Despite data indicating slowing GDP growth in the last quarter of 2018, optimism over a trade resolution with China pushed stocks up on March’s first trading day. The S&P 500 finished above 2,800 for the first time since Nov. 8. For the week, the Dow rose 0.07 percent to close at 26,026.32. The S&P gained 0.46 percent to finish at 2,803.69, and the NASDAQ climbed 0.90 percent to end the week at 7,595.35.
Mortgage Debt —For the average American household, mortgage debt represents 67 percent of total household debt. Aggregate household debt (e.g., mortgages, credit cards, auto loans) as of Dec. 31, 2018, was $13.54 trillion. Aggregate mortgage debt as of the same day was $9.1 trillion (source: Federal Reserve Bank of New York, BTN Research).
Expensive Education — Outstanding student loan debt in the U.S. was $1.46 trillion as of Dec. 31, 2018, up 128 percent from $640 billion as of Dec. 31, 2008 (source: Federal Reserve Bank of New York, BTN Research).
Six Corrections — Since March 10, 2009, the beginning of the current bull market for the S&P 500, the stock index has suffered six tumbles of at least 10 percent but less than 20 percent (source: BTN Research).
WEEKLY FOCUS – Tips to Prevent Credit Card Fraud
Credit card fraud is a type of identity theft. The terms are often used interchangeably, but there are differences. Identity theft is comprehensive. It means not just one aspect of your identity was taken, but many. Social Security number, home address, credit card number – everything thieves need to file fraudulent tax returns, apply for government benefits, open a cell phone account and more.
Credit card fraud can happen in two ways. With
In both cases, criminals rack up as many charges as possible before you realize it. While precautionary tactics, such as signing up for a credit monitoring service are smart, you might want to take steps to prevent thieves from getting even that far. Follow these tips to help prevent credit card fraud.
For cash advances, use bank-owned ATMs. Thieves often use skimmers to steal credit card information. The devices are placed on ATMs to “skim” data from the magnetic strip on the back of the card. Don’t use ATMs at convenience stores, bars or on the street.
Pay inside at the gas station. Magnetic strip technology doesn’t have layers of protection afforded by chipped cards. If you refuse to give up the convenience of paying at the pump, at least look for irregularities on the card scanner. For example, look for keyboards that look odd, a broken seal or loose card reader. But remember, while you can sometimes spot skimmers, they don’t always look the same, and some are nearly impossible to detect.
Use mobile device payment apps, like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay or Android Pay, available through your mobile app store, for in-store shopping. It might be less common, but your card could still be skimmed at in-store card readers. A transaction made with this type of app isn’t associated with the primary account number on your card. The payment apps use “tokenization” to slice and dice the data to make it unusable after the first transaction.
Keeping your credit cards safe from criminals takes awareness and diligence, and so does protecting your financial future. Call our office today; we can help ensure your financial plans are secure and working to achieve your goals.
The Dorion-Gray Team
Securities offered through Securities America, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services offered through Securities America Advisors, Inc. a Registered Investment Advisory Firm. Dorion-Gray Retirement Planning is a trade name of Dorion-Gray Financial Services, Inc. located at 2602 IL Route 176, Crystal Lake, IL 60014. Dorion-Gray and the Securities America companies are separate, unaffiliated entities.
Diversification seeks to reduce the volatility of a portfolio by investing in a variety of asset classes. Neither asset allocation nor diversification guarantee against market loss or greater or more consistent returns.
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* The Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted index of 30 actively traded blue-chip stocks. NASDAQ Composite Index is an unmanaged, market-weighted index of all over-the-counter common stocks traded on the National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotation System. The Morgan Stanley Capital International Europe, Australia