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.
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.
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.
Apparently there is a new scam going around in Orange County. Imposters are calling and claiming that they are from the Orange County Superior Court. They are claiming that you will be facing prosecution for missing jury duty and attempt to obtain your social security number. Read here for more details
The bottom line is, never ever under any circumstances give out any of your personal information such as social security number, birth date etc. to anyone who is calling you that you do not recognize. No reputable company is going to call you out of the blue to ask you for this information. Scammers will stop at nothing to get this valuable information from you so be vigilent in protecting it.
Just a quick reminder that the deadline for Medicare's Open Enrollment is today. If you were planning on making any changes to your plans today is the last time to do that until next October.
Here is a chart with a quick summary of the changes you can make. For more details click on this link.
Dear Clients with TD Ameritrade accounts
Please read the below announcement from TD Ameritrade detailing the changes to advisorclient.com especially the part about the new two-step security log in option.
Please be aware the updates to the website have caused some log in problems. TD Ameritrade technical support is aware and working on correcting the issues. You may not be able to log in temporarily.
New Two-Step Security Feature
The new AdvisorClient site can be set as your default view by clicking "Set as default" from the green banner on top of the screen.
Let us know if you have any questions about the new AdvisorClient website. Just call TD Ameritrade Institutional Technology Services at 800-400-3500 option 3 and they'll be able to help.
Back in June we notified you of a new Federal act that goes into effect October 1, 2020. This act will require anyone boarding domestic flights, entering military bases or federal facilities to have a REAL ID. It can either be a REAL ID driver license or a REAL ID identification card and they are issued by the California DMV.
We are being told by clients that appointments to get a new REAL ID are now being scheduled two months out. I just tried to schedule my appointment this morning and the next available appointment is not until October 1st. That's not even including the time it will take for the ID to get to you in the mail.
We strongly urge you to take a moment to schedule your appointment today. You probably won't realize how many places you will need this ID to get into until the act goes into effect. Better to be safe than sorry!
We thought we would give you a heads up on a new act that will be beginning on October 1, 2020. It is called the Federal REAL ID Act. This act will require anyone boarding domestic flights, entering military bases or federal facilities to have a REAL ID. It can either be a driver license or an ID card and they are issued by the California DMV.
Here is an example of what the Federal REAL ID will look like as well as a link to the REAL ID fact sheet with detailed instructions on how to obtain one.
We suggest getting this done as soon as possible. Don't wait until close to the deadline, especially if you know you have travel plans that will require it. We know people have a tendency to procrastinate and we have a feeling there will be a backup due to a lot of people needing them at once.
Asset Planning is collecting used prescription eyeglasses, non-prescription sunglasses, readers and even broken glasses. These glasses will be donated to the California Lions Friends in Sight. This organization provides free vision screening and free recycled eyeglasses to those in need.
If you have any eyeglasses that you wish to donate you can drop them off at our office anytime from now until May 25th.
Thank you in advance for your donations!
Amy Florian from Corgenius released some information regarding new tests to alert you to the early signs of dementia and Alzheimer's disease. The first study was about sense of smell and the second one was about personality changes.
Here are some highlights taken directly from her research on the studies that we thought were important.
Regarding smell, scientists studied several factors in reasonably healthy people and then followed them for five years to see who developed dementia. They found that when combined with baseline cognitive function at the start, the most important factor was sense of smell. They specifically studied five scents – orange, leather, peppermint, rose, and fish. The greater number of scents that created difficulty and the more poorly a person could discern these smells, the more likely they were to exhibit dementia five years later. Researchers noted that this can’t be relied on as a singular test, but rather as a realization that sensory function is closely related to brain function, and may be among the first areas to exhibit deficiencies.
Another study focused on the long-recognized fact that personality changes are an early sign of Alzheimer’s disease, especially becoming uncharacteristically angry, aggressive, paranoid, or inappropriate. Now researchers have developed a 34-question quiz that can help determine the breadth and depth of behavioral changes, and they are proposing an intermediate diagnosis of mild behavioral impairment. You can take the quiz here. Note that these changes should persist for 6 months and be fundamental changes in behavior in order to indicate problems.
We are always looking for ways to keep you informed on the latest news with issues we come accross and cognitive decline is an important one.
There's been a lot of recent reports on how much information Facebook really has on you and it is scary. When is the last time you looked to see how many of your apps are connected to your Facebook profile? Even if youre not using the app anymore, once you grant them permission to your Facebook profile they will continue to collect your data, including your friends list, pictures, browsing history etc, until you revoke their access.
We found a really good article on CNBC that gives you a step-by-step guide on how to check your privacy settings, see who has access to your information and how to remove them. Follow the link below to check it out.
Many people are interested in their ancestry and genetic testing and the popularity of DNA test kits shows this new trend. The most popular tests are AncestryDNA, National Geographic genetics and 23andme. 23andMe has over 2 million customers that have given consent to have their data used for research. Yes, the data is sold. The premise is that the data is sold for research and the buyers are institutions and nonprofits. You do have to consent to your data being used and 80% of their customers do give consent. So, what are the dangers? For a young person who may be applying for health insurance or life insurance in their future, I would advise that their data not be shared and their sample not be kept for future testing. Despite genetic privacy laws, life insurers can request genetic testing information and thus deny coverage based on your disease risk profile. Law enforcement also has the right to your data.
For people living to age 85, there is a 34% chance of having Alzheimers. Age is also a big risk factor for Parkinson’s disease. If you find you have the APOE gene, your risk of Alzheimer’s is increased. How the research can help is that the right patients could be put in specific clinical trials. Carol and her kids have been tested. I spit in the tube and sent my sample off to 23andMe to be tested for ancestry results just because I am curious even though all my maternal side came from Sweden. I have not given consent for learning my genetic risk for diseases yet. If you have an interest in this topic, email us for our links to the articles and research.
All of us at Asset Planning hope everyone has had a great start to their New Year! I wanted to send out a few reminders as you may still be cleaning and organizing from all of the holiday madness.
We are still accepting pet supplies and old medications to donate for disaster relief until January 15th. If you have anything to donate please drop them off at our office by then.
Also, around this time you may be getting ready to do your taxes and are going through paperwork. This is a perfect time to remind you that we offer free document shredding for our clients all year long. If you have any sensitive paperwork that needs to be shredded you can bring that to the office any time.
If your items are bulky or heavy and you need assistance please call me in advance and I will be glad to help you.
Have a wonderful weekend!
Seeing the news about all of the displaced animals due to the hurricanes and wild fires has deeply touched our hearts. We have decided to try to do our part by collecting donations for local relief efforts as well as Puerto Rico. The rescue organizations are in desperate need of medications and new or gently used pet supplies. If you would like to donate to this cause feel free to drop off any of the items listed below at our office from now until Jan 15, 2018.
MEDICATIONS- They accept dog, cat and people medications. Expired medications are fine too.
Baytril, Albon, Biaxin,
Azithromycin, Fungal Meds,
Lixotinic, Frontline, Revolution
Ear & Eye Infection Medications
Pain & Anti-Inflammatory Medications
We will be shipping the medications directly to Puerto Rico.
New or gently used items such as:
Leashes and collars
Dog treats- hard and soft
Dry or canned dog/puppy food
Dog carriers and crates
Stainless steel bowls
These items will be dropped of at a local SPCALA location to be distributed by DART (Disaster Animal Response Team) where they are needed the most.
Two-Step Verification is a process that requires you to use two methods of authentication before logging into an account. You'll log into your account with the password that you set up and then they will either text, call or email you a code to verify that it is you logging in. There's also an option to remember the device, so if you're on your personal computer that you trust you won't have to get a new code each time. This may seem like a little bit of a hassle but it adds an extra layer of security to your accounts and we think is so important to set up, especially with so many data breaches happening every day. I personally have it set up on all of my accounts and I feel confident knowing that I will receive a notification letting me know that my account was logged into on a different device.
If you need any help setting this up on your accounts feel free to call me to make an appointment and I will be happy to help you.
Enjoy your weekend,
Most of us live on our smartphones. Our whole lives are connected to them, from social media to online banking and more, so keeping them secure is more important than ever. I found a great article I wanted to share with you that has some tips on keeping your smartphone safe.
I hope you find these tips useful!
After witnessing the devastation from the recent hurricanes and California wildfires I thought it was a good idea to send out a reminder about having a “go bag” or emergency kit ready. In the case of the wildfires the residents had little to no notice. This gave them no time to collect any of their belongings for themselves or their pets. Having this “go bag” ready and easily accessible is extremely important. On the FEMA website I found a comprehensive list of what you should have in your emergency kit as well as some additional tips to help you prepare for an emergency.It is attached below. Take some time to look over the list and get your "go bag" ready.