Asset Planning, Inc Blog

The latest from the team.

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.

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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.

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Save the date: API Open House Party!

Asset Planning will be having an Open House on Wednesday, June 29th from 4pm-8pm. There will be wine tasting and hors d’oeuvres. Look for an invitation with all of the details coming your way soon!

 

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Spring Cleaning

 

As soon as I finish my taxes I also do some spring cleaning of my paperwork clutter and finances. Here are some tips to get your financial house in shape:

  1. Organize financial papers: Do not leave financial documents around that contain information that could be used to steal your identity. Shred paperwork you no longer need. Save important papers in a secure place and if possible, digitally (scan and save on external drive/usb, etc.) and secure with a password.

  2. Bills, paystubs, bank and investment statements should be kept for one year and then just keep the year end summaries and shred the rest.

  3. Keep invoices and all bills for major repairs, improvements and construction on your home. This is vital to have when and if you ever sell your home for increased cost basis.

  4. Tax returns and all supporting documentation should be kept for at least 7 years. A good rule is to scan your older tax returns and keep them forever.

  5. Run your credit report to see if there are any unusual transactions. Annualcreditreport.com allows one free report per agency per year.

  6. Automate adding to investments and savings.

  7. Adjust tax withholdings on your income (paycheck, IRA’s, etc.) if you owed too much tax or received a large refund.

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Tax Deadline is Fast Approaching

The April 18th deadline to file your tax return is right around the corner. In your rush to meet the deadline we would like to remind you that it’s not too late to contribute to your IRA to receive the tax benefit.  The current funding limit is $5,500 for those under 50 and $6,500 for people 50 and over. Even if you participate in a plan at work you may still contribute, you will not receive the tax deduction but the earnings will grow tax free until you are required to take a distribution – over age 70 1/2. . If you have been thinking about opening an IRA to supplement your retirement there is no better time than the present to get one started. Please contact your advisor to determine which type of IRA would best suit your financial needs.

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Account Security

TD Ameritrade issued an alert today that they have seen an uptick in fraudulent account disbursement requests. So far, Asset Planning clients have not experienced any account fraud as we are diligent in verifying that requests for money come from our actual clients.

One tip that TD Ameritrade suggested was having a code word with our clients to verify the authenticity of a request. Please feel free to reach out to us if you would like to implement this extra precaution. 

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Full Retirement Age

API received an email from Asolute Capital that contained this tidbit of information we wanted to share with you: 

 

NOT IN ANY HURRY - 66 is the "full retirement age" (FRA) to receive unreduced retirement benefits in 2015. 43% of men and 37% of women take their Social Security retirement benefits at their FRA or older (source: Social Security Administration).

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6th Annual Gail Moreno Golf Tournament

On October 10th, we will be hosting our 6th Annual Gail Moreno Golf Tournament. All the proceeds of this tournament will benefit the Breast Cancer Angels.

We will be playing golf at Little Rec Golf Course in Long Beach with a shotgun start at 1pm and celebration, raffle, and food to follow. Asset Planning will pay for clients and 1 guest. All additional players are $60 per person.

We also have a Golf Ball Draw. Participants pay a $10 donation for the chance to win $300.

If you would like to play golf or participate in our Golf Ball Draw please contact Samantha at sjg@assetplanninginc.com. You can make your donation via PayPal by visiting the link below or by sending us a check made out to Breast Cancer Angels.

www.gailmorenomemorial.com

If you would like more information about the Breast Cancer Angels, their website is:

www.breastcancerangels.org

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LA Times Money Makeover

Carol was asked to be the Financial Planner for the latest LA Times Money Makeover. 

Click here to see the article or copy and paste the link below.

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-money-makeover-ramsey-garcia-20150814-story.html

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Asset Planning, Inc makes top RIA 2015 Ranking

Asset Planning, Inc. makes Financial Advisor Magazine's top RIA, Registered Investment Advisor, 2015 ranking.

Click here for the link.

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