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Data Privacy Tips

By
June Adams
July 23, 2021
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Data Privacy governs how data is collected, shared and used. When private data gets in the wrong hands, bad things can happen.  Whether you are in the office or working from home, here are a few tips on how to keep your data private:

VARY YOUR PASSWORDS

Use unique, complex passwords on different sites and systems.

PROPERLY DESTROY UNWANTED DATA

Shred unwanted documents and thoroughly wipe devices before discarding them.

ENCRYPT SENSITIVE FILES

Use encryption when sharing or storing confidential data.

LOCK UP WHEN YOU LEAVE

Secure sensitive files and lock computer screens when you walk away.

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By
Diane Zing, CSA
June 11, 2018

Paying taxes is inevitable. The key to being as efficient as possible about how much one pays in taxes requires careful consideration of the big picture. And while many people simply want to know if they can have a tax-free retirement, it really starts with being clear about how and when taxes get paid…and to defining what a “tax-free retirement” actually means. For example, if someone is striving to have income during retirement that is tax-free AT THAT TIME, then there are a plethora of investment and insurance products out there that could help defer taxes on earnings, and potentially, have tax-free withdrawal benefits for some types of accounts. But that doesn’t mean retirement is “tax-free”.

Let’s clarify what a few of the most common types of taxes are:

Income Tax – taxation on earned income can occur on many levels; local, state and federal. The amount a person would have to pay varies greatly on their situation. And, there are various types of tax credits that could affect the amount of taxes that would be paid on income. Any earned income that is deferred into a qualified retirement account generally means that taxes on that income won’t get paid at the time it is earned, but when that income is taken at a later date, during retirement, taxes are paid at that time. The idea that paying taxes on income later, when one might be in a lower income tax bracket, might prove more beneficial. But a) there is no guarantee what the tax rates will be in the future, and b) there may be several other factors with a person’s overall taxation that could affect what is perceived as a benefit. A tax professional is the best person to help folks evaluate what kinds of strategies are best for their overall situation. At the end of the day, SOME form of income tax will be paid, either when it is received upon earning, or when it is withdrawn from a qualified plan “down the road” in retirement.

What can be done to possibly reduce these taxes? Speak to a tax professional about what tax credits might apply, and also review with them if itemized deductions can play a role in reducing taxation.

Sales Tax – taxation occurs on state levels for various goods and services that get purchased. The percentage of taxation is usually based on the price of said goods and/or services. But that percentage charged can vary greatly from state to state, or even within different municipalities. There are a few states that don’t have any sales tax on most goods and services.

Excise Tax – taxation that is applied to specific types of goods; gas, cigarettes, beer, liquor, etc. These are typically nicknamed as “sin products”. Taxes received for these particular products are generally used to help raise money for bringing awareness to the potential dangers of these products.

What can be done to manage sales and excise tax? Not much. These types of taxes are very hard to “manage”. Changes in lifestyle; consumption of goods that fall within this category, will obviously affect the amount of sales taxes paid.

Property Tax – taxation that is applied to property owned. Taxes received tend to go towards local municipality needs. The amount of property taxes charged is usually based on a percentage of the value of the property.

What can be done to manage or alleviate property tax? Renting instead of owning might prove beneficial with alleviating property tax. However, there may be tax benefits also lost by being a renter instead of an owner. Again, a tax professional is best for helping to calculate what the tax benefits are for both scenarios.

It might not be possible to have a completely tax-free retirement, but by working with a financial professional and a tax professional, the ability to strategize investments and manage how taxation occurs could prove very beneficial. It’s not just about saving and investing…it’s about being as savvy as possible with the decisions along the way.

By
Mark Nicolet, CFP®, MBA, ABFP™
September 24, 2018

“What’s top of mind?” is an incredible starting point for a financial planning conversation. A client will oftentimes start with a story, not the balance of their retirement account or what they spent last month on dining out. More recently, children have been top of mind for a lot of families. How should we pay for college? Should we pay for college? I want to save for my child, but have more flexibility than an education account. Education and the cost of college is the obvious priority with kids. I’ll suggest protecting your child with life insurance with accelerated benefit riders as a second priority. Let me explain, after you just tensed up and committed yourself to not discussing.

As a parent, I pray nothing happens to my two sons. Unfortunately, I don’t have complete control of that outcome. Here are three reasons why I’ll suggest life insurance for your child.

Accelerated benefit riders give you access to the death benefit, if your son or daughter experiences a terminal diagnosis, chronic disability, or a critical event. If any of these conditions take place, I’m not going back to work the next day. I’ll living at the hospital, eating restaurant food, and spending money on unanticipated expenses outside of what health care pays for, without having to take a loan on my 401k or deplete my savings account.

A death benefit (unimaginable) provides peace of mind that if the worst were to happen, your family wouldn’t have to think about work, the mortgage, or time off. You simply could spend time together grieving the most difficult time in your life. Enough said.

The cash value growing inside of your indexed universal life policy (form of permanent insurance) creates a saving vehicles indexed to the S&P 500 over the life of the policy. If at a certain point in your now grown child’s life, you can surrender the policy and provide a jump start for their first down payment, wedding, or other significant event in their life, OR even give the policy to your child for them to now pay their own premium and have a level of life insurance in place.

Why don’t I invest my money in the market and have more to give to my child when he/she is grown? I agree with this philosophy, assuming none of the aforementioned events happen while your children are under your roof. Since the cost of insurance for a child is so low, I’m willing to protect my child first, then if nothing happens, I have an opportunity to gift them their starter policy as they start their own career and family. If you have a term policy in place, you can oftentimes add a child term rider for a small additional premium. Cheers to being a parent. If you have further questions about this type of planning, please reach out to Mark Nicolet, CFP®, at mark.nicolet@trilogyfs.com or 303-300-3323 ext. 5227.

This material contains only general descriptions and is not a solicitation to sell any insurance product or security, nor is it intended as any financial or tax advice. For information about specific insurance needs or situations, contact your insurance agent. This doesn't take into account your personal characteristics such as budget, assets, risk tolerance, family situation or activities which may affect the type of insurance that would be right for you. In addition, state insurance laws and insurance underwriting rules may affect available coverage and its costs. Guarantees are based on the claims paying ability of the issuing company.

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