What’s Hot in the World of Collectibles…

Space Program Memorabilia: Particularly from the Apollo moon missions. Our early astronauts tended to sign a lot of autographs, which they left with their families as a kind of insurance in case they dudn’t make it back!

What’s Not…

WWII Memorabilia: They may have been the Greatest Generation, but their wat souvenirs are fetching much on the collectors’ market.

With all the emphasis on identity theft, the theft that’s 3 times more common is the theft of a wallet or purse. Here are 2 tips that can help minimize the damage should yours fall victim to a thief:

Remove the riskiest items – These are things that shouldn’t be in your wallet or purse to begin with including your Social Security Card, copies of your online passwords or your bank PIN number.

Make photocopies – Scan or photocopy the important things that remain in your wallet or purse. That includes your driver’s license, bank and credit cards, insurance cards, and even your library card. Make sure you copy both the front and back!

Thinking of investing in bitcoin? You might want to think again.

The first rule of investing is – don’t invest in something you don’t understand.

Bitcoin is a bunch of computer code that its backers insist is worth “real money.” Yet, the currency is literally backed by nothing at. There is no government nor really any financial institution that stands behind this “currency.” Yes, there a bunch of speculators, idealists and, frankly, criminals who insist it is a valid currency. Yet, its value against the world’s hard currencies swings wildly (which simply reflects demand for bitcoin). Finally, do you know any place you can exchange your bitcoin holdings for a loaf of bread, college tuition or a new car?

If some “financial advisor” starts talking about bitcoin being based on “blockchain” technology – this is also just computer code. It's not magical.

Remember, if you don’t understand it, probably not smart to put your money there. Just ask the people who didn’t really know how the internet function back in the 1990s and dumped their savings into dot-coms that went bust.

Still working? Great! You avoided the first mistake many Boomers make – retiring too early! The longer you work, the more secure you can make your retirement years.

Here are a few other common mistakes:

Taking Social security Benefits Too Soon – Sure, you can start getting your Social Security at age 62, but the experts say that can reduce yourt benefits by as much as 25%!

Retiring With Credit Card Debt – If you can it pays to pay off all your credit cards before you retire. If you can pay off your car loan and pay down the mortgage, so much the better.

Underestimating Your Life Expectancy – People today are routinely living well into their 80’s. The experts say it’s better to over-estimate than to underestimate; so to be safe, plan on living well into your 90’s!

How much did the Tooth Fairy leave under your pillow when you lost a baby tooth?

How much do you think she leaves now?

Surveys show, the Tooth Fairy now delivers over $4 a tooth! Unfortunately for us, that's only for baby teeth!

Here are some tips to help protect you from losing your hard-earned savings to Ponzi-like investment schemes:

1.) Research your broker and the investment - Studies show fewer than 20% of people ever check up on their broker or where he or she may be placing their money. Two good places to start are the SEC's investor.gov & the Financial Industry's Regulatory Authority's brokercheck.finra.org.

2.) If it seems too good to be true, it's probably not true. When you hear phrases like "no risk" and guaranteed returns," run the other way.

3.) If you don't understand the investment, be wary.

4.) Don't be startruck - Celebrity endorsements don't really mean anything. The endorser is usually being paid or has a financial interest in you making an investment. 

Above all, take your time! Don't let a broker try to hurry with warnings that the quicker you invest, thequicker your money will grow. It can also be the quicker you lose everything!

Looking to raise a little cash and de-clutter at the same time? Here’s what’s hot and what’s not in the world of collectibles:

HOT NOT
Coins/Currency Pre-20th Century War Artifacts from WWI or II
Cardboard Advertising Signs  Metal Advertising Signs
Movie posters Pre-1990 Movie Posters Post-1990
Space Program Collectible Comics Books Post-1970
Vintage Mint Condition Toys Post-1960 Campaign Buttons

 

Happy hunting!

Financial planners say you should check these things to ensure you are in control of your money:

Do You Have a Will? No one likes to think about it. But the experts say this is where you should start. Using a lawyer will cost you (probably a couple of thousand dollars). If you go the Do-It-Yourself route, you’ll save money, but pay attention to your state’s rules before you sign or your will might be invalid.

Can You List All Your Financial Accounts? More importantly, can your spouse and/or heirs list all your financial accounts. Take time to prepare a list as well as contact information for all your accounts and make sure someone else you trust knows where that list is located.

Should You Pay Off Your Mortgage? Surprisingly, financial planners say that sometimes the answer is “no.” You may still get a tax benefit from mortgage interest and you’ll free up more cash to invest elsewhere or just to enjoy life. Before answering this question, consult your financial professional.

How Much Credit Card Interest Do You Pay Every Month? The average credit card charges 16%. So getting you answer to $0 or as close to it as possible is the right way to go.

Today’s cyber-scammers are using your own good traits against you!

The latest email threats will involve using your good habits to get you to lower your guard and click on links that can hack your computer or smartphone and/or deliver malware!

  • Hard Worker Email scammers now launch most of their phishy emails early in the day when you are likely to be hard at work and distracted as you try to keep your inbox updated. Experts say, slow down and don’t fall for subject lines like: “Final Reminder,” “Immediate Action Required” or “Open Immediately.”
  • Inquisitive Your quest for more knowledge or self-Improvement can be used against you. Beware of emails promising you free iPhones, trips, etc. for “taking a short survey.”
  • Good-Natured Perhaps the most insidious of all scams, these thieves monitor your social media accounts and then send you emails specifically targeted to subject in which you have shown an interest. Be careful what personal information you share via social media and don’t accept invitations from strangers to become online friends.

The name of scam artists trying to con you via your phone or over the internet is increasing. They pose as IRS agents, anti-virus tech support, jury duty managers, bank verifiers and more.

Think you can spot a fraudsters? Most of us think we can, yet more people are getting scammed every day.

AARP has an online quiz that tests your ability to spot a phony. You can take it at aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork.

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

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