hikes. What Wall Street did not see coming late…

Tolerate the Turbulence

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Look beyond this moment and stay focused on your long-term objectives. Volatility will always be around on Wall Street, and as you invest for the long term, you must learn to tolerate it. Rocky moments, fortunately, are not the norm. Since the end of World War II, there have been dozens of Wall Street shocks. Wall Street has seen 56 pullbacks (retreats of 5-9.99%) in the past 73 years; the S&P index dipped 6.9% in this last one. On average, the benchmark fully rebounded from these pullbacks within two months….

HIPAA Risk Analysis and MACRA/MIPS: What you need to know.

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Did you know that having a HIPAA Security Risk Analysis accounts for half of the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) “Promoting Interoperability” category base score? *   Did you know that your HIPAA Risk Analysis needs to be completed no later than December 31, 2018 in order to attest? If you are concerned that your organization doesn’t have a HIPAA Security Risk Analysis, LayerCompliance can help. HOW LAYERCOMPLIANCE WORKS The LayerCompliance platform provides an online, easy-to-follow checklist-driven HIPAA module that includes: An annual assessment HIPAA Security Risk Analysis (required for…

Guarding Against Identity Theft

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Take steps so criminals won’t take vital information from you. October 17, 2018 America is enduring a data breach epidemic. The latest annual study of the problem from Javelin Strategy & Research, a leading financial analytics research firm, says that 16.7 million people across the nation were impacted by I.D. theft in 2017 – an all-time high.1 The problem is getting worse – much worse. Last year, 30% of U.S. consumers were alerted about data breaches by firms holding their personal information. In 2016, just 12% of consumers were so…

Investing Means Tolerating Some Risk

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That truth must always be recognized. October 17, 2018 When financial markets have a bad day, week, or month, discomforting headlines and data can swiftly communicate a message to retirees and retirement savers alike: equity investments are risky things, and Wall Street is a risky place. All true. If you want to accumulate significant retirement savings or try and grow your wealth through the opportunities in the markets, this is a reality you cannot avoid. Regularly, your investments contend with assorted market risks. They never go away. At times, they…

Retirement in Sight – October 2018

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Monthly News and Information for Current and Future Retirees Presented by UPAL- OCTOBER 2018 QUOTE OF THE MONTH “Know how to listen, and you will profit even from those who talk badly.” Plutarch THREE YEARS OR LESS TO RETIREMENT? GET READY If retirement feels less like a possibility and more like an oncoming certainty, then it is time to respond. This is the time to firmly decide whether you want to “age in place” in your current home or relocate. This is when you work on sustaining the friendships you…

When Is Social Security Income Taxable?

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To find out, look closely at two factors.  September 28, 2018  Your Social Security income could be taxed. That may seem unfair or unfathomable. Regardless of how you feel about it, it is a possibility. Seniors have had to contend with this possibility since 1984. Social Security benefits became taxable above a certain yearly income level in that year. A second, higher yearly income threshold (at which a higher tax rate applies) was added in 1993. These income thresholds have never been adjusted upward for inflation.1 As a result, more…

Debunking a Few Popular Retirement Myths

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It seems high time to dispel some of these misconceptions. September 28, 2018  Generalizations about money and retirement linger. Some have been around for decades, and some new clichés have recently joined their ranks. Let’s examine a few. “When I’m retired, I won’t really have to invest anymore.” Society still sees retirement as an end instead of a beginning – a finish line for a career. In reality, retirement is the start of a new and promising phase of life that could last a few decades. If you don’t keep…

Smart Financial & Insurance Moves for New Parents

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As you start a family, consider these ideas.   September 28, 2018 Being a parent means being responsible to a degree you never have been before. That elevated responsibility also impacts your financial decisions. You are now a provider and a protector, and that reality may make the following financial moves necessary. Think about a budget. As a couple, you may have lived for years without budgeting. As parents, this may change. You will face new recurring costs: clothes, toys, diapers, food. Keeping track of weekly or monthly expenses will be…

Taking a Loan from Your Retirement Plan = Bad Idea

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Why you should refrain from making this move.  September 28, 2018 Thinking about borrowing money from your 401(k), 403(b), or 457 account? Think twice about that because these loans are not only risky, but injurious, to your retirement planning. A loan of this kind damages your retirement savings prospects. A 401(k), 403(b), or 457 should never be viewed like a savings or checking account. When you withdraw from a bank account, you pull out cash. When you take a loan from your workplace retirement plan, you sell shares of your…