Your Investment Accounts: How to Deal with Identity Theft and Data Breaches

  |  February 19, 2016

An Investor Alert recently issued by the SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy recommends the steps investors should take to safeguard their investment accounts if they are victims of identity theft or if their electronic data is hacked. While the Alert was directed primarily toward safeguarding investment accounts, many of these actions should be taken to protect credit card and bank accounts, as well.

You should always take steps to protect your personal financial information, such as Social Security numbers, bank and investment account numbers, user names and passwords. If you are the victim of identity theft, however, or you discover your personal financial data has been breached, there are a number of steps you need to take as soon as possible. Read more. Read More

Financial Matters (Winter 2016) – Why Are Annuities So Complex?

  |  February 2, 2016

‘Indexed’ annuities (sometimes called ‘equity-indexed’ annuities) were a reaction from the insurance industry to investors wanting to participate in the market but not experience the downside (‘have cake and eat it too’). Hence, a product that participated on the upside and protected the downside. But at a cost of additional fees and limits on access to your funds.

Like other annuity products, ‘indexed’ annuities are a contract between you and the insurer. The financial strength of the insurer is paramount in ensuring that they can meet these commitments. But the complexity of the product and optional features (riders) can be difficult for anyone, including insurance agents, to understand. Read more. Read More

Market View (January 2016) Year in Review

  |  January 19, 2016

What a year for 2015! From seeing the first Triple Crown winner in 37 years to hitting all-time highs in the U.S. equity markets, the year marked some great and historic moments.  One very notable moment that we can all relate to was the price of a gasoline at the pumps – we saw the price per gallon fall (and stay) below $2.00.  Although low gasoline prices are great for us (the consumer), it did create some issues for the oil markets, many oil related companies and their employees, as well as state coffers. As a result, we saw the energy sector, along with a slowdown in China, have a negative effect on global markets. 

As these events began to unfold throughout the year, we saw volatility return to the markets as U.S. equity markets peaked in May and within a few months, we experienced our first equity market correction since 2011. Read more. Read More