Apprise’s Five Favorite Reads for the Week of February 21, 2021

Fraud Alert Signs and Scammers During Tax Season
Discover Our Five Favorite Reads on Tax Scams During Tax Season, 20 IRA Mistakes to Avoid, and How to Address Retirees' No. 1 Concern. Learn More Here!

Tax season has arrived. It will be April 15th in about seven weeks. Tax season also means the scammers come out. Identity thieves may look to collect your tax refund. This week’s first article takes a closer look at this important topic. Unfortunately, it pays to be wary of COVID scams as well.

Despite the S&P 500 Index’s weak returns to close out the month, the Index’s February returns have exceeded its January returns. With one trading day left, the S&P has gained 3.1% in February. For the year it has increased by 1.9%.

Strong earnings benefited stocks in the first half of February. Since then, interest rates have increased. The shift is largely attributed to bets on inflation and growth picking up. As a result, investor enthusiasm for some of the market’s high-growth companies has weakened. Thursday was the S&P 500’s second worst day year-to-date.

As yields increase, bonds become more competitive with stocks. Stocks can still increase in this environment. A better economy can lead to increased profits. Right now, investors appear a little uncertain. Right now, growth stocks, in particular, are under a little pressure.

Against this backdrop, we continue to stress the importance of following your process and remaining focused on the long-term.

Here are the links to this week’s articles as well as a brief description of each:

1.  Tax Season Is in Full Swing. So Are the Tax Scams. Sadly, when taxpayers start filing their returns to the IRS, scammers come out. The fraud often centers on identity theft. Criminals steal personal information to file a tax return and collect your refund. They may try to falsely collect stimulus checks as well. Based on a call I received from a client this morning, you should be wary of COVID scams as well. If you think your Social Security number was compromised, you can put a freeze on your credit. Contact TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian to if you wish to do so. You can also contact the IRS.

2.  The Price of Nature. Many companies would like to avoid harming the environment. But they lack the economic incentive to do so. We haven’t identified a strong empirical connection between a corporation’s social and financial performance. This helps explain why many companies haven’t taken action. Environmental policies are expensive. We can’t easily quantify their benefits either. This article suggests we use nature pricing. This would assign a monetary value to a specific environmental service. It would involve creating a formal method to price nature assets based on the role they play in their ecosystems. Their utilitarian value in the medium- and long-term would also be considered.

3.   How to Address Retirees’ No. 1 Concern. As we approach retirement, we worry about running out of money. In last week’s blog, I discussed “Creating a Retirement Paycheck.” This article addresses a related issue. Determining the cost of your desired retirement lifestyle. It starts with how much you spend today. You can eliminate the expenses that will disappear in retirement. You must add the costs of your activities in retirement. Don’t forget about taxes. Factor in inflation as well. The hardest cost to estimate is healthcare. You must review your plan periodically as well. The last step in Apprise’s “Pathway to an Informed Retirement” addresses plan updates. If you would like to discuss your financial plan with us, please schedule a call.

4.   How to Delete Almost All Junk Mails the Easy Way. Do you save too many emails? You don’t need to pay a monthly subscription fee to store a bunch of newsletters, promotional emails, and other junk that you’ll never look at again. You shouldn’t have to dig through you inbox to delete them either. Who has the time for that? Instead, you can try the helpful tips shared in this article. They can make it easier to select large numbers of emails that are not useful. Following some of these suggestions allowed me to free up more than 10% of the space in both my business and personal inboxes.

5.   20 IRA Mistakes to Avoid. The money we save in our individual retirement accounts plays an important role in our long-term future. According to data from the Investment Company Institute, more than $11 trillion was held across all IRA accounts in 2020. This includes amounts deposited directly into IRAs as well as amounts rolled over from former employers. This article shares 20 mistakes investors can make with their IRAs. It also offers some tips to help avoid them.

Our practice continues to benefit from referrals from our clients and friends. Thank you for your trust and confidence.

We hope you find the above posts valuable. If you would like to talk to us about financial topics including your investments, creating a financial plan, saving for college, or saving for retirement, please complete our contact form. We will be in touch. You can also schedule a call or a virtual meeting via Zoom.

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