Asset Planning, Inc Blog

The latest from the team.

Understanding Medicare

 

Medicare seems like a simple concept but just like social security, there are many rules and details that you should understand. First of all, the best place to go for answer is: https://www.medicare.gov  The website is very informative and where I go to if I need to research a Medicare question.

The major components of Medicare are Part A, B, C and D. Parts A, B and D combined are comparable to a PPO insurance plan while Part C is comparable to a HMO plan. You must sign up at age 65 to avoid a penalty but if you can prove that you were covered elsewhere the penalty is waived.

Part A is Hospital Insurance. It is designed to help cover the cost of your care in a hospital, rehab facility, and home health care for a limited period of 100 days per benefit period. There is no premium cost for Part A but there is a $1,288 deductible per year.

Part B is Medical Insurance. It covers doctor services, preventive and outpatient care. The premium cost for new enrollees is $121.80/month and your co-payment is normally 20% of the expenses incurred. The premium is deducted from your social security check but if you delay starting social security you must pay the premium directly to Medicare.

Part D is Prescription Drug coverage. This covers prescription drugs. This coverage is provided by an insurer that is approved by Medicare. To avoid a late penalty you should also sign up for this at the same time as part A & B. You can change the coverage in later years if the coverage is not enough.

Part C is medical insurance offered by private insurers. It is also known as Medicare Advantage. This is offered by HMO type insurers like Kaiser. Medicare deducts the cost of the insurance from your social security check and pays the insurer (e.g., Kaiser) for your benefit. Prescription drug coverage is normally covered as part of this plan too.

Next time, I will discuss medi-gap policies and Medicare premium amounts and what causes them to increase or decrease.

Continue reading
  750 Hits
750 Hits

API Open House

FullSizeRender 5

API held an Open House in our office on June 29th and were delighted to host 75 clients.  We introduced our new full time office administrator, Melani, to our clients that had not yet met her. As we continue to grow in assets and clients, we needed someone dedicated to the running of the office and client contact. These duties have been removed from Samantha as she only deals with client accounts, trading and financial planning now.  API continues to expand and now has clients in 10 states and manages over 220 million dollars.  We thank you for your continued loyalty and referrals that allow us to grow.

Continue reading
  832 Hits
832 Hits

4th of July Holiday

4th of July

Our office will be closed on Monday, July 4th in observance of Independence Day.

We will resume normal business hours on Tuesday, July 5th.

From all of us at API, we wish you a safe and happy holiday!

Continue reading
  738 Hits
738 Hits

Brexit

 

It’s been a hectic day, but we wanted to give you a few notes on the Brexit vote and its impact:

  • The UK makes up only 4% of the overall global economy
  • Nothing will change overnight; the process of the UK leaving the Eurozone will take approximately 2 years based on current estimates.
  • The economic impact will be felt like a ripple or earthquake, those closest to the epicenter will feel the effects more than those farther away.
Continue reading
  709 Hits
Tags:
709 Hits

Auto Insurance Check Up

 

Auto insurance is pretty much a no brainer. It’s required by law to have so you get a policy and pay your premiums, end of story right? Well, it shouldn’t be. The average person buys a policy and doesn’t think about it again. It is really important, however, to do a periodic check up on your auto insurance policy to make sure you are covered adequately and are receiving all of the discounts you are entitled to. Many changes occur over the years in life like getting married, buying a house, and having a baby. Your auto insurance needs change over the years as well. Having the same coverage limits you did when you were first on your own may not be enough to cover your assets if you were sued in an automobile accident. Talk to your insurance agent to ensure that you have enough liability coverage. Another good thing to do is ask your agent if you are receiving all of the discounts that you are entitled to. There are a ton of discounts available and they may not necessarily be applied to your policy. Some examples of these discounts are good student discount, defensive driver discount, multi-policy discount, mature driver discount and the list goes on. Many of these discounts are not automatically added to your policy so it does not hurt to ask what discounts your insurance company offers. Next, get a few different quotes from other reputable companies for the same coverage that you have. This will give you a good idea if you are paying too much and may give you incentive to switch. By just taking a few extra steps to review your policy each year you could save enough each month to fill up your gas tank.

Continue reading
  803 Hits
803 Hits

Protecting Your Home While on Vacation

Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial kick off to summer and for many people, summer is a great time to plan a vacation. Unfortunately robbers know this and it can also be a prime time for home break-ins. Having a house sitter stay in your home to watch your pets, water your plants, gather any mail or flyers, and turn lights off and on is definitely your best option for insuring your home is safe but this may not be an option for everyone. Here are a few tips to safeguard your home while you are away.

  1. Have your mail stopped. Nothing screams that no one is home more than a bunch of mail and flyers piling up on your doorstep. You can visit the post office website and submit a request online.
  2. 2.Get timers for your lights. Leaving your lights on 24/7 is a dead giveaway that you are not home and will make your electric bill sky rocket. Instead, put your living room lights on timers to come on at dusk and turn off at bed time.
  3. 3.Ask a neighbor for help. Usually a neighbor will not mind keeping an eye out for anything suspicious going on at your house and may even be willing to pull out the trash cans for you. Asking doesn’t hurt and I’m sure they would appreciate the favor in return.
  4. 4.Make sure everything is locked up. This seems so obvious but one of the biggest mistakes people make is leaving a door or window unlocked in their rush to get going on their vacation. If your house is locked up tight the thief will have to work harder to break in and will most likely leave if it is taking too long.
  5. 5.Don’t post about it. Everyone loves getting away on vacation but posting this information on social media will notify all of your connections that you are away from home. Think twice before giving out too much information. You can always post those great vacation pics when you get home!
  6. 6.Get a security system. If you travel a lot or are away from home most of the day in general it may be a good idea to get an alarm or a camera security system. The cost for these systems may be small in comparison to the peace of mind you will have knowing that your home is protected.

Most importantly, enjoy your vacation knowing that your home is secure while you are away!

Continue reading
  718 Hits
718 Hits

Checking Your Own Credit Score

 

Everybody knows how important maintaining a good credit score is. Having a good credit score will get you better interest rates on home mortgages, car loans and credit cards. Landlords and even employers are looking at this number when making decisions to rent/lease to you or hire you. With credit being such an important factor in life it’s crucial that you know what your credit score is and checking your own credit score does not impact your credit. Luckily for you there are many new and free credit monitoring services out there to help you do just that. So if your credit needs a little help, don’t despair, check out these free tools to help guide you on the path to great credit!

Creditscorecard.com

 

Creditsesame.com

 

Creditkarma.com

If you choose to sign up for one of these websites they will ask you for personal information to identify yourself to verify that it is in fact you signing up. These websites are all free monitoring services and they will not ask you for any credit card information. They will however send you marketing materials with offers based on your personal information. It seems like a small price to pay in order to be able to monitor and take control of your own credit. Good luck on your journey to overall better credit health!

Continue reading
  843 Hits
843 Hits

10 Money Saving Tips That Can Really Help Your Bottom Line

 

We recently came across an article written by Kraig Mathias with some great money saving tips and want to pass them along to you. By following these tips you can really help your bottom line and focus your extra funds towards saving for the future.

  1. Get out of debt and stop borrowing money. Pay off all of your debt now and do not buy more than you can afford to pay off each month. Having no more payments means you can save that money instead.
  2. Stop going shopping. While you are getting out of debt stop spending money on unnecessary stuff. You will not make any progress if you continue to spend money at the same time you are trying to pay off your credit cards. It is a vicious cycle that is hard to get out of.
  3. Eat at home and eat out very little. Eating out can be extremely expensive. You will be amazed at the amount of money you can save by merely eating at home more often.
  4. Make a budget each month. Once you sit down and make a budget for the month you will be able to see where all of your money is going and can cut out unnecessary spending.
  5. Think about the bigger picture. Set a goal for why you are saving your money. Once you have a specific goal it will be easier to say no to that daily cup of coffee at Starbucks and make one at home.
  6. Downgrade your disposable goods. You can save big time by buying the generic laundry soap instead of the name brands. They are usually just as good without the high price tag.
  7. Keep your living situation modest. If you are serious about saving money living in a posh apartment or driving that expensive sports car is going to put a strain on your savings potential.
  8. Learn to say no. You’ll have to learn to say no to an expensive night out with your friends. Try suggesting a low cost alternative. This is a big part in taking control of your discretionary spending.
  9. Learn to be content with what you have. If you are content with what you have you will be less likely to want more. Instead of going out and buying new stuff all of the time, try saving for it and paying in cash instead of charging it. You will be more satisfied with the purchase and that you earned the new item.
Continue reading
  843 Hits
843 Hits

Pets: They Truly Are Part of the Family

 

Let’s admit it; our pets are part of the family. Nearly 60% of households own a pet and unlike past generations the emphasis on pets and how we treat them has drastically changed. No more leaving Fido to sleep in the backyard with a bowl of dry kibble. Instead we have begun to humanize our pets and treat them as if they were our children. The average American admits to letting them sleep in their bed, preparing fresh meals for them, buying them birthday presents, etc. There really is no better time to be a domestic pet then now and as a result, Americans are willing to spend more money on their pets and the pet industry is booming. Here are some fun facts about how the love we have for our animals is affecting consumer spending and our economy.

  • US Census Bureau data reveals that since 1998 the number of pet related stores has jumped by 38%. The broad US economy has only added 8% more storefronts over the same time period.
  • Industry research suggests that of the $6.3 billion Americans spent on pet services (excluding veterinary work), 38% of it was on boarding and pet sitting.
  • Organic pet food grew from 11% of total US pet food sales in 2011 to 17% in 2014. If 17% does not sound impressive, consider that only 7% of domestic baby food sales are organic.
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that consumers spend more annually on their pets ($1,151) than they do on car insurance ($1,112).
  • In 2011, average household spending on pet food alone was $183. This was more than the amount spent on bread ($107), chicken ($124), and cereal ($175).
  • US pet related employment has jumped nearly 3x from 195,000 in 1990 to 553,000 in 2015.
  • Over the next ten years the Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts have animal care and service employment up 11% and Veterinarian employment up 9%,

So keep on spoiling your furry companion! It’s not only good for him but also the economy!

*Facts and excerpts taken from “Human, Economy and Pet: How Pets Are Changing Humans and the Economy,” Payden & Rygel, Point of View, Spring 2016.

Continue reading
  737 Hits
737 Hits

New Trends in Credit Card Fraud

 

In a recent article released by AARP and written by Sid Kirchheimer, he writes about the new trends in credit card fraud. With the new chip-enabled EMV cards it is now harder for identity thieves to clone counterfeits of the existing plastic cards. Instead they are focusing on opening new fraudulent accounts with stolen Social Security numbers and other sensitive data. Javelin Strategy & Research reported in its 2016 Identity Fraud Study that new-account fraud more than doubled in 2015 from the previous year.

Here are a few tips on how to protect yourself:

1.Get a credit freeze. Once enacted, a credit (also known as a security) freeze restricts access to your credit report, which creditors check before issuing new financial or service accounts in your name. Without seeing your report, creditors won’t approve accounts to ID thieves posing as you. A freeze must be placed with each of the three major credit-reporting bureaus — typically free for those 65 and older (state laws vary) — and can be unthawed when you are legitimately applying for credit.

2.Secure mobile devices. If your financial life is on a smartphone or tablet, apply software updates that patch known vulnerabilities as soon as they become available. Use security features built into Android and iOS devices, such as passcode or biometric (fingerprint) protection, and programs that encrypt data and remotely wipe contents if the device is lost or stolen.

3.Use strong passwords. They “remain the de facto first line of defense for most online accounts, which has motivated criminals to compromise them whenever possible,” Javelin notes. Using a password manager is a convenient way to maintain good password practices without resorting to writing these codes down, which could also place them at risk of physical compromise.

4. Sign up for account alerts. Offered by banks, credit card issuers and brokerages, these free notifications, via email or text message, provide you with real-time alerts of suspicious activity. When fraud occurs, contact the account issuer immediately.

5.Take data breach notifications seriously. One in 5 data-breach victims suffered fraud in 2015, up from 1 in 7 in 2014. While data breaches at retailers remain an issue, the biggest jump in breaches was at government agencies and health care organizations, with a 64 percent rise in exposure of SSNs.

Continue reading
  854 Hits
854 Hits

Search Blogs Module

Wait a minute, while we are rendering the calendar
Two-Step Verification Orange County summer home clone counterfeits home break-ins cell phone carriers offer July 4 Notary Public card reader fun facts retirement planning Retirement Contribution Limits FEMA website VOIP landline phones Open Enrollment opt-out health care costs borrowing money Victor Dergunov October 1 2020. asset Planning estate 4 pm -8pm illiegal robocallers Treasury Department Healthcare emergency folder home emergency kit 401K Kiplinger Letter retirement accounts 70 1/2. non-prescripstion sunglasses disaster areas portal drive /usb Puerto Rico 20 year anniversary money house sitter Wells Fargo employees June 29 “ skimmer ”. 2017 TD Ameritrade National LINC Conference Medicare question driver license life saver April 18 2017. vacation Social Security Administration Mobile Banking Security Tips blog post emergency kit CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER exam credit card company Social Security IRS deadline relief efforts jury duty contribution limit Wells Fargo customers clients insurance policies trustee D premiums banking estate planning trust self-help topics retirement plans increase president Trump chip-enabled EMV cards fees integral member check lists Auto insurance tax deadline Supplemental Security Income Affordable Care Act FSA home emergency preparedness kits partner /owner spring cleaning IRA accounts home mortgages Part D premiums . credit score 2017 IRA contributions Fox News story credit card fraud client portal Amazon CFP ® cell phones Medicare Part B pet supplies DNA test kits phone companies Kraig Mathias Medicare tax season National Ice Cream month information Facebook California Lions Friends 2018 IRA contributions vision screening pet interest rates pets toilet paper earthquake app policy spam phone Orange County Superior Court identity theft official certification clients show support Roth IRA Independence Day credit freeze Erin Nelsen wells Fargo retirement padlock consumer spending car loans rescue organizations Asset Planning credit cards Flexible Spending Account https :// Facebook profile Legal robocalls gap insurance https ://seekingalpha identity thieves Part B app April 15 account numbers Brexit vote debt documents phishing scams prescription eyeglasses phishing sites executive order parking spots insurance policy flash drive email notifications information assets ice cream event April 11 bottom line Medicare Part B premiums ID card scams Federal Trade Commission website 23 andme notary services Shred paperwork checklists birth certificates pet industry privacy settings memorial Day weekend EEChecklist-Kits.pdf stockpilingchecklist.pdf Financial Planning Magazine home security company paperwork clutter Open House privacy notices web address investment statements 900 number