A 30-second read by the Baron Team: With spring right around the corner, Baron Financial Group hosted a client-appreciation event at the spring-training home of the Baltimore Orioles. The March 14th game versus the New York Yankees ended in a 7 to 4 win for the Orioles. This is our third year hosting a client event at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Florida. An extra special treat for our guests, and advisors, was a visit from the Oriole Bird!
It is our custom to make a donation to a local charity whenever we host a client-appreciation event. Continuing with our tradition, a donation has been made in honor of our clients and friends to the “All Faiths Food Bank” in Sarasota.
Baron’s purpose is to help our clients reach their financial goals and to secure a better future for them and their families. In keeping with our goal to help others with their financial security, the firm is committed to helping those less fortunate.
A 60-second read by the Baron Team: It is not uncommon to turn on the news or read an article and hear about a new scam or hacking event. In the past, we have discussed tips to avoid phone scams and provided information about the Equifax data breach. Our Personal Cybersecurity webinar also contains helpful information. Below please find some phishing-scam tips provided by the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA). Baron Financial Group is a proud Fee-Only NAPFA firm, committed to providing financial education.
Be cautious about opening attachments or clicking on links in emails. Even your colleague or friends’ accounts could be hacked. Files and links can contain malware that can weaken your computer’s security.
Do your own typing. If a company or organization you know sends you a link or phone number, don’t click. Use your favorite search engine to look up the website or phone number yourself. Even though a link or phone number in an email may look legitimate, scammers can hide the true destination.
Make the call if you’re not sure. Do not respond to any emails that request personal or financial information. Phishers use pressure tactics and prey on fear. If you think a company, friend or family member really does need personal information from you, pick up the phone and call them yourself using the number on their website or in your address book, not the one in the email.
Turn on two-factor authentication. For accounts that support it, two-factor authentication requires both your password and an additional piece of information to log in to your account. The second piece could be a code sent to your phone, or a random number generated by an app or a token. This protects your account even if your password is compromised. As an extra precaution, you may want to choose more than one type of second authentication (e.g. a PIN) in case your primary method (such as a phone) is unavailable.
Back up your files to an external hard drive or cloud storage. Back up your files regularly to protect yourself against viruses or a ransomware attack.
Keep your security up to date. Use security software you trust, and make sure you set it to update automatically.
Report phishing emails and texts.
Forward phishing emails to firstname.lastname@example.org – and to the organization impersonated in the email. Your report is most effective when you include the full email header, but most email programs hide this information. To ensure the header is included, search the name of your email service with “full email header” into your favorite search engine.
Visit Identitytheft.gov. Victims of phishing could become victims of identity theft; there are steps you can take to minimize your risk.
You can also report phishing emails to email@example.com. The Anti-Phishing Working Group – which includes ISPs, security vendors, financial institutions and law enforcement agencies – uses these reports to fight phishing.
A 60-second read by the Baron Team:With the filing due date fast approaching, you are probably in the process of collecting all of your tax-related documents from the past year. Tax returns must be submitted by April 17th this year. If by that time you realize that you are going to need more time to compile information for your tax return or haven’t received all of the documents you need, it will be in your best interest to file a tax extension. This will extend the due date up until October 15, 2018.
How to file a Paper Tax Extension:
To file an extension, you are going to need to fill out Form 4868 [Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return]. You can download the form and instructions from the IRS website.
With the form, you also need to send in at least 90% of your estimated tax liability due for the year. To pay by check, mail the form with the check together. Make the check out to United States Treasury. On the memo line, write your Social Security Number, Form 4868, and the tax year (2017). This way, they know that you are sending the check as part of your extension.
When mailing in the tax extension, it is highly recommended that you send it via certified mail or another method that provides you with a tracking number. The envelope needs to be postmarked by April 17th. Check the instructions portion of Form 4868 for the correct mailing address (it varies according to what state you reside in).
To Prevent any Penalties:
Carefully read all instructions and follow all directions on Form 4868.
Correctly estimate your tax liability for the year and send in 90% of the amount due.
It is possible to file your extension online. See the IRS website for more details.
If you ever feel unsure or concerned about the process, consult a Tax Professional to assist you.
The Five Star Wealth Manager award, administered by Five Star Professional, recognizes professionals in the financial services industry who are committed to excellence.
Baron Financial Group is proud to announce that Principals Victor Cannillo and Anthony Benante are recognized as 2018 Five Star Wealth Managers in New Jersey. They are proud to be multi-year award recipients for the past 7 years. The list of recipients appears in the January 2018 issue of New Jersey Monthly.
The Five Star Professional research team applies a vigorous research and evaluation process to identify service professionals who provide quality services to their clients. Professionals do not pay a fee to be considered or placed on the final list of Five Star award winners. Five Star Professional follows standard survey practices used by other professional research organizations. The research also includes a regulatory review to provide necessary checks and balances.
Click here for a list of selection criteria and research methodology.
Baron Financial Group (BFG) is a Fee-Only firm that provides a comprehensive service, combining financial planning and investment management. We are committed to acting with integrity, establishing trust and displaying competence with every client. We work solely for you and are only compensated by you. As fiduciaries, we have an obligation to put client interests above our own.
A 30-second read by Nicholas Scheibner: The week of January 29th – Feb 2nd has been designated “Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week.” The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) will be offering some free webinars and chats on this topic. To learn more about the free webinar offerings, click here.
According to the FTC, tax identity theft occurs when another person uses your social security number for the purpose of getting a job or a tax refund. You will usually know when you receive a letter or notice from the IRS saying that you filed more than one tax return or see on their records that you were paid by an unknown employer. To learn more, click here for the FTC’s article on Tax-Related Identity Theft. If you’re the victim of tax fraud, visit the IRS website.
A 30-second read by the Baron Team: Registered Investment Advisers (RIAs) are fiduciaries. We are legally bound to put our clients’ interests above our own. As a fiduciary, we are required to act with undivided loyalty to the client, which includes disclosure of compensation.
Not all advisors have the same legal responsibilities as a fiduciary, but can still call themselves financial planners, advisers, or consultants. Those who aren’t RIAs are not subject to the same fiduciary standard of care and are not required by law to put the client’s interests above their own. You have to ask – and should, so you’ll understand what possible conflicts of interest may arise when their real allegiance is to their firm, rather than to you.
At Baron Financial Group, we don’t accept commissions or incentives to sell investment vehicles. We provide fee-only financial planning and investment advice to serve your best interests. As fiduciaries, we are required by law to place your interests above our own.
Are you risky or conservative? Or somewhere in between?
A 30-second read by the Baron Team: When it comes to your portfolio, it is important that you are invested in a strategy that aligns with your ability and willingness to take risk. Baron Financial Group is pleased to provide a free, scientific assessment of your financial risk-tolerance*. The questionnaire will provide you with a risk score, a crucial component when developing a long-term investment strategy.
How does it work?
To access the Risk Tolerance Questionnaire, you can either click here, or press on the “Are you risky or conservative?” button on the footer of our website.
You will be asked to provide your name and email address. Please note that we will only use your email to contact you regarding your score.
You will then be directed to the FinaMetrica website, where you will be prompted to answer 12 questions that will help to determine your risk tolerance score. At the time of this writing, the questionnaire can only be accessed via computer – tablet/phone capability is currently not available.
* The risk tolerance calculator is intended to serve as an informational tool only, and should not be construed as legal, investment or tax advice. Every investment strategy has the potential for profit or loss.
Baron Financial Group strives to stay up-to-date on the current information and newest advancements available in the financial industry regarding financial planning and investment management, practice management, and security. The Baron Team members attended the following fall educational conferences.
Victor Cannillo, NAPFA-Registered Financial Advisor, and Nicholas Scheibner, CFP®, of Baron Financial Group, recently attended the Disrupt|Advice 2017 two-day conference in New York City, “Navigating the Present & Future of Financial Advice.” The conference focused on the notion that “wealth management is changing rapidly, and those advisers that will succeed in the long run are those who embrace, prepare for and readily adapt to change.” Topics discussed at the conference included “the myriad forces that are disrupting the world of financial advice, from digital platforms and tools, pricing pressures, regulatory pressures, innovations in practice management…”, among other topics.
Victor attended the NAPFA (National Association of Personal Financial Advisors) Fall Conference via livestreaming. NAPFA is the country’s leading professional association of Fee-Only financial advisors. The educational conference held in Orlando, Florida, livestreamed programs on income tax and retirement planning, diversification in investments, healthcare reform, estate planning, and data security, among others.
James Suazo, an Associate Financial Planner with Baron Financial Group, attended a cybersecurity workshop presented by Charles Schwab. The workshop provided insights as to what steps we should be taking to strengthen our cybersecurity program, based on the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) cybersecurity framework for improving critical infrastructure. Essential topics included:
Establishing governance and roles
Cybersecurity assessment and action plan
Actions to be implemented
James also attended the FPANJ (Financial Planning Association of NJ) Fall Conference on November 1, 2017. The FPANJ discussed various topics including retirement planning, tax planning, investments, and client communication.
Economic and governmental policies are dynamic; attending industry conferences help us to remain current so that we may continue to provide a valuable service to our clients.