To kick the year off on the right foot, we wanted to share some of the most effective measures you can take this year to protect your financial data. Some of our list will be reminders you’ve heard before, and others will be new ideas. Here are our suggestions as you tighten up your personal protection plan for 2023:
- Enable Two-Factor Authentication: We know it can be a pain, but two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security by requiring a second form of verification (e.g., a code sent to your phone) and your password. It’s worth it.
- Use anti-virus and anti-malware software: Make sure that your device has anti-virus and anti-malware software installed and that it is kept up to date.
- Don’t use public Wi-Fi: Public Wi-Fi networks are often unsecured, making them easy targets for hackers. Avoid using public Wi-Fi networks for sensitive financial transactions. An alternative to using public Wi-Fi is using your cellphone hotspot for a secure connection.
- Be wary of phish!: Scammers often use phishing emails and text messages to trick people into giving away their personal information. Be wary of unsolicited messages, and never click on links or enter personal information into a website unless you are sure it is legitimate. Treat email as guilty until proven innocent.
- Secure your device: Use a 6-digit passcode or biometric (fingerprint) to lock your mobile device, don’t share your device with anyone, and only install apps from the official app store.
- Use a password manager: A password manager can help you create and manage strong, unique passwords for all your accounts, making it easier to protect your personal information.
- Use strong, unique passwords: Use a strong, unique password for all your financial accounts and change them regularly. Avoid using easily guessable information such as your name, kids’ birthdate, or pet names.
- Avoid communicating sensitive information over email: Share sensitive information like logins, account numbers, and birthdates only in secure portals or using safe links.
By taking these steps, you can help keep yourself protected while online. If you are curious about how we protect your information here at Hill Investment Group, call me at 314-448-4023.
It’s no secret that 2022 was challenging for both the stock and bond markets. Stocks ended the year down 18%*, while bonds were down 13%**. How did we do in 2022? Thanks to our compliance group, all we can say here is that our strategy of investing in low-cost, diversified strategies that tilt toward small, value, more profitable stocks meaningfully outperformed the S&P500 index in 2022.
As much as I would like to pat our firm on the back, you know our refrain: one year is essentially meaningless when it comes to investing. Due to the volatility and randomness of markets, any strategy can outperform or underperform in any given year. Our strategy certainly does not outperform every year and can even underperform several years in a row. To have real confidence in an investment strategy’s reliability, investors must look at how it performs over decades, not just years.
To see how we measure up over the long haul, we go back as far as we can, looking at the investments we recommended each year (and own ourselves) to see how our philosophy has held up over time. Our favorite chart compares the value of a hypothetical $1 invested in the year 2000 to 2022. Some of you may be familiar with Paul Harvey’s famous line regarding “the rest of the story.” Shoot me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org for the details and the rest of the returns story. We can share how our recommended equity strategy has performed over time and the magnitude of the benefit of taking the long view.
If you have been a client for a while, you have likely seen the benefit of a long-term, evidence-based strategy show up in your portfolio. If you’re not a client, ask yourself why. Then pick up the phone and call us. You can schedule a call with me anytime here.
As most of us were celebrating the holiday season, a significant piece of legislation passed that, in one way or another, impacted every person reading this. We’ve tried to boil down the 100+ pages to these highlights:
Required Minimum Distributions: The age at which required minimum distributions (RMDs) begin was pushed back to age 73 for individuals born between 1951-1959 and age 75 for those born after 1960, allowing for additional tax deferrals for many.
529 Plan Changes: Beginning in 2024, some individuals can move money from a 529 plan directly to a Roth IRA. This can be incredibly impactful if you set up a 529 years ago and the beneficiary finished college (or didn’t attend college) without completely exhausting the funds.
Retirement Plan Changes: Beginning in 2025, catch-up contributions will be indexed to inflation, ultimately allowing for more significant retirement vehicle savings. Additionally, matching contributions from employers can now be made to Roth accounts.
Student Loan Debt: Starting in 2024, employers can “match” employee student loan payments by contributing to a retirement account for the employee.
Please get in touch with us if you’d like to discuss any of the above information and see how it may impact your specific situation.
Hill Investment Group is a registered investment adviser. Registration of an Investment Advisor does not imply any level of skill or training. This information is educational and does not intend to make an offer for the sale of any specific securities, investments, or strategies. Investments involve risk and, past performance is not indicative of future performance. Consult with a qualified financial adviser before implementing any investment strategy.