Higher volatility does not necessarily mean that this bull market has come to an end. Behind the volatility has been an uptick in IPOs and M&A activity and U.S. corporations are flush with cash.

How much do you know about 529 Plans?

Many parents (and grandparents) don’t understand how much college may cost, what options are available for college savings, and beginning this year, 529 plans can now be used for K-12 tuition payments.

College costs have historically increased at a higher rate than inflation and it can be hard to estimate how much a child’s education will cost.

Learn how you can plan for your the future of your children or grandchildren.

Tips for avoiding a new Social Security Scam

People eligible for, but not yet claiming Social Security, have learned that someone has started to claim their Social Security. Unfortunately, there are no alerts to let people know that their benefits are being claimed. A February 2018 article in “Investment News” indicated that a Wichita area couple discovered something was amiss when the husband went to the doctor for a flu shot. The doctor’s office had a problem processing the Medicare payment. The husband had not yet filed for Social Security, however, a code on his Medicare card indicated he had.

Upon further investigation and contacting his local Social Security office, he learned that someone had filed to claim his Social Security benefits in his name including six months of back payments sent directly to the thief’s bank account. The thief also changed his mailing address so he would not receive notification of the of the fraudulent application for benefits.

A new Social Security Scam Earlier this year, I met with a couple who had experienced the same fraud. The husband logged on to Social Security to check what his benefit amount would be and he learned that someone was claiming benefits in his name. The husband had to make phone calls and visit the Social Security office to correct the fraudulent benefit claim. However, that was not enough to correct the fraudulent claim. He received a 1099 for the benefits claimed in 2017 and is still trying to resolve the issuance of the improper 1099. Even though Social Security has told him to disregard it, he would still like something more official for his records.

Prevent becoming a victim:

  • First, this is ONLY an issue for those eligible for Social Security benefits and NOT YET filed to claim benefits.
  • Set up an on-line account for your Social Security benefit and periodically check the status of your account. Get into the habit of requesting quarterly Credit Bureau reports to check your credit.
  • People who have already reached Full Retirement Age, but not yet applied for benefit, are particularity attractive to these thieves because they can also file for a lump sum of six months of benefits to be paid retroactively.
  • GUARD your personal information carefully. Take advantage of IMA Wealth’s upcoming Shred Event to dispose of your confidential documents.
  • NEVER give out personal information over the phone (credit card, bank account, or Social Security numbers).
  • AVOID sending emails with personal information and/or account numbers.

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the market, looking at the new tax law, common estate planning mistakes & caring for aging parents