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6390 Greenwich Drive
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San Diego, CA 92122

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Things To Think About

Tuesday, June 19, 2018: The Slave Who Became A Statesman

No matter who you are or where you come from, you have goals in life. Things you want to do. The type of person you want to become. It's a common link between all men and women who have ever lived or ever will live. Inside each of us is a restless soul who wants to do more than they have, or be more than they are. But no matter who you are or where you come from, there will come a time when you encounter obstacles to your goals. There will be times when the odds are stacked against you.
 
Fortunately, for those times we have heroes and legends to turn to.

Personally, we enjoy reading about the men and women of history who did great things despite the enormous barriers they faced. We find it gives us the inspiration we need to work toward our own goals in life. So for the next few months, we want to share with you a series of letters all centered on overcoming the odds. This month is about Frederick Douglass, who became one of the great orators, writers, and statesmen of American history. 
 
We use the word "became" for a reason.

 

Tuesday, June 12, 2018: The Third Law of Finance

Over the last two months, we've discussed something called Newton's Laws of Finance.  They're our spin on Sir Isaac Newton's famous “Laws of Motion” that you probably learned about in school. This month, let's look at the third and final law. The original is probably the easiest for non-scientists to remember:
For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. 
 
This law is easy to understand.  Imagine shooting a cannonball.  The ball will fly in one direction, while the cannon will roll backwards in the opposite direction.  The same principle applies when firing a gun.  The “kick” you feel is just Newton's third law saying hello. So how do we apply this to finance? Like this:
For every financial action, there is an opposite reaction.
 
Or, to put it another way: for every financial decision you make, there is the potential for an unintended consequence. 
 
 
 

Tuesday, June 5, 2018: Don't Forget! You Might Need To Complete Your 5500 Filing Soon

Be sure to check with your Third-Party Administrator (TPA) to see if your Form 5500 filing is due.  Plan sponsors must generally file the return on the last day of the seventh month after their plan year ends. Therefore, if your company retirement plan is based on the calendar year, your filing is due on July 31st.  However, if your plan is not based on the calendar year, you may have a different file-by date.  For more information, please contact your TPA.

 

Friday, May 25, 2018: A Note of Daring, Hope and Will 

In observance of Memorial Day, WHP Financial will be closed on Monday, May 28, 2018. U.S. stock markets will also be closed that day.  We will return to normal business hours on Tuesday, May 29, 2018.  
 
On this Memorial Day, as we pause to remember those who have passed on, perhaps the first people who cross our minds are those who perished saving so many on September 11, 2001. We also, of course, pay homage to many others who went before. It is because of their "last full measure of devotion" that our great nation has not perished, and will not perish, from the earth. Perhaps the most eloquent expression of our grief and our determination was spoken in 1884 by Oliver Wendell Holmes, great philosopher, great Chief Justice, great patriot.
 
He spoke in remembrance of comrades killed in the Civil War, but his expression still burns true today. If you wish to read the entire speech, we have noted its source at the end of this letter. Perhaps take a moment before the customary Memorial Day dinner, picnic or barbecue and read this stirring passage to your family.
 
 

Tuesday, May 8, 2018: The Second Law of Finance

Last month, we introduced Newton's Laws of Finance, our spin on Newton's famous “Laws of Motion”. This month, we look at Newton's Second Law. Here's how a textbook might describe the original:
 
The acceleration of an object as produced by a net force is directly proportional
to the magnitude of the net force, in the same direction as the net force,
and inversely proportional to the mass of the object. 
 
Yuck.  While that's probably as simple as 1+1 for someone with a physics background, it's not exactly easy to remember, is it?  That's why most of us use this handy little equation:
 
F=ma, or force equals mass times acceleration.
 
Basically, the greater the mass of an object, the greater the amount of force needed to accelerate the object.  If you hit a baseball with a bat, the ball will go flying.  But if you hit a car with the same bat, the car won't move at all.  You need a much greater force to cause the car to accelerate. This law is a little tricky to apply to finance, but here's our version:
 
Retirement potential equals amount of savings & investing times
length of saving & investing.
 
To find out what that means and how it relates to your personal retirement dreams, click here!
 
 

Thursday, April 26, 2018: New Medicare Cards Are Coming

If you receive Medicare, you will be getting a new Medicare card in the mail. To help prevent fraud and fight identity theft, Medicare is removing Social Security Numbers from Medicare cards. Your new card will have a new Medicare Number that's unique to you.
 
Medicare will be mailing new red, white, and blue paper cards between April 2018 and April 2019. Card mailings will be staggered, so the timing will depend on your geographical location. Newly eligible people will begin receiving the new cards starting in April. This article has a table from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services that shows when Medicare will be mailing by state, as well as some tips for using your new card. You can also check the status of card mailings in your area on medicare.gov/newcard
 
 

Tuesday, April 24, 2018: IRS Offers Tips For Teenage Taxpayers With Summer Jobs

Students and teenagers often get summer jobs, which is a great way to earn extra spending money or to save for later. Check out these tax tips from the IRS for taxpayers with a summer job, and visit IRS.gov for more about the tax rules for students.

 

Tuesday, April 17, 2018: All About Credit Scores

It's difficult to imagine functioning in today's world without credit. Whether buying a car or purchasing a home, credit has become an integral part of our everyday lives. Having easy access  to credit goes hand in hand with having a good credit score, so it's important to know how to maintain a positive credit score and credit history. Find out more about how your credit score is determined, what factors can negatively impact your credit score, how to fix credit report errors, and how student loans affect your credit score.
 
 

Tuesday, April 3, 2018: The First Law of Finance

When you were in school, you probably learned about Newton's Three Laws of Motion.  First published by Sir Isaac Newton in 1687, these laws explain how physical objects move.  They are so important—and easy to understand—that most of us still remember them even decades later. We were thinking about these laws the other day when we came upon a realization: each of these laws can also be applied to finance, in what we call:
Newton's Laws of Finance
 
Let's look at Newton's First Law.  Here's how we all remember the original:
 
An object at rest tends to stay at rest, and an object in motion tends to stay in motion, unless acted on by an outside force. 
 
Here's our version:
 
         A financial plan at rest tends to stay at rest, while a financial plan in motion tends to stay in motion, unless acted on by an outside force. 
 
What exactly do we mean? Find out here.

 

Thursday, March 28, 2018: The Best Thing To Do Easter Weekend - Also, We Are Closed Friday

We all celebrate holidays in different ways. Easter's all about spring, rebirth, resurrection of life, and every other good thing that comes along with it. Whether you celebrate Easter or not, it's always fun to learn how others celebrate life. Many will camp, hike, fish, golf, or just take a nice walk outdoors. Here are a few other ways that some celebrate Easter around the world.
As for us, WHP Financial will be closed on Friday, March 29, 2018. U.S. Stock markets will also be closed that day. We will return to normal business hours on Monday, April 2, 2018. For a comprehensive look at how Pershing's business operations will be affected, please view Pershing's Good Friday Schedule.  

 

Tuesday, March 20, 2018: Tax-Free Withdrawals. No Age Limits.

What investment vehicle has tax-free withdrawals and no age limits on contributions, you ask?  Well, it's our (getting) old friend, the Roth IRA. This infographic provides a great overview of the benefits of a Roth and a brief history of its development. Interesting stuff, right?
 
 

Tuesday, March 6, 2018: 2018 Contribution Limits for Employer-Sponsored Retirement Plans

Curious about how much can be contributed to your employer-sponsored retirement plan for the 2018 tax year? American Funds has created a summary of annual contribution limits for 401(k), 403(b), SEP, SIMPLE, money purchase and profit-sharing retirement plans. Certain limits may vary; check with your employer or third-party administrator for the specifics of your plan. 
 
 

Tuesday, February 27, 2018: SCAM ALERT: IRS Urges Taxpayers to Watch Out for Erroneous Refunds; Beware of Fake Calls

The Internal Revenue Service warned taxpayers of a quickly growing scam involving erroneous tax refunds being deposited into their bank accounts. The IRS also offered a step-by-step explanation for how to return the funds and avoid being scammed.
 
Following up on a Security Summit alert issued Feb. 2, the IRS issued this additional warning about the new scheme after discovering more tax practitioners' computer files have been breached. In addition, the number of potential taxpayer victims jumped from a few hundred to several thousand in just days. The IRS Criminal Investigation division continues its investigation into the scope and breadth of this scheme.
 
These criminals have a new twist on an old scam. After stealing client data from tax professionals and filing fraudulent tax returns, these criminals use the taxpayers' real bank accounts for the deposit.
 
Thieves are then using various tactics to reclaim the refund from the taxpayers, and their versions of the scam may continue to evolve. Check out the tax alert from www.irs.gov to learn about the different versions of the scam and the official ways to return an erroneous refund to the IRS.
 
 

Tuesday, February 20, 2018: Paying For College Today

For many Americans, providing a college education for their children has long been an important family goal. Paying for that education, however, has never been easy. Over the past few years it has become even more of a challenge as college costs continue to rise.Few families seem able to save enough to fully fund four or more years of higher education. For many students, some type of financial aid, in the form of grants, scholarships, loans, or work-study, is needed to make the dream a reality.
 
And such financial aid is available. The federal government, through the Department of Education, provides about $120 billion a year2 in student aid, through a variety of programs such as the Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant, the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, and the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grant. Private organizations and foundations, state governments, as well as the schools and universities themselves, are additional sources of financial aid.
 
The key step in paying for a child's education is to begin the process as early as possible. A great deal of information, as well as counseling, is available from high schools, colleges, and the various government agencies involved in higher education, at little or no cost.
 
1See “Trends in College Pricing – 2017,” published by The College Board, page 3.
2Source: Department of Education website: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/types, accessed November 2, 2017.

 

Friday, February 16, 2018: REMINDER: WHP Financial Will Be Closed on Monday, February 19th

In observance of Presidents' Day, WHP Financial will be closed on Monday, February 19, 2018. U.S. stock markets will also be closed that day. We will return to normal business hours on Tuesday, February 20, 2018. 

As you know, Presidents' Day was originally known as "Washington's Birthday" in honor of America's first president, who was born on February 22nd. In many regions, Abraham Lincoln's birthday (February 12) is also celebrated. Over the years, the holiday has expanded to become a celebration of 
all presidents - hence the name "Presidents' Day". And while Washington and Lincoln still tend to get the most press, we think it's good to remember that many others have served as Chief Executive too. So many of the rights, freedoms, and privileges we enjoy today are due to men and women whose names and deeds are shrouded by history. This is even true of presidents. Some presidents were better than others were, of course, but all deserve to be commemorated.

Sadly, some presidents were unable to serve for very long due to their untimely deaths. This has often rendered them mere footnotes in history; the answer to a trivia question and nothing more. And yet even these presidents were able to accomplish important things during their time in office. So for this Presidents' Day, we thought we could take a brief look at who a few of these men were and what they did.
 

Friday, February 9, 2018: Deducing the Culprits Behind the Recent Market Volatility

By now, you've seen the headlines, full of scary-sounding words like rout and storm, plunge and crash. Whatever you want to call it, investors have certainly endured a rough time over the past few days. The Dow, dominating the media's coverage as usual, dropped more than 600 points on February 2, and almost 1,200 points on February 5.1 That's a single-day decline of 4.6%, the largest since 2011.1 The other major indexes were shaky, too.
It's been quite some time since we've seen volatility like this. The S&P 500 skyrocketed almost 20% in 2017.2 What was even more amazing last year was how calm and consistent the climb was. Since the election, any declines have been mere blips on the radar screen.
For investors who have grown accustomed to nothing but clear skies and calm seas, all these headlines might seem rather alarming. But in our experience, once you look at both why and how something works, it seems a lot less ominous. So let's examine the why and the how behind this new spate of volatility. 

Tuesday, February 6, 2018: When Will I Receive My 1099?

If you are expecting Form 1099(s), be aware the IRS allows investment sponsors to request extensions to compile information, so your 1099 may not even arrive until mid-March. Even though a company may wait to issue a 1099, they may still need to send out a corrected 1099 later on. To possibly avoid having to file an amended return, you may want to wait until closer to April 17th to file (Emancipation Day moves the final filing date forward).
 
In order to retrieve your 1099s as soon as possible, we recommend you sign up for online access to the individual company's website, if offered. Links to many investment sponsors are available on the homepage of our website under the Resources tab in the section called Your Accounts/Useful Links.
 
SagePoint Financial Inc./Pershing brokerage account 1099s will be mailed in four phases, with the last mailing on March 15, 2018. 
 
 

Friday, January 12, 2018: WHP Financial Will Be Closed on Monday, January 15th for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Few individuals in the history of mankind have had the lasting impact Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. has. There have also been few individuals more controversial than him. Regardless of your opinion, we believe that most view him as an inspiration. He is, unarguably, one of the most influential individuals to have lived, in the United States of elsewhere. In 2011, a monument to Dr. King was dedicated on the national mall in Washington DC. He's one of four individuals to receive a monument without either first serving as president or as a soldier. He's also the first African American to be honored in this way. But Dr. King's legacy came at a steep personal price. He was arrested at least twenty times during his campaign for civil rights. He became a target of J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI. His home was fire bombed. He endured countless numbers of abuses due, in large part, to the Jim Crow laws of the time. When his detractors couldn't tolerate him any longer, his life was taken by an assassin. 
 
Today, many individuals have forgotten the hardships he and other African Americans endured during that era. This isn't to say that some of the hardships don't still exist, because they do – far too many of them. But there's been progress. There's still work to be done, minds and hearts to soften, and healing to occur. Dr. King showed us how to do that: with Love. Dr. King taught that Love was and is the only solution. Love for all mankind. Love of individuals – not of races, parties, agendas, or opinions. In his words, “We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.”
 
 

Tuesday, January 2, 2018: Tax Cuts and Jobs Act: Impact on Individuals

On December 22, 2017, President Trump signed into law the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, a sweeping $1.5 trillion tax-cut package that fundamentally changes the individual and business tax landscape. While many of the provisions in the new legislation are permanent, others (including most of the tax cuts that apply to individuals) will expire in eight years. Some of the major changes included in the legislation that affect individuals are summarized here.
 
 

Friday, December 22, 2017: WHP Holiday Hours for Christmas and New Years Day

In observance of Christmas, WHP Financial will be closed on Monday, December 25, 2017. U.S. stock markets will also be closed that day. We will return to normal business hours on Tuesday, December 26, 2017. 
 
In observance of the New Year, we will also be closed on Monday, January 1, 2018. U.S. stock markets will also be closed that day. We will return to normal business hours on Tuesday, January 2, 2018. 
 
We wish you all happy and safe holidays!
 
 

Tuesday, December 19, 2017: Record Keeping For Your Own Business

Keeping good business records will not only help you stay in business but may also help you increase profits. Your business records let you analyze where your business is and where it's going. They point out potential trouble spots and serve as a guide to where you want your business to be. Use these guidelines to start your own self-evaluation.

 

Tuesday, December 5, 2017: Credit Traps For The Unwary

It's hard to imagine functioning in today's society without access to credit. However, you need to be careful not to fall victim to some of the pitfalls associated with it. Being aware of the traps described in this article should help.
 
 

Tuesday, November 22, 2017:  WHP Has Special Holiday Hours This Week

In observance of Thanksgiving, WHP Financial will close at 3:00 pm on Wednesday, November 22, 2017 and be closed on Thursday and Friday, November 23-24. We will return to normal business hours on Monday, November 27, 2017. We wish you all a happy and safe Thanksgiving holiday.

 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017: Do You Know What Long-Term Care Insurance Can Do For You?

Long-term care insurance is designed to pay for the cost of your care in a variety of settings, including a nursing home if you can no longer care for yourself independently. Long-term care policies vary widely in their coverages, limitations, and exclusions. A comprehensive policy generally covers the costs of round-the-clock nursing home care, including that given at custodial, intermediate, and skilled levels. The policy may also cover any expenses associated with assisted-living residences provided that the facility is state certified. Adult day-care centers are often covered as well, as is respite care, which is the temporary professional care you'll need if your regular caregiver is on vacation. Policies may also pay for at-home care provided by registered nurses; respiratory therapists; physical, occupational, or speech therapists; registered dietitians; or licensed social workers.

Policies may also cover the cost of caregiver training for a family member or friend. Finally, the insurance may cover the cost of an independent health-care professional, such as a registered nurse, who will act as your personal care consultant. Such a benefit gives you an objective person with whom you can discuss the quality of your care. Insurance companies will require that you meet certain conditions before they issue the benefits. For example, they usually require that you be unable to perform certain regular daily activities by yourself, such as normal bathroom functions, bathing, dressing, and eating. Companies will also issue benefits because of cognitive loss as a result of Alzheimer's disease, senility, and other forms of dementia. All of these requirements are explained in the policies. Make sure you speak with a trusted insurance professional before you purchase this coverage.
 
 
 

Friday, November 10, 2017: A Triumphant Veterans Story

Last year, in a small town called Taylor, Pennsylvania, George Fricovsky received his high school diploma. You probably didn't hear about it.  Very few did, unless they lived locally.  After all, what's so remarkable about receiving a diploma? 
 
For starters, George is 90 years old. 
 
Now that's a bit more unusual.  Why is a 90-year old receiving a diploma?  And why did it take him so long? For that, you have to go back to 1944, when World War II was raging.  
 
 
 

Tuesday, October 31, 2017: WHP Financial Advisors Attend ConnectED 2017

Scott H. Wolters, CFP® and Chris A. Pratt, CFP®, financial advisors affiliated with SagePoint Financial, Inc., recently attended Advisor Group's 2017 ConnectED conference from October 19-22. The annual event was hosted at the Marriott Orlando World Center in Orlando, Florida. ConnectED 2017's keynote speaker was Alan Mulally, the President and Chief Executive Officer of The Ford Motor Company. Other speakers included Tony Crescenzi (Executive Vice President, Market Strategist and Generalist Portfolio Manager, PIMCO) and Dr. Quincy Krosby (Chief Market Strategist, Prudential Annuities), among others.
 
The conference featured educational sessions on a range of topics reflecting the most current industry trends, best practices, products and policies. The conference also provided an opportunity for the advisors to talk directly with investment sponsors, technology providers, and other advisors from across the United States.
 
 

Tuesday, October 24, 2017: Social Security Administration Announces 2.0% Increase For COLA

The Social Security Administration announced that monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for more than 66 million Americans will increase 2.0 percent in 2018, with Social Security beneficiary benefits payable starting January 2018. Increased payments to more than 8 million SSI beneficiaries will begin on December 29, 2017. (NOTE: Some people receive both Social Security and SSI benefits.) The Social Security Act, which provides for how the COLA is calculated, ties the annual COLA to the increase in the Consumer Price Index as determined by the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics.
 
Some other adjustments that take effect in January of each year are based on the increase in average wages. Based on that increase, the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax (taxable maximum) will increase to $128,700 from $127,200. Of the estimated 175 million workers who will pay Social Security taxes in 2018, about 12 million will pay more because of the increase in the taxable maximum. According to this fact sheet the maximum benefit for a worker retiring at full retirement age is $2,788 per month, up from $2,687 per month last year.
 
Information about Medicare changes for 2018, when announced, will be available at www.medicare.gov. For some beneficiaries, their Social Security increase may be partially or completely offset by increases in Medicare premiums.
 
 
 
Tuesday, October 17, 2017: Financial Planning - Helping You See The Big Picture
Do you picture yourself owning a new home, starting a business, or retiring comfortably? These are a few of the financial goals that may be important to you. And each comes with a price tag attached. That's where our unique financial planning comes in.
 
Financial planning is a process that can help you reach your goals by evaluating your whole financial picture, then outlining strategies that are tailored to your individual needs and available resources. This video will further help you understand why financial planning is important.
 
 
 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017: Do You Know What Your Kids Are Doing Online?

It's National Cyber Security Month! People of all ages are connecting with friends and family online, downloading apps and accessing content, sharing what they're doing – and where they are – sharing photos and videos from mobile devices, and building online profiles and reputations. Communicating online is a way of life, yet it comes with certain risks:
 
                Inappropriate conduct - The online world can feel anonymous. Kids sometimes forget that they're still accountable for their actions.
                Inappropriate contact - Some people online have bad intentions. They might be bullies, predators, hackers, or scammers.
                Inappropriate content - You may be concerned that your kids could find pornography, violence, or hate speech online.
 
Technology is constantly evolving. So are the risks associated with it. You can reduce these risks by talking to your kids about how they communicate — online and off — and encouraging them to think critically and act in a way they can be proud of. We hope you find this guide from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) helpful.
 
 
 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017: Medicare Open Enrollment Begins October 15, 2017                                                                 

The Medicare Open Enrollment Period (from October 15, 2017 through December 7, 2017) is the time during which people with Medicare can make new choices and pick plans that work best for them.  Each year, Medicare plans typically change what they cost and cover. In addition, a person's health care needs may have changed over the past year.  The open enrollment period is the opportunity for individuals to switch Medicare health and prescription drug plans to better suit their needs.  This article discusses what factors to consider, what's new in 2018, and where to get additional information.
 
 
 
Tuesday, September 19, 2017: Saving For College and Retirement
 
These days it's not uncommon for parents to postpone starting a family until both spouses are settled in their marriage and careers, often well into their 30s and 40s. Though this financial security can be an advantage, it can also present a dilemma—the need to save for college and retirement at the same time. This article discusses several possible options once you've determined your projected monetary needs for both retirement and college.
 
 
 

Thursday, September 14, 2017: The Equifax Data Breach

On September 7, 2017, Equifax, one of the three main credit reporting agencies, announced a massive data security breach that exposed vital personal identification data — including names, addresses, birth dates, and Social Security numbers — on as many as 143 million consumers, roughly 55% of Americans age 18 and older.*
 
Equifax has faced widespread criticism following its disclosure of the hack, both for the breach itself and for its response, particularly the website it established for consumers to check if they may have been affected. Both the FBI and Congress are investigating the breach.* In the meantime, here are answers to questions you might have.
 
*The Wall Street Journal, September 8, 2017, September 10, 2017
 
 
 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017: Maximizing Your Insurance Benefits

It's National LIfe Insurance Month! Did you know that there could be estate taxes on your life insurance policy? Understanding the threat of estate taxes on your life insurance proceeds is the first step in protecting these funds from unnecessary taxation. The next steps are determining the appropriate ownership of your policy and selecting your beneficiary. There are also several factors that come into play that could undermine the financial security provided by the proceeds of your life insurance policy. 
 
 
 

Thursday, September 7, 2017: How Much Is Your Closely Held Business Worth?

Fair market value is the sale price that strangers would reach, but it doesn't necessarily equal the sale price. It is the sale price a hypothetical buyer and seller would reach, not the price that the actual owner would agree to or the price an actual buyer might be willing to pay. This article explains what factors are considered in determining fair market value, the three main approaches to determine fair market value, and why this should matter to you.
 
 
 

Tuesday, September 5, 2017: Don't Forget - You Can File Your FAFSA on October 1st

For the 2018/2019 academic year (July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019), families will be able to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, as early as October 1, 2017. This will allow more time to gather financial information and make more informed decisions about which college would be best for the student. Also, don't forget that the income information for your 2018/2019 FAFSA should be taken from your 2016 federal tax returns. For more information, please visit www.studentaid.gov.
 

 

Friday, September 1, 2017: WHP Financial Will Be Closed On Monday, September 4, 2017

In observance of Labor Day, WHP Financial will be closed on Monday, September 4, 2017. U.S. Stock markets will also be closed that day. We will return to normal business hours on Tuesday, September 5, 2017. For a comprehensive look at how Pershing's business operations will be affected, please view Pershing's 2017 Labor Day Schedule.  
 
If you're like most people, you've probably never heard of Samuel Gompers before. Or if you have, it's only a faint memory from your high school history textbook. But for the American labor movement, Gompers truly was an icon. In fact, the very concept of “the American dream” owes much to him.
 
 
 
Tuesday, August 29, 2017: Korea, Geopolitics and the Markets
 
There was once a time when the threat of nuclear war hung over America's head like a storm cloud that just wouldn't go away. Those days, thankfully, are long over - but the sky turned a little bit grayer in the last few weeks. As you probably know, tensions have surged recently thanks to news that North Korea has "produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead that can fit inside its missiles."President Trump fanned the flames even more when he stated that any attack by North Korea "will be met with fire and fury."2
 
Since we are financial advisors, we'll leave the military concerns to the generals. The question we're most interested in - and the question many people have asked us - is how all this saber rattling will affect the markets. Since we don't have a crystal ball, there's no way we can know for sure. But history would suggest that it won't have much effect at all.
 
 
1 Joby Warrick, Ellen Nakashima, Anna Fifield, "North Korea now making missile-ready nuclear weapons, U.S. analysts say," The Washington Post, August 8, 2017.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/north-korea-now-making-missile-ready-nuclear-weapons-us-analysts-say/2017/08/08/e14b882a-7b6b-11e7-9d08-b79f191668ed_story.html?utm_term=.0d2f43723e39 
 
2 Bryan Bender and Jacqueline Klimas, "Trump's 'fire and fury' threat to North Korea sparks new fears of war," Politico, August 8, 2017.  http://www.politico.com/story/2017/08/08/trump-north-korea-warning-241409
 
 
 
Tuesday, August 21, 2017: Rising Student Loan Interest Rates
 
After falling for two consecutive years, interest rates on federal student loans are now rising. Check out this table to see the interest rates for new Direct Loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2017, and before July 1, 2018.
 
 
 
Tuesday, August 11, 2017: America's "Safety Net"
 
Social Security and Medicare are cornerstones of what is sometimes called America's "safety net". These federal programs were never intended to fund a lavish retirement lifestyle or the most expensive healthcare services. Rather, they were created to provide a basic level of support for older people who have left the workforce. Although the programs have been expanded to include other beneficiaries, their primary focus is on older Americans.
 
Despite the limited nature of Social Security and Medicare, the benefits can be invaluable. Whether you are already eligible or will be in the future, it might be wise to consider the basic options and potential strategies that could help you obtain the benefits that are most appropriate for your personal situation.
 
 
 
Tuesday, July 11, 2017: Why Americans Are Finally Saving Again, and Why It's Still Not Enough
 
Here's the perfect mix of good news followed by dire news. In 2015, Americans put an average of 6.8% of their salaries into 401(k) and profit-sharing plans. That's up from 6.2% in 2010, according to an annual survey by the Plan Sponsor Council of America released in December. This much-needed increase reverses the trend of declining savings rates and comes even though employer contributions haven't budged for the past three years, according to the survey.
 
Unfortunately, it's barely a drop in the bucket for the average American worker, who would need to double or triple that amount to have adequate savings.
 
While the picture looks bleak, there may be hope.
 
 
 
Monday, July 3, 2017: I Declare! (The History of the Declaration of Independence)
 
In observance of the Independence Day holiday, WHP Financial will be closing early on Monday, July 3, 2017 and be fully closed on Tuesday, July 4, 2017. U.S. stock markets will also be closed during that time.  We will return to normal business hours on Wednesday, July 5, 2017.  For a comprehensive look on how Pershing's business operations will be affected, please view Pershing's 2017 Independence Day Schedule.
 
The Fourth of July is not only a day to say "Happy Birthday America," but also a day to remember the ideals and principles our nation is built on.  When Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, he aimed at articulating our nation's ideals. Rather than lecturing on the history of the Declaration of Independence, we thought it would be appropriate to quote some history from www.archives.gov.  Have a safe and happy Independence Day!
 
 
 
Tuesday, June 27, 2017: Don't Forget! You Might Need To Complete Your 5500 Filing Soon
 
Be sure to check with your Third-Party Administrator (TPA) to see if your Form 5500 filing is due.  Plan sponsors must generally file the return on the last day of the seventh month after their plan year ends. Therefore, if your company retirement plan is based on the calendar year, your filing is due on July 31st.  However, if your plan is not based on the calendar year, you may have a different file-by date.  For more information, please contact your TPA.
 

 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017: How Cyber Savvy Are You?

You've probably noticed that cybersecurity is getting a lot of attention these days. Check out the Savvy Cybersecurity Quick Reference Guide which allows you to test your knowledge of several specific cybersecurity areas. 
 

 

Friday, May 26, 2017: Butch O'Hare - Flying Ace

In observance of Memorial Day, WHP Financial will be closed on Monday, May 29, 2017. U.S. stock markets will also be closed. We will return to normal business hours on Tuesday, May 30, 2017. For a comprehensive look on how Pershing's business operations will be affected, please view Pershing's 2017 Memorial Day Schedule.
 
As you know, Memorial Day is a time for us to remember the men and women who died while serving in the military.  But it's more than that.  It's a time for us to reflect on words like heroism, sacrifice, bravery, and commitment.  When you see these words printed on a piece of paper, they may not seem like much; just a collection of letters, overused by politicians in speeches and over-dramatized by Hollywood in movies.  But they aren't just words.  They are rare and invaluable gifts, shared by an elite few with the rest of us so that we can enjoy our gifts: liberty and freedom.
 
Heroism, sacrifice, bravery, and commitment ... these are pillars on which our country rests.  Pillars upheld by people like Butch O'Hare, a flying ace whose story deserves to be remembered.  
 

 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017: The Importance of Having a Will

There is a name for the ultimate act of procrastination: "intestacy." That is the legal term given to those who fail to plan for their passing and die without a will. This basic step in estate planning is overlooked by more than half of American adults - who die without wills. The results of dying intestate include: 1) Loss of all control over who will manage your probate assets. The Court will appoint an administrator for you, 2) The State will determine who gets your assets, 3) The State will also determine who will raise your children. Make sure you plan ahead.
 
 
 

Monday, May 15, 2017: House Passes the American Health Care Act

On May 4, 2017, the House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA). With some changes, this is essentially the same law that was pulled from consideration by the House back in March. Compared to the Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare), the AHCA repeals the health insurance mandate for both individuals and large employers; caps Medicaid funding to states beginning in 2020; eliminates several ACA taxes, including those applicable to high-wage earners; and replaces tax credits and subsidies based on income with tax credits based on age and income. The House passed the AHCA prior to an updated analysis from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) as to the budgetary effects of the law.
 
 
 

Tuesday, May 9, 2017: Are You Prepared?

If you had to leave your home in an emergency, you would have only minutes to choose what stays and what goes, and your financial records may be one of the last things on your mind. Collecting, copying, and storing your financial information now could help you avoid problems and recover faster after a disaster. This checklist can help. Use it to make sure you have the information and documents you will need. Then, keep it with your important documents so you can refer to it when needed.
 
 
 

Friday, April 14, 2017: Humpty Dumpty Got An Upgrade: The Story of Fabergé Eggs

Easter is a time for gathering with family and friends. We all have different traditions for this holiday, and one of the most common ones is the decorating of eggs. It's uncertain where the tradition of decorating eggs began, but what is certain is that this tradition took a strong hold in Eastern European culture. This tradition led to the creation of the famed Fabergé eggs.
 
Peter Carl Fabergé, born in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1846, was named the goldsmith and jeweler to the Russian court in the 1880s. Czar Alexander III had him create an elaborate Easter egg for the Czarina Alexandra in 1885. The Czar made these eggs an Easter tradition throughout his reign, and that of his son and successor, Nicholas II. Fifty such imperial eggs were created before the fall of the house of Romanov in 1917. In 1918 Fabergé's firm was closed by the Bolsheviks, causing him to flee to Switzerland, where he died in 1920. The Fabergé eggs are some of the most valuable pieces of art in the world.
 
In observance of Easter and Good Friday, WHP Financial will be closed on Friday, April 14, 2017. U.S. stock markets will also be closed that day. We will return to normal business hours on Monday, April 17, 2017. Please enjoy this spring season and especially this Easter holiday.
 
 
 
Tuesday, April 4, 2017: 4 Creative Ways To Save
 
Saving money is an important part of leading a successful and financially independent lifestyle. While saving can help fund big-ticket items such as cars, homes, or vacations, and it also serves as part of a balanced preparation for a stress-free retirement. However, on occasion it's difficult to begin saving money - especially when you've grown accustomed to spending a significant amount of your paycheck. To help get over the initial heartache that may come with handing over a percentage of your salary to a savings account, here are a few pain-free and creative strategies that can help you get into the habit.
 
 
 
Tuesday, March 7, 2017: Phishing Schemes: What Kind of Tax Scam Are They?
 
The IRS saw a big spike in phishing and malware incidents during the 2016 tax season. New and evolving phishing schemes have already been seen this year as scam artists work to confuse taxpayers during filing season. The IRS has already seen email schemes in recent weeks targeting tax professionals, payroll professionals, human resources personnel, and schools as well as average taxpayers.
 
In these email schemes, criminals pose as a person or organization the taxpayer trusts or recognizes. They may hack an email account and send mass emails under another person's name. They may pose as a bank, credit card company, tax software provider or government agency. Criminals go to great lengths to create websites that appear legitimate but contain phony log-in pages. These criminals hope victims will take the bait and provide money, passwords, Social Security numbers and other information that can lead to identity theft.
 
 
 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017: What Is Financial Aid?

It's hard to talk about college without mentioning financial aid. Yet this pairing isn't a marriage of love, but one of necessity. In many cases, financial aid may be the deciding factor in whether your child attends the college of his or her choice or even attends college at all. That's why it's important to develop a basic understanding of financial aid before your child applies to college. Without such knowledge, you may have trouble understanding the process of aid determination, filling out the proper aid applications, and comparing the financial aid awards that your child receives.
 
But let's face it. Financial aid information is probably not on anyone's top ten list of bedtime reading material. It can be an intimidating and confusing topic. There are different types, different sources, and different formulas for evaluating your child's eligibility. Here are some of the basics to help you get started.
 
 
 

Friday, February 17, 2017: Presidents Day Holiday Schedule

The holiday commonly called Presidents Day celebrates the federal holiday “Washington's Birthday”, which is observed on the third Monday of February. It celebrates George Washington's birthday (February 22nd), but the day is usually dedicated to both Washington and Abraham Lincoln, whose own birthday is February 12th. But on this Presidents Day, it's the man known as Honest Abe that is most on our mind, and we recently came across a few stories about Lincoln that show what kind of man he was.
 
In observance of Washington's Birthday, WHP Financial will be closed on Monday, February 20, 2017. U.S. Stock markets will also be closed that day. We will return to normal business hours on Tuesday, February 21, 2017. For a comprehensive look at how Pershing's business operations will be affected, please view Pershing's 2017 Washingtons Birthday schedule.  We wish you all a happy and safe holiday.
 
 
 
February 14, 2017: How Do You Show Your Love?
 
Steven and Ngoc Anh Tang left Vietnam to pursue the American dream: They wanted their children, Jimmy and Nancy, to have a better life. And although no one likes to think about dying, they planned ahead and secured their children's financial future with insurance in case the worst were to happen. Their forethought came in handy when tragedy struck. Let us help you plan for the unexpected through insurance.

 

 

February 7, 2017: Wait! You Might Not Want To File Your Tax Return Yet

If you are expecting Form 1099(s), be aware the IRS allows investment sponsors to request extensions to compile information, so your 1099 may not even arrive until mid-March.  Even though a company may wait to issue a 1099, they may still need to send out a corrected one later on.  To possibly avoid having to file an amended return, you may want to wait until closer to mid-April to file. 

NOTE: Due to Emancipation Day, the required filing date has been pushed to April 18th.

In order to retrieve your 1099s as soon as possible, we recommend you sign up for online access to the individual company's website, if offered.  Links to many investment sponsors are available on our website under All About You.  For specific Pershing tax return information, please go to mytaxhandbook.com.

 

January 16, 2017: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Holiday Office Closure
 
In observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, WHP Financial will be closed on Monday, January 16, 2017. We will return to normal business hours on Tuesday, January 17, 2017. We wish you all a happy and safe holiday.
 

 

December 23, 2016: Christmas and New Years Day Closures

In observance of the upcoming holidays, WHP Financial will be closed on Monday, December 26, 2016 and Monday, January 2, 2017. U.S. Stock markets will also be closed those days. We will return to normal business hours on Tuesday, December 27th and Tuesday, January 3rd, respectively. 

For a comprehensive look on how Pershing's business operations will be affected, please view Pershing's 2016 Christmas Operations Schedule and Pershing's 2017 New Years Day Operations Schedule

 

December 6, 2016: Charitable Contributions and Tax Deductions

Year-end tax planning can go hand and hand with generosity.  With charitable gifts, it's possible to get a tax deduction when either cash or property is given to a qualified charity. With a properly structured gift, an investment portfolio could be realigned without paying capital gains tax on appreciated property. Another strategy may allow passing an estate on to children while avoiding both probate and estate taxes. Almost anything can be contributed to a qualified organization. The deduction limits are more restrictive for gifts other than cash, but almost any property of value can be given. 

 

November 23, 2016:  Thanksgiving Holiday Closure

In observance of the Thanksgiving holiday, WHP Financial will be closing on November 23, 2016 at 2:00 pm, and be fully closed November 24-25, 2016. We will return to normal business hours on Monday, November 28, 2016.  For a comprehensive look at how Pershing's business operations will be affected, please view Pershing's 2016 Thanksgiving Day Schedule. We wish you all a happy and safe Thanksgiving.

 

November 15, 2016: National Long-Term Care Insurance Awareness Month

Chances are most people will need help at some point in their lives. In fact, those aged 65 and older have a 70% chance of needing long-term care services at some point, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Relying on family caregivers is an appealing option, but there are physical and financial consequences when that type of care is given. Long-term care insurance is a good solution to this problem. 

Over the past 13 years, Genworth has uncovered several trends across the long term care services landscape. Not surprisingly, the cost of all types of care has steadily risen over the years — from homemaker services to nursing home care. This survey provides a high level overview of the national median rates for the various types of care settings.*

*Percentage increase represents the compound annual growth rate for surveys conducted from 2011 to 2016. The median rates are rounded to the nearest dollar.

 

October 31, 2016: WHP Financial Advisors Attend ConnectED 2016

Scott H. Wolters, CFP® and Chris A. Pratt, CFP®, recently attended AIG Advisor Group's 2016 ConnectED conference from September 8-11. The annual event was hosted at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland. ConnectED 2016's keynote speakers included two political heavyweights in Donna Brazile (interim chair of the Democratic National Committee) and Karl Rove (served as the campaign manager and chief of staff for President George W. Bush).

The conference featured educational sessions on a range of topics reflecting the most current industry trends, best practices, products and policies. The conference also provided an opportunity for the advisors to talk directly with investment sponsors, technology providers, and other advisors from across the United States.

 

October 25, 2016: Social Security Administraton Announces 0.3% Increase for COLA

The Social Security Administration announced today that monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income ?SSI? benefits for more than 65 million Americans will increase 0.3 percent in 2017, with Social Security beneficiary benefits payable starting January 2017. Increased payments to more than 8 million SSI beneficiaries will begin on December 30, 2016. The Social Security Act, which provides for how the COLA is calculated, ties the annual COLA to the increase in the Consumer Price Index as determined by the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics. Some other adjustments that take effect in January of each year are based on the increase in average wages. Based on that increase, the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax ?taxable maximum? will increase to $127,200 from $118,500. Of the estimated 173 million workers who will pay Social Security taxes in 2017, about 12 million will pay more because of the increase in the taxable maximum. According to this fact sheet the maximum benefit for a worker retiring at full retirement age is $2,687, up from $2,639 last year.    

Information about Medicare changes for 2017, when announced, will be available at www.Medicare.gov. For some beneficiaries, their Social Security increase may be partially or completely offset by increases in Medicare premiums.

 

October 20, 2016: National Financial Planning Week

Working with a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM professional (like us) means you have access to experts in the field with the extensive training required of CFP(R) professionals and who are held to the highest ethical and educational standards set by the CFP Board of Standards. We can assess your current financial state, help create realistic financial and personal goals, and develop a comprehensive plan that is specific to your needs and desires. And we are required to always make financial planning recommendations in your best interest.

 

October 11, 2016: October is Cyber Security Awareness Month

Is someone using your personal information to open new accounts, make purchases, or get a tax refund? This checklist from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) can help you to figure out your next steps, or visit identitytheft.gov.

 

October 3, 2016: Medicare Open Enrollment Begins October 15, 2016

The Medicare open enrollment period (from October 15, 2016 through December 7, 2016) is the time during which people can make new choices and pick plans that work best for them.  Each year, Medicare plans typically change what they cost and cover. In addition, a person's health care needs may have changed over the past year.  The open enrollment period is the opportunity for individuals to switch Medicare health and prescription drug plans to better suit their needs. This flyer talks about what factors to consider, what's new in 2017, and where to get additional information.

 

September 15, 2016: New FAFSA Timeline for 2017/2018

Starting with the 2017/2018 academic year (July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018), families will be able to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, as early as October 1, 2016 rather than after January 1, 2017. This will allow more time to gather financial information and make more informed decisions about which college would be best for the student. 

Also, the income information for the 2017/2018 FAFSA should be taken from 2015 federal tax returns. For more information, please visit www.studentaid.gov.

 

September 12, 2016: Danica Patrick Talks Life Insurance Awareness Month

No one likes to think about dying. But as Danica Patrick shares below, losing a parent or spouse can be devastating, not only emotionally, but financially. We want you to know that WHP Financial can help you plan for the unexpected through insurance. Check out her video at http://www.lifehappens.org/videos/danica/ or read the text of her conversation with Life Happens here. 

Give us a call today to discuss your personal insurance situation. We can help.

 

September 5, 2016: Labor Day Office Closure and Cesar Chavez

In observance of Labor Day, WHP Financial will be closed on Monday, September 5, 2016.  We will return to normal business hours on Tuesday, September 6, 2016. U.S. Stock markets will also be closed that day.  For a comprehensive look at how Pershing's business operations will be affected, please view Pershing's 2016 Labor Day Schedule. We wish you all a happy and safe Labor Day holiday.


Most people have heard of César Estrada Chavez, if nothing else because of the number of buildings and streets named in his honor. But many people – especially the younger generation – don't really know who he was or what he did. Read more about his story here.

 

August 29, 2016: Family Limited Partnerships for the Next Generation

About 75% of family businesses in the United States have been family-run for two or more generations.1 One challenge faced by family-run businesses involves business continuation, and one way to help transition is through a Family Limited Partnership, which is a legal agreement that enables business owners and their heirs to address tax issues, business succession, and estate planning needs all at once.

1US Family Business Survey, PricewaterhouseCoopers, 2015.

 

July 1, 2016: Independence Day Closure and America The Beautiful

WHP Financial will be closed on Monday, July 4, 2016 in observance of Independence Day. We will return to normal business hours on Tuesday, July 5, 2016. U.S. stock markets will also be closed that day. For a comprehensive look on how Pershing's business operations will be affected, please view Pershing's 2016 Independence Day Schedule here.

During the summer of 1893, a teacher named Katherine Lee Bates encountered a sight she would never forget - the view from the top of 14,000-foot Pikes Peak. Her journey to the mountaintop through the heartland of America led her to pen one of the most beloved songs ever written: America the Beautiful. Read more about her story here.

 

June 20, 2016: The British Exit or "Brexit" Debate

What is Brexit? It's a portmanteau of the words “British” and “exit,” and it refers to the upcoming referendum on whether the United Kingdom should remain in the European Union or not. The results of this referendum will have enormous implications for the entire European continent.

 

June 20, 2016: 5 Factors That Affect Retirement Income

When it comes to planning for your retirement income, it's easy to overlook some of the common factors that can affect how much you'll have available to spend.  If you don't consider how your retirement income can be impacted by investment risk, inflation risk, catastrophic illness or long-term care, and taxes, you may not be able to enjoy the retirement you envision.  

 

June 13, 2016: Establishing A Budget

Do you ever wonder where your money goes each month?  Does it seem like you're never able to get ahead?  Or maybe you are entering retirement and need to adjust your current expenditures.  If so, you may want to establish a budget to help you keep track of how you spend your money and help you reach your financial goals.

 

May 27, 2016: Memorial Day Holiday Office Closure

In observance of Memorial Day, WHP Financial will be closed on Monday, May 30, 2016.  We will return to normal business hours on Tuesday, May 31, 2016.  U.S. stock markets will also be closed that day.  For a comprehensive look at how Pershing's business operations will be affected, please view Pershing's 2016 Memorial Day Schedule

Every Memorial Day, we reflect on the heroism, bravery, and sacrifice shown by the men and women who gave their lives for our country.  We visit their gravesites.  We read books about them.  We talk about them.  We hear speeches about them.  But however we commemorate the day, we do our best to remember all those who helped create, maintain, and defend our nation.  Of all such commemorations, the one Abraham Lincoln gave on a bright morning back in November 1863 stands to us as the finest.  We are referring, of course, to the Gettysburg Address.