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Luck O' the Irish
March seems to have come in as a lamb this year in Ohio. Mother Nature must know we need some sunshine. Just as the pandemic is not over (although your patience may have run out), the jury is still out on March. Will it leave like a Lion?

We hope all who are vaccine eligible are feeling lucky! The window in the Buckeye State has opened to all aged 40 and over. If you qualify and have not scheduled an appointment, please consider doing so soon. It takes a bit of leg work to accomplish the task but your effort will be rewarded. There are several avenues available for the pursuit of the "shot(s)". We encourage you to remain diligent and patient through the scheduling process.

If you have received your vaccine, consider yourself lucky! The rest of us may need to search outdoors for that four-leaf clover. We've heard they are good luck!


  • Coming Soon...Webinars from AFP      Please let us know of any topics you would like us to address. Suggestions are always welcome.

  • We continue to host Virtual Meetings using Zoom for your safety. We are eager to resume face-to-face meetings and will let you know as soon as we are able to do so safely.

  • For those that must visit our office, please check in with us prior to visiting. Several construction projects are currently underway in the immediate vicinity of the office which could result in road closures and delays.

  • 2021 Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) - RMD forms and letters have been sent out. You have until the end of the year to complete your RMD.

  • 2020 Realized Gain Loss Reports - Realized Gain Loss Reports for 2020 were mailed out in January. These reports are generated for taxable accounts only including Wealth Management clients or Investment only clients eligible for Orion. For other taxable account holders, information reporting gains and losses for 2020 is included within your TD Ameritrade Consolidated 1099 form. Consolidated 1099 forms were required to be postmarked by 2/16/2021and are mailed to you directly from TD Ameritrade. Let us know if you haven't received yours.

  • Schwab's acquisition of TD Ameritrade crawls forward. As of March 1, 2021, TD Ameritrade implemented changes to the bank sweep program. The bank sweep program refers to how cash balances in your account are managed. Most cash is held in a FDIC insured deposit account (IDA). There are several IDA options (known as 'Program Banks') used at the discretion of TD Ameritrade. The 'Program Banks' were to change from TD Ameritrade to Charles Schwab. This may have resulted in a change of title or symbol as indicated on your monthly account statement. Please be aware that cash balances in some accounts are using sweep options different from IDA. Usage of this strategy is at Teri's discretion.

  • Orion Portal Update - A new release version of the Client Portal is expected soon. Please stay tuned for more details as available. If you cannot access your Orion Portal, contact Tracey to request a password reset. The Orion Portal requires a password reset every 4 months (120 days) and becomes Inactive after 8 months (240 days).
+ Teri's World
March ushered in some really nice weather! I’ve had little time to be out in it, but I have enjoyed watching people walk by my office window. They seem to be enjoying it and that is all that counts right now. I have moved from sewer issues being addressed to my slate roof needing attention. Never a dull moment with an old house. One of my highlights this month has been watching my youngest grandson for a few days. When the other two grandchildren heard I had done this, they asked their mom if they could make an appointment with Nana. We need to make that happen! Another highlight was getting my first shot at the Schott. 
+ What about Bob
March has been great!! It is so wonderful to see the days getting longer and the temperatures getting warmer. I always anticipate one more snowfall either late March or even early April. So, my driveway snow markers will remain up for a bit longer. It’s like an American Indian rain dance if taken down too early!!

Grandson update –

Lowell came home on March 10th!! Ashley and Mike are adjusting well but already relish the days when they had enough sleep! Lowell continues to grow and pack on the necessary pounds. Ashley is finally able to starting dressing him in all the outfits she has been accumulating. She has been great about sending pictures of the latest fashion statement! Needless to say, I’ve changed my cell phone wallpaper more times than I can count.

Logan’s vocabulary continues to grow and become more sophisticated. We got to spend some good Grandpa/Grandson time a few Fridays ago while Brittany and Chris had their date night. We took advantage of the nice weather with a walk and backyard play.

Layla’s Club volleyball season is in full swing and she is doing very well and loves playing. We had our first experience of the “All-day” tournaments!! It was interesting to say the least!! We are through 3 of the 6 scheduled tournaments.

There is a new addition to our family, his name Carl (After my maternal grandpa). He is a 2019 Ram 1500 Limited truck. After much research and model search changes, I finally took the plunge and bought him. This is by far the most amazing vehicle I have ever owned or driven. There are so many wonderful bells and whistles that he practically drives himself. He has made the commute into the office enjoyable. He is actually getting better gas mileage than my Explorer was getting.
+ Tracey's Time
We just returned from a much-needed escape to the Sunshine State. We went camping north of Orlando and although the state of Florida is open, Orange County is still under a mask mandate. The sunshine and warm weather felt good despite the greuling driving and activity schedule.

After a detour to Tom Petty Park in Gainesville, we spent one day golfing, two days at Universal Orlando and the last day at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Cayleigh had been hoping to experience the Harry Potter and Star Wars areas in the parks. Check this off the "Bucket List"! I must say, even as an adult, the special effects were quite amazing and enjoyable.

In retrospect, we realize that this is too far to travel for a one-week RV trip. We aren't getting any younger but it's fun to pretend we are still kids for a minute.
Current Economic and Investment Information
RISING RATES - From its all-time closing low of 0.501% on Monday 3/09/20, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note has more than tripled to close at 1.634% as of last Friday 3/12/21 (source: Treasury Department). 

ADDING TO CASH - Money market funds in the United States, including retail and institutional funds, both taxable and tax-free, have increased $615 billion (to $4.39 trillion) over the last 12 months through last Friday 3/12/21, an average increase of $12 billion a week (source: Investment Company Institute). 

BLAME THE PANDEMIC - Total exports of goods and services by American corporations in calendar year 2020 were $2.13 trillion, down 16% from the year before and the smallest total recorded nationwide since 2010 (source: Bureau of Economic Analysis). 

TAXES - The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) sent a letter on 3/04/21 to the commissioner of the IRS requesting a 2- month delay of the 2021 tax deadline, i.e., from 4/15/21 to 6/15/21. The organization believes that filing obligations due a month from today are “simply not possible for many taxpayers” (source: AICPA). 

THEY NEED MONEY - Hawaii’s state Senate passed legislation last week (3/09/21) to increase its top marginal tax rate to 16% (from 11% today) on taxable income of more than $200,000. The bill, which would give Hawaii the highest marginal tax rate in the nation, moves onto the Hawaii state House for debate (source: Hawaii Senate). 

MONEY THAT THEY WILL SPEND - 42% of the $1.9 trillion “American Rescue Plan Act of 2021,” i.e., $800 billion out of the $1.9 trillion, is direct support that will be distributed to households in the form of stimulus payments, unemployment benefits and child tax credits (source: American Rescue Plan Act of 2021). 

ALMOST HALF OF ADULTS - 46% of American adults experienced a loss of income or they live with someone that experienced a loss of income in the nearly 1-year following President Donald Trump’s declaration of a pandemic-driven “national emergency,” i.e., from 3/13/20 to 2/28/21 (source: Census Bureau). 

AND IN THE NEXT YEAR - 2020 was the 10th year in the last 70 years, i.e., 1951-2020, that the US economy had contracted. Our nation’s “gross domestic product” (GDP) shrunk by 3.5% last year. Following the 9 previous “down” years, the US economy has rebounded in the next year with positive growth 7 out of 9 times, growing by an average of +3.3% per year for all 9 “bounce back” years (source: Commerce Department). 

FED THINKS - The median forecast (released on Wednesday 3/17/21) made by the 11 members of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) for “change in real GDP” during 2021 was +6.5%. Actual GDP (gross domestic product) annual growth has been at least +6.5% just once (1984) in the last 50 years (source: Federal Reserve). 

LESS BABIES - The global “total fertility rate” has been cut in half (down 51%) in the last 50 years, falling from 4.922 “births per woman” in 1968 to 2.415 “births per woman” in 2018 (source: The World Bank). 

TEN YEARS APART - Banks repossessed just 1,428 homes nationwide in January 2021. Banks repossessed 78,133 homes nationwide in January 2011 (source: Attom Data Solutions). 

LONG OVERDUE - The federal gas tax is 18.4 cents per gallon today, but the tax has not been raised since 10/01/93 or nearly 27 ½ years ago. However, 37 US states have raised their respective state gas tax since 2010. Gas taxes are used to fund improvements to highways and bridges (sources: Amer. Society of Civil Engineers). 

NOT GOING – 2.17 million freshmen started college in the fall of 2020, down 13% (327,513 fewer students) from the 2.50 million freshmen that began college in the fall of 2019 (source: National Student Clearinghouse). 
Some Could Face Delays in Getting Stimulus Checks

By Michelle Singletary
The Columbus Dispatch
Now that President Joe Biden has signed the $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill into law, millions of desperate Americans are wondering the same thing: When will I get my money?

Some people got their answer on Friday. Just one day after Biden signed the legislation into law, an Alexandria, Virginia, reader found a pending post in his bank account labeled 'IRS TREAS 310 – TAXEIP3' for $6,892.90 for his family of five.

The IRS refers to the stimulus money as an economic impact payment or EIP.

'I was wondering if Biden was over-promising,' the reader said in an interview. 'But I looked. And, wow, it’s actually there.'

The notation on his pending post says the stimulus funds will be available to him on March 17.

The fast turnaround is laudable considering the IRS is in the middle of the 2021 tax season and is also still processing millions of 2019 returns.

But the devil is in the details, and not all people will get their money that quickly.

As in previous rounds, the IRS will eventually post answers to many of your questions at But I’ve put together some information on when you can expect a payment, including what might delay your stimulus funds.

The American Rescue Plan provides a third round of direct payments, up to $1,400 for individuals, $2,800 for couples and an additional $1,400 for each dependent.

If you are in one of these groups, you should be among the first recipients of the third round of stimulus payments: You’ve filed your 2019 or 2020 return and received a refund: You should be first in line to get a payment. It’s possible you may see a pending post to your bank account by this weekend. Direct-deposit payments in the previous rounds were issued first to individuals with valid routing and account information on file at the IRS.

Just two days after the second stimulus package was signed into law on Dec. 27, providing $600 payments to eligible Americans, the IRS began making direct deposits into recipients’ bank accounts. A day after that, on Dec. 30, the agency said it began mailing paper checks.

The first wave of electronic payments went out to those who had received a refund and – this was key - had their refund direct-deposited into a bank account.

You used the IRS 'Get My Payment' tool to add bank information: In general, the IRS cannot use bank account information it has been given for taxes owed to electronically deposit stimulus payments. The agency said it needs specific authorization to use the same bank information to direct-deposit a stimulus payment.

However, the agency created a new 'Get My Payment' tool to allow taxpayers to track their stimulus payments and provide banking information so that they could get a direct deposit rather than a mailed stimulus check. If you used the tool for either of the last two rounds of stimulus payments, you will likely be at the front of the line, because the IRS has permission to make an electronic deposit of the payment.

Beginning Monday, the IRS said people can check the status of their third stimulus payment by using the 'Get My Payment tool,' which is available in English and Spanish at

You used the IRS 'non-filers' tool before Nov. 21: The IRS launched a new non-filers tool last year for people who don’t normally file a tax return. People in this group had to use the tool to file a scaled-down tax return. They could then enter payment information, including their bank account data, that allowed the agency to send them direct-deposit payments.

You receive Social Security retirement benefits, survivor or disability benefits, Supplemental Security Income, Railroad Retirement benefits or veterans benefits: You should be among the first to receive an automatic payment, even if you aren’t required to file a tax return.

Here’s what could delay all or part of your stimulus payment: You’ve filed your 2020 return and you owed the IRS: There has been a lot of confusion about what bank information the IRS maintains, and it has created a lot of angst and anger when it comes to the stimulus payments.

If you have not used the 'Get My Payment' tool to add banking information, the IRS generally cannot use the bank account information you provided to make a tax payment.

In this case, the IRS may end up mailing you a check or prepaid debit card. Payments sent as a paper check will obviously require more processing and mailing time, especially given the issues with the U.S. Postal Service.

You have not filed a 2019 or 2020 federal return: Millions of people are not required to file a return, because they don’t have income or earn too little.

To get stimulus payments if you qualify, the IRS needs to have a tax return on file for you. So, until you file a return, the IRS can’t send you a payment. For now, the non-filers tool is closed, so people can’t enter or update information in that portal.

The IRS has until the end of the year to get out the third round of payments. After that, eligible taxpayers have to file a 2021 return to claim the stimulus payment, which, like the first two rounds, is referred to as a 'recovery rebate credit.'

You have to file a paper return: If people can’t file electronically, they have to mail a paper return. And that’s a problem since the coronavirus is still causing delays in the processing of paper returns. One problem frustrating advocates who work with chronically homeless, elderly and disabled people is the inability to add banking information without the now-closed online non-filers tool. These people will still get a payment but, without the banking information, it has to be mailed.

You have dependents and receive Social Security retirement benefits, survivor or disability benefits, Supplemental Security Income, Railroad Retirement benefits or veterans benefits: In the first two rounds, federal beneficiaries didn’t automatically get the stimulus funds ($500 and $600) if they had dependent children 16 and under. The distribution was plagued by glitches – including missing or incorrect payments for dependent children.

Also, new in this round, dependents of any age qualify for the $1,400.

Because many low-income people receiving certain federal benefits are not required to file tax returns, the IRS has no way of knowing whether they have qualifying dependent children.

If you used the non-filers tool by the Nov. 21 date, you shouldn’t have any issues. But if you missed the deadline, you have to file a 2020 return to get the money for your dependent. Until you file, the IRS won’t have the dependent information.

You have older dependents and used the non-filers tool: In the previous two rounds of stimulus relief, parents could get a payment only for dependents who were 16 or younger. So, if you had a dependent child who was 17 or older, there was no extra coronavirus-related assistance.

Eligible taxpayers will receive $1,400 for each dependent claimed on their federal return, regardless of age. This might include a college student, a disabled adult child or an elderly relative.

However, if the IRS defaults to using your 2019 return for this third round, it might not know you have older dependents if the information wasn’t entered into the non-filers tool. So, you may not initially get the $1,400 for dependents 17 or older.

But don’t worry. Under the American Rescue Plan, the IRS can make supplemental payments if it misses eligible dependents during the initial distribution of the $1,400 payments.

You’ve moved: Although you may have filed your 2020 return and even received a refund, it’s possible the IRS hasn’t fully completed processing your return. So the agency would default to your 2019 return, and it may have an old address.

If you chose direct deposit for 2019, you’re probably good. If not, make sure you’ve given the U.S. Postal Service a forwarding address. The IRS uses the USPS National Change of Address registry. Yet even when you notify the Postal Service, not all post offices forward government checks, so you may need to still contact the IRS. Go to and search for 'change of address.'

And if history is a guide, a forwarded check takes longer to arrive.

You’ve closed the bank account that your 2019 or 2020 federal refund was sent to: If the account is closed, your bank must send the payment back to the IRS. If this the case, you’ll get a check to the address the agency has on file for you.

Payments sent as a paper check or prepaid debit card may take longer to get to you.

There are a number of other reasons you may not receive a payment right away. The IRS will be issuing guidelines to help explain the distribution of the next phase of stimulus relief. Perhaps the third time will be a charm, and there will be fewer glitches.
Logins Shouldn't Be a Pain
Learn to Boost Your Password Game

By Nicole Nguyen
The Wall Street Journal
Dealing with passwords is about as pleasant as cleaning gutters or filing taxes. But it is just as important.

I hate telling people to eat their vegetables—even virtual ones. Still, if you don’t have strong, unique passwords for every online account, it’s time to dig in. Don’t wait until someone’s stolen your identity or wiped your bank account.

You’ve probably heard of password managers. They might sound complicated, but setting up your password fortress doesn’t have to be painful. These services remember all of your passwords and can generate secure new ones. When you go to a login page on a web browser and even in many apps, the manager will automatically fill in what you need to access your account. Some even comb the web to alert you if any of your information shows up in a security breach. 

A significant change to one of the most popular managers, LastPass, is why I have passwords on the brain again. On March 16, LastPass Free users will need to upgrade to the service’s premium plan—typically $36 a year but currently offered to them for $27 a year—if they want to continue syncing passwords across their devices. While I’m a fan of LastPass, its free plan is no longer a good choice.

The best password managers work on as many platforms as possible—which is why we generally recommend independent services over the password savers built into browsers and operating systems. I tested the most popular ones, in a quest for high security, broad options and ease of use. Here’s what I found: 

Easiest to use:

1Password ($35.88 a year for individuals, $59.88 for families of up to five) has a user-friendly design and multiple layers of security baked in for a good price. 1Password doesn’t have a free tier—security is something we believe is worth paying for. “Free software almost always involves compromises,” a 1Password spokesman said. “We can focus our efforts on developing new ways to defend your data instead of collecting or exploiting it.”

Like other password managers, you can organize passwords into different collections: one for personal accounts, one for work, one for shared family logins. Travel Mode is unique to the service—it’s for people who need to hide sensitive information when traveling to countries where they fear their phone might be searched. 

Dashlane ($59.99 a year for individuals, $89.99 for families of up to five) is also easy to use, and is a good choice if you’re interested in additional features such as a built-in VPN (aka virtual private network) for accessing the internet more securely, and a dark-web monitoring service that keeps an eye out for hackers who might have your credentials.

I ultimately opted for 1Password, because of the price. (I also thought Dashlane’s Mac Safari browser extension, now in beta, was buggy. A Dashlane spokeswoman said the team is working on a fix.) 

Best service with emergency access:

It’s a tie between Dashlane and LastPass Premium ($36 a year for individuals, $48 for families of up to six). Both let you grant a trusted contact access to your vault if you’re dead or incapacitated. Features like this are important because our lives are so tied up in our digital accounts, as my colleague Joanna recently covered. If something happens to you, your designee can request access to your vault. You can set a specified delay period between three hours and 30 days, during which you can deny that access if you’re able.

LastPass Premium isn’t as sleek as Dashlane, but it’s a very capable password manager, also with dark-web monitoring, plus a gigabyte of encrypted file storage (and a good Safari browser extension). If you use Safari, and don’t need the VPN, go with LastPass.

1Password views this kind of emergency access as a security threat. In a forum post, a company employee explained that a domestic abuser, to get into a password vault, could hold a victim against his or her will. He suggests storing a printout of your secret key code and your master password in a safe-deposit box or with your attorney. 

Best free option:

Bitwarden has a full-featured free plan for individuals and two-person businesses that syncs an unlimited number of passwords across devices. The service has many key basics: end-to-end encryption, secure password generator, two-factor login and apps for every desktop platform, browser and mobile operating system, plus access via the web.

A premium membership ($10 a year for individuals, $40 for families of up to six) is required for bells and whistles, such as an exposed-passwords report and enhanced login protection. 

“We are a for-profit company, but we find it completely harmonious and compatible to offer a basic manager for free,” said Michael Crandell, Bitwarden’s CEO. Many users who start with the free plan eventually decide to upgrade, he added.

Once you’ve picked a password manager, you can manually add in all of your old passwords. If you store passwords in your computer’s Chrome browser, you can export them and then import them into your new password manager. (Apple doesn’t have a similar password export option.) If you are switching from one password manager to another, exporting passwords is usually an option, too. Password managers will improve your digital life. But whether you get one or not, there are four simple rules of password protection you need to know.

Rule #1—Don’t rely on passwords alone.

Use two-factor authentication, also known as 2FA, wherever possible. This requires an additional code or validation sent to another device.

In general, turning on 2FA is better than not having it at all. But if you have the choice, use an app authenticator (I like Authy) over a plain text message. It works when you don’t have cellular reception, and isn’t susceptible to SIM hijacking—where a hacker, targeting someone with a valuable account, cons that person’s phone number from the wireless carrier. You can call your carrier and add a passcode to your wireless account for added security.

Rule #2—Make long passwords.

The term “password” should be retired. The new hotness is passphrase. “Password length is a more important factor than complexity, because a longer password is harder to decrypt,” said Jameeka Green Aaron, chief information security officer at customer-authentication company Auth0.

For example, the passphrase “Raccoon Doorknob Spacecraft” would take centuries to crack, according to Bitwarden’s free password-strength testing tool. Meanwhile, according to the checker, a 12-character string, with uppercase and lowercase letters, symbols and numbers, could take an attacker just three years to crack. Most password managers let you set the length of automatically generated passwords. 

Rule #3—Make it unique.

Whatever you do, don’t reuse passwords. It’s the most common way accounts get hacked, Ms. Aaron said. If hackers discover your password used in one place, they try it in other places. This is where password managers come in. Use them to create strong unique passwords and store them for all your accounts. 

Rule #4—Have a backup plan for your backup plan.

The key to your password manager is a master password, along with a device to authenticate your login. A good password manager doesn’t know what your master password is—and can’t help you recover your account.

So, to be a good password parent, you need to think of the worst-case scenario: What if you lose the device your two-factor authentication codes are sent to? What if you forget your master password?

Authy syncs authenticator codes across several devices (say, your phone and your iPad), which helps if you lose one. Setting up a physical security key, such as YubiKey, as an additional authenticator is another protective measure. As for remembering your master password, the best solution is low tech: Write it down on a piece of paper and stow it away with the rest of your most important documents. It’s safer in the physical world than it is in the digital one.
Ohio 529 1st In Nation In Two Long-Term Performance Rankings

Source: Ohio's 529 College Advantage Blog
Ohio’s 529 Plan has stayed at the top of long-term performance rankings for, a trusted college-savings industry resource. provides unbiased research on 529 plans, financial aid, scholarships, and offers tools to help families estimate college expenses. analyzes the performance of the nation’s 529 plans on a quarterly basis and ranks them. Ohio’s 529 Plan, CollegeAdvantage, has consistently received high marks for its long-term investment performance.

Click here to continue reading this article.

“A light exists in Spring
Not present in the year at any other period
When March is scarcely here.”

- Emily Dickinson
Alexander Financial Planning
1621 W. First Avenue
Grandview Heights, OH 43212

Registered Investment Advisor
This material is distributed by Alexander Financial Planning, Inc., (AFPI) and is for information purposes only. Although information has been obtained from sources to be reliable, we do not guarantee its accuracy. It is provided with the understanding that no fiduciary relationship exists because of this report. Opinions expressed in this report are not necessarily the opinions of AFPI and are subject to change without notice. AFPI assumes no liability for the interpretation or use of this report. Financial planning, investment conclusions and strategies suggested in this report may not be suitable for all investors and consultation with a qualified advisor is recommended prior to executing any investment strategy. All rights reserved.