Did You Know…?

The FED has been raising interest rates. But, banks have been slow to raise interest rates in the same manner on their checking accounts, savings accounts and CD’s. There is an alternative which is becoming much more attractive. Money market funds now yield between .50% to 1.00% and by the end of next year could be yielding 1.25% to 2.00%.

As rates rise, it pays to shop for higher rates for your savings.

Did You Know…?

You may be entitled to appeal higher Medicare premiums for Parts B and D of Medicare. You may have recently received a nasty surprise in the form of a Medicare letter notice. This letter puts you on notice your premiums will be higher in 2018 (and your Social Security benefit will be lower since these Part B and D premiums are deducted from your Social Security) because your income exceeds certain levels in 2016.

You can appeal the Medicare notice if you have experienced a “life-changing event” that caused your income to decrease in 2017 from 2016.  The definition of life-changing event is (1) retirement or reduced work hours or (2) marriage or (3) divorce or annulment or (4) death of a spouse or (5) loss of income producing property due to natural disaster or (6) loss of a pension.

However, a one-time boost in 2016 income due to sale of a vacation home or large portfolio distribution, for example, would not qualify as a life-changing event – in these cases your Medicare parts B and D premiums will be increased for at least one year.

If you qualify for the appeal, click here to obtain the form needed to make an appeal.

Did You Know…?

Charles Schwab & Co. and Valley National want you to have the highest level of confidence when you do business with Charles Schwab. So, Charles Schwab offers you this simple guarantee: Schwab will cover 100% of any losses in any of your Schwab accounts due to unauthorized activity.

The highest levels of security are only possible when we work together. To ensure your protection under this guarantee, it is your responsibility to:

  • Safeguard your account access information. If you share this information with anyone, Schwab will consider their activities to have been authorized by you.
  • Report any unauthorized transactions to us as quickly as possible. If you suspect you are a victim of fraud, please contact us and Charles Schwab immediately at 888-3-SCHWAB.

Schwab is committed to safeguard your accounts and the privacy of your information, and Schwab will continually review their privacy policy and update them as necessary to protect you.

You do not have to do anything to get this protection. Schwab automatically provides this protection.

Here is how this guarantee works. If you suspect you have been a victim of unauthorized activity in your Schwab account, notify Valley National and Schwab at 888-3-SCHWAB immediately. Schwab will promptly review your claim and assist you in taking measures necessary to protect you from further loss. You will be required to complete a notarized affidavit of fraud and to identify items of unauthorized activity.

The guarantee applies to all Schwab Bank products (bank accounts and loans). If you suspect you have been a victim of unauthorized activity in your Schwab Bank account, notify Schwab at 888-3-SCHWAB immediately. If an unauthorized advance is made on your Schwab Bank loan account, you will not be responsible for repaying the amount of the unauthorized advance or any related interest or transaction charge.

This guarantee applies to all individual retirement accounts held at Schwab including those accounts managed by independent investment advisors doing business with Schwab Advisor Services like Valley National Advisers.  However, keep in mind that transactions initiated by Valley National Advisers, as your investment advisor, or other people to whom you have granted authority to act on your behalf are considered authorized and not covered.

The Guarantee does not apply to 529 college savings plan accounts at Schwab because the assets are maintained by or held at a third party and Schwab cannot be responsible for any failure of those third parties to safeguard your information or protect your account.

Did You Know…?

Valley National commits to providing our clients with the best our industry has to offer.  For example, Valley National’s client portal, which we brand-name “eVault”, received the 2017 WealthManagement.com Industry Award for best client portal. We are honored to bring this Tamarac developed service to you – without charge.

What’s a “client portal”? It serves as a digital hub of communication between Valley National advisors and their clients, providing a comprehensive view of your financial picture. It is integrated with top custodians, including Schwab, TD Ameritrade, American Funds, and Fidelity, and offers advanced security features. In addition, clients access the portal through single-sign-on from the Valley National website where they can view their portfolio and performance reports.

Valley National eVault client portal also features:

Net Worth Reporting – Net worth reporting provides investors with a complete picture of their finances, including their assets, liabilities, 401(k) and other held-away accounts in their client portal. Investors can leverage this information as they work with their Valley National advisor to achieve their financial goals.

Document Vault – The eVault offers advisors a secure, convenient and efficient way to exchange files between you and Valley National, a necessity in today’s increasingly interconnected, digital world. The document vault is a secure cloud-based file storage system with an intuitive interface.

Goal-Based Reporting – Recognizing that clients want to have more goal-based planning discussions with their Valley National advisor, the portal offers deep two-way integrations with MoneyGuidePro®, which give Valley National advisors and investors the ability to view financial planning data and take action.

Budgeting Tools – Coming in 2018, personal finance budgeting tools will equip clients with the additional resources they need to benchmark their progress and help achieve their financial goals.

Your eVault client portal has already been created. If you are interested in getting this working for you, just email your Valley National team to get you up and running with very little effort.

Did You Know? TAX TIP

If you have any old U.S. Savings Bonds tucked away somewhere, now might be the time to review them for the current interest rate, maturity date and accrued interest. One advantage of owning U.S. Savings bonds (Series I or EE) is the tax deferred treatment of the interest.  However, if you have owned the bonds for a long time, there could be significant interest accrued which is taxed as ordinary income upon liquidation.

One lesser known advantage is the tax free treatment when used for college education expenses upon meeting certain IRS requirements.  You might think, “But my children don’t have any current education expenses.” Fortunately, a 529 education savings plan falls under the scope of “qualified” education expenses. Therefore, qualifying bond proceeds used to fund a 529 plan will exempt the interest from tax. An additional benefit is available for those living in a state which gives tax deductions for 529 education plan contributions. This strategy has income limitations and additional requirements per IRS and state guidelines, so please contact your advisor to review if you qualify for the tax free treatment of the interest and state deduction.

For more information, visit treasurydirect.gov.

Update – Washington

The U.S. stock market has jumped since the November 8th election. We identified 4 initiatives on which the U.S. stock market is speculating to be successfully accomplished early in the Trump administration. What will happen next? It’s still to be determined!

The 4 initiatives will have a tremendous influence on the “Heat Map” which forms the basis of our forward looking view of the U.S. economy. We consider the success or failure of the 4 initiatives to be “leading” indicators for the Heat Map.

Below are the 4 Trump administration initiatives upon which the stock market is speculating and what progress, if any, has been made:

  1. Tax cuts and tax reforms benefiting most individuals and businesses- NO PROGRESS RECENTLY.  CUMULATIVE PROGRESS TOWARD GOAL: 0%

  2. Infrastructure spending of up to $1 Trillion over the upcoming 7 to 10 years.  NO PROGRESS RECENTLY.  CUMULATIVE PROGRESS TOWARD GOAL: 0%

  3. Affordable Care Act amendment, reform or reorganization. ON ITS SECOND ATTEMPT, THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES PASSED LEGISLATION TO REVISE IT. THE SENATE HAS FAILED TO BRING THE BILL FORWARD TO A VOTE. CUMULATIVE PROGRESS TOWARD THIS GOAL IS 20%.

  4. Roll back of government regulations and Executive Orders considered to be difficult for businesses. ROLL BACKS HAVE CONTINUED.  CUMULATIVE PROGRESS TOWARD GOAL: 40%

As the action happens in Washington on these 4 initiatives, don’t be surprised if the political “tug and pull” contest results in a wilder than normal stock and bond market.

We will continue to report in future issues on the progress on each initiative. 

Update – Washington

The U.S. stock market has jumped since the November 8th election. We identified 4 initiatives on which the U.S. stock market is speculating to be successfully accomplished early in the Trump administration. What will happen next? It’s still to be determined!

The 4 initiatives will have a tremendous influence on the “Heat Map” which forms the basis of our forward looking view of the U.S. economy. I consider the success or failure of the 4 initiatives to be “leading” indicators for the Heat Map.

Below are the 4 Trump administration initiatives upon which the stock market is speculating and what progress, if any, has been made:

  1. Tax cuts and tax reforms benefiting most individuals and businesses. NO PROGRESS RECENTLY. CUMULATIVE PROGRESS TOWARD GOAL: 0%

  2. Infrastructure spending of up to $1 Trillion over the upcoming 7 to 10 years. NO PROGRESS RECENTLY. CUMULATIVE PROGRESS TOWARD GOAL: 0%

  3. Affordable Care Act amendment, reform or reorganization. ON ITS SECOND ATTEMPT, THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES PASSED LEGISLATION TO REVISE IT. CUMULATIVE PROGRESS TOWARD THIS GOAL IS 20%.

  4. Roll back of government regulations and Executive Orders considered to be difficult for businesses. ROLL BACKS HAVE CONTINUED. CUMULATIVE PROGRESS TOWARD GOAL: 40%

As the action happens in Washington on these 4 initiatives, don’t be surprised if the political “tug and pull” contest results in a wilder than normal stock and bond market.

We will continue to report in future issues on the progress on each initiative.

Update – Washington

The U.S. stock market has jumped since the November 8th election. We identified 4 initiatives on which the U.S. stock market is speculating to be successfully accomplished early in the Trump administration. What will happen next? To Be Determined!

The 4 initiatives will have a tremendous influence on the “Heat Map” which forms the basis of our forward looking view of the U.S. economy. We consider the success or failure of the 4 initiatives to be “leading” indicators for the Heat Map.

Below are the 4 Trump administration initiatives upon which the stock market is speculating and what progress, if any, has been made:

  1. Tax cuts and tax reforms benefiting most individuals and businesses- NO PROGRESS RECENTLY. CUMULATIVE PROGRESS TOWARD GOAL: 0%
  2. Infrastructure spending of up to $1 Trillion over the upcoming 7 to 10 years. NO PROGRESS RECENTLY. CUMULATIVE PROGRESS TOWARD GOAL: 0%
  3. Affordable Care Act amendment, reform or reorganization. ON ITS SECOND ATTEMPT, THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES PASSED LEGISLATION TO REVISE IT. CUMULATIVE PROGRESS TOWARD THIS GOAL IS 20%.
  4. Roll back of government regulations and Executive Orders considered to be difficult for businesses. ROLL BACKS HAVE CONTINUED. CUMULATIVE PROGRESS TOWARD GOAL: 30%

As the action happens in Washington on these 4 initiatives, don’t be surprised if the political “tug and pull” contest results in a wilder than normal stock and bond market.

We will continue to report in future issues on the progress on each initiative.

Update – Washington

The U.S. stock market has jumped since the November 8th election.  We identified 4 initiatives on which the U.S. stock market is speculating to be successfully accomplished early in the Trump administration.  What will happen next? TBD.

The 4 initiatives will have a tremendous influence on the “Heat Map” which forms the basis of our forward looking view of the U.S. economy. We consider the success or failure of the 4 initiatives to be “leading” indicators for the “Heat Map.”

Below are the 4 Trump administration initiatives upon which the stock market is speculating and what progress, if any, has been made:

  1. Tax cuts and tax reforms benefiting most individuals and businesses- NO PROGRESS RECENTLY. CUMULATIVE PROGRESS TOWARD GOAL: 0%

  2. Infrastructure spending of up to $1 Trillion over the upcoming 7 to 10 years. NO PROGRESS RECENTLY. CUMULATIVE PROGRESS TOWARD GOAL: 0%

  3. Affordable Care Act amendment, reform or reorganization. THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES FAILED TO PASS LEGISLATION TO REVISE IT. NO TIMETABLE HAS BEEN PRESENTED TO RE-INTRODUCE THIS LEGISLATION SO THE CUMULATIVE PROGRESS TOWARD THIS GOAL IS 0%.

  4. Roll back of government regulations and Executive Orders considered to be difficult for businesses. ROLL BACKS HAVE CONTINUED. CUMULATIVE PROGRESS TOWARD GOAL: 20%

As the action happens in Washington on these 4 initiatives, don’t be surprised if the political “tug and pull” contest results in a wilder than normal stock and bond market.

We will continue to report in future issues on the progress on each initiative. 

Update – Washington

The U.S. stock market has jumped since the November 8th election. We identified 4 initiatives on which the U.S. stock market is speculating to be successfully accomplished early in the Trump administration. What will happen next? TBD.

The 4 initiatives will have a tremendous influence on the “Heat Map” which forms the basis of our forward looking view of the U.S. economy. I consider the success or failure of the 4 initiatives to be “leading” indicators for the Heat Map.

Below are the 4 Trump administration initiatives upon which the stock market is speculating and what progress, if any, has been made:

  1. Tax cuts and tax reforms benefiting most individuals and businesses- NO PROGRESS RECENTLY. CUMULATIVE PROGRESS TOWARD GOAL: 0%
  1. Infrastructure spending of up to $1 Trillion over the upcoming 7 to 10 years. NO PROGRESS RECENTLY. CUMULATIVE PROGRESS TOWARD GOAL: 0%
  1. Affordable Care Act amendment, reform or reorganization.THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES FAILED TO PASS LEGISLATION TO REVISE IT. NO TIMETABLE HAS BEEN PRESENTED TO RE-INTRODUCE THIS LEGISLATION SO THE CUMULATIVE PROGRESS TOWARD THIS GOAL IS 0%.
  1. Roll back of government regulations and Executive Orders considered to be difficult for businesses. ROLL BACKS HAVE CONTINUED. CUMULATIVE PROGRESS TOWARD GOAL: 20%

As the action happens in Washington on these 4 initiatives, don’t be surprised if the political “tug and pull” contest results in a wilder than normal stock and bond market.

We will continue to report in future issues on the progress on each initiative.