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Cell Phone Security

By
June Adams
January 4, 2022
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As scammers get more sophisticated, be sure to protect yourself and your access points, such as your smartphone.

Start by making sure your phone is encrypted. Most phones, such as iPhones, Google Pixels and post-2018 Samsung phones are encrypted by default. Should you have a different model, search online for instructions on how to encrypt your phone.

Be sure to have a secure passcode for your phone. 6-digit passcodes are better than the standard 4-digit. Face or fingerprint recognition is secure as long as you use the phone’s built-in systems rather than a third-party. Utilize your smartphones’ “find phone” feature if it has one. Your smartwatch can also be utilized to locate a misplaced phone.

As your data can be intercepted on Wi-Fi networks that are not encrypted, it’s best to disable the Connect Automatically feature on your smartphone. This usually requires the simple UNCHECKING of a box. If storing payment methods electronically on your phone, only keep debit cards. Most vendors require a PIN to be entered when debit cards are used, adding an extra layer of protection. Lastly, should you be switching to a new phone, factory-reset the old phone after the switch, regardless of who will be receiving the old phone.

Ultimately, treat your phone with the same security as you treat your wallet, if not better.

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By
David McDonough
July 2, 2019

Words are power, and each word has its own weight and energy. Words have inspired people to stand up for what they believe in or hang their head down in defeat. Therefore, choosing the right words to describe that which you want to manifest is very important.

For example, when speaking of aspirations for the future, there are those who use the words dreams and goals interchangeably. However, they ae distinctively different in definition and performance. A dream is boundless, fueled by your passion and imagination. However, it is akin to fantasy, with no immediate call to bring it to life. When someone tells me they dream of owning a sports car or starting their own business, I know most of the work to make that dream a reality hasn’t taken place and probably won’t for the foreseeable future.

A goal, on the other hand, is the mapwork to that dream, concrete and behavior-driven. When you have a goal, you have markers, measurements and steps to get to the destination. Setting the right goals, especially when it pertains to financial goals, can have a significant effect on how and when you achieve them. In fact, a guide to good goal-setting has long been to make it S.M.A.R.T.1:

Specific: if we are truly making a map towards our goals, telling ourselves to go in a general direction or for an undefined distance is most likely only going to get us lost. Steps towards our dreams have to be detailed and specific.

Measurable: When a goal is measurable, there is a way to track your progress to stay motivated or identify issues that may need problem-solving.

Attainable: It is admirable to be striving for something grand and lofty. However, it’s imperative that we have feasible goals that we can accomplish to keep us motivated and actually accomplish said goal.

Relevant: Having impressive goals are fine and dandy, but if they don’t move you closer to your overall goals or work against other goals you may have, it may be time to rethink them.

Time Bound: Once something has been stated as a goal, the stop watch has started. There is an expectation of completion, which is necessary to keep us moving forward towards that goal. It may not get completed in the expected timeframe, but just by having a deadline, we can stay accountable.

Based on this description of a S.M.A.R.T., you can see that there is a difference between, “I’m going to start saving money for a house,” and “I’m going to put 15% of my paycheck into a savings account specifically designated for my eventual down payment, and I should have enough saved after 3 years.” One expresses a desire while the other one lays out a concrete plan to achieve the goal.

If one seems to be fueling the other, how can a dream inhibit a goal? Well, one way is when your lifestyle fits with your dream rather than your goals. To achieve many financial goals like saving for retirement or buying a home, one needs to save and stick to a budget. However, if you fail to save and incrementally work towards the goals, it will take longer and longer to see results. Worse is if you choose to skip the incremental steps and live your dreamer’s lifestyle by using credit cards. The debt you accumulate will take you farther and farther from your goals and possible put you in an unfortunate and stressful predicament.

Sometimes when we haven’t developed a goal for a dream, it’s vagueness can work against an already established goal. Perhaps a good friend asks you to go into business with them. If you choose to pour funds into this new endeavor without any parameters, you may find yourself taking funds away from saving for retirement or depleting savings you already had. Of course, if you had outlined your goal on how to contribute to your friend’s business, with specific and timely parameters, the situation could be completely different.

Please understand that I’m not asking you to stop dreaming. In fact, quite the opposite. I happen wake up every day saying, “Dream Big! Work Hard! Laugh often!” I sign letters and thank you notes and end employee meetings with those very words. Dreaming is important.

So please know I want you to dream big and bold. At the same time, I want you to buckle down and create some S.M.A.R.T. goals to propel you closer to your dreams.

https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/smart-goals.htm

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

By
David McDonough
September 23, 2019

For many young adults, college is the first time they are independently managing their own money. It can be a time marked with excitement and new opportunities, or anxiety and worry. Financial skills built at this time can have long-lasting benefits. Likewise, money mistakes made now will carry on into their future. That is why about 70 percent of college students worry about their finances[i]. However, with the right skills and habits, this can be a great time to lay a strong foundation for their future financial independence.

The first financial decision that most college students encounter are student loans. Before taking out student loans, make sure to explore other financial aid options, such as scholarships and tuition assistance from participating employers. Also, don’t forget the option of going to local community colleges for the first couple of years. If student loans are an option, it is best to resist the temptation to take the maximum amount one qualifies for. Instead, borrow only what is needed. This will help in the long run. College is an investment, and students need to be sure that their rate of return is worth it.

It is imperative that young people know how to budget, but unfortunately, that’s largely not the case. In fact, 43 percent of college students don’t track their spending[ii]. This is particularly crucial for those who have student loans. You can help your young people early by introducing them to the concept of budgeting well before you’re packing them up for college. A budget is not simply an account of where one’s money goes. It aids in making decisions, establishing financial priorities, and staying aware of how your money is working for you. Please always remind your college students that the less they spend now, the more they’ll be able to move forward in the future.

Another common first for college students is the first credit card. Credit cards are a good tool to establish small lines of credit, but monthly balances should always be paid off immediately. Not only does this avoid late fees, but it also avoids interest building on purchases. Also, protecting personal information is imperative. Students need to constantly be aware of who they are giving their information to and what is being charged to their account.

College is a busy time full of “firsts”. These experiences can have long-reaching consequences. Help your college students prepare a solid foundation to their financial independence by providing them with the proper education and tools for a bright financial future.

[i] https://news.osu.edu/70-percent-of-college-students-stressed-about-finances/

[ii] https://www.affordablecollegesonline.org/college-resource-center/student-guide-to-budgeting/

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

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