Protecting your “most” important number!

  What is the most important number you possess which is with you from birth to death?  Your Social Security number! Newborns receive their unique number within a few weeks of their birth, where it is used throughout their lives to be claimed as a dependent on their parent’s tax return, apply for that first job, to identify them for credit purposes and eventually to allow them to file for benefits based on their lifetime earnings.  Because of the importance of this number throughout your life, it is equally important to protect and review the information tied to it throughout your life. How do you protect your Social Security number (SS#)? Don’t carry your card in your wallet. If your wallet is lost or stolen, thieves will likely have not only your SS#, but will probably get your driver’s license and other information.  This can quickly lead to identity theft. Don’t give out your SS# to retailers, phone callers, or others. The practice of using your SS# as your user id for logons has been largely halted and should be Read on! →

Scams and Hackers and Safety, oh my!

At Clearview Wealth Management, we take the safety and security of your personal information very seriously.  It is essential in today’s global, wired world to protect yourself and your private information.  As we witness almost every day in the news, scams and hackers continue to threaten the security of our personal information.  Below are some areas to consider when enacting better protection over your personal information.     Password Tips Don’t use combinations of your personal information (names, date of birth, address, zip codes) as these are available to the public online. Use phrases like “I attended 1st grade at Edinboro Elementary in 1999”. For some sites you can use the entire phrase, but if not, you can abbreviate it to something like “Ia1gaEei#1999”. If available, use your fingerprint, key fob or voice recognition as your password. Security of your assets Investment Institutions Secured login to your financial institution website, including complex passwords, security questions and voice recognition security. Signature required for money movements and signature matching technology at custodian site Bi-directional oversight (you can verify our actions through your Read on! →

Buckets of Savings!

When saving for retirement, most people save to their employer retirement plans, knowing they are reducing current taxable income, typically receiving an employer match on their contributions, and deferring taxation until retirement.  However, if this is the only place where retirement savings takes place, you can be in for a surprise when reaching retirement.  If all your usable savings resides in a tax-deferred bucket, every dollar you take out to meet expenses will be subject to income taxation at ordinary income rates, thereby forcing you to take additional money out to pay the taxes.  It can also be a shock to find that your retirement income tax bracket isn’t much different than your income tax bracket when you were working.  Additionally, higher taxable income levels in retirement will also impact the amount of your Social Security benefit which is subject to taxation and can also result in higher Medicare premiums. So what should you do differently to give yourself more flexibility and lower overall taxation in retirement?  There is great benefit in having multiple buckets of savings in retirement, each Read on! →

Moving from “tax” prep to “life” prep

At this time of year, everyone becomes a master at document gathering.  There is a shoe box or a filing system or a folder on your laptop to hold all the tax-related documents which are needed to complete your income tax returns.  It requires a diligent attitude to ensure nothing has been neglected or omitted which is important to the outcome of the bottom line.  Once the taxes have been submitted for the year, there is always a sigh of relief in getting to completion. Before you pack everything up and put it away for another year, take a step beyond tax prep and begin your life prep.  What does life prep really mean?  Like tax preparation, the devil is in the details and it is critical to your financial success that you take the time to examine and shore up the other areas of your financial life. You can start with that recently completed tax return.  Did you save to your employer plan and thereby reduce your current income?  If eligible, did you contribute to a Roth or regular Read on! →

A Hidden Gem in the Asheville Mountains

Many have had the pleasure of visiting Asheville and the surrounding area.  You may have visited during fall foliage season or in the spring when Biltmore’s gardens were in full bloom.  However, there is a lesser known event which occurs in the Asheville area twice a year and may be perfect to explore as you contemplate an important time of your life, retirement.   The concept of lifelong learning is not a new one.  Many take advantage of learning opportunities throughout their lives, completing degree programs at all ages.  However, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) located in the mountains of Asheville, takes that learning to new heights.  The topography of this small corner of the UNC Asheville campus helps and the offerings at the institute offer an amazing variety to please every sense.  One of their most unique offerings is a weekend adventure called, Paths to Creative Retirement.   The Institute hosts a 2 ½ day workshop focused on the many facets of retirement.  While your Financial Advisor typically helps you plan for the financial aspects of retirement, this workshop Read on! →