Good Finance Starts at Home

 

Good Finance Starts at Home 

Determining how to talk to your kids about money and values can be stressful. But the truth is that there’s never been a better time to teach your kids about money, the importance of savings and the difference between needs and wants. Consider that, even during a global pandemic, kids are likely to ask for things they don’t need, like new toys or clothes, takeout food and more. And while buying some of these things may make it easier to have them home for an extended period (games, puzzles and crafts anyone?), it’s a good time to try to get them to understand the difference between wants and needs. 

Wants vs. needs

There truly isn’t a person on earth who won’t be affected by this virus from a personal, economic or other basis. Explain to your kids that you need to pay for your basic needs first. And these are:

  • Shelter
  • Utilities
  • Food

That’s not to say that you shouldn’t get them clothes or candy or whatever they ask for, it’s simply a way for them to start to understand that you have choices and responsibilities. And that your needs come first before paying for wants.

 Providing an allowance

Another way to help your kids understand the value of money is to give them an allowance. Whether or not you tie the allowance to chores or simply give it as a matter of course, it can be a really good tool. 

  1. Determine how much you are comfortable giving them each week.
  2. Explain to them what their allowance is meant to pay for—snacks, hanging out with friends, toys and shoes they want, but don’t need, etc.
  3. If you want to earmark part of the money for savings or charity, let them know that up front and consider letting them select the charity, as it will be more meaningful to them then.
  4. The next time they ask for something, have them calculate how many weeks it will take them to save for it. This helps them:
    1. Understand just how expensive it really is
    2. gain math and budgeting skills
    3. make better decisions about what is and isn’t worth the money 

You’ll invariably discovery that they’re far more willing to spend your money than they are to spend their money. But you don’t need to worry that they will spend it all. While some might, others are quite excited to see their savings grow (a friend of mine has one who  saves ALL his spending money so he can always have more than his brothers).

When in doubt

It can be just as easy for kids to get overwhelmed about money decisions as it is for adults. One idea to reduce stress is to tell them to think about it from the perspective of the future using the 10, 10, 10 rule, imagining how they will feel about this decision in 10 minutes, 10 days or 10 weeks (you can do weeks, months or years too). While a child may be more upset in 10 minutes about not getting that ice cream, for example, will they even remember it in 10 days? Probably not. Looking at each time frame, ask them:

  • Will the money matter anymore?
  • Would you even remember this decision?
  • If you didn’t do it, would you wish you had made that choice?
  • If you did do it, will you be wondering why you were ever stressed about it?  

 

Gasber Financial is happy to help you teach your kids about savings, investing, responsible use of credit, and more.

 

 

How to Avoid Being Scammed pt 3

How to Avoid Being Scammed a Guide for Women pt 3 

As we’ve discussed, scams are not limited to robocalls and emails. Scammers can pose as romantic partners, as IRS agents and even as investment opportunities. 

A taxing situation

A growing type of scam involves your identity and your taxes. Each year, the IRS is reporting an increased number of cases where someone steals an identity and then files a fraudulent tax return. Why would they do this? In order to claim a “refund,” which they request to be deposited onto a debit card. 

The government is pretty good at spotting this, but it can mess with your taxes and cause other challenges as well. And the only way to truly protect yourself is to keep as much of your personal information, passwords, and other information private as possible. 

There are other tax scams where the “IRS” calls you and tells you that you owe them money and if you do not pay it immediately, you will go to jail. But the IRS does not contact people in this way. 

Stressful times call for scams

Tax time isn’t the only stressful time of year that can lead to scams. In fact, there are a growing number of scams targeted around global crises. 

For example, currently there are some “pump and dump” scams related to the corona virus. Here’s how they may work:

  1. The scammers pick a small or very small stock, that may or may not be a healthcare company, and they buy a lot of shares while the price is extremely low.
  2. They begin circulating rumors that this company has a “cure” for the virus and that it’s just a matter of time before it’s made available. This information goes “viral” for lack of a better word.
    1. They choose small companies because less information is publicly known about them and that can make it hard to determine whether or not rumors are true.
  3. Investors buy the stock in order to take advantage of this amazing opportunity and drive the stock price up.
  4. The scammers dump their shares at the increased price before the public can realize that the information isn’t true.
  5. Investors often lose money as the stock drops back to its original value or below. 

Helpful tips

When it comes to the IRS, remember that they will never:

  • Initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text or social media to request personal or financial information
  • Call taxpayers with threats of lawsuits or arrests
  • Call, email or text to request taxpayers’ Identity Protection PINs* 

Additionally, you should never give your birthdate AND place of birth over the phone, text or email. This is 98% of what scammers need to steal your identity. 

And when it comes to investment opportunities, remember that Gasber Financial is here to help you analyze—and get advice on—any investment opportunity you may be considering.

 

 

How to Avoid Being Scammed pt 2

How to Avoid Being Scammed  a Guide for Women pt 2

As we discussed in the previous installment, criminals are endlessly inventing new ways to part you from your money. And they do not discriminate based on age, gender or social status. Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, was recently scammed. And I personally know of a Wall Street legend who was also recently scammed. 

Scammers are cunning and they have ruthlessly developed formulas for scamming because they work. 

The random call scam

Scammers use random calls because they work. They can spoof the number of the FBI, IRS, your local police station and others. Perhaps you answer and they tell you that your child or grandchild was in an accident or committed a crime (or they claim to be that child). They tell you that you need to send money for bail or for the hospital. They may know your child’s name, their girlfriend and a lot of other information because they can find it on your social media. And this type of thing happens every single day. 

There was a recent story in the Wall Street Journal about a nurse who was scammed out of $340,000. This is basically what happened.

  • She received a call from someone identifying himself as an “FBI” agent.
  • He told her that her identity had been stolen and used to commit crimes. He told her that if she didn’t do exactly as he said, files would be charged against her and she would go to jail.
  • He told her to leave work and go to a hotel. He told her to send him her receipts for the hotel and food, as they would be reimbursed by the government.
  • He kept her on the phone for hours at a time and told her if she let her family or friends know what was going on, she might be guilty of another crime.
  • He said she needed to move her assets to “FBI” accounts in order to protect them from the identity thieves.
  • Over the course of a few days, she transferred more than $340,000 from her accounts to the “agent.” 

In general, these types of scams play upon your fears and make you afraid not to comply. And while banks, especially those holding retirement accounts, typically ask a number of questions to try to determine if something fraudulent is going on, these callers know how to coach you through answering those questions.  

In another recent scam, a woman received a phone call from someone saying they had her daughter and that if she hung up, the daughter would be killed. The caller kept her on the phone for hours going from bank to bank and sending money, until a few hours later her daughter texted her about something and she realized the caller was a scammer. Of course, by then it was too late. 

The business email scams

In these types of scams, the perpetrators “spoof” an email address that you recognize, so you receive an email that you think is from your boss, another company executive, or some other important person asking you to do something that may or may not be out of the ordinary.

One woman received an email she thought was from her boss asking her to buy gift cards for everyone in the company as Christmas gifts. The email told her to send the gift card numbers and pins to the boss when the task was complete. She did so and the scammers got away with more than $10,000. And the worst part is that her company is saying she’s liable for the loss, as she put it on a corporate card. 

In a similar incident, a Wall Street Legend’s employee received an email he thought was from the boss’s wife asking for a significant wire transfer to an art dealer’s account in order to buy her husband a painting for his upcoming birthday. Naturally, she asked for the information to be kept secret. In this instance, the “wife” actually emailed a few times to say the transfer hadn’t come through and could it be sent again either way, as she had now found a more expensive painting to buy. These scammers got away with more than $300,000. 

Helpful tips

In order to try to avoid falling prey to these and other scams, here are some tips that may be helpful.

  1. Remember that the FBI and police will generally not call you. They will come to your home or place of business.
  2. Do not stay on the phone for an extended amount of time. Ask for a number where you can call the person back and then try to verify if what they are saying is true (call the FBI or your daughter).
  3. Do not underestimate the amount of detailed information scammers may have.
  4. Check to make sure any email with instructions about money is truly coming from the person you think it is from. Double check the address or call them/email them from a new email to be sure it’s legitimate.
  5. Verbally or in person confirm instructions given by a boss, vendor or someone else with regard to money, property or payments. 

Gasber Financial is dedicated to helping you keep your assets safe. You can always call us with any suspicions you may have. In our next installment, we’ll discuss tax and investment scams and tips for avoiding them.

How to Avoid Being Scammed pt 1

How to Avoid Being Scammed  a Guide for Women - pt 1 

There is no end to the number of ways criminals will try to part you from your money. And while most of us would like to believe that it can’t happen to us, it can. From doctors and lawyers to Wall Street legends, extremely wealthy businessmen and even famed conmen, anyone at any age can be scammed under the right circumstances.

One type of scam that is growing in popularity, and is particularly useful on women, is the romance scam. According to the Federal Trade Commission, victims reported losing more than $210 million in 2019* to these types of scams. In fact, the FTC says these types of scams result in more losses than any other types of scams. 

Here’s how it can work:

  1. You meet someone online through a dating site
  2. You start texting and maybe talking over the phone, but there is always a reason why they cannot meet you in person and may not even be able to FaceTime with you
  3. They tell you they love you and you are the one for them—they may even talk of marriage. BUT, they can’t marry you, be with you, or meet you live until they do something else that requires money [need to pay off a debt/start a new business/finish a new investment]
  4. It’s all very convincing—they want to live with you/marry you/be with you after all, so perhaps you send them the money
  5. Some of them may keep you on the line, trying to get more and more money from you, while others may immediately ghost you and delete their accounts. Either way, no relationship will ever truly come from it and you will not get your money back. 

Too good to be true?

Another, newer romance scam revolves around sites designed to help you find or become a sugar daddy or momma. Perhaps you’re thinking, how will I get scammed if they’re going to be paying my bills? But that’s precisely how they get you: 

  1. You develop a relationship with someone online and either they agree to pay your bills or to pay you for your company.
  2. Naturally, they will ask for the credit card information in order to pay it off or they’ll ask for your banking information in order to make a deposit into your account.
  3. Once they have this information, they can access your credit and bank accounts at will. 

It’s worth noting that this type of scam can work even if you are the one willing to pay the bills. The other party may simply say they need your banking information in order to let the credit card company, or whomever it is, know where the payment or deposit will be coming from.

 Helpful tips

In order to try to avoid falling prey to these and other scams, here are some tips that may be helpful.

  1. Always be cautious about people you meet online, trust your instincts and take it slow
  2. Never give your financial information to anyone you have not met face to face
  3. Report anyone you meet online who asks you to send them money to the appropriate site’s administrators

Gasber Financial is dedicated to helping you keep your assets safe. In our next installment, we’ll discuss other popular scams and tips for avoiding them.

 

*https://www.nbcnews.com/better/lifestyle/looking-love-online-romance-scammers-steal-your-heart-steal-your-ncna1135766

 

The “Desire-ment” years—redefining retirement pt2

The “Desire-ment” years—redefining retirement pt2

What’s the first thing you think of when you hear the word “retirement?” Do you envision an older couple in a rowboat on a lake? You may not be far off from the original definition. Consider that the word “retire” actually means to withdraw for privacy, go to bed, withdraw from danger and, of course, to stop working. 

But, what does retirement mean to you? Chances are it’s something quite different than it meant to your parents. In the first installment, we discussed how to envision your retirement. In this one, we’ll provide a few practical ideas for making it the retirement of your dreams, no matter what that means. 

The “Gig” economy

Many people start new careers or new businesses in retirement, while others continue to work in their original job, expand their volunteering—or any number of other things. There are actually many ways to earn money during retirement, while also keeping your mind and brain active. Today there is a thriving “Gig economy” where women can create great income streams on a freelance basis and have fun. Some ideas include being a: 

  • Tour guide
  • Temp or a tutor
  • Market researcher or mystery shopper
  • A babysitter, pet sitter or dog walker
  • AirBNB host
  • Consultant or direct salesperson
  • Virtual assistant or transcriptionist
  • Teacher at your local community center 

Some great sites for finding gigs include fiverr.com, behance.net, Guru.com, freelancer.com. You can also look for full time employment through sites designed explicitly for seniors, like Workforce50.com, retiredbrains.com, Seniors4Hire.com and RetireeWorkforce.com, to name a few.

 Continuing your education

Retirement can also be a great time to consider going back to school, whether you just want to take a few classes here and there or to finally get that degree you’ve wanted. My aunt was taking online classes to finish her master’s degree at age 80, which just proves you are never too old to challenge your mind or work toward a goal. Of course, education can be expensive, so you will likely need a strategy to pay for it. You may qualify for scholarships (look at scholarships.com, fastweb.com, return2college.com and others) or even a student loan (check out studentloanhero.com), but there are other ways to pay for it too. Gasber Financial can help you to develop the right strategy for you.

 Make your move

Retirement can be an opportune time to move, whether you’re interested in cutting down on your maintenance costs, moving to a warmer climate or just want a change of scenery. Of course, if you are going to move, you should consider things like where you may be able to live most affordably, where you can avoid state income taxes (yes, you will likely still pay income taxes in retirement), or maybe just the best overall places to live in retirement.

 

Cheapest states to live in retirement*

States without income taxes

Best overall places to live in retirement**

1.       Pennsylvania

2.       South Dakota

3.      Idaho

4.      South Carolina

5.      Georgia

6.      Missouri

7.      Ohio

8.      Iowa

9.      Tennessee

10.   Alabama

 

1.       Alaska

2.       Florida

3.      Nevada

4.      South Dakota

5.      Texas

6.      Washington

7.      Wyoming

1.       Asheville, North Carolina

2.       Athens, Georgia

3.      Bella Vista, Arkansas

4.      Bluffton, South Carolina

5.      Boone, North Carolina

6.      Colorado Springs, Colorado

7.      Columbia, Missouri

8.      Fargo, North Dakota

9.      Green Valley, Arizona

10.   Iowa City, Iowa

 

 

 

At Gasber Financial, we believe strongly in the power of planning and positive thinking. We can help you review your plan for the retirement of your dreams—whatever that means to you.

 

*https://www.kiplinger.com/slideshow/retirement/T006-S001-cheapest-states-where-you-ll-want-to-retire-2018/index.html