Perspective

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So far Perspective Financial Services has created 179 blog entries.

Credit Card No-Nos

credit card no-nosAccording to an Experian survey, 21 percent of people who experienced credit card fraud lost money as a result. The best way to avoid this, while still owning a credit card, is to follow a few basic security measures. You probably know to not read your card number out loud in public. Here are a few more credit card no-nos to keep in mind:

  • Never email, text message, or send a message via social media that contains your credit card number.
  • Never save or store your credit card number online or use the same password or pin as an online account for your credit card.
  • Never give your card number to someone who called you over the phone. You don’t know who is really calling you, and it is better to get the reference number and call back using a customer service phone number you verify online. Any legitimate company requesting this kind of personal information will be understanding and allow you to hang up and call back.

Tobi McCann

Keep reading about credit card no-nos: Senior citizens are often targets of credit card fraud.

Click here to read a previous article on how to guard against financial elder abuse.

By |2020-05-12T14:45:06-07:00May 26th, 2020|Current Affairs|

Weathering Stay at Home and Recession Challenges

weathering stay at home and recession challengesIt can be hard to keep your long-term perspective while living in the short-term reality of stay-at-home rules and a recession. Most people struggle with entertainment budget cuts. Children may not understand why they have to change their routines and habits suddenly. Try to find the silver lining. Here are some helpful tips for weathering stay at home and recession challenges.

Make the most of the additional time you’re spending with family at home. Use this current challenge as an opportunity to teach children about (and refresh yourself on) money management skills, and the difference between wants and needs.

If you’re used to dining out, make eating at home more fun by experimenting with new recipes and cooking together.

Take time to appreciate the things you own — dust off old games and books, or watch a movie you haven’t seen in awhile. Head outdoors to walk, hike, swim, play ball or get creative with sidewalk chalk.

All changes require time to adapt to new routines. Don’t build up expectations about what might change in the future. Focus on the here and now. Celebrate your wins as a family. Take time to acknowledge each other’s efforts to adjust, because you’re all doing your best in Here are some helpful tips for weathering stay at home and recession challenges.

You and your family will get through this by working together.

By Tobi McCann

By |2020-04-08T15:31:17-07:00April 27th, 2020|Current Affairs|

New Employee Healthcare Option for Small Business Owners

new employee healthcare optionHealth reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) are a type of account-based health plan that employers can use to reimburse employees for their medical care expenses. Just like there are many types of qualified retirement plans, there are many types of HRAs. Effective January 1, the federal government has enacted new HRA rules that will be especially beneficial for small business owners in offering a new employee healthcare option.

Individual Coverage HRAs can now be used to reimburse premiums for individual health insurance chosen by an employee, in addition to other medical care expenses. This promotes employee and employer flexibility, while also maintaining the same tax-favored status for employer contributions toward a traditional group health plan.

The new rules also increase flexibility in employer-sponsored insurance by creating another, limited type of HRA that can be offered in addition to a traditional group health plan. These Excepted Benefit HRAs permit employers to finance additional medical care (e.g. to help cover copays, deductibles or other expenses not covered by the primary plan) even if the employee declines enrollment in the group plan.

Want more information on this new employee healthcare option? This HRA document from the U.S. Department for Human & Health Services may be helpful. You can also your advisor with any questions.

By |2020-03-18T11:01:58-07:00March 25th, 2020|Health Care, Insurance, Small Business|

A Broader Perspective on Coronavirus

It’s reasonable to be concerned when a previously-unknown virus reaches pandemic proportions. Our questions go beyond, what happens if I get sick? We want to know how this might impact our daily lives? Our finances? Our future? With current research and historical data from trusted sources, we offer a broader perspective on Coronavirus that should help put your mind at ease. Click below to watch our latest video (approximately 6 minutes), or scroll down to read the full transcript. For more perspective on the cyclical nature of the financial markets, read our 2011 article, “The Peril of Panic for Investors.”

 

A Broader Perspective on Coronavirus: Full Video Transcript

The world learned of the previously unknown Coronavirus in December 2019, when China announced an outbreak had occurred in Wuhan city several weeks before. The virus had already spread to neighboring countries, and by mid-March 2020, more than 110,000 cases of COVID-19 had been reported in 100 countries, according to the World Health Organization.

While the situation is challenging, the WHO also stressed that such numbers don’t tell the whole story. Of all the cases of COVID-19 worldwide, 93 percent are in four countries: China accounts for about 81,000 cases; and Iran, Japan and Italy have roughly 7,000 cases each.

“We are not at the mercy of this virus,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a press statement March 9. “With decisive, early action, we can slow down the virus and prevent infections.”

It’s reasonable to fear an outbreak of a previously unknown virus, and taking safety precautions is prudent. (At the end of this video, we’ll share some tips from the U.S. Center for Disease Control on how to protect yourself and others from the spread of germs.)

That being said, it’s never wise to panic. Life happens. There will always be things we cannot predict and cannot control. But fear should not drive our decision-making or cause us to shut down our lives. Because doing so often causes more serious consequences than the original threat.

The COVID-19 outbreak began to rattle the financial markets in January. By February, businesses were canceling annual conferences, local governments were banning large public events, and some municipalities were even closing schools. These cancellations and restrictions were made in response to public fear, rather than to WHO or CDC recommendations. Regardless of the reasons, such actions cause immediate strain on local communities and create far-reaching ripple effects to national and global economies.

Dramatic volatility in the global investment markets has been one effect. Large swings in the stock market make people nervous and the knee-jerk reaction is to pull money out of the market. In most cases, individual investors who allow their emotions to dictate their investment decisions will suffer from poor long-term results. This occurred in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. Investors pulled their money out of the stock market as a reaction to the sharp decline, only to subsequently miss out on recouping losses in the dramatic recovery that followed.

While the past is not predictive of the future, it does offer valuable perspective. Charles Schwab recently conducted an analysis of 13 global pandemics over the past 50 years. Their data shows that once the number of newly identified cases starts to decline, economic activity and the stock market tend to quickly rebound. A key reason, according to Schwab analysts, is that global health organizations are prepared for outbreaks and are effective when mobilized. Combining these efforts with widespread public awareness and adoption of effective safety measures eventually limits the spread of the virus and its economic impact.

Leadership Consultant Maureen Monte recently pointed out that emotions are energy, and the crisis the world faces today is more about energy-management than COVID-19. “It’s important to remain calm, positive and realistic in the face of a relatively unknown and uncertain threat,” she said.

How, exactly, does one remain calm, positive and realistic?

  • Think about how you’ve responded to troubling events and worries in the past. Write it out. Was the outcome of your action positive or negative? What might you learn from that experience to help you today?
  • Use logic. Flu outbreaks hit us every year. It’s a part of life we’ve all come to accept. There are also natural disasters, political scandals and tragic accidents. Most of these are outside of your control. Yet, how you respond is entirely within your control.
  • Turn off the news. With the current 24/7 onslaught of news, it’s critical that we each manage how much time we invest in following the commentary. There’s a difference between being informed and being obsessed. Use your energy productively. When you want an update, go straight to the source at the CDC and WHO websites.
  • Focus on the good things in your life. Do what you enjoy. Spend time outdoors, have coffee with a friend, whatever makes you feel happy.
  • If you’re feeling anxious about your financial situation, call or meet with your advisor and talk about it. Expressing your concerns can go a long way in relieving your stress.
  • Keep your eye on the long-term horizon. Patient investors with a solid investment plan that balances risk and reward with a diversified portfolio tend to be rewarded in the long-term by staying the course.

How to Protect Yourself and Others from Germs

Help prevent the spread of COVID-19, flu and other diseases with these simple recommendations from the CDC:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. If you’re not feeling well, stay home.
  • Wash your hands often to help protect you from germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your sleeve.
  • Avoid touching your face. Germs are often spread when you touch something that is contaminated and then touch your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Practice good health habits. Clean and disinfect frequently-touched surfaces. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.
  • Take extra precautions for elderly people, young children and those with severe chronic conditions, who are at higher risk of developing serious complications when ill.
By |2020-03-11T12:11:48-07:00March 11th, 2020|Current Affairs, Investing|

Eat Complete

Eat CompleteEat Complete by Drew Ramsey, MD effectively details the importance of nutrients and the role they play in brain health. After working with mood and anxiety disorders in patients, Ramsey began researching nutrition and how it affects the brain. His latest book is an amazing scientific resource detailing what nutrients your brain needs and why. For example, nutrients such as zinc and selenium – which most people don’t consider daily – are crucial in developing and protecting your brain.

Ramsey stresses the importance of meals that are tasty, budget appropriate and easy to make. Unfortunately, his recipes require a lot of prep and clean-up, and include expensive or difficult to find ingredients. They also lack alternatives for nut, egg, and shellfish allergies. So people with food allergies should consider the recipes a starting point, not a complete guide. If you are willing to try new foods and don’t have dietary restrictions, this is a great recipe book.

Overall, Eat Complete is an enjoyable, informative read that inspired me to change my grocery shopping and eating habits to improve my brain function. The nutritional information is universal. Those who enjoy reading about health and nutrition, learning about how the brain works, or delving into biological science, will find much to love. I recommend picking it up.

The True Super-Food

Did you know spinach contains 6 of the 21 essential nutrients? Magnesium, folate or folic acid (B9), vitamin E, vitamin K, iron and potassium provide nourishment for all three functions of brain support: foundation, protection and ignition. This is even better than kale or quinoa!

By Tobi McCann

By |2020-02-13T13:10:12-07:00March 2nd, 2020|Books|