BFSG Blog

Anaheim Hills Office Re-opened

Please be advised that the Anaheim Hills office is open again and fully staffed.  We want to especially thank our public safety personnel who have gone above and beyond to keep our community safe.

Fire Evacuation – Anaheim Hills

Please be advised that, as of 11:30AM on October 9 2017, the Anaheim Hills office is under mandatory evacuation due to a fast-moving brush fire in the area. The staff has been sent to work in remote offices and does have access to email. Please call the Irvine office with any needs and/or questions – (949) 955-2552.

Equifax Security Breach

As you have likely seen, Equifax (one of the three main credit bureaus) had a large security breach that lasted from mid-May through July. There are a lot of notices and alerts suggesting what you can do to protect yourself, so we wanted to share our thoughts with you regarding proactive measures you might consider taking to protect your personal information.

  1. Freeze your Credit: Each credit bureau allows you the option to freeze your credit, which helps prevent criminals from being able to open new accounts with your information. You can do this online or via phone, but will need to do so directly through the Credit Bureaus. Please be aware that once your credit is frozen, you will have to un-freeze it before applying for any new lines of credit.
    1. Equifax:  https://www.freeze.equifax.com/Freeze/jsp/SFF_PersonalIDInfo.jsp
    2. Experian:  https://www.experian.com/freeze/center.html
    3. TransUnion:  https://freeze.transunion.com/sf/securityFreeze/landingPage.jsp
  2. Opt-Out of Prescreened Credit Offers: You likely have received numerous mailings from credit card companies trying to persuade you to open new credit cards. You can stop this by visiting this website https://www.optoutprescreen.com or calling this number 1-888-567-8688.
  3. Check your Annual Credit Report: Each of the three bureaus allow you one free credit report check per year by visiting this website https://www.annualcreditreport.com. It is important to check this at least once per year to see if you notice any suspicious accounts or activity.

Current Bull Market 2nd Strongest Rise in History

“Bull markets are born on pessimism, grow on skepticism, mature on optimism and die on euphoria.” Sir John Templeton.

At Friday’s close of 2500, the Standard & Poor’s 500 index made a new all-time high and also capped its second strongest rise in history, up nearly 270%, eclipsing the 1949 – 1956 bull’s 267% rise, according to Bespoke Investment Group.  The current rally – which began on March 9, 2009 – had already pulled into second place for longevity in April 2016, and has now lasted 3,112 days without a bear market, defined as a 20% drop.  But first place is a long way off:  The famous 1987 – 2001 rally logged 4,494 days and a 582% rise.

RECENT Developments

Workers Stressed About Retirement

A recent Employee Benefit Research Institute survey found that 31% of American workers feel very or somewhat stressed about preparing for retirement. Approximately 41% have tried to calculate how much they’ll need to save for retirement. Other steps taken to prepare for retirement included estimating how much income they would need in retirement each month (38%), estimating their Social Security benefits (38%), and calculating retirement expenses (34%). About half of workers surveyed believe retirement planning (52%), financial planning (49%), or health care planning (47%) educational programs would help boost their productivity at work.

Increase in Retirement Assets

According to the Investment Company Institute, employer-based defined contribution plan assets increased to $7 trillion at the end of 2016, an increase of 1.3% from three months prior. Of the $4.8 trillion held in 401(k) plans, mutual funds managed $3 trillion. The most common types of mutual funds held in 401(k) plans were equity funds ($1.8 trillion) and hybrid funds, including target date funds ($835 billion). About two thirds of target date mutual fund assets at the end of 2016 were held in defined contribution plans.

IRS Clarification on Loan Amounts

The IRS has issued a clarification about the calculation of the maximum loan amount available to retirement plan participants who have received multiple loans during the one-year period prior to the date of the loan. Specifically, the IRS stated that the statutory language requiring that the maximum available be reduced by the “highest outstanding balance of loans” during the one-year period ending the day before the date of the loan may be properly interpreted in two ways: either as referring to the single highest unpaid balance of all loans taken during the one-year period or of each such loan added together.