Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Robo-calls: How to Fight Back!

“…scams first tried to sting older people, new immigrants and those who speak English as a second language but now the crooks try to swindle just about anyone,” Internal Revenue Service.

By Julia Anderson

Robo-calls seem meant to drive us bonkers. They come during dinner hour or in the evening when the ringing phone implies a family member or close friend. Only when we say, hello, do we realize we’ve been had one more time by the obnoxious telemarker in the cloud.

Robo-calls are part of a scamming universe that targets immigrants who may not have a good command of English, the elderly who are more vulnerable to fraudsters and (these days) the rest of us.

Americans are receiving an estimated 2.6 billion robo-calls a month, according to the Washington Post. That is despite the Federal Trade Commission shutting down three “massive” robo-call centers earlier this year. 

So how do we fight the robo-call plague?

Lately, I’ve been taking the time to block these numbers on my smart phone after each annoying call. So far, I’ve blocked six numbers and counting. These are the ones that "spoof" my local area code. 

I’ve also learned  not to answer calls (land line or mobile) unless I know the caller. If a caller is legitimate but I don’t recognize them, they will have to leave a voice mail and call back number.

Our global Internet-connected world makes it easy for scammers to operate outside the U.S. but still “spoof” numbers that look local by using a local area code. Those fooled me for a while.

Meanwhile, phone service providers worry that if they shut down a known robo-call number, it may affect an innocent customer whose number has been “stolen,” the Post said. The calls, say experts, are nearly impossible to trace.

Robo-call scams come in many forms. Among the latest are:

-Supposed calls from the IRS demanding back taxes, fines and fees that must be sent, immediately.

-Fake Microsoft tech calls asking you to log into your computer and hand over personal info.

-Sales pitches for false extended auto warranties.

-Fraudulent vacation club memberships.

-Credit card rate reduction offers if you send money to what is a fraudulent address.

The IRS says scammers are trying new tricks all the time. Since October 2013, nearly 4,500 victims have collectively paid over $23 million because of tax-related phone scams.

“…scams first tried to sting older people, new immigrants and those who speak English as a second language but now the crooks try to swindle just about anyone,” said the IRS in its latest warning.

Verizon.com reminds us that robo-calls or any prerecorded telemarketing sale message are illegal (except for political and charitable calls to wireline telephones, even if they are unwanted).

Verizon acknowledges that “there is no perfect fix,” but that we can do a lot to fight back.

Consumers should still use the National Do Not Call Registery at DoNotCall.gov to register their phone number(s). And we should use the anti-robo-call tools already on our phones such as Verizon’s Caller Name ID and call blocking and other features such as Anonymous Call Rejection.

If you get an illegal robocall:

  Hang up the phone. Do NOT interact with the caller.

  Do NOT call back in order to be taken off the list. That’s because calling back can cause you to get more calls because the scammers know you are a real person.

  If you do end up in a conversation with a scammer, never reveal any personal information such as passwords, social security numbers, or account numbers. If you are not sure whether a caller is a scammer or not, remember that legitimate callers don’t call asking for personal information.

Hang up immediately. Report the call to the FTC at DoNotCall.gov. Information to include: time and date of call, the number that appeared on your Caller ID screen, your telephone number, and a description of the message.

You normally won't see immediate action, said Verizon, but the FTC's complaint database is important because it helps government agencies and companies track illegal callers and come up with new ways to attack the problem This is war. Sign me up!


Verizon, "What are Robocalls?"  click here.

FTC Robocalls, click here.

WSJ, "FCC takes Stronger Aim at Robocalls," click here.

"How to be your own Robocop and stop robocalls," Oregonian, click here.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Why do women under-rate themselves when it comes to investing? OK, it's fear.

 "In order to rise above this fear, you need to be confident and comfortable in the moment and with yourself." - Lisa Haisha, creator of Transformative Therapy. 

By Julia Anderson

Women are more likely than men to under-rate themselves when it comes to investing. Yet women are usually in charge of household budgets, are more willing to save for the long-term and are better bargain hunters.

So why do we feel uncomfortable when it comes to taking charge of our investments be they a 401(k) retirement plan, an Individual Retirement Account or a retirement stock portfolio?

Friends give me these reasons:

“I am just not interested...that’s something my spouse takes care of.”

“We like our financial guy…he seems to be doing a good job for us.”

“When I met with my financial adviser, I thought we were on track. But I never asked questions."

“I feel over my head when it comes to the stock market, bonds. I’m clueless.”

Yet most women over 60 will someday be financially on their own either from divorce or the death of a spouse.  Why not get involved now, take charge of your finances and be ready for the future when you may need to manage on your own?

5 ways to take charge

No. 1 Ask about investment management fees.

If you still are on the job make sure you are getting the best performance from your 401(k) plan or Individual Retirement Account. Annual management fees should be 1 percent or lower. If retired and living on your nest egg, the same goes. The goal is to make your money last as long as you do. Mutual fund management fees are a huge factor in how much you accumulate from compound reinvesting during your work life and how much your nest egg will keep earning for you in your later years.

No. 2 Check up on financial advice costs.

Are you are using a financial adviser to guide your investment strategy? Ask about upfront commissions on investment products or funds offered to you? Anything more than 1 percent deserves a clear explanation. Why not go with dividend-paying individual stocks or low-cost index funds?  The reality is that most “managed” funds do not have the performance of a cheaper S&P 500 Index fund (see WSJ link below) but instead tend to have higher management costs and weaker performance. That’s a big negative in the longer-term.

No. 3 Banish your insecurities. Investing is rewarding.

Start learning by doing. Wealth coach Deborah Owens gives women an “F” when it comes to finances because of the myth that “financing and crunching numbers are too complicated.” Owens (www.deborahowens.com) encourages women to get beyond the fear and take on “calculated risk” with their money. Sitting on cash is not an investment strategy.

To get the most bang for the buck, put time into improving your investment knowledge and skills, ask questions about management fees and commissions and don’t just hope for the best without bringing your retirement picture into focus. “Your ability to build wealth is directly related to your ability to take calculated risks,” Owens says. That’s now and in retirement.

No. 4 Build a portfolio. Set up an individual online investment account.

Do the research. Start small. Use low-cost online brokerage firms. Put money into an S&P 500 stock index fund and/or a few blue-chip publicly traded companies with a stock dividend of about 3 percent. Reinvest the dividends. Don’t panic in a market downturn. The reinvested dividend money is buying more shares at a cheaper price! Meanwhile, keep an eye on business news. Shifting markets may require adjustments. The goal is to balance risk with a record of performance over time.

Candace Bahr and Ginita Wall at www.WIFE.org encourage women to take on financial responsibility and they remind us that for most “A Man is Not a Financial Plan.” In their “Five Steps to Building a Portfolio,” they recommend reading “how to” books on saving and investing, using rating reports and staying up on financial news to gain confidence.

No. 5 Get real about retirement income.

Figure out where your income in retirement will come from by first looking at your Social Security account at www.socialsecurity.gov. What are your benefits at 62, 66 or 70? What income will you have from tax-deferred retirement savings or investment income? Will you inherit money from your mother?

Will you work longer to delay retirement and increase your Social Security benefit? Can you catch-up by putting more money in your nest egg? Answers to these questions will help you know where you stand and what you must do before quitting the job. 

The trick is to bring retirement household expenses in line with expected retirement income.

Plenty of women have made the transition from work to retirement. I see them managing their money, traveling, starting up new relationships and getting the most from life. Taking charge of their finances is a key element of their confident future.

Editor's note: This piece first appeared at www.sixtyandme.com. 

Helpful follow-up links:



www.wiser.org Divorce and widowhood



Wells Fargo Investment Institute https://www08.wellsfargomedia.com/assets/pdf/personal/investing/investment-institute/women-and-investing-ADA.pdf

Wall Street Journal



Monday, July 10, 2017

One woman's retirement savings advice: Ask questions, especially about fees

“The power of compound interest is the most powerful force in the universe,” - Albert Einstein.

We sat in the restaurant booth,  coffee at hand, while peering at her open lap top computer screen.

“I thought everything was going well, until I saw this,” she said, gesturing toward the computer. “I wasn’t sure what to do with this or where to start. This feels over my head.”
The “this” was a screen filled with a list of holdings inside her Individual Retirement Account. There were lots of mutual funds, more than 20. All with obscure names, each with several thousand dollars of value.

“The plan was to simplify my life but this feels much bigger, overwhelming,” she said with a laugh. “I am not sure where to start.”
For more than 25 years, my friend had focused her creative energy on owning and running a marketing business. It was a hectic enterprise with employees, lots of clients and an ever-changing list of challenging projects. Not much time to worry about retirement. Besides, she had someone taking care of that for her.

Over her years of self-employment, she stashed money when she could in an Individual Retirement Account managed by a local adviser representing a national brokerage firm.
Occasionally she met with her broker friend to get an update on her account, learn that it was “doing well” and growing in value. Little to ask about, right?

Now it was time to make some changes.

My friend, widowed seven years ago and in her mid-60s, has sold her business, downsized from a big house and has found a new rewarding relationship. Still working part-time, her life is full.
Meanwhile, her long-time financial adviser has retired to Palm Springs.

With the personal connection gone, she asked herself why not move her retirement money to an online self-managed account and take charge of her IRA portfolio?

It seemed like a simple plan. Step one, electronically transfer the account, which she did.

But what popped up on her new account screen with the online brokerage firm was a surprise. This was not what she thought she was invested in. The multitude of mutual funds would each need evaluation for their performance rating and management fees.

She also realized that yes, she had an IRA but some of her savings had been placed in a taxable account. That meant sorting out the cost basis and tax implications of the holdings there.

Fees matter

Not long before her broker retired, my friend had asked what the overall annual management fee was for her account. The answer: 2 percent on the total assets.
In talking this over with my friend, my guess is that the fee did not include separate transaction fees charged every time a new mutual fund was purchased or sold. That is a lot of churn over the past 25 years.

My friend listened with interest as I explained why fees are such a big deal when it comes to retirement savings.

While 2 percent may not sound like a lot, I said, over a life time of saving it can mean the difference of tens of thousands of dollars of fund value. That’s because a higher fee means less money is going back into fund reinvestment. According to a report in U.S. News & World Report, “the top determinant of (fund) performance is expenses,” not superior management skills.

For example: An investor, age 25, who contributed 10 percent of her salary a year to a 401(k) or IRA that earned 7 percent annually would have $730,000 at age 65, with a management fee of 1.5 percent.
By comparison, with expenses of just 1 percent, the end result at age 65 would be $830,000. And if expenses, according to U.S. News, were just 0.5 percent, her retirement savings nest egg at 65 would total $934,000, all other things being equal.

The shocking difference in end result between 1.5 percent and 0.5 percent in management fees over a lifetime of savings and reinvesting is $204,000!!!

While there is plenty of commentary out there on this issue, my guess is that most women such as my friend are uninformed and are not aware of how management fees can undermine long-term savings strategies.

Managed vs passive

In addition to management fees, there was a second issue for my friend: the performance of actively managed mutual funds versus passive index funds.

According to an annual Dow Jones report, actively managed (with higher fees) mutual funds DO NOT perform as well as the S&P 500 -- the 500 largest U.S.-based companies.
In the latest (2016) comparison, 84 percent of large-cap mutual funds generated lower returns than the “passive” S&P 500 index. In other words, you are paying more and getting less return.
My experience also proves the point. My portfolio that includes a mix of individual dividend-paying stocks and a couple of index funds is 7 percent behind the performance of the unvarnished S&P 500 in just the past 12 months. Sigh.

Nurturing the nest egg

So here my friend is at age 64, starting to take charge of her ongoing retirement nest egg that may need to last another 20 or 30 years.
She has a lot of work ahead of her. She will need to determine the cost basis (how much she paid) of each of the taxable funds in her individual portfolio, then determine the tax hit if she sells them and whether it makes sense.

Separately, she will need to sell some or all of the higher-fee mutual funds in her tax-deferred IRA and then decide how to reinvest her consolidated money. Why not a low-fee S&P 500 stock index fund?

Because of her business experience, my friend is far more capable of getting on top of this than many women I know. These are the married women who may have earned a full-time paycheck, who may have managed the ongoing household budget and paid the bills and who may have occasionally met with a financial adviser or broker.

But who also may have not been interested in the details because their spouses took the lead or they were too busy and trusted a financial adviser.

“Can you imagine coming at this, if you had no clue,” asked my friend.

In the past few months, she learned a lot: How complicated the financial industry makes it for individuals (women) to sort out their investment portfolios, how account management fees can have a long-term impact on saving, eroding a retirement account by tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Her trust in the financial advisory industry is in serious jeopardy. She is frustrated at feeling over-her-head when trying to sort it all out.

Here’s her retirement savings advice to other women:
- Get the details of your investment portfolio and the fees you are paying on the holdings inside that account.

- Keep asking questions until you absolutely understand what is going on.

- If you don’t understand something, work with a fee-only adviser or trusted friend to simplify your portfolio or convert your plan to one that YOU can manage.

- Stop paying the brokerage firm and start paying yourself.

- Have a trusted friend or family member attend all meetings during the process of discovery and implementation. A second set of ears will help to reduce the stress of trying to understand all this involves.

- And keep learning!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Timeshare contracts: How to get in, how to safely get out

"Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes. Including you." - Anne Lamott, novelist, essayist. (1954 -    )


Millions of Americans have purchased a timeshare. Nine million households to be exact, according to the American Resort Development Assn. and Consumer Reports magazine.

With an estimated 1,500 timeshare resorts operating in the U.S. and some 121,000 vacation properties worldwide, there is a lot to choose when searching for that piece of paradise.

The good news is that the industry has come a long way from the 1970s when timeshare properties were marketed with shady come-ons and high-pressure, misleading sales tactics.

Consumer Reports says, the “industry has become more consumer friendly and transparent.”

That’s because major hospitality chains --- Disney, FourSeasons, Hilton and Marriott – now are among the big players and have made the business more attractive and reputable.

These days you can shop online or chat live with a property representative to get detailed information about the costs of ownership including the buy-in fee and ongoing annual maintenance costs.

For many, the timeshare concept makes sense: Multiple individuals share rights to use a property, each with his or her own allotted time frame…usually a fixed week each year. Often now called, “vacation ownership” or “interval travel” programs, the idea is to get an affordable vacation at a luxury location.

In 2014, consumers bought almost $8 billion worth of timeshare properties in the U.S. The average sales price was $20,020 with an average annual maintenance fee of $880.

Median age of timeshare owners is 51.  However, the median age of more recent buyers is 39, half have children younger than 18.  The newer owners are younger, more affluent, more diverse and better educated.

Questions to ask yourself when buying a timeshare contract:
- Are you committed to vacationing every year? Will the resort you are considering stand the test of time?
- How much will you be spending on vacations in the next 10 years?

The experts recommend that you consider this a LIFESTYLE investment, not a FINANCIAL investment. It is best not to expect your money back.
Average out your annual vacation expenses. If you’re paying $100 a night in annual timeshare maintenance fees for a week’s stay and you already paid $20,000 for that week’s stay upfront, it doesn’t make sense to pay full retail price for a timeshare.

The reality is that there are many timeshare properties for sale at a fraction of their original cost. The Internet offers lots tips for how to get a good deal by buying a resale.

When buying new or a resale make sure the written contract contains all the promises made during the pitch. You could run the contract by a timeshare attorney. Know what the cancellation policy is in case you change your mind. Talk to other owners in the timeshare you are considering. What is their level of satisfaction with the property?

Buy-in with a flat upfront fee, don’t buy over time, the experts say. And be prepared to manage your contract going forward, along with the program’s “point system,” changes in ownership and tiered memberships.

As for resale value, a timeshare is more like a car than a house, it depreciates. There is no shortage of web sites including eBay, RedWeek, and Timeshare Resale Vacations that advertise timeshares for $1, put up for sale by owners who want out.

Resale scams

But reselling a timeshare is where the industry still wallows in potential scams. A reseller may offer to unload your timeshare for an upfront fee. Then ask for more money for marketing. You finally realize that they are NOT selling your timeshare, but just taking your money. Lots of consumer complaints about this.

Recently, a timeshare resale operator was charged with fraud by the feds for bilking timeshare property owners out of $15 million by charging up-front fees based on false promises.

Legitimate fees are typically paid after a sale is concluded.

The Federal Trade Commission Web site at consumer.ftc.gov offers resale tips.

Also check out the American Resort Development Association at arda.org.


Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Early retirement buyouts. How to evaluate an offer.

"It is never too late to be what you might have been." - George Eliot, novelist, poet and journalist, who was Mary Anne Evans but used a male pen name. (1818-1880)

By Julia Anderson
Despite the improving economy, employers in certain industries continue to look for ways to cut costs by laying off workers.

Kroger Co., parent company to Portland-based Fred Meyer stores, announced late last year that it will reduce costs by offering early retirement to 2,000 corporate administrative employees.  Depending on how many employees voluntarily accept the buyout package will determine how many will be laid off -- without the package -- to meet the 2,000-job reduction quota. Kroger administrative employees were given two months to make up their minds.

Boeing Co. said it will implement a voluntary early retirement plan this year. Intel, Oregon’s largest private employer, has been cutting jobs. Boeing said as many as 1,880 machinists and engineers could be affected.

In offering early retirement packages or job buyouts, employers must be careful to avoid age discrimination. But there are proven legal ways to do that. The early retirement package or buyout must be voluntary based on tenure or other neutral criteria. A worked must get at least 21 days to consider the offer.

Employees accepting an early retirement or buyout will be asked to sign a carefully drafted “release agreement” explaining their rights under federal law as they walk out the door. That makes it hard to sue for discrimination.

So how do you evaluate an early retirement package if you find yourself in the cross hairs your employer’s cost reduction/buyout program?

There is much to consider: health insurance coverage after you leave the job, how close you are to age 65 when Medicare kicks in, how close you are to taking Social Security benefits and whether the company might offer “bridge money” to get you to Social Security.

The biggest decision comes first. What are the consequences of turning down the buyout offer, dodging the layoff bullet and keeping the job? Only your gut can answer that one.

While, facing a layoff is no fun there are some positives.

A layoff qualifies you for unemployment benefits if you sign up and look for a new job through your state unemployment agency. Human resource administrators can explain how this works, what the job search requirements are and how many weeks you might be eligible for unemployment benefits.

Secondly, you can buy health insurance coverage through your former employer’s insurance plan for at least 18 months, thanks to COBRA, a federal law passed by Congress in 1985. Some employers let you stay with the company health insurance plan until you reach 65.

In addition, some employers might offer “bridging money” to financially bridge the period between early retirement and when you are eligible for Social Security benefits.

But who wants to take reduced Social Security benefits at 62 when full benefits only kick in at age 66 or 67?

The biggest negative of taking an early retirement offer is that you no longer will have the job and its income to support saving through the company-sponsored 401(k) program. If there’s a pension, it will likely be smaller than if you had kept the job longer. That means less to live on in real retirement.

Whatever you do, give yourself plenty of time to evaluate the offer!!

Reinventing yourself

Some people reinvent themselves after an early buyout by starting their own business, by finding another job or by working part-time. How long you have to figure that out depends on how much you employer offers in severance pay.

Severance usually consists of your current salary plus addition money for the number of years you’ve worked for the company.

Keep in mind that experts say that the amount of money you need to live on in retirement should by about eight times your income. So if your household income is $100,000 a year, you will likely need at least $1 million in retirement savings to enjoy a modest retirement.

Meanwhile, do NOT make early withdrawals from your 401(k) retirement savings plan but instead move it into a self-directed Individual Retirement Account with an online brokerage or a trusted local firm. Money withdrawn from a company-sponsored 401(k) or IRA is subject to a 10 percent “premature distribution” penalty before age 59 ½.

Plus, you will pay federal income tax on the withdrawal. And you won’t be growing that money for your real retirement.

Those who have been through an early retirement buyout will tell you that it is a stressful time with lots of ups and downs. It feels bad to be asked to leave a place where you like the job, like the contribution you make and enjoy the people you work with.

Financial planner Jim Blankenship writing in US News &World Report warns that some companies “make an early retirement package seem more attractive than it really is.” He said that you may want to consult an independent professional adviser who “will work for your best interests” in negotiating a buyout.

Saying yes to a buyout may mean retraining for something new or doing something else that you’ve felt passionate about. But whatever, it will be a roller coaster ride.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Teaching grandchildren (and their parents) about money

"Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like." -- Will Smith, actor and producer, songwriter and rapper, (1968 -   )

By Julia Anderson
In our era of instant gratification and in a financial world where a regular bank savings account pays next to no interest, how do you help your grand kids learn about using money carefully, investing and saving for the long-haul?

The good news is that there are a lot of great resources on the Internet offering good step-by-step advice. These tips will help you help your grand kids get a handle on saving and investing, on budgeting, and spending wisely.

Here’s a run-down of six helpful Web sites:

At forbes.com, writer Laura Shin has put together a list of five money lessons to teach kids according to their age. She describes each lesson to be taught, then follows with several exercises to help with the learning.

For example: The lesson for a three to five-year-old is “You may have to wait to buy something you want.” She provides three ways to help a young child learn about having a savings goal and a spending goal for small purchases.

Ages six to 10: You need to make choices about how to spend money.
Ages 11 to 13: The sooner you save, the faster your money can grow from compound interest.
Ages 14 to 18: When comparing colleges, be sure to consider how much each school would cost. 
The lesson for an 18-year-old? “Use a credit card only if you can pay the balance off each month.”

Web site: savingtoinvest.com - The power of compounding

The Web page at savingtoinvest.com, explains in dramatic fashion plus “the power of compounding.”

Here, the unnamed author, offers an exercise to teach the power of compounding. Other money gurus use similar examples.

Ask your grandchild, “Would you rather have $1 million now, or take a penny and double the amount every day for 30 days?”

Most people (certainly most kids) would take the $1 million. But that would be the poorer choice. The visual chart on the Web page makes it clear how doubling your penny every day for 30 days would result in the tidy sum of $5,368,709.12!

Included with this exercise are three tips: The sooner you start saving and investing, the better; It is good to make saving a habit with regular investments, and that patience is a virtue. It takes time to build the nest egg “by investing wisely and leaving the money alone for the long term.”

Web site: feedthepig.org

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants has taken on the mission of improving the financial literacy of all Americans. Feedthepig.org is geared toward those aged 25 to 34 to help them take control of their finances.

Here are the resources for young adults (your kids or grandkids) to reduce debt, plan ahead, boost a credit score, save to buy a house or a car. Mr. Pig, BenjaminBankes, will send along savings tips, if you sign up for free email.

There is a companion Web site, 360financialliteracy.org, with more money tips including a page for Tweens & Teens and their parents.

Dave Ramsey is a well-known money guru with a lot of books and a radio show. On this page, he also focuses on the miracle of compound interest.

He uses the comparison of two young adults. One starts investing at age 19, the other doesn’t get started until age 27.

The 19-year-old puts $2,000 into an investment account for eight years and leaves it there until he’s 65. It earns an average of 12 percent a year, which is what the S&P 500 has historically done over the past 50 years. He ends up with more than $2.2 million.

His friend who started later at age 27 and puts $2,000 in from age 27 to age 65. He ends up with only $1.5 million. So starting early and leaving the money there to grow is a huge deal.

I don’t know anything about Chicago-based Windgate Wealth, but I do like their six ways to teach your kids about saving money. In a nutshell, here are the tips:

Start with a piggy bank.

Open a bank account.

Use savings jars to save for short- and long-term goals.

Create a timeline to visually help kids see their savings progress.

Lead by example. When shopping, for instance, engage your children in the buying decisions. Explain the choices you make.

Start a conversation about money and the importance of saving.

General advice: Parents and grandparents an make money and saving money fun and accessible. Discuss the difference between needs and wants and help them visualize their financial future.

This article summarizes a study about millennials and money, which mentions that one-third of this age group is uncomfortable talking about money with their parents. (See FidelityInvestments Millennial Money Study)

Included are eight tips for how to have the “money” conversation.

1. Keep your advice brief

2. Share your experiences.

3. Keep your expectations in check.

4. Set rules when lending money.

5 Discuss investing strategies.

6. Set a good example -- and let it show.

7 Don't avoid the inheritance topic.

8 Discuss your finances with your kids at least once a year.

Maybe it is no surprise that nearly half (47 percent) of young adults have received financial assistance from their parents since leaving home to pay for such basic things as cell phone bills, car insurance and even to buy groceries.

Twenty-five percent said that a one point they had moved back home for financial reasons.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Smart Money: My new gig with Joe Smith on TVCTV!

"Anything you need, you can get on YouTube. It's wacky." -- Lorraine Toussaint, actress. (1960 -     ).

Want to know more about how and when to claim Social Security benefits? Are you worried that the Social Security Administration will run out of money?

Are you into estate planning and need to hold a Family Money Summit to explain to your children what you’re going to do with your business and/or your money?

Are you in need of a financial planner but don’t know the questions to ask to hire one?

How about the basics of retirement planning in five steps?

These are some of the topics we are covering in a new series of taped shows hosted at TVCTV public access channel in Beaverton, Ore. The good news is that the shows also are available on YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QiovwBv14Nc

I’ve teamed up with Portland television host, Joe Smith, to talk about all things money-related. We discuss elder financial abuse and how to prevent it.

We delve into one of my most popular topics here at sixtyandsingle.com, How to Get Married after 60. And we go through my Five Basic Steps to Retirement Planning.

My big passion in semi-retirement is to help people, particularly women, plan and save for retirement. Mary Weisensee at TVCTV – the public access community programming network in Washington County, Ore. -- liked my Smart Money column in the Portland Tribune and asked me to talk about money issues in a series of taped shows.

The first shows being aired on TVCTV channels focus on Social Security. Here's an OregonLive advance news story explaining the show, click here.

In three Social Security segments, Joe Smith and I interview Alan Edwards, the region’s Social Security guru.

We cover what everyone should know about Social Security in Social Security 101, How women can best claim Social Security benefits and we tackle Social Security Myths.

The good news is that Social Security is not going to run out of money until about 2035 and then would just reduce benefits to keep going. That’s of course unless Congress tweaks the benefit rules to return the program to solvency.

Click here for a link to the "My Account" Social Security Web site.

The shows, called Smart Money (like my column in the Portland Tribune), will air on public access channel 22 in Washington County, but are also being made available on CVTV in Clark County, Wash. and will be distributed to other public access operations in the region. And we are on YouTube!!! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QiovwBv14Nc

Other Smart Money shows will come along soon. Joe and I are taping shows on new topics. The list is really endless.

Bottom line on Social Security: People should set up a personal account at www.socialsecurity.gov. Then check up on their employment and wage information. Then start planning for how and when they might want to claim Social Security benefits.

It is really a big deal and a big part of retirement planning. It’s best to start now.
Here's my post at sixtyandsingle on Social Security. click here.

Hey, I'm on YouTube!!! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QiovwBv14Nc