Take Steps to Protect Against Identity Theft

Identify theft is a big problem.  This article from a fellow Alliance of Cambridge Advisors member provides some great hints to help you safeguard your identity.

Steve

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According to a Javelin Strategy & Research report, 11.6 million adults in the United States had their identities stolen last year. Some of these crimes are relatively minor, such as the unauthorized use of a credit card number. In other cases, the perpetrators have used stolen identities to rent a home or buy a new car. Here are some practical steps you should take to protect yourself and your family.

● Safeguard your Social Security number. This is the best step you can take to prevent the most serious forms of identity fraud. Take your Social Security card out of your wallet or purse. Never give out your Social Security number to anyone who calls, emails or texts requesting personal information. In general, your bank, insurance company, doctor’s office or anywhere else you have an existing relationship will not call you for personal information. If a business you have an established relationship with calls requesting personal information, politely hang up, look up its contact information independently and call the business back. You might even prefer to visit the nearest local office and handle it in person.

via Take steps to protect against identity theft.

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True Secret to Success: Gratitude | Inc.com

I’m utterly convinced that the key to lifelong success is the regular exercise of a single emotional muscle: gratitude.

People who approach life with a sense of gratitude are constantly aware of what’s wonderful in their life. Because they enjoy the fruits of their successes, they seek out more success. And when things don’t go as planned, people who are grateful can put failure into perspective.

By contrast, people who lack gratitude are never truly happy. If they succeed at a task, they don’t enjoy it. For them, a string of successes is like trying to fill a bucket with a huge leak in the bottom. And failure invariably makes them bitter, angry, and discouraged.

Therefore, if you want to be successful, you need to feel more gratitude. Fortunately, gratitude, like most emotions, is like a muscle: The more you use it, the stronger and more resilient it becomes.

via True Secret to Success: Gratitude | Inc.com.

Five (Bad) Reasons You’re Worrying About the Market

One of the most important things to consider when you’re investing is the question of when you’ll need the money. If you need it next year, you should invest far differently than if you need it 20 years from now.

If you’re invested in hundreds or thousands of stocks all over the world, and the money is for an event 20 years from now (say, retirement), you can worry less about losing it all. With that kind of diversification, risk becomes in part a function of time. The odds of all the companies in your portfolio going to zero is pretty low. It could happen, but if it did, we’re all moving to the hills to grow our own vegetables anyway.

We know the market will go up and down in the short term, yet people sometimes worry anyway about that fluctuation even if they don’t need the money for 20 years. Here are a few reasons why.

1. You’re not confident in your investment process.

If your portfolio is based on a thoughtful approach that relies on the best academic evidence we have, then it can be easier to stick with the long-term plan when things get scary in the short term. On the other hand, if what you own is a collection of random mutual funds instead of a well-designed, broadly diversified portfolio, it’s easy to get spooked. You start to wonder if the reason you’re losing money has something to do with the investment instead of just the normal ups and downs of the market.

read the complete article here: Five (Bad) Reasons You’re Worrying About the Markets – NYTimes.com.

Rethink the Advice From Your Broker – On Retirement usnews.com

When most people hear about fraudulent investment advice, they think of Bernie Madoff and other scam artists who take your money and spend it on themselves. This type of blatant fraud is surprisingly common. This week, the SEC announced that it had obtained a court order freezing the assets of a Georgia-based investment adviser who had apparently gone into hiding after orchestrating a $40 million investment fraud.

The adviser, Aubrey Lee Price, allegedly concealed investment losses by creating bogus account statements with false account balances and returns.Most investors don’t have to worry about that kind of fraud. In this post-Madoff era, investors are more cautious about promises that seem too good to be true. However, there is far more pervasive conduct that takes place daily in almost every brokerage firm in this country, which can have devastating consequences to investors. In my view, it is a variant of fraud that few investors understand.

via Rethink the Advice From Your Broker – On Retirement usnews.com.

Conservatives Are Happier, and Extremists Are Happiest of All – NYTimes.com

WHO is happier about life — liberals or conservatives? The answer might seem straightforward. After all, there is an entire academic literature in the social sciences dedicated to showing conservatives as naturally authoritarian, dogmatic, intolerant of ambiguity, fearful of threat and loss, low in self-esteem and uncomfortable with complex modes of thinking. And it was the candidate Barack Obama in 2008 who infamously labeled blue-collar voters “bitter,” as they “cling to guns or religion.” Obviously, liberals must be happier, right?

via Conservatives Are Happier, and Extremists Are Happiest of All – NYTimes.com.

Poor Spending Habits That Waste Your Money

Be frugal. Live on less than you make. Save for the future. It’s my message, and I’m sticking to it.

Just in case you’re getting tired of that message, though, let’s take a look at thrift from a slightly different perspective. For anyone who wants to throw cash around, here are some effective ways to waste your money:

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How to Waste Money on Travel:

• Buy package vacation deals.

• Buy a vacation home.

• Get an RV and only use it one or two weeks a year.

• Buy a timeshare unit.

• Pay for hotel Internet packages.

• Eat at hotel restaurants.

• Use room service.

• Over-pack, and pay checked baggage fees.

• Don’t bother to use a travel credit card that gives you frequent flyer credits.

• Stay at full-service hotels with amenities you don’t use.

via Rick Kahler: Poor Spending Habits That Waste Your Money | Financial Awakenings.

Start Now to Realize Retirement Travel Dreams

Rick has some great ideas here – don’t put all of the fun things off until you retire.  Keep a good balanced life throughout your lifetime!

Steve

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What’s at the top of your retirement bucket list? If you are like most folks that I help prepare for retirement, travel is high on that list.

As I’ve grown older, my views on retirement travel have changed. I used to buy into the dream of retirement as the “Golden Years.” I thought of it as the time in life when people are free to do what they want, when they want, with whom they want.

Working with older clients has taught me that my younger views of the glory of retirement were a bit naïve. While certainly some people do experience years of unlimited and unfettered travel, many more don’t find it so easy.

Doing “what you want, when you want, with whom you want,” assumes three things we often take for granted: good health, adequate finances, and meaningful relationships.

Health. When it comes to travel, good health may not be essential, but it will make your experience more fulfilling and enjoyable. Of course, we aren’t typically in either “good” or “poor” health, but fall somewhere on a continuum. With limited mobility, you may be able to shop at the bazaar in Istanbul, but chances are you won’t hike the Grand Canyon or explore the Acropolis.

via Rick Kahler: Start Now to Realize Retirement Travel Dreams | Financial Awakenings.