We’re changing up our footwear today to demonstrate our support for Down syndrome awareness. The #LotsofSocks campaign is designed as a conversation starter that eventually leads to both deeper understanding of Down syndrome and recognition of the gift uniqueness offers. We celebrate uniqueness every day in our office, and we’re especially pleased to join Down Syndrome International as it hosts the 12th annual World Down Syndrome Day. The date, 3-21, represents the third replication of the 21st chromosome, the marker for Down syndrome. Most human cells have 46 chromosomes, or 23 sets of two. In Down syndrome, the cells contain 47 chromosomes, specifically a third chromosome on the 21st set. Since 2006, people have come together across the globe on March 21 to raise awareness and advocate for the rights of individuals with Down syndrome. According to the WDS website, “Down syndrome is a naturally occurring chromosomal arrangement that has affected people of all racial, gender and socioeconomic backgrounds, and has occurred all through human history.” In addition to wearing silly socks today, and participating in the annual Down Syndrome Awareness Walk in the fall, we offer educational strategies for Down syndrome families, including why you might need a special needs trust and how to work with an estate attorney to set one up. If you have questions regarding how to set up a legacy plan that will take care of your special needs child, call the office or email the office. We’re always glad to help. If you’re also participating in the #lotsofsocks campaign, please share your photos in the comment section of this post. We’d love to see them!
Beware the Ides of March and the ide-ntity thieves of spring. Historically, the former was the date Romans settled debts accrued during the previous year and it marked Julius Caesar’s assassination. These days, though the latter pop up throughout the year, they seem to thrive during tax season when they can pose as IRS agents or tax preparation software representatives to con well-intentioned citizens of their hard-earned money. According to last week’s Federal Trade Commission report on fraud and identity theft, 1.1 million people reported that they were victims of fraud last year and lost a total of $905 million. The IRS posts a list of scams on the website and, every year that list grows. You can find it here. While these scammers are becoming more sophisticated each year, their approach remains reasonably consistent. They prey on their victim’s good faith by pretending to represent the government, a relative in trouble, a well-known business or a company’s technical support. Never give your personal information directly to people who solicit it, either by email or phone. The IRS, for instance, will always send a letter to notify you of any fines or underpayment and will never demand immediate payment. Likewise, no tax preparation software representative, like Turbo Tax, will call or email you to solicit further person information from you. Be very wary of people who solicit charitable donations from you and demand immediate payment. Do not donate to a charity or individual through Facebook Messenger, because it’s too difficult to verify the identity of the person or charity behind the profile. Likewise, be very wary of people who contact you regarding any sweepstakes you may have won, especially if you didn’t enter. If you ever have any questions regarding a phone call or email you’ve received, call our office before you respond. We’ll be glad to help you determine the veracity of the request. As Caesar said, “Men are… | Read More »
In honor of the 100th celebration of International Women’s Day, Winch Financial CEO Christina Winch, CFP®, a trailblazer in the financial planning field, offers seven key tips for women to take control of their finances. According to her, the biggest issues many women face are an unawareness of the resources available to them and a misinterpretation of safety. “All women should have at least a basic understanding of their money,” she said. “Many women who are married depend on their spouses to manage their money. They have a husband who takes care of them and that makes them feel safe. But, that’s not safe.” True safety requires understanding and that takes a little work, but the payoffs can be enormous both in monetary gain and confidence. Treat yourself to an education. Take a class, read financial literacy books, listen to podcasts. We know you’re busy, but the time you carve out for financial education will pay off in the long run. Meet with a trusted financial advisor, preferably one who will have a fiduciary relationship with you. This means your advisor will have a legal responsibility to act in your best interest. Don’t skip the meetings. They provide an invaluable opportunity for you to learn about what’s happening with your money. Ask questions. In her 37 years as an advisor, Christina has fielded all kinds of questions from clients and students. She assures everyone that the only stupid question is the one they were afraid to ask. To maximize your appointment time with your advisor, you might want to bring a list of questions to the appointment. Talk to your friends about money. It does not have to be a taboo subject. Start an investment club with your friends and combine a little socializing with some real-time education and, hopefully, portfolio growth. Who knows? You might be a natural. In any case it’s a good idea to have conversations with… | Read More »