The SD-PFS*Ticker
Volume 7, Issue 1
March 2016
Dear Clients and Friends:

Spring is here, at least according to the calendar, and it's time once again to clear out the old and organize the new. It can sometimes be difficult to part with paper when we're not used to taking advantage of the benefits of technology. So much of what we're used to tucking away in file cabinets is now available to us with the click of a button, and (if handled correctly) safer than paper traveling through the postal service. In this newsletter we're hoping to inspire you to try a few new ways to eliminate not only clutter, but the risk of having your personal information compromised. We'll also provide a few tips for reviewing and updating some important financial information.

We hope you'll find something useful in the information that follows. As always, please feel free to call us with any questions or comments at 412-261-3644.

Financial Spring Cleaning Tips
Below are a few favorite security and spring cleaning tips shared by our team members.

Since Spring is also the time most of us file our annual individual tax returns, it is also a good time to destroy tax files that are no longer needed. I tend to be very conservative when it comes to tossing old tax returns, but if you are hanging on to tax files that are more than seven years old, you can most likely hit the destruction button. Taxing authorities normally do not audit returns older than three years; however, under certain circumstances they can. You should also keep an older return if it contains some type of information that may be needed for a future filing. So when you file your 2015 returns, take a few minutes to find 2008's file (and anything older) and shred it. Since you are already reviewing old files, you may want to take the time to review and destroy those old brokerage statements that you are hanging on to. Custodians are now required to track their clients' security purchase prices and report tax basis on Form 1099 when the security is sold. It is possible that cost information may be missing from older security purchases, so check your custodian's information (or check with your advisor) if you have any concerns that tax basis records need to be retained. (Nancy Skeans)

I don't know about you, but I long ago lost the ability to remember all of the passwords required to get through my day. Especially since many sites now require a complicated password that includes upper and lower case letters, digits and special characters. I finally gave up my little black book of passwords and began using a secure online password manager. For me, LastPass has been invaluable. With the free site, you can use it on one device (your computer, tablet or smart phone) to store and remember all of the passwords you need. It will even change them for you as required by some websites. For a small fee, you can use the service across multiple devices. Without this tool, I'd be hitting that "Forgot My Password" button much more often! (Karen Werley)

To protect my family's personal information, and reduce the amount of paper we have to look at and shred, I've turned off the delivery of paper documents from my brokerage account custodian. Through the custodian's website I was able to change the delivery of monthly account statements, trade confirms and shareholder information from paper to electronic delivery. It was quick and easy, and now I worry less about that information traveling through the mail or sitting in the trash. If you'd like to do the same, please see the links in the Toolbox at right for instructions for updating your delivery preferences for both Charles Schwab and Fidelity Investments. (Theresa Sekely)

Consolidate, consolidate, consolidate! How many accounts do you have? How many credit cards? In how many banks and financial institutions do you have accounts? Merge and combine where you can. Now that we're almost through another tax season, consider the number of 1099s you've received. What can you do to simplify? Combine like-registered accounts. Rollover old 401(k)s in to your IRA. Do a trustee-to-trustee transfer between traditional IRAs. Close unused credit and bank accounts. Your accountant, your financial planner and your executor will thank you. (Victoria Rogers)

If you're storing things in multiple places, consider consolidation to limit the amount of information that becomes scattered and forgotten. Checklists can be a helpful way to make sure you have everything covered. When thinking about paper documents, go through what you currently have; shred what you don't need and file what you do. It's easy to forget what you have and where you've stored it. Keeping a checklist and everything in a central location can be very helpful. (Stephanie Cicciarelli)
Social Security Claiming Strategies Sunset
With the recent changes in Social Security, certain claiming strategies are being eliminated. If you turn 66 before April 29, 2016, and are not yet claiming Social Security, you may want to consider your options. This is the last date you can "File and Suspend." This strategy is used  to trigger a spousal benefit as you let your benefit grow. The second choice for this strategy is to claim a larger benefit later, but keep the option of an early lump sum benefit if your circumstances change. Both of these options are available only to those who are age 66 before the April 29 cutoff. The "Restricted" application, where a married applicant at full retirement age can restrict their claim to a spousal benefit only, will be unavailable to anyone born after 1953. Those born after that date will be deemed to file for their own benefit. Benefits for divorced spouses will be unchanged, and if you are married, you will always get the larger of your own benefit or the spousal benefit. Contact your advisor or the Social Security Administration for more information.
Watch Your Mail
We realize that we've just spent a great deal of space suggesting you get rid of paper, but please watch your mailbox for a package from us (if you are a current client). We're sending three items we think will be very useful. The first is a team  directory with photos, brief bios and contact information for each member of our team. The second is a description of our Orion Client Portal and instructions for logging in. Lastly, we're sending an excellent document from JPMorgan Asset Management listing tips for protecting yourself and your family from a data breach. We hope you'll take the time to review these items and use the information to do some spring cleaning with your personal information.

Don, Nancy, Beth, Derek, Karen, Nick, Stephanie, Theresa and Vicky

  Quotation Marks
"Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful."
... William Morris
SD Toolbox
  Links to tools, calculators and web apps we like.

Articles of Interest
Charles Schwab's 2016 Market Outlook
What We're Reading
by Ruth Reichl

Noted food writer Ruth Reichl's first foray into fiction is a delightful story full of vivid descriptions of people, places and food. It's the story of a young girl's attempt to outrun her personal demons, and the events and characters that help her do just that. Her food narratives alone will make you hungry and anxious to head into your own kitchen for a little food therapy!
Cyber Security Tip
 Cyber Security Tip
If you are emailing personal information, the safest way is to use a secure email or an online vault. But sometimes that is not possible. If you want to add a password to a document, you need to use software that will allow you to do that. There are several options available. A freeware version is Primo PDF.  Primo installs in your list of printers. You can change security by "printing" any document to Primo and changing the security on the options window that opens when you print. A link to this freeware is provided in the Toolbox above.