Hassles of Debit Card Fraud

Written by Maksim. Posted in Economic, Financial Planning

I am always very careful with the websites I visit, or merchants with whom I shop.  I never click on links in emails from people  do not know. This is why I was shocked when I was trying to make a purchase for about a few dollars on a business debit card I use for certain expenses which was declined.

Quickly logged in online and to my surprise, there were transactions from merchants I have never heard of, for amounts I never made purchases for.  They ranged from $.75 to $700+.  A quick call to the bank and got confirmation that my card was blocked due to multiple transactions from Spain. I have become a victim of debit card fraud.

Unfortunately not even the bank knows who got my debit card info, however any card swipe, the merchant has access to all the info they need to make the charge, the card number, card holder name,  the security code, expiration date, and even the pin if you used the cad as debit.

Cards get stolen, information gets lost.  Then…. it gets sold to the highest bidder overseas.

The World Did Not End, New Taxes Coming

Written by Maksim. Posted in Economic, Financial Planning

December 21st, 2012 is here and the world did not end. (I will eat crow if something does happen before midnight.)  While everyone’s focus is on whatever garbage the media is discussing on the news now, there are some very real changes coming to impact you one way or another on Jan 1st.

The good news is, people are aware of the fiscal cliff, the agreed upon tax increases and spending cuts Democrats and Republicans agreed on earlier in the year in case they could not get a budget done.  The bad news is… politicians are so stuck in their ways, particularly the democrats who feel they need to stick it to the wealthy people and increase their taxes.  The reality is, even if the taxes on the top 2% were raised to 100%, ie, all of their earnings would go to the government, it would only run the government for 91 days.  The tax increases the president and democratic senators are making a big fuss about are only going to run the government for a few days.  The real issue is spending.  Here is another one of those factoids with which to impress your coworkers, in 1913, only 1% of the population paid taxes, and the top tax rate was 7%.

Holistic Financial Planning and Advice

Written by Maksim. Posted in Financial Planning, Industry

Ever since day one, when I started my financial services career at Ameriprise Financial, American Express Financial Advisors as it was known at the time, we were taught planning first.  What does that mean?

Some time ago, a number of consultants in the financial services industry did a study and found practicing holistic financial planning, will do a better job  for the clients, and in turn generate more fees for the companies.  By offering the total package, investments, insurance, banking services and others, the sales people would by compensated on all of the products instead of just their own specialty.  In turn, the clients were to benefit because products would not be overlooked.  In turn, more and more companies started positioning themselves as financial advisors/consultants.  It was to be a win win situation for everyone.

The problem is, not everyone, not by a long shot, who calls themselves a financial advisor actually practices holistic planning and financial management.  So you have Brokers, Accountants, Insurance sales people, and even real estate agents battling it out for the title of Financial Advisor.   The people who get “screwed” for the lack of a better word are the clients out there, who have different expectations of what one financial professional is actually supposed to provide for them.

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