Blog/News

Understand Medical Identity Theft

Jacob Cavaleri - understand medical identity theftMedical identity theft is often over-looked and not discussed enough. It’s a form of fraud in which someone uses your personal information to receive medical services and bills your insurance or Medicare. According to the U.S. Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, roughly 1.5 million adults are found to be victims of this each year. It’s important to understand medical identity theft and to protect yourself.

Understand Medical Identity Theft

You may be a victim of medical identity theft if:

  • You get a bill for services you did not receive;
  • You’re told by your insurance company you have hit your limit on benefits when you have not; or
  • You receive a denial for coverage of a nonexistent medical condition.

If someone steals your medical identity, your records are compromised. That means you could  experience misdiagnosis, delays in treatment, or inappropriate care.

Reduce Your Risk

Taking a few quick, proactive steps to protect yourself may reduce your risk and save you a lot of time and frustration in the future.

  • Give personal information only to approved medical professionals.
  • Remove prescription labels before recycling or discarding the containers.
  • Shred papers with personal information before throwing them away.
  • Review your medical and insurance records periodically for suspicious information.
By |2022-06-28T07:48:51-07:00July 18th, 2022|Current Affairs, Cyber Security, Health Care, Insurance|

Conquer Your Paper Piles

Shannon Curkendoll - conquer your paper pilesWe’re living in an electronic age. Yet, many of us still have piles of paper throughout our homes. Money and finances are the biggest culprits when it comes to paperwork – bills, bank statements, insurance records, loan documents, investment accounts, and the list goes on. Here are some guidelines to help conquer your paper piles.

Sort and Organize

Tackle one pile at a time, and sort papers into  categories, like Pay, Read, File, Shred, and Recycle. You may find important receipts, unpaid bills, and other important items you didn’t realize were there. You’ll also probably find a lot of things you don’t need to keep. This flow chart can help you sort and organize.

Convert to Electronic

Once you’ve sorted your piles, you’ll probably find items and accounts that can go electronic. At Perspective, we converted client files to a secure online portal years ago (which clients can access at here). Important items like estate planning documents, insurance paperwork, and loan documents can be scanned and uploaded to your Perspective document vault.

Things like your credit card, phone, and utility bills can be managed online with text/email notifications or auto-pay.

After you’ve sorted your documents and determined which ones you need to keep in printed form, designate an easily-accessible place in your home where they can be filed and stored.

Life Insurance with Perspective

life insurance with perspectiveWhile no one likes talking about their demise, remember this: life insurance is truly about life, not death. It’s important to consider life insurance with perspective.

Think about who is dependent on you financially (i.e., spouse, children, family), and how much income replacement is needed (i.e., seven to 10 years of salary) to sustain them after you’re gone. Are there financial goals (i.e., paying off the mortgage, funding children’s education)? Life insurance benefits can also pay for in-home support like childcare, cooking, cleaning, and other dependent care.

Life insurance helps alleviate financial burdens for your loved ones, so they can grieve and move forward without worrying about money.

Term life is the most common type of life insurance, and the least expensive. It covers you for a fixed period of years; if you outlive the term and your coverage expires, your beneficiaries don’t receive any money. Kind of like car insurance. The chances of a younger adult passing away is very low, which is why these policies are so affordable. With most term policies, the death benefit and your premiums stay the same for the entire term.

I often recommend clients purchase insurance on an individual basis, rather than through an employer group option, if possible. If you switch jobs, there’s no way to know if your new employer will offer similar coverage, if any at all. Locking in a fixed amount of portable coverage with fixed premiums while you are young and healthy makes a lot of sense. Layering two smaller policies of different terms (such as 20 years and 30 years) is cost effective. Over time, your income replacement needs typically decrease; one policy can expire, and you’ll still have an affordable policy in place for another 10 years.

“Make sure your family knows about your life insurance. When my uncle passed, there were no bills or statements for his insurance. The only clue that he had a policy was a premium deduction on his pension statement. Keeping a summary of your coverage in a safe and obvious place will help make a difficult time for your family a little easier.”

By |2022-06-06T15:35:20-07:00June 20th, 2022|Uncategorized|

High School Grads and Money Skills

high school grads and money skillsWhat do you wish you were taught in high school about money and finances? When it comes to high school grads and money skills, what do you believe is important for today’s teens to learn?

A new poll from the National Endowment for Financial Education® (NEFE) sheds light on what U.S. adults believe are key topics that should be taught in schools.

About 88 percent said their state should require a semester- or year-long financial education course for graduation;  and 80 percent said they wish they had been required to take such a course in high school. Roughly 75 percent said spending and budgeting is the most important financial education topic to teach, followed by managing credit (55 percent), saving (49 percent), and earning income (47 percent).

“Americans overwhelmingly recognize the importance of learning money skills at an early age and this poll reinforces there is demonstrated national support for personal finance to be a part of learning in all schools,” said Billy Hensley, president and CEO of NEFE.

If you’d like to offer a recent graduate in your life a boost in their personal finance education, your financial planner is happy to help. Talk to your advisor about high school grads and money skills.

By |2022-06-06T15:34:56-07:00June 8th, 2022|Current Affairs|

Adulting Checklist

College graduates everywhere are celebrating their achievements and embarking on their next journey. Now is the time to think about financial planning. The earlier one starts, the greater the odds for success now and in the future. The following adulting checklist can help.

adulting checklistBegin by creating a budget.

Understanding how much money you earn, how much you spend, and most importantly, where you spend, is critical.  Gather your financial statements and create a list of monthly income, fixed expenses (i.e., rent, debt payments), and variable expenses (i.e., food, gas, entertainment).

Next, divide your income into three categories. A good starting point is 70 percent for living expenses/debt, 10 percent for fun/gifts, and 20 percent for saving/investing. Don’t spend more than you earn.

It’s a good idea to review your budget monthly to ensure you’re on track or to make adjustments as needed.

Key Budget Elements

Be sure to incorporate the following steps into your budget and financial plan:

  • Start saving. Automatic saving of your paychecks with direct deposit is easy and effective. Most employers will allow you to split up direct deposits, so you can save percentages to your checking account, savings account, and a retirement plan.
  • Build an emergency fund. Having cash on hand for unexpected expenses (i.e., car repairs, veterinary bills) builds financial stability and reduces anxiety.
  • Buy disability insurance. Your biggest asset as a young person is your ability to earn an income. Protect that earning potential with disability insurance, which helps cover your bills if you experience a major physical or mental health event and can’t work.
  • Eliminate debt. Student loans, car payments, credit cards – most people accumulate debt at some point. The sooner you can eliminate that debt and begin paying expenses with income cash and savings, the sooner you’ll build a strong financial foundation for the future.

Finally, you’re never too young to work with a financial planner. Whether you just want help getting started or want more in-depth guidance, the Perspective team can help.

To learn more, watch our 2-minute video on the Six Elements of Financial Planning.

Photo by Canva.com
By |2022-06-06T15:36:05-07:00May 23rd, 2022|Financial Planning|