The Kaiser Family Foundation has created an animation series known as the “YouToons” to make learning about the healthcare law a much more easy-to-follow and enjoyable process. The following video is well worth the seven minutes to get the basics on Obamacare. We recently wrote a post on the new marketplaces, which is a facet of the Affordable Care Act, but the video will touch on a more comprehensive, albeit brief, summary of all of the different pieces of the Act. And now for the YouToons…
Advancements in technology have revolutionized how we live and communicate, with few technologies dominating more of our daily life than email. The convenience and ubiquity of email, however, has a dark side: as more of our personal and financial information finds its way to our email inbox, it becomes an irresistible target to hackers and identity thieves. It is only with prudence and the diligent application of good email “hygiene” that we can keep the hackers at bay. To that end, we here offer tips for practicing safe email hygiene, as well as a plan of action for dealing with a compromised email account.
Practice Safe Email Hygiene
Be sure the passwords attached to your accounts follow these best practices: -Employ a mixture of letters, numbers, and special characters -Do not use actual words -Avoid patterns that would be easy to identify such as birthdays or names of family members
Set up two-step account verification – this means no computer or device can access your email without first being authorized by entering a code sent to your cell phone.
If something seems strange or out of the ordinary, trust your instinct and take a closer look at the email you received.
Double check the sender’s email address as hackers will use familiar names in the address line and body of the email but have a strange email address listed as the sender. For example, if an email address is email@example.com, they may modify it to firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, or some other similar variation hoping you won’t notice the minor change.
ALWAYS hover over a link before clicking and read the website address. If it doesn’t make sense (isn’t clearly about what it is meant to be about), don’t click on it and contact the sender to see if they are legitimate. Even something as seemingly innocent as clicking on a link can unleash evil stuff onto your computer and onto your network.
Do not save important information (Social Security Number, passwords, date of birth, etc.) via email. Emails don’t get intercepted, accounts get hacked. They will find it in your inbox. If you must send information via email, make sure to delete the message from your sent folder and trash folder, or from your inbox and trash folder if you are the recipient. Ideally, it would be best to either password protect a document that has this information or transmit the information verbally so there is no written record to potentially be hijacked.
Many of us check our email on devices other than our computer, such as our cell phones, iPads, tablets, etc. Protect these devices by setting up a passcode and selecting the option to have the devices’s memory erased if too many attempts are made with the wrong code. If you’re using Apple products, be sure to activate “find my iPhone,” which will allow you to remotely erase the memory of lost iPhones and iPads.
Have a list of your contacts saved to another email account or other storage device that you can access easily. If you are ever locked out of your email account by a hacker, this list can be a good back up for the information you will need so you can notify your network about the breach immediately.
What To Do If Your Email Account Has Been Compromised
Change your password IMMEDIATELY.
Search your sent folder to see who the hacker may have contacted. In some instances the hacker may have deleted the emails they sent, so search your trash folder as well.
Send an email to your contacts telling them that they should not act on any requests for money or private information and that you either have regained control of your email or will be switching to a different email soon.
If you decide to change your email or are locked out of it, update any accounts that had your old email address listed as a login ID or for electronic correspondence.
If you are concerned the hacker may have gained access to your financial details, sign up for a credit monitoring service with TransUnion, Experian, Equifax, and/or LifeLock.
Elissa and Dave were featured in InvestmentNews‘ 15th anniversary edition special feature of the top 15 transformational advisers. The feature, written by Andrew Osterland, highlights Elissa and Dave’s relationship and their extensive contributions to the financial planning profession, focusing especially on their work in the areas of “policy-based financial planning” and the introduction to greater scientific rigor to the profession’s body of knowledge.
Osterland notes Elissa and Dave’s longtime commitment to improving practice through research and teaching.
The two financial advisers, whose firm has offices in Vienna, Va., and San Francisco, are well-known in the financial planning profession for their work at the industry’s major trade group — the Financial Planning Association — as well as their roles as educators at Golden Gate University and their contributions to the academic literature of the financial advice field.
Also noted in the article was the work Elissa and Dave have done to develop the concept of “Policy-Based Financial Planning,” which involves the development of compact decision rules that can guide clients who must make decisions in the face of a rapidly changing environment.
Mr. Yeske’s and Ms. Buie’s most important contribution to the academic literature was a paper published in the Journal of Financial Planning that they co-authored in 2006 on policy-based planning. In it, they argued that just as advisers use investment policies in managing assets, they also should draft policies to guide their planning with clients.
A recent article in the Wall Street Journal profiled three adviser couples who work together. Elissa and Dave were one of those couples. Here is what Caitlin Nish had to say in her article, “Adviser Couples Who Live, Work Together”.
Dave Yeske and Elissa Buie
Yeske Buie Inc., Vienna, Va. and San Francisco, $440 million in assets under management
First comes a board commitment, then comes marriage:
Mr. Yeske and Ms. Buie met while on the board of a financial planning group in 1996. At the time, they each had their own practice–on opposite coasts, he in California and she in Virginia. They also were married to others. Six years later, when both were single again and at a conference in Alaska, they decided not to let 2,419 miles stand between them, Ms. Buie says.
They married in 2006 and finished merging their firms in 2008.
Why they combined practices:
“At first we assumed we wouldn’t merge,” Mr. Yeske says. “We thought we might kill each other.” But their businesses were complementary: Ms. Buie had the staff and systems to serve clients in a particularly consistent and effective way. Mr. Yeske had hardly any staff but strong technology.
They also had different interests: Ms. Buie wanted to manage the business. Mr. Yeske wanted to work with clients and bring in new ones.
How he got top billing:
Ms. Buie volunteered for the second spot in the firm’s name. “She said, ‘It matters more to you. And, oh, by the way, I’m going to be the CEO,’” Mr. Yeske recalls.
The toughest part of working together:
“We eat, sleep and breathe the business,” Ms. Buie says, adding that it occasionally frustrates their daughters. “The challenge is making sure we focus on things other than the business.” These include sports, opera and travel.
Robert Powell, who writes for The Wall Street Journal’s MarketWatch website, offers six tips for college grads on how to prepare for not just a normal life but a rich one after graduation. Bob opens with some humbling and humorous advice.
Jason Gay, sportswriter extraordinaire for The Wall Street Journal, this week offered up 29 Rules for College Grads. And his first rule was this: “Relax. Nobody expects anything from you for the first 80 to 90 years.”
Prepare for multiple careers New grads today won’t follow the same blueprint as the generations before them, not least because they’ll live longer. Identifying multiple career options that interest you will frame your career path in a much more interesting and realistic way. Setting up the right expectations now will increase your chances of career satisfaction and staying power.
New college grads might also have [to] work a wee bit harder than previous generations at keeping themselves gainfully employed, especially in light of the increasingly faster pace of changes in technology and the global economy. There will be a premium placed on keeping skills and knowledge current.
“Invest in your career,” said Steve Vernon, a consulting research scholar at the Stanford Center on Longevity, Financial Security Division. “If you don’t have strong earnings, you won’t be able to save much money.”
Stay healthy and health-wise One of the toughest challenges facing new grads is maintaining good health habits amidst the changes they will be making when shifting from college to the working world.
“Take pride in taking care of your health—eating right, getting proper exercise, and becoming an informed medical consumer,” said Vernon.
“College graduates need to know the latest information on that topic, in order to plan their lives around realistic expectations of their healthy and total longevity—and also in order to put themselves in a position to hasten the medical defeat of aging and thereby increase their chances of benefiting from it,” said Aubrey David Nicholas Jasper de Grey, author of “Ending Aging” and chief science officer of the SENS Research Foundation.
Invest for the really long term
With life expectancies getting longer, new grads will likely need to plan for a longer time frame as an income-earner and as a retiree. It would then be prudent to employ an investment strategy that takes that into account.
Be a smart spender
“Create smart spending habits,” said Vernon. “If you learn how to live within your means now, you’ll be able to save and grow a nest egg that buys your freedom in your later years.”
Maintain a strong social network
“Maintain a strong social network—real people, not to be confused with virtual,” said Coughlin. “They will keep you connected, healthy and well for a lifetime, which for your generation is a long time.”
Live a rich life
Another network that must be maintained is that of family. “Be involved in the lives of your parents and grandparents as they transition into their elder years,” said Vernon. “It will make your life richer emotionally now, and you’ll learn invaluable lessons for when you reach those years.”
Kelly Greene of The Wall Street Journal wrote an entertaining piece on the money lessons to be found in the popular show, “Downton Abbey”. The show has drawn a lot of interest in the U.S. with 8.2 million viewers tuning in for the Feb. 17 Season Three finale. Greene explains the program’s popularity by suggesting that it “resonates with Americans today in part because the family dynamics it portrays are timeless”.
Downton Abbey centers on a British aristocrat, Robert Crawley, the Earl of Grantham, who has three daughters but no sons to whom he can leave his estate, as required under British property rules at the time. The earl’s male cousin and the cousin’s son both die on the Titanic. That leaves as the next possible heir a distant relative who—gasp!—works for a living, albeit as a lawyer.
In between all the plotting and back-stabbing, the characters blunder into a broad array of financial- and estate-planning disasters, from bad investments and messy trusts to poor business-succession plans and power struggles following health crises.
Many of us here are avid fans of the show and enjoyed Greene’s creative approach to using this British soap opera to highlight what to do and what not to do when crafting and managing a financial plan. WARNING: the rest of this article contains spoilers if you haven’t finished Season Three!
The most obvious take-away from “Downton Abbey” is to diversify investments, a lesson the earl learns after squandering much of his American wife’s fortune on an investment in a Canadian railway filing for bankruptcy. Left with almost nothing, the family quietly makes plans to sell the ancestral home, lay off staff and move to a smaller property—until they are saved at the last minute by yet another inheritance.
“If there is anyone out there who has not made proper provision for their family, and ‘Downton’ is a nudge for them to do so, then hurrah,” says Julian Fellowes, the series’ creator and executive producer.
Kelly goes on to offer five more key lessons including:
Sell the house. In the program, the ancestral home is central to the Crawley family’s lives and status—their residence, social life and business rolled into one.
But in modern times, inheriting an old house often is more trouble than it’s worth.
Many parents overestimate a property’s emotional importance to their heirs. And the heirs sometimes feel a sense of duty to keep the house, even if it isn’t worth the expense.
Spell out control and ownership when passing the baton. The Earl of Grantham presides over Downton Abbey with his family, but the blown investment has left them broke. Matthew Crawley, the earl’s third cousin once removed and the closest remaining male heir, winds up falling in love with and marrying the earl’s oldest daughter, Mary.
After Matthew inherits a pile of money from his former fiancée’s family and invests it in Downton Abbey, the earl invites Matthew to join the family business. But when Matthew starts digging into the books, he finds big financial problems, and the estate’s longtime overseer resigns suddenly.
There are ways to ease such problems when bringing the next generation into the family business. The first step: Make sure everyone involved is clear on who has voting rights, veto rights and the power to fire, along with the size of each person’s equity stake in the business, Mr. Forster advises.
Make a will before giving birth. Matthew Crawley’s death points to other financial-planning issues affecting families.
Matthew should have had a business agreement in place spelling out what would happen to his wife and any children if he died, along with an updated will, says Mary Schmidt, an estate-planning attorney in Boston. Instead, he essentially made a gift to the earl—not the wisest move for a character who also is a lawyer by training, she says.
Most expectant couples should have a series of documents in place, Ms. Schmidt says. Among them: wills, trusts for their spouses and children, and a power of attorney allowing their spouse to handle their business affairs if they become incapacitated, she says.
Set up a medical directive. A few episodes before Matthew Crawley’s death, Sybil, the beloved youngest daughter, dies from childbirth complications. As she falls ill, the family struggles to guess what her wishes would be: to be moved to the hospital to seek treatment that might save her but risk the child? To baptize the baby girl as a Catholic, like her father, or an Anglican, like her mother?
Ms. Finn, of Marcum, recommends spelling out such wishes through a will and an “advance medical directive”—a set of written instructions that specify what actions should be taken if you no longer are able to make medical decisions, along with a health-care proxy appointing someone to make those decisions on your behalf. Doing so “saves the family having to wonder, and it saves a lot of tension,” she says.
PR Newswire Press Release SAN FRANCISCO, CA, APRIL 1, 2013
John Wiley & Sons has just published the first-of-its-kind Financial Planning Competency Handbook. Elissa Buie, CFP® and Dr. Dave Yeske, CFP® of Yeske Buie contributed 30 chapters to the Handbook as members of a select team of practitioners and academics invited to write this comprehensive guide to financial planning. The project was sponsored by CFP® Board of Standards, which administers the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM (CFP®) exam and manages the use of the CFP® credentials. The Handbookis also available on Amazon.com.
The Handbook includes all the major topics in financial planning, comes with 400 practice questions online, and CFP® professionals are eligible for an upgrade to take a 28-credit continuing education test.
“The financial planning profession has long needed a book that encompasses not just the tactical pieces of putting together a financial plan, but also the academic underpinnings of a growing discipline,” said CFP® Board Chief Executive Officer Kevin R. Keller , CAE.
“The Financial Planning Competency Handbook will discuss the theoretical content, actions, and contexts that are necessary in financial planning practice. This handbook, designed for the entire profession of financial planning, will provide a theoretical framework for many of the major content areas in financial planning, while also providing real-world guidance for practicing professionals. It will also contain competency levels relative to financial planning practice as well as avenues for furthering student achievement in financial planner preparation programs. There will also be more than 100 vignettes that outline specific contexts in financial planning practice as well as the necessary decisions and actions of the practitioner within those settings.” -CFP® Board Press Release
About Elissa Buie
Elissa holds an MBA from the University of Maryland and a BS in Commerce from the University of Virginia. She has been practicing financial planning for nearly three decades and she has been deeply involved in the development of the financial planning profession. Elissa is the CEO of Yeske Buie and Chair of the Foundation for Financial Planning. She is also a past-chair of the Financial Planning Association (FPA), a Dean in FPA’s Residency Program, an adjunct professor in Golden Gate University’s Ageno School of Business. She has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Business Week, and has made appearances on The Today Show, NBC News, and CNBC and has been published in the Journal of Financial Planning.
About Dave Yeske
Dave holds a doctorate in finance from Golden Gate University, as well as an M.A. in Economics and a B.S. in Applied Economics from the University of San Francisco. Dave is Managing Director of Yeske Buie, a Mentor in the Financial Planning Association’s (FPA) Residency Program, and holds an appointment as Distinguished Adjunct Professor in Golden Gate University’s Ageno School of Business. He is a past-chair of the Financial Planning Association, and also chaired FPA’s PAC, Research Center Team, and Academic Advisory Council. Dave has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and The San Francisco Chronicle, and has written feature articles for Research Magazine, San Francisco Magazine, and The Journal of Retirement Planning.
In his 2004 book, The Wisdom of Crowds, James Surowiecki explored the many situations in which the collective wisdom of a group will surpass that of its smartest individual members. Surowiecki opens with an example reported by statistician and polymath Sir Francis Galton in 1906. Galton was attending a country fair and observed a weight-guessing lottery in which fair goers were invited to guess the weight of a dressed and butchered ox. About 800 people participated, with the person producing the closest guess winning a prize. Galton managed to talk the promoter into giving him the jar full of everyone’s guesses and proceeded to analyze it. What he found was that the average of all the guesses was within one pound of the actual weight of 1,198 pounds, far closer than the actual winning guess.
This same wisdom of crowds manifests itself in the economy as a whole and stock markets in particular. The many “guesses” of stock market investors, all arriving with their non-overlapping bits of information, push prices up and down to arrive at a consensus price representing the collective wisdom of the market. It has been shown time and again that this consensus price is more likely to be right than the best judgment of any given individual. This is why our investment approach is designed to harness that consensus – that wisdom of crowds – rather than trying to outsmart it.
Which brings us to the little experiment we conducted on March 14 at our Virginia office client event. We filled a large container with M&Ms and invited each of our attendees to submit a guess as to the true number contained therein.
Everyone in attendance contributed a guess using various methodologies. Some googled the weight of a pound of M&Ms and then tried to estimate the weight of our collection, minus the weight of the container itself. Others tried to estimate the width and height in units of M&Ms and multiply their way to an answer. Others plucked an estimate from thin air, so to speak. All in all, we collected 24 estimates of the total number.
An analysis of those estimates showed that they ranged widely, from a low of 700 to a high of more than 6,000. The actual number was 2,133.
The average of those wide-ranging guesses was 2,137, within 4 of the actual number of 2,133. The amazing part is that it took just 24 guesses to converge on a point that close to the actual.
Which leads us to the somewhat unexpected. Below is another graphical representation of the guesses made, with the red bar showing the closest individual guess.
That closest guess was EXACTLY correct at 2,133. Which leads us to ask:is there such a thing as true skill in M&M counting?
We discussed the matter with our own Jennifer Micieli, who was responsible for this amazing feat. Here was her “scientific” methodology:
“I thought the number was somewhere in the neighborhood of 2,000, but I don’t like zeros, so I decided to round up to 2,100. My favorite number, meanwhile, is three. But I didn’t want to guess 2,130 because, again, I don’t like zeros. So I doubled my favorite number, arriving at a final guess of 2,133.”
In the same way, there are always so many active stock pickers in the world that someone is “guessing right,” whatever their methodology. It’s replicability that matters, and every systematic study of “persistence” among successful stock-pickers shows that today’s success is no predictor of tomorrow’s. We’ll be interested to see how well Ms. Micieli performs the next time we attempt a “wisdom of crowds” experiment.
Frankly, the early results of her March Madness bracket are not encouraging . . .
April is Financial Literacy Month and the 23rd is National Teach Children to Save Day, which is a great time to review the Money Savvy Pig and/or the Cash Cache with your children or grandchildren! Let Cristin (firstname.lastname@example.org) know if you don’t already have a Pig or Cache and we can send them to you (let us know the recipient’s name, date of birth, and relationship to you). Here’s a video offering “Five Tips to Teach Your Kids About Money”.
People all across the nation will be participating in the 2013 National Day of Service tomorrow, Jan. 19th, in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Dr. King once said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?’”Each year, Americans across the country answer that question by coming together on the King Holiday to serve their neighbors and communities.The MLK Day of Service is a part of United We Serve, the President’s national call to service initiative. It calls for Americans from all walks of life to work together to provide solutions to our most pressing national problems. -Corporation for National & Community Service
Watch President Obama’s call to join the First Family in participating in the National Day of Service.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that others won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” ~Marianne Williamson