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401(k) Lost & Found

During our working life, most of us change jobs. Many times. If you had a retirement account at a former employer that you lost track of, we may have good news.

Senators Elizabeth Warren and Steve Daines have sponsored a bi-partisan bill to create a searchable online “lost and found” for abandoned retirement accounts.

In the meantime, the Pension Benefits Guaranty Corporation operates a searchable database of pension accounts and expects to have 401(k) accounts added to it by 2018. The catch with the PBGC is the information is incomplete. It relies on companies voluntarily forwarding retirement account information to it. The Senate bill will create a comprehensive database.

Solar Scams

Many of us, for reasons both environmental as well as financial, are contemplating “going off the grid” and installing solar panels on our homes.

Before you take the plunge, you should be aware of a potential scam that has popped in this field. It involves companies that offer to install solar panels on your home for free. The deal is, they own the panels and they will bill you every month, just like the power company.

Now, these companies promise that your bill will be substantially less than what you’re currently paying, but there have been reports of people actually paying more.

So before agreeing to anything, do your homework. Find out if other friends or family members have done business with the company. Research them online with the Better Business Bureau and things like Yahoo reviews. Finally, read your contract carefully and make sure you understand what you’re getting yourself into.

Reputable businesses are always glad to do business in the sunshine.

Cyber Scam Alert

With Wi-Fi everywhere now from the public library to the corner coffee shop, there are more opportunities for cyber punks to hack into your laptop tablet or mobile phone.

Here are some tips to keep your information safe when using public Wi-Fi:

1.) Don’t set your devices to automatically connect to pubic Wi-Fi

2.) Never access your bank accounts, credit card accounts or even your email while on public Wi-Fi

3.) Stick to your call phone’s providers Wi-Fi network if you’re accessing an online shopping website or any other site that requires personal information

4.) Check website addresses carefully and completely. Scam artists will create bogus sites that closely mimic real ones

The Golden Fleecing

You see the ads for this kind thing on the cable channels in the wee small hours of the morning. Buy gold or silver as a hedge against bad economic times. But many of the companies touting gold or silver are really only making one entity rich: themselves.

Here’s what you need to watch out for:

  1. The Bait Frequently, these companies use deceptive marketing to make you think you’re getting gold or silver at only a slight mark-up over the current market value.
  2. The Switch Once you are actually speaking with a salesperson, they will try and switch to investing in “collectible coins.” You’re told that these are appreciating much faster than gold or silver.
  3. The Catch Often you will be sold coins at a markup so high, you will never recover what you’ve paid.

One of the oldest adages in investing is true here – invest in what you know. If you don’t know about collectible coins, don’t invest. Or seek out a local expert in your area and consult with them face-to-face.

Early Retirement: A Health Risk?

A 18-year study from Oregon State University suggests that working a bit longer many actually help you live longer.

The study found that those who worked at least one year past the age of 65 had a 9 percent lower death risk.

Obviously, health is a factor in some retirement decisions, but in you’re healthy enough, you may want to think about working a bit longer to live longer!

Besides Diana Ross, what other two girls made up the original Supremes?

Flo Ballard and Mary Wilson
O'RyanCordes Marketing