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The #1 Reason You Need An Estate Plan

The #1 Reason You Need An Estate Plan

Several reasons to create a good estate plan as well as the number one reason plan your estate: personal peace of mind.

Death. It happens to us all. 

Chances are death is not the first thing you think about every morning, but that doesn’t mean you should never think about it.

A good plan will help make the transition as easy as possible for your family and everyone who depends on you when you’re gone. The resulting peace of mind can help you enjoy the rest of your life, no matter how long you live.

Several Reasons To Create An Estate Plan

There are many reasons to create an estate plan. Minimizing taxes is just one of these reasons.   In fact, a good estate plan could net your family a potential $0 tax liability. That’s one goal, but a well-designed plan will include much more.

Another reason estate planning is helpful is that your wishes have the best chance of being followed if they’re in writing. Recording your intentions will help ensure they’re followed. A comprehensive plan includes instructions for your affairs in the event you are incapacitated or disabled – not just when you die. You can make sure your wishes for medical care, family matters, business continuity, and asset disposition are clear even if you are comatose. So estate planning is not just planning for death.

Moreover, estate planning addresses assets for your children, grandchildren, and your favorite charities. Blended families add another layer of complexity if that’s your situation.  There are numerous ways to do this and the right plan isn’t always obvious. But a good estate plan will make your wishes clear – and help your family avoid unnecessary strife when you pass.

But Isn’t A Will Enough?

The classic “Last Will & Testament” is also a part of an estate plan, but it’s not comprehensive. Retirement accounts require you to designate a beneficiary ahead of time and that designation may override your legal will. The same goes with insurance policies. Your estate plan should encompass all your assets and make sure they are distributed according to your wishes. That’s why having a will isn’t the only component in a good estate plan.

The #1 Reason To Plan Your Estate

There are many reasons for estate planning, but the number one reason to do it is for your own personal peace of mind. 

You’ve worked hard for your family, usually for many decades. You’ve provided for your family, sometimes have grown a business, saved assets, bought properties, and invested in worthwhile causes. Your estate plan is one of your final statements to the world about who you are and what you care about. By creating a good estate plan, you are not only giving your spouse and your family what you’ve worked hard for, you’re also giving yourself the peace of mind that you’ve finished the race well. 

Next Steps In Estate Planning

Estate planning is an important part of a broader financial plan. 

We can help direct you to the right resources and experts based on your own unique goals and circumstances. We are not attorneys at Republic Wealth Advisors, but we’ve been through this process with many clients. We’ve seen how smooth the process can be for well-prepared families, and how difficult it can be for those who didn’t plan.

We recommend consulting with a board certified estate planning attorney in your area. If you need a referral, please reach out and we’re happy to make an introduction!

 


 

IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE INFORMATION: Please remember that past performance may not be indicative of future results.  Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product (including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by Republic Wealth Advisors), or any non-investment related content, made reference to directly or indirectly in this blog will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful.  Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions.  Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this blog serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from Republic Wealth Advisors.  To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing.  Republic Wealth Advisors is neither a law firm nor a certified public accounting firm and no portion of this blog content should be construed as legal or accounting advice.  If you are a Republic Wealth Advisors client, please remember to contact Republic Wealth Advisors, in writing, if there are any changes in your personal/financial situation or investment objectives for the purpose of reviewing/evaluating/revising our previous recommendations and/or services. A copy of the Republic Wealth Advisors’ current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees is available upon request.

 

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Estate Planning, Death & A Good Financial Strategy

Estate Planning, Death & A Good Financial Strategy

Estate planning basics, one family’s experience, and how to get your financial affairs in order.

Estate planning can be an uncomfortable process.

While no one likes talking about death, it is one of the few certainties in life.  It is a “when” not “if” proposition, and it is important to plan ahead so that you can control how your assets pass to your heirs (and also not leave a burden to someone else to sort through your affairs when they can’t consult you).  

Estate Planning Basics

There are several things you can do to prepare for your inevitable passing (or your disability). For instance, we recommend you…

  • Identify all individual (and spousal assets) and determine who should receive them.
     
  • Include instructions for your care if you become disabled before you die.
     
  • Name a guardian for minor children.
     
  • Locate and safeguard all life insurance policies.
     
  • Review and update beneficiaries on assets and policies.
     
  • Understand pensions and retirement plans.

Although this isn’t a comprehensive list, it should help you start thinking about the importance of estate planning today. Planning can save weeks and months of heartache in an already taxing time. But with proper planning, the death of a spouse doesn’t have to be as stressful on you personally or financially. 

One Couple’s Experience with Estate Planning: The Lupos 

In a recent story in the The New York Times, one couple’s estate planning helped tremendously.

One couple who went through this exercise, Erika and John Lupo of Sparta, N.J., did so sooner than most, and it paid off. When Mr. Lupo died of cancer last year at age 57, Ms. Lupo, 51, who runs an acting school, was extraordinarily well prepared — unlike many widows.

In his final days, Mr. Lupo, a former salesman, did everything he could to prepare his estate and make sure his wife knew where his assets were — and how they could be bequeathed to her and heirs. There was a bit of complex estate and financial planning involved, because Mr. Lupo had a daughter from a previous marriage, and the couple has a teenage son.

Working with Mark Germain, a certified financial planner with Beacon Wealth Management in Hackensack, N.J., Mr. Lupo had several documents in order just a few weeks before he died.

“We made out wills, durable powers of attorney and a trust” for Mr. Lupo’s daughter, Mr. Germain said. “We also made some arrangements for the son in the will. We had to do some sophisticated planning.”
 

In this instance, the Lupos’ estate planning was complex. There was a previous marriage, another child, and a teenage son in the mix. But with the help of a good financial planner, the Lupos were able to order their financial affairs to help sustain the family when the patriarch passed on. 

Getting Your Estate In Order

Each individual’s (and family’s)situation is unique. What may have been true for the Lupos may have nothing to do with your circumstances. That’s why it’s important to connect with the right professionals to complete your estate planning.  Even if you have previously completed estate planning, the plan should be reviewed periodically to determine if changes are needed.

We recommend consulting with a board certified estate planning attorney in your area. If you need a referral, please reach out and we’re happy to make an introduction!

 


 

IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE INFORMATION: Please remember that past performance may not be indicative of future results.  Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product (including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by Republic Wealth Advisors), or any non-investment related content, made reference to directly or indirectly in this blog will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful.  Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions.  Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this blog serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from Republic Wealth Advisors.  To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing.  Republic Wealth Advisors is neither a law firm nor a certified public accounting firm and no portion of this blog content should be construed as legal or accounting advice.  If you are a Republic Wealth Advisors client, please remember to contact Republic Wealth Advisors, in writing, if there are any changes in your personal/financial situation or investment objectives for the purpose of reviewing/evaluating/revising our previous recommendations and/or services. A copy of the Republic Wealth Advisors’ current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees is available upon request.

 

 

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‘Death Tax’ Repeal Proposed In Trump’s New Budget

‘Death Tax’ Repeal Proposed In Trump’s New Budget

Trump’s proposed estate tax repeal, details of the ‘death tax’, and how you should prepare your estate for generational wealth transfer.

 

President Donald Trump will include the estate tax repeal in his tax reform proposal, the administration's top economic advisor has confirmed. This relates to the Federal, not any state-level estate taxes. 

Gary Cohn is Chief Economic Advisor to President Trump. He spoke in the White House Press Briefing Room on April 27, 2017. According to Think Advisor, 

"We're going to repeal the death tax," Cohn said. "The threat of being hurt by the death tax leads small-business owners and farmers in this country to waste countless hours and resources on complicated estate planning to make sure their children aren't hit with a huge tax when they die. No one wants to see their children have to sell the family business to pay an unfair tax."

Details of The ‘Death Tax’ Repeal And Why It’s In The Budget

According to IRS.gov, the estate tax, also known as the “death tax”, is “a tax on your right to transfer property at your death.”    

Estates are now taxed at 40 percent at the time of a person’s death. The tax applies to all assets after $5.49 million per individual and $10.98 million per couple. With proper planning, the average effective rate can be lower under the current tax system. The death tax repeal would not be aimed at lower and middle class families, instead it’s focused on higher net worth individuals and couples.

According to Cohn, the reason for the estate tax repeal is to spur on the American economy. Upper class families provide the capital to invest in business development. Capital infusion often spurs job growth and opportunity for all Americans, which is a major push in Trump’s administration. 

The budget was delivered to Congress in May and has yet to pass the House or Senate. The budget is not expected to pass as proposed and the death tax is still in force for now. Depending on the political climate and future Congressional votes, the death tax may remain. However, we are hopeful that some cut of the estate tax cut will eventually pass.

Estate Planning With or Without The Death Tax

Regardless of what happens with the death tax, it’s prudent to consult with an estate planning attorney about your situation. Whenever there are significant assets to transfer to the next generation, there are inevitable complications for every family. This includes issues with some state-level estate taxes.  

If you need a good recommendation for an estate planning attorney, please reach out. We love helping clients achieve all their financial goals including helping with legacy planning.
 


 

IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE INFORMATION: Please remember that past performance may not be indicative of future results.  Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product (including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by Republic Wealth Advisors), or any non-investment related content, made reference to directly or indirectly in this blog will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful.  Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions.  Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this blog serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from Republic Wealth Advisors.  To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing.  Republic Wealth Advisors is neither a law firm nor a certified public accounting firm and no portion of this blog content should be construed as legal or accounting advice.  If you are a Republic Wealth Advisors client, please remember to contact Republic Wealth Advisors, in writing, if there are any changes in your personal/financial situation or investment objectives for the purpose of reviewing/evaluating/revising our previous recommendations and/or services. A copy of the Republic Wealth Advisors’ current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees is available upon request.

 

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Headwinds, Tailwinds & Wild Cards In The Summer of 2017

Headwinds, Tailwinds & Wild Cards In The Summer of 2017

What's working and not working for equities in the financial markets as we enter the summer months.

Dear Clients, Strategic Alliances, Family and Friends,

We hope this finds you and yours doing well and looking forward to the calendar turning to summer.

I thought we would take a pause from our recent blogs being centered mostly on different wealth management topics and share some thoughts from the front lines about what is on our minds here at Republic regarding the capital markets.

For those of you that have been with us for some time you will no doubt remember the framework from our periodic missive Headwinds and Tailwinds regarding the investment opportunities and risk landscape.

Headwinds For Equities Going Forward

  1. High stock valuations (i.e., price to book, price to sales, dividend yield, price to earnings multiples, price to earnings adjusted for both inflation and rolling periods of time, enterprise value, etc.). No matter how you slice it most equities are priced for a happy world.
     
  2. Seasonal rotation usually described as "sell in May and go away". This means the markets historically tend to go stagnant after May and pick up again late in the year.

Potential Tailwinds For Equities From Here

  1. Momentum (i.e., technical analysis). In other words, technical indicators suggest a continued bull run.
     
  2. Supply vs. demand (i.e., there are roughly half the number of public companies today (4,000+/- vs. the 8,000+/- that were public when I entered the business almost four decades ago).
     
  3. Economies around the world are definitely starting to show some actual real growth for the first time in a decade (top line sales revenue growth along with double digit earnings growth).

Wild Cards

  1. Narrowing markets. Are the market advances getting to narrow...with fewer names doing well? You may have heard about the hand full of so called " FANG" stocks, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google hitting new highs.  Much has been written about this recently and it appears this fear is overblown, but definitely it is continuously monitored by our team.
     
  2. Currencies (i.e., the value of the dollar vs. the other world markets).
     
  3. The Fed (if and when will the Fed actually go from the accommodative position of forcing interest rates to near zero along with blowing out their balance sheet with QE1, QE2, QE3(QEInfinity?) going all the way back to 2009? In other words, when the biggest financial engineers of all time go from providing a gale force tailwind for financial assets and start to become a possible headwind, will other central bankers follow?).
     
  4. The ever present geo-political risks (North Korea, Syria, Russia, and other international issues can always throw a wrench in otherwise functioning markets).  

Cautious Optimism for the Rest of 2017

Yes, deep down, we are optimists. But we take our Fiduciary responsibilities to heart all the time (side note, we are not fazed by the financial front page debate over the new fiduciary rules for advisors...we have been fee based, fee- only fiduciaries from the start around here).

How all these market dynamics play out going forward and more importantly what it means for your custom investment portfolio strategy and you will continue to be top of mind for us. These will be high on our agenda when we visit with you at your next Regular Progress Meeting.

As always, we are both grateful and thankful to continue to serve you. 

Fred Hanish 
(and the rest of the Republic Wealth team)

 


 

IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE INFORMATION: Please remember that past performance may not be indicative of future results.  Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product (including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by Republic Wealth Advisors), or any non-investment related content, made reference to directly or indirectly in this blog will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful.  Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions.  Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this blog serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from Republic Wealth Advisors.  To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing.  Republic Wealth Advisors is neither a law firm nor a certified public accounting firm and no portion of this blog content should be construed as legal or accounting advice.  If you are a Republic Wealth Advisors client, please remember to contact Republic Wealth Advisors, in writing, if there are any changes in your personal/financial situation or investment objectives for the purpose of reviewing/evaluating/revising our previous recommendations and/or services. A copy of the Republic Wealth Advisors’ current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees is available upon request.

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Three Quick Steps To Protect Seniors From Fraud

Three Quick Steps To Protect Seniors From Fraud

One in five elderly people will be financially exploited. Here are three quick steps to minimize the exposure to senior fraud. 

Seniors are a prime target for swindlers. 

According to the National Adult Protection Services Association, one in five elderly people will be financially exploited. However, only 1 in 44 cases are reported. That means 20% of all elderly people are victims of fraud, but only 2% of actual cases are reported. 

These are several reasons for this growing epidemic. 

  • For one, elderly people have resources. They’ve worked their entire lives and have often built a substantial nest egg.
  • However, society has become much more complicated than it was years ago, so seniors are less familiar with sophisticated scams.
  • In addition, seniors can suffer from diminished capacity issues, something they didn’t have to deal with in their early years.
  • Finally, technology has advanced so there are more ways to bilk seniors from their hard-earned savings.  

In short, seniors are often preyed upon by scam artists. 

Fidelity Investments put together a short document to help seniors in this situation. We have highlighted the top action items for seniors you may know to protect them from future scams. 

Step 1: Create Oversight

Ideally, it’s best for more than one person to have oversight in a senior’s financial affairs. That way the elderly person is not dealing with new and sophisticated frauds alone. There would be another person there to help with the added complexities of life in 2017. So encourage your loved one to have a family member or trusted advisor act on their interest. 

Step 2: Setup Alerts

Setup alerts whenever significant financial transactions occur. This will help catch problems as they are occurring. You can also monitor credit card and bank card statements to catch suspicious recurring charges. These steps help minimize the potential for scams for some of the elderly you know.

Step 3: Act Quickly

Finally, act quickly. If you are concerned about potential fraud, seek assistance early—problems will only get worse over time. Contact the financial institution involved as soon as soon as you notice something is wrong. That will help fix these problems quickly and prevent future issues.   

Share With A Senior

Do you know a senior? 

This would be a good article to share with them. Please forward along to a loved one and let’s protect one another from scam artists who prey upon elderly people.  

 


 

IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE INFORMATION: Please remember that past performance may not be indicative of future results.  Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product (including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by Republic Wealth Advisors), or any non-investment related content, made reference to directly or indirectly in this blog will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful.  Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions.  Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this blog serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from Republic Wealth Advisors.  To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing.  Republic Wealth Advisors is neither a law firm nor a certified public accounting firm and no portion of this blog content should be construed as legal or accounting advice.  If you are a Republic Wealth Advisors client, please remember to contact Republic Wealth Advisors, in writing, if there are any changes in your personal/financial situation or investment objectives for the purpose of reviewing/evaluating/revising our previous recommendations and/or services. A copy of the Republic Wealth Advisors’ current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees is available upon request.

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Three Tips for Excellent Email Protection

Three Tips for Excellent Email Protection

Use different email accounts, enable two-factor authentication, change your email account 4X / year, plus some bonus tips.

Email security is important. 

Without secure email, your entire online presence is at risk. And most of the responsibility for email security lies with you.

Email providers can’t guarantee your cybersecurity. Hackers attack email providers to gain access to user accounts. But they also directly attack individual email accounts, using phishing, malware, social engineering and other scams.

Here are three tips to dramatically improve your email security from JP Morgan’s Cybersecurity Awareness document. 

Email Tip #1: Use Different Personal & Business Email Accounts

If you segment business and personal email accounts, you decrease cybersecurity risk by 50%. It takes extra effort and time to manage two accounts, but it’s much better than the alternative. Here’s what two email accounts look like…

Example Email For Business:
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Example Email For Personal:
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Once you setup your business and personal email accounts, start using them in that way. Send your contacts an appropriate announcement and interact with people on each account accordingly. This will help limit the downside risk if one of your accounts gets hacked. 

Email Tip #2: Enable Dual-Factor Authentication

Enable dual-factor authentication in your email service when available to help prevent unauthorized access. This is probably the best thing you can do to secure your email.

Dual Factor Authentication, also known as DFA (as an acronym), is an extra layer of security that is known as "multi factor authentication". It requires a username & password but also something that only that user has on them – like cell phone text verification. Using dual-factor authentication will help dramatically improve your email security. 

Email Tip #3: Change Your Password 4 Times Per Year

Email passwords are your first line of defense against a cyberattack. Hackers use dictionaries, names, linguistic patterns, and can break into over 60% of passwords used today – possibly including yours. And worse, email providers also get hacked thus compromising your passwords. 

Here are some ways to improve your email password security. 

  • Use long and complex passwords – at least 10 characters.
  • Use special characters and numbers.
  • Change your email password 3-4 times per year. 

Bonus:  Extra Tips to ‘Bulletproof’ Your Email Accounts

Following the above 3 tips will put you ahead of most other email users.  However, if you want to go the extra mile to ‘bulletproof’ your email accounts, here are more email security tips:

Image from: JP Morgan’s Guide to Cybersecurity Awareness

Other Cybersecurity Areas To Watch

Email security will be important for any person with an email account going forward. Make sure you’re aware of the dangers and follow these tips to stay safe online. 

  


 

IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE INFORMATION: Please remember that past performance may not be indicative of future results.  Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product (including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by Republic Wealth Advisors), or any non-investment related content, made reference to directly or indirectly in this blog will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful.  Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions.  Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this blog serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from Republic Wealth Advisors.  To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing.  Republic Wealth Advisors is neither a law firm nor a certified public accounting firm and no portion of this blog content should be construed as legal or accounting advice.  If you are a Republic Wealth Advisors client, please remember to contact Republic Wealth Advisors, in writing, if there are any changes in your personal/financial situation or investment objectives for the purpose of reviewing/evaluating/revising our previous recommendations and/or services. A copy of the Republic Wealth Advisors’ current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees is available upon request.

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Seasonality Triggered: Sell In May In Effect At Republic Wealth Advisors

Seasonality Triggered: Sell In May In Effect At Republic Wealth Advisors

Seasonality recent history fared well, what seasonality is, a brief history, and what clients need to do moving forward.

As the market adage goes, “Sell in May and Go Away”.  For the past week, we have been monitoring our technical indicators for signals that the favorable market season for equities was coming to a close.  With yesterday’s waterfall drop in major equity asset classes, that drop triggered our seasonality technical indicators.  This change in our seasonality indicator led us to reposition to more conservative positions in our investment portfolios for now.  

Seasonality From November 2016 To Present

Looking back to last fall, our buy indicator for seasonality came after the conclusion of the Fall Presidential election.  The election conclusion brought some certainty to the markets about our political landscape.  Since entering our seasonality position (IVV – S&P 500 or alternative) on November 11th, that position gained over 9% through Tuesday’s close – not a bad gain for six months work.  

Major market indexes including the Dow and the S&P 500 have been trading sideways since topping in early March although they have been scratching back to record highs in the last week.  Conversely the tech dominated NASDAQ has continued to trade higher on the strength of technology leaders posting strong earnings such as Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, and Google.   Late news on Monday about the Trump / Comey controversy caused investors to sell during Tuesday’s session.  Nothing changed economically, but the market is sensing the Trump agenda for tax and healthcare reform are in jeopardy with fractures in the Republican Party.

Seasonality Overview

As a refresher, the seasonality pattern started after World War II and has continued into the present.  With seasonality, most market gains in the equity markets occur from late October and into late spring.  Just like the weather can vary from year to year, seasonality in the equity markets vary from year to year and there are years when it rewards an investor to stay fully invested through the unfavorable period.  But over a multi-year period there is no denying the research that major market advances do not occur in the summer months.  

In fact, research from Stock Trader’s Almanac reflect that from 1950 to early 2016, there was no reward for investors being invested in the equity market during the unfavorable months.  Additionally, most bear markets end in the unfavorable months of May through October with October being the “bear killer” month.  

A Short History Of “Sell In May”

Here’s a brief history of the strategy from Stock Trader's Almanac®…

Sell in May is an old British saw, soundly based on inherent behavioral finance patterns and the collective cultural behavior of the investment community, but it did not truly become a tradable investment strategy until after WWII…

Prior to about 1950, farming was a major portion of the U.S. economy and from 1901-1950, August was the best performing month of the year, up 36 times in 49 years (market closed in August 1914 due to World War I) with an average gain of 2.3%. July was the second best month, up 31 of 50 with an average gain of 1.5%. June was fourth best, averaging 0.9%. Why, you may ask? Simply: planting, sowing, reaping and harvesting. As crops were planted and then brought to market and sold, cash began to move and so did the stock market. 

Agriculture’s share of GDP began to shrink post World War II as industrialization created a growing middle class that moved to the suburbs where hard-earned salaries would be spent filling new homes with all the modern conveniences we all take for granted now. Farming became more efficient and fewer and fewer people worked on the farm. 

Suddenly, summer was less about the hard work of harvesting crops and more about vacations and relaxing.  As the economy evolved and peoples’ lives changed, the market evolved.  June and August went from being top performing months to bottom performing months.  August went from #1 to #10 in 1950-2016 with an average DJIA loss of 0.2%.  June went from #4 to #11 (–0.3% average loss).  The shift in DJIA’s seasonal pattern is clear in the following chart. “Sell in May” is a post WWII pattern, prior to then it would have been “Buy in May”.

Image from The Stock Trader's Almanac®

As you can see from the chart, the black line representing 1901-1949 shows that equity market continued to rise throughout the summer.  Conversely on the blue line, from 1950-2016, there is no market gains from late April to late October (aka the “Bear Killer” month).  

What This Means For Our Clients

If you’re invested with Republic Wealth Advisors, you don’t need to do anything.  Our team of portfolio managers has or is in the process of adjusting allocations to more conservative positions as appropriate.  We will continue to monitor the markets and make adjustments as things play out in the next few weeks and months.

Our goal is for you to concentrate on what you do best in work, retirement, or your other projects, not worry about the ever-shifting financial markets.  

Please feel free to reach-out if you have any questions about your individual situation. 

 


 

IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE INFORMATION: Please remember that past performance may not be indicative of future results.  Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product (including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by Republic Wealth Advisors), or any non-investment related content, made reference to directly or indirectly in this blog will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful.  Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions.  Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this blog serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from Republic Wealth Advisors.  To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing.  Republic Wealth Advisors is neither a law firm nor a certified public accounting firm and no portion of this blog content should be construed as legal or accounting advice.  If you are a Republic Wealth Advisors client, please remember to contact Republic Wealth Advisors, in writing, if there are any changes in your personal/financial situation or investment objectives for the purpose of reviewing/evaluating/revising our previous recommendations and/or services. A copy of the Republic Wealth Advisors’ current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees is available upon request.

 

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Top Facebook Mistakes Criminals Use To Hack Your Life

Top Facebook Mistakes Criminals Use To Hack Your Life

Facebook mistakes help criminals access your personal information and assets. Fix these problems to limit your exposure.

Facebook mistakes can mess up your life.

Social media platforms like Facebook or LinkedIn can give hackers a wealth of information about you—which can be used to steal your assets or information. You may want to tell your friends that Costa Rica is great. The problem is that criminals (who know where you live) just saw the same update. 

With a little help from IT World, these are some of the top social engineering mistakes and fixes that can help improve your cyber security on Facebook.

Mistake #1 Using A Non-Secure Password

This may be the biggest mistake people make on Facebook - or anywhere online. Here are a few best practices to make your Facebook password more secure…

  • 15+ characters long
  • Use symbols, numbers, capital and lowercase letters.
  • Capitalize a middle letter, use the @ symbol for the letter “a” or the number “0” in place of the letter “o.”
  • Never use keyboard walks (like 12345678 or qwerty).
  • No dog’s name, mother’s maiden name and other easy-to-find information.

Mistake #2: Giving Too Much Personal Information

Limit the information you give out. Criminals will search Facebook, Twitter and other social media websites for information about you and can use it to defraud you, your family and your friends. Every post you share may be seen by people who want what you have. Stay vigilant. Only post something that you’re comfortable with everyone seeing.

Mistake #3: Not Setting Privacy Settings Correctly

It is possible to limit the exposure of your Facebook posts. You can setup your account so that only your friends (in theory) can see your post. Keep in mind, it’s not perfect and smart hackers can still find it. But it does limit the potential damage from social media posts. Here’s a great resource to fix your privacy settings on Facebook. 

Facebook Help: Basic Privacy Setting & Tools

Mistake #4: Being Duped By Malware 

Malware is alive and well on Facebook. Bad software can be installed on your computer and affect your system and what other people see on your wall. Only click on trustworthy links. Avoid salacious or outrageous images and headlines. This will improve your chances of not getting infected online.

Mistake #5: Accepting Friend Requests from Attractive & Unknown People

This is a favorite scam for Facebook hackers. If you happen to friend one of these (probably fake) people, the best case you can hope for is to be inundated with worthless or self-promotional updates. The worst case is it turns out to be bait for some scammer trying to socially engineer information from you. It happens.

Here are a few more tips that relate to protecting yourself from social engineering scams from JP Morgan

 

Image from JP Morgan’s Guide to Cybersecurity Awareness

 

Facebook Security Helps Secure Your Financial Peace Of Mind

People make these Facebook mistakes every day – if you’ve made one of these mistakes, you’re not alone. But if you fix these 5 areas and you’ll be ahead of most Facebook users. That will help keep your financial records more secure and give you more peace of mind whenever you’re on Facebook. 

 


  

IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE INFORMATION: Please remember that past performance may not be indicative of future results.  Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product (including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by Republic Wealth Advisors), or any non-investment related content, made reference to directly or indirectly in this blog will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful.  Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions.  Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this blog serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from Republic Wealth Advisors.  To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing.  Republic Wealth Advisors is neither a law firm nor a certified public accounting firm and no portion of this blog content should be construed as legal or accounting advice.  If you are a Republic Wealth Advisors client, please remember to contact Republic Wealth Advisors, in writing, if there are any changes in your personal/financial situation or investment objectives for the purpose of reviewing/evaluating/revising our previous recommendations and/or services. A copy of the Republic Wealth Advisors’ current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees is available upon request.

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Four Crucial Cybercrime Prevention Steps

Four Crucial Cybercrime Prevention Steps

Four steps to prevent cybercrime: password protection, secure each device, limit public Wi-Fi, and eliminate malware.

Cybersecurity is a vitally important aspect of overseeing your personal finances. There are two reasons why:

1. The internet is now woven into everything we do.
2. Cybercrime is a growing and serious threat.

In 2016, JP Morgan published an overview of the biggest threats in cybersecurity. In our last post, we reviewed one of those critical areas: email security. This week we cover four other areas that every internet-connected person should consider. This post, along with JP Morgan’s Guide to Cybersecurity Awareness will provide detailed steps to help protect yourself, your assets and personal information.

Cybercrime Prevention Step #1: Secure Passwords

Passwords are your first line of defense against a cyberattack.

Hackers use dictionaries, names, linguistic patterns, and can break into over 60% of passwords used today – possibly including yours. Here are some steps you can take to secure your password.

  • Use long and complex passwords – at least 10 characters.
  • Don’t share your passwords or publicly post passwords.
  • Use special characters and numbers.
  • Use phrases, not just words.

Image from: JP Morgan’s Guide to Cybersecurity Awareness

Cybercrime Prevention Step #2: Secure Each Device

Every device connected to the internet can be hacked. Even your smart watch. Hackers can even create clones of real websites and steal personal data on every devices. Here are some things you can do to help secure your devices.

  • Keep all your browser software up-to-date.
  • Always us HTTPS on websites when entering personal information. (Most sites now include this feature, but you can check by looking at the address bar in your browser.)
  • Log out after conducting an online banking session.
  • Avoid sites containing illegal content or downloads. 

Image from: JP Morgan’s Guide to Cybersecurity Awareness

Cybercrime Prevention Step #3: Limit Public Wi-Fi

Public Wi-Fi is very convenient and very dangerous. It’s become a popular way for hackers to find would-be victims. Use public Wi-Fi only if you must, and always take precautions.

  • Never use public Wi-Fi for banking or shopping transactions.
  • Turn off file sharing to public Wi-Fi so other users can’t access your personal files.
  • Do NOT automatically connect to non-preferred networks.

Image from: JP Morgan’s Guide to Cybersecurity Awareness

Cybercrime Prevention Step #4: Prevent Malware

Malware is a serious and persistent threat. Data thieves can break-in, steal, and destroy any of your internet-enabled devices with malware. Here are some tips to help prevent malware.

  • Install anti-virus software.
  • Be careful what you click-on and download.
  • Be wary of suspicious-looking email.
  • Do NOT trust pop-up windows, especially on unfamiliar sites.

 

Image from: JP Morgan’s Guide to Cybersecurity Awareness

Other Cybersecurity Areas To Watch

These are not the only areas to review for optimal cybercrime prevention. Other areas include email security, social engineering protection, mobile attack awareness, and home network security. But this overview should give you a good start in preventing future cyberattacks. Address these 4 areas and you’ll be ahead of most internet users. That will help keep your financial records more secure. 

 


 

IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE INFORMATION: Please remember that past performance may not be indicative of future results.  Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product (including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by Republic Wealth Advisors), or any non-investment related content, made reference to directly or indirectly in this blog will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful.  Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions.  Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this blog serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from Republic Wealth Advisors.  To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing.  Republic Wealth Advisors is neither a law firm nor a certified public accounting firm and no portion of this blog content should be construed as legal or accounting advice.  If you are a Republic Wealth Advisors client, please remember to contact Republic Wealth Advisors, in writing, if there are any changes in your personal/financial situation or investment objectives for the purpose of reviewing/evaluating/revising our previous recommendations and/or services. A copy of the Republic Wealth Advisors’ current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees is available upon request.

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Are You Making These 5 Email Security Mistakes?

Are You Making These 5 Email Security Mistakes?

Phishing attacks, weak passwords, password changing, virus scan issues, and more. Check out the details to help avoid future email hacks and identity theft. 

Data security is pretty important these days.  

According to Identity Theft Resource Center, an industry watchdog group, the number of U.S. data breaches hit an all-time in 2016 with 1,093 breaches. That’s up over 40% from the previous year (780)! Identity thieves are after your personal information. If they can get to it, they can wreak havoc on your personal finances for months and possibly years.

One of the chief ways thieves hack into your personal information is through your email account. That’s why it’s so important to practice good email security. With help from Network Doctor, here are the top 5 mistakes people make with their email security:

Mistake #1: Not Recognizing Phishing Attacks

Scammers use phishing emails to deceive users into providing sensitive information. Recipients often get redirected to a website where they're asked to update personal information (like a password or banking information). Sometimes the email message contains malicious software that hacks into your computer. Phishing emails can be identified with:

  • Grammar or spelling discrepancies.
  • Usually include some kind of link.
  • Often describe a type of threat. Ex. Warning - Your Account May Have Been Compromised
  • Use familiar graphics from trusted companies. Note: Don’t trust every logo in your email inbox.
  • Slightly altered Web addresses that resemble recognizable company names.
    Ex: Securitys.wellllsfargos.com instead or WellsFargo.com (note the  misspelling in the first URL)

Phishing scams can be reported in several different ways. For example, email clients almost always have a “report as spam” option to help eliminate threats. However, if you already clicked through to a suspicious website, report the website as a scam through your browser.

Mistake #2: Using a Weak Password

There are many several “don’ts” for creating and using passwords. Here are a few best practices:

  • Never use the same password twice.
  • Each password should be unique.
  • 15+ characters long
  • Use symbols, numbers, capital and lowercase letters.
  • Capitalize a middle letter, use the @ symbol for the letter “a” or the number “0” in place of the letter “o.”
  • Never use keyboard walks (like 12345678 or qwerty).
  • No dog’s name, mother’s maiden name and other easy-to-find information.

Mistake #3: Forgetting To Change Your Password Every 90 Days

Passwords should be changed every 3-4 months (90-120 days). They should also never be repeated within an 18-month period. Set a reminder for yourself to change your email password 3-4 times per year if your email program doesn't make you do that automatically.

Mistake #4: Not Staying Current with Your Virus Scan Program

Free antivirus and anti-spyware protection helps. But it usually doesn't cut it with the growing list of cyberattack tactics used to infiltrate email accounts. 

Make sure to configure your settings to automatically perform scans on a regular basis. The frequency at which you scan for viruses will depend entirely on your computer usage. If you spend a lot of time on the internet, your research can take you into uncharted territory. So scan daily. Otherwise, set it to scan weekly.

Mistake #5: Answering Spam Messages

People sometimes reply to spam messages in an attempt to be removed from the email list. Big mistake. What you may be doing is telling a spammer you have an active email account. Instead, block, delete or mark the email as spam.

Bonus: Not Logging Out & Saving Passwords On A Public Computer

Using a public computer carries its own risks. If you don't log out after using a public computer to check your email, you could be putting your account at risk. One click of the back button may lead a stranger directly into your account. Don't save passwords on a public computer and always logout before you step away.

Avoid these 6 mistakes on email security and you’ll be ahead of most internet users. That will help keep your financial records secure though one of the most vulnerable channels: your personal email account. 

 


 

IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE INFORMATION: Please remember that past performance may not be indicative of future results.  Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product (including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by Republic Wealth Advisors), or any non-investment related content, made reference to directly or indirectly in this blog will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful.  Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions.  Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this blog serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from Republic Wealth Advisors.  To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing.  Republic Wealth Advisors is neither a law firm nor a certified public accounting firm and no portion of this blog content should be construed as legal or accounting advice.  If you are a Republic Wealth Advisors client, please remember to contact Republic Wealth Advisors, in writing, if there are any changes in your personal/financial situation or investment objectives for the purpose of reviewing/evaluating/revising our previous recommendations and/or services. A copy of the Republic Wealth Advisors’ current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees is available upon request.

 

 

 

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