Asset Planning, Inc Blog

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More Scam Alerts and Security Tips

We've come across a few more scams that we thought you should be aware of...

The first one is a scam where an unknown number will call you and only ring once or twice and not leave a message. Your first instinct is to call them back to see who it is. It turns out that it is a 900 number you are calling back and you get charged for the call. The phone companies are not reversing the charges for these calls so be weary on calling back unusual numbers. My thought is if it's important whoever is calling you will leave a message.

Next, a client alerted us to a company that is offering free cell phones to seniors with low income. They ask for all your personal information such as social security numbers, drivers license numbers, etc. There are some legit companies out there that do offer these programs but there are also scammers out there trying to steal identities. Before giving out your personal information be sure to do your research on the company or person who you're dealing with. You don't want your information getting in the wrong hands.

Lastly, stay vigilant with people calling or emailing you and asking for your personal information. Legitimate companies will never call or email you to get passwords or social security numbers. One way to tell in an email is by looking at the grammar. More times than not on a scam email the grammar will be wrong. Also, NEVER click on a link sent to you in an email from someone you don't recognize. If you are in doubt about whether a request for information is legitimate or not, always call the company back on a number that you have looked up yourself, so you know that you're actually calling the right place.

If you have any scams that you would like to tell us about, so we can alert our clients, please email me at melani@assetplanninginc.com

We hope you all have a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend!

Melani

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Happy Anniversary Carol!

Today marks Carol's 14th year with API. We are a family here and we truly appreciate her and all she does for the company and our clients. We celebrated her today by surprising her with flowers and her favorite breakfast of bagels and lox with all the fixings. Cheers to many more years with Asset Planning!

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Congratulations Erin Nelsen!

We are pleased and excited to announce that Erin Nelsen, CFP® is now a partner/owner at Asset Planning, Inc. Erin has been with Asset Planning, Inc. since 2007. She has had been an integral member of our team and overall growth of our firm for the past 12 years. We look forward to the future with her as a partner and the continued success of Asset Planning.

Erins headshot for websites

https://www.assetplanninginc.com/erin-nelsen

 

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Spam Calls

In an earlier blog post, we told you about an app called NomoRobo that blocks unwanted robotic and spam phone calls. I've been paying a monthly fee of $1.99 and it has been totally worth it. I just learned however, that cell phone carriers offer this service for free. For AT&T subscriber's, you can download an app called AT&T Call Protect. Verizon's app is called Verizon Call Filter and for T-Mobile customers there is no app. You just need to turn on the Scam ID and Scam Block Service.

Even though I feel like paying for NomoRobo has saved me from getting all of those annoying unwanted calls, I'm definitely going to try the service from my provider. Why pay for something if you can get it for free? Hopefully this helps some of you who didn't know about these blocking tools from getting unwanted phone calls.

Have a great weekend!

Melani

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Wishing you a Happy Easter and Happy Passover!

Easter and Passover 2019.

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FSA Eligible Items on Amazon

There is now a whole section of Flexible Spending Account eligible items available on Amazon. In case you don't know what an FSA is, it is an account that you put pre-tax money into that you use to pay out-of-pocket health care costs with. The limit per person each year is $2,650 and most plans require that you use up that amount each year. Even though there is a limit of $2,650 a year you are not required to contribute that much. You can estimate what you think you spend per year and only contribute that amount. People use their FSA accounts to pay for copays, deductibles and prescriptions but there is a lot of over the counter products that meet the eligibility requirements ranging from blood pressure testers all the way to sunscreen and lotion.

Most of the time FSA owners will pay for these out of pocket expenses and then submit a claim form to be reimbursed but there is another option. You can now request a debit card for your FSA and pay directly for these expenses using that card. If you would like to order from Amazon, you would enter your FSA credit card information and select that card as your form of payment. When I was looking on Amazon I simply searched for FSA eligible items and was amazed at all of the products that were available and that I would be able to use for my family on a daily basis. This is a great way to use up the funds in your FSA account.

If you do not have a Flexible Spending Account, it may be something to look into. Not all employers offer them, but it doesn't hurt to ask your human resources department. Remember whatever you do contribute will reduce your taxable income because the contributions are made pre-tax. It's really a great way to pay for your out-of-pocket health care costs.

When googling FSA eligible products, I noticed that there were a lot of other stores that offer them as well. I just love the convenience and delivery options of Amazon, especially if you're a Prime member.

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Internet Security

Padlock

When browsing the internet and logging into certain sites, it's become almost habit to look for the little green padlock to make sure that you are entering a secure website. well, unfortunately a lot of phishing sites have started using the green padlock as well to try to fool the average user. These phishing sites try to copy a legitimate site, pose as an online retailer or other trusted site. Their goal is for you to trust them and enter your personal information, so it can be sold on the dark web and used for identity theft. It's important to always remember to look for the https:// displayed in front of the web address. The padlock by itself means nothing.

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IRA Contributions

While we are deep in the midst of tax season, we thought it was a good idea to remind our clients to get in their 2018 IRA contributions. If you are planning on dropping off a check to us the deadline to get them in is Wednesday, April 10th. This will ensure that your contribution is made before the April 15th tax deadline.

2018 contribution limits are $5,500 or $6,500 if you are over the age of 50

Also, now is as good a time as any to get in your 2019 contributions especially because the limits have been increased. The sooner you get these in the longer they have to grow in your IRA which means more retirement funds for you!

2019 contribution limits are $6,000 or $7,000 if you are 50 years of age or older

When it comes to non-deductible IRA contributions please be sure that you are keeping a record of these contributions by completing tax form 8606 for each year you make a non-deductible contribution. We have run into a few cases where no record is kept, and our clients are left scrambling to find that information when it is time to take distributions from their IRAs. This information will be needed to figure out what amount of your distributions will be counted as taxable income to you, so it is very important.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to call us.

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Earthquake App for L.A. County

Check out the new earthquake app called ShakeAlertLA. This new app gives you an alert 20 seconds before an earthquake hits in L.A. County.

The app doesn't predict earthquakes, but it does know when an earthquake happens and when it's on its way to you and every second counts!

The app is available to Apple and Android users.

Here are a couple images of what the alerts look like.

ShakeAlertLA

 

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Happy Holidays!

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Christmas 2018 Blog Photo

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