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3 Things 3-4-24

Thing One

 

 Guard Your Social Security Number

 

With identity theft on the rise, March 7th has been proclaimed Slam The Scam Day by the Social Security Administration.  Their annual campaign is intended to bring awareness to the proliferation of Social Security scams.  The SSA says that some of the key tactics of scammers are:

 

  • Pretending to be from an agency or organization you know.

  • Saying there’s a problem or promising a prize.

  • Pressuring you to act immediately.

  • Telling you to pay in a specific way.  

You might also be notified via email that you have a package that’s undeliverable or you may receive a random email from a friend or family member that only has a link for you to click.  The creativity of identity thieves is endless so it’s impossible to create an exhaustive identity theft scam list.  But we do know the problem is big enough that you might want to do more than just be aware.  The data below from the Bureau of Justice Statistics hammers home the point:

 

  • In 2021, about 23.9 million people (9% of U.S. residents age 16 or older) had been victims of identity theft during the prior 12 months. 

  • For 76% of identity-theft victims in 2021, the most recent incident involved the misuse of only one type of existing account, such as a credit card or bank account.About 59% of identity-theft victims had financial losses of $1 or more that totaled $16.4 billion in 2021.

  • In 2021, about 2% of persons age 16 or older experienced the misuse of an existing email or social media account.  

If you are someone who spends any amount of time online, clearly you should be protective of your identity and appropriately wary of solicitations. Buy you might also want to consider an identity theft protection service.  Most offer credit monitoring plans that immediately alert you whenever there’s a credit inquiry or a credit account opened in your name and most also offer identity theft insurance (typically around $1 million dollars).  In addition to that, if your identity is stolen, they will assign a case manager to you to help you sort it all out.  You’ll find the subscriptions range from $6.99-$29.99/month.  And, as you start to see your subscription service in action, you’ll likely find the peace of mind priceless.

 

Thing Two

 

Ten Investing Rules

 

The following is taken from an article written on rbcgam.com by Sara Ripoelle, a portfolio manager at RBC Global Asset Management. As it relates to her investing synopsis, we’ve taken her ten bullet points verbatim but removed her lengthy explanations and replaced them with our own simplified versions.  See the opening paragraph and modified bullet points below:

 

 

“A few months ago, I was in Vancouver having coffee with a colleague, Jayelene Catala. She reminded me of the visual below (yes, that is my handwriting!) which I have used in past presentations. It is a subset of a list that I came across while preparing a presentation in early 2019, not long after the significant market volatility that we experienced at the end of 2018.

 

At that time, I thought these points were great for all investors to keep in mind. They are no less relevant today given continued volatility. The list is a good reminder of some of the key principles that I have written about in previous posts: the power of diversification; try your best to ignore the noise; and stick to your long-term investment plan..."

 

  1. Your asset allocation explains most of your returns -Stocks, bonds, and other asset classes have different risk profiles, so they also have different potential return profiles.

  2. Diversification is your most important investment strategy  Don’t put all your eggs (assets) in one basket.

  3. Broaden your investment universe to find opportunities – Where it makes sense, seek out new baskets.

  4. Market uncertainty never goes away – There are no “sure things” when it comes to what markets will do (especially in the short term).

  5. Higher returns come with higher risks – You can’t have your cake and eat it too in investing.  If you bet big, you can also lose big.

  6. It’s time in the market, not timing the market – The best time to invest is whenever you have the money to do so.  So the question isn’t should I invest, it’s where should I invest and when?

  7. Markets are made of up and down cycles – To get to the good, you have to be willing to endure the bad and the ugly.

  8. No strategy outperforms all the time – Markets are volatile and even well-reasoned strategies will fall short of the expected results sometimes.

  9. You need to keep your emotions in check – This is one of the best reasons to have a fiduciary on your team (to keep you from getting irrationaly exuberant or terrified).

  10. A down market does not equal a personal financial crisis – Remember, you shouldn't have money in the market if you're afraid to put it at risk and you’re in it for the long term anyway, not the current news cycle.

 

Thing Three

 

“Of all tyran­nies, a tyranny sin­cerely ex­er­cised for the good of its vic­tims may be the most op­pressive. It would be bet­ter to live un­der rob­ber barons than un­der om­nipo­tent moral busy­bod­ies. The rob­ber baron’s cru­elty may some­times sleep, his cu­pid­ity may at some point be satiated; but those who tor­ment us for our own good will tor­ment us without end for they do so with the ap­proval of their own con­science.” - C.S. Lewis


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