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Your Money Matters

HOW SAFE IS ONLINE BANKING

IF you have not been inside of a consumer bank for a while – and many of us have not – the environment in most banks would probably surprise you now. In a nutshell: fewer people, more machines. For those of us who have lived long enough to remember being dazzled by the new  drive-through banking way back when, modern banking facilities are truly representative of how technology has changed our lives. Most of us have moved our banking activity online.

If you are one of the 51 percent of Americans who do their banking online, safety concerns have probably crossed your mind. Hacking always makes news. Just this past July a woman in Seattle hacked into a server holding customer information for Capital One and obtained the personal data of over 100 million people. That report alarmed many online banking customers, but the truth is that your information and your money are probably safe. The hacks are few and far between and progress is constantly being made in safeguarding consumer data.

Research shows that young people, particularly those in their early 20s are the most likely age group to have and feel comfortable with an online bank account. That willingness and comfort level decreases as age brackets increase. Baby Boomers are far less likely to bank online or consider it. That has much to do with older citizens’ online safety concerns.

Still, experts agree on a few proactive steps consumers can take to ensure the security of their data:

  • Two-factor identification is (2FA) becoming more widely used than ever. This is a process by which you have to offer two identification factors instead of the traditional one. Check out this website to find out if your bank offers 2FA and to see details of how it is used. At this site you can also get information on 2FA offerings from finance and investment firms. 2FA makes a hacker’s job far more than two times tougher.
  • Change your passwords frequently. Maintain a document file on your laptop or smartphone where you keep your updated passwords for all of your online accounts.
  • Understand that your bank (and most large finance companies) would never send you a link and ask you to enter your details such as username, password or financial details. If you receive such an email, do not click on the link or offer any personal information, and contact the company to report the scam.
  • Make sure your bank is insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the government institution that backs your accounts up to $250,000 each.
  • Keep your smartphone, PC and laptop updated consistently. When an update is created for your operating system, you will receive a message on your device about downloading it. Do so immediately because most often these updates include tighter security functionality.

If you are still hesitant to move your banking online, it may also be advisable to speak to a security expert from your bank. Ask the questions that are of most concern to you. Keep in mind that as the years go on technology will inevitably require you to do at least some of your financial business online.

TAX TIPS FOR CHARITABLE GIVING

Other Voices

8 ways you are sabotaging your retirement


Are you doing all the right things to prepare for a financially comfortable retirement? Maybe, but maybe not. Here are some ways you may be working against yourself.
Retirement Mistakes

Patience is a virtue — in Finance!

In a recent interview with the New York Times, Mellody Hobson, a co-CEO of a Chicago-based investment firm with nearly $13 billion in assets under management, said patience is one of the key ingredients to building wealth. Do all good things come to those who wait?
Finance CEO: Key to Investment Success: Patience

Health Savings Account: Yes or No?


Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) might be the single most powerful tax-advantaged savings vehicle in the IRS tax code. You can deduct contributions, experience tax-deferred gains and withdraw money tax free for qualified tax expenditures.
Great Info on HSAs

Maximum Cash-Back Cards for 2019

Travel rewards credit cards can earn great returns if you’re willing to track point values and optimum redemption options. But sometimes, you just want to earn rewards in a way you can easily understand – dollars and cents. To help you find a cash back card that fits your spending patterns, FORBES assembled the nine best cash back credit cards of 2019. Nine Best Cash-Back Credit Cards for 2019

Listen and Learn About Your Finances


If you haven’t jumped on the podcast bandwagon yet, and if money just confounds you, it’s high time you listened to Planet Money. We’re not going to label it “Economics for Dummies”: Instead, let’s just say this is economics for the masses. Planet Money has produced more than 800 episodes, many from NPR. Because too much economics might put anybody to sleep, Planet Money also produces shows about what’s going on in the culture, and throws in a few history lessons and some light entertainment. In between, there will be shows on Chinese tariffs, minimum wage fights, the gender pay gap…well, you get the idea. The podcasts are anywhere from just a few .minutes to up to about a half hour. Trust us – there is something for everybody on Planet Money.
Check out Planet Money

Where’s My Refund?

Taxpayers who filed their tax returns should know that the easiest way to check on their tax refund is to use “Where’s My Refund?“.
This tool is available on IRS.gov and through the IRS2Go app. The fastest way to get that tax refund is to use IRS e-file and direct deposit.
Taxpayers can use Where’s My Refund? to start checking on the status of their tax return within 24 hours after the IRS receives an e-filed return. For a paper return, it’s four weeks after the taxpayer mailed it.
From IRS.gov

Lessons From a Billionaire

Mark CubanBillionaire Mark Cuban says “Don’t let fear be a roadblock” when it comes to investing. He has 14 other common sense suggestions about what you should and should not do with your money.
16 Genius Things Mark Cuban Says to Do With Your Money

IRS Regulations On Charitable Regulations

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service today issued final regulations that require taxpayers to reduce their charitable contribution deductions by the amount of any state or local tax credits they receive or expect to receive in return.
Final regulations on charitable regulations and state and local tax credits

IRS Tax Scam Warnings

Although the April filing deadline has passed, scam artists remain hard at work, and the IRS is urging taxpayers to be on the lookout for a spring surge of evolving phishing emails and telephone scams.
IRS warns of Spring/Summer tax scams

Common 401(k) mistakes

Are you maximizing the benefits you could be receiving from your 401K? Maybe not. Read what one financial planner has to say about the most common mistakes 401K investors make.
5 Common Mistakes 401(k) Investors Make

Reverse Mortgage

Reverse mortgage – is it for you? Should you incorporate home equity into your long-term financial plan? Do your homework first, and start by listening to what one expert has to say about the advantages of this financial option.
Why Your Retirement Plan Should Include a Reverse Mortgage

Blue Chips Stocks

The most successful investors are the most educated investors, and there is much to learn. For example, do you know about Blue Chip stocks? What are they are how do they perform historically? How safe are they?
Blue Chip Stocks

Financial Planning for Divorce

Divorce is generally a highly emotional experience for all involved. The one thing many couples overlook is financial planning for the split. Here are the seven most common financial mistakes couples make when divorcing.
Facing Divorce? 7 Common Costly Financial Mistakes To Avoid

House votes to eliminate stretch IRAs

stretch iraStretch IRAs allow designated beneficiaries to extend distributions from inherited individual retirement accounts over their lifetimes. A recent vote by the House means stretch IRAs would no longer work as far as accomplishing the estate planning objectives of controlling the funds for beneficiaries and qualifying for the stretch IRA.
IRA Trusts could become estate planning disaster

Avoid paying FICA

Almost every American worker pays Social Security tax, but did you know you may not have to? There are a select few categories of workers who may be able to avoid paying FICA.
Who Is Exempt from Paying Social Security Tax?

Long-Term Care Insurance

long term care

Do you need long-term care insurance? Probably so, since most people over 65 will eventually need some help with daily tasks and personal care. What will it cost? How can you afford it?
What Will Long-Term Care Cost You?

Prepare for Retirement

The Annual Transamerica Retirement Survey explores attitudes about retirement and retirement readiness among American workers. Since 1998, Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies® (TCRS) has conducted a national survey of U.S. business employers and workers regarding their attitudes toward retirement. You may be surprised at some of this year’s survey findings. If you are retired or retiring this year, this is a must read. (Spoiler alert: Scroll to Page 60 to read all about retirement and finances).
What is “Retirement”? Three Generations Prepare for Older Age

Women 401(k) Millionaires

woman with moneyWomen are taking charge of their finances in record numbers. Fact: In 2005,only 10 percent of women were 401(k) millionaires. By 2017 that number had skyrocketed to 21 percent. How did they do it? Find out how you can do it, too.
4 Lessons from the Rise of Female 401(k) Millionaires