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Blog | The Portfolio Doctor

The Portfolio Doctor

My blog provides valuable insights into Nobel Prize-winning financial strategies for investors. By utilizing decades of worldwide peer-reviewed capital markets research and analysis, I demonstrate how to build better investment portfolios with lower risks. I also examine common financial media misinformation and how investors can make better financial decisions.

Scams Abound Amid Pandemic Panic

Computer Code

Sadly, as is the case in any crisis, there are those among us who are looking to capitalize on cruelty and take advantage of heightened vulnerabilities. Hackers are trying to lure victims to click on COVID-19 related hyperlinks that contain malicious software and other computer viruses. In some cases, these scams look like official messages from the government and they send people to fake websites where their sensitive information can be stolen.

The following guidelines can help you protect yourself from these digital scams and stay clear of suspicious links you may come across in your internet travels.

How to Spot a Phishing Email

Phishing is a practice in which scammers send emails that appear to be from legitimate organizations. In the case of COVID-19, they may promise to share important information about the coronavirus or how to keep your family safe. In short, they prey on a public fearful of a dangerous virus.

Phishing emails may ask you to click on a link or open an attachment, actions that may download malicious software, called malware, onto your computer. Malware is often used by cybercriminals to log your keystrokes and learn your passwords, especially to your bank accounts or other financial data. Their goal is typically identity theft.

In the case of coronavirus, there are already two types of phishing emails being used by criminals:
  1. CDC Alerts – In a time when Americans are looking daily for advice and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control, criminals are leveraging emails that appear to be from the CDC. The messages might include links that claim to take you to a list of confirmed coronavirus cases in your area. For example, one phishing email currently circulating reads, “You are immediately advised to go through the cases above for safety hazard.”
  2. Health Advice Emails – Cybercriminals are also sending phishing emails that claim to offer medical advice that will protect you from coronavirus. They often claim to be from medical experts in China, where the outbreak began. One example email, cited on the U.S. Department of Health and Services website, says, “This little measure can save you.”

There are other clues besides subject matter that may help you identify phishing emails, too. Grammatical and spelling errors, generic greetings like “Dear Sir or Madam,” requests for personal information and messaging about “acting now” are all suspect.

If you suspect you’ve received a phishing email, delete it without opening it or clicking on links or attachments. Doing so will help you avoid possible attempts at fraud or identity theft.

How to Avoid Fake Ads

Scammers also try to entice unknowing consumers with advertisements for products claiming to treat or cure coronavirus. They usually appear with bright, bold text and attempt to create a sense of urgency by mentioning limited supplies or a one-time offer.

Clicking on ads like these can accidentally download malware onto your computer, just as with phishing emails. Other times, you may be taken to a product website that looks legitimate, where you pay for a product you never receive. By the time you realize what has happened, it’s too late; you’ve already shared personal information, usually including your credit card number.

To remain safe, avoid clicking on any advertisements related to coronavirus products.

How to Find Legitimate Coronavirus Information

With so much suspicious information on the internet, it’s important to know where you can access reliable sources to learn about coronavirus. In general, it’s best to go directly to sources you know and trust, such as the Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, the National Institutes of Health,the National Institutes of Health, government offices and health care agencies.

What to Do if You Think You Have COVID-19

At times, it’s best to abandon internet search efforts altogether. If you believe you are experiencing symptoms consistent with coronavirus, or you have been exposed to someone with this illness, contact your doctor or local health authority for guidance.

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CARES Act Signed into Law –Brings Relief to Millions of Americans

On March 27 the President signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) to address the unprecedented public health and economic crisis related to COVID-19.

This $2 trillion bill is meant to impact both individuals and businesses and contains significant tax-savings measures. It could affect prior tax years while also creating immediate cash-flow.

Impact on Individuals

Stimulus Checks

Perhaps the most impactful provision for American citizens is the CARES Act’s promise of cash payments of up to $1,200 per single individual and $2,400 for a married couple. Parents will also receive an additional $500 per qualifying child. Payments are phased-out for individuals with incomes greater than $75,000 and for married couples filing jointly with income greater than $150,000.

Provisions are such that payments will be based on 2018 tax returns, though, like the Affordable Care Act’s tax premium credit, there is a true-up related to the amount for which you are eligible for the 2020 tax return. Nonresident aliens, dependents and estates and trusts are not eligible for a stimulus check.

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Opinion: The U.S. Can Slash Health-Care Costs 75% with 2 Fundamental Changes — and Without ‘Medicare for All’

Fund the HSA deductible, as Indiana and Whole Foods do, and put real prices on everything

As the Democratic presidential candidates argue about “Medicare for All” versus a “public option,” two simple policy changes could slash U.S. health-care costs by 75% while increasing access and improving the quality of care.

These policies have been proven to work by ingenious companies like Whole Foods and innovative governments like the state of Indiana and Singapore. If they were rolled out nationally, the United States would save $2.4 trillion per year across individuals, businesses, and the government.

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The Case Against Early Retirement

By: Richard W. Johnson

Many people dream of leaving the office as soon as they can. But the evidence suggests a lot of downsides. It may be time to rethink those dreams.

Most people look forward to retirement, a reward for decades of hard work. But like many other pleasures, it may be bad for your health. It may even kill you. How can that be? How can working longer be good for your health? After all, many people dream of—and plan for—retiring early. Strenuous, stressful work can wear people down and damage their health.

On the other hand, retirees can relax and reinvigorate themselves. They have time to follow their passions and pursue activities that enrich their lives. But in our rush to leave the office, we don’t realize that retirement also has a downside, especially over the long term.

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Get Organized! How to Maintain Your Personal Financial Files

Everyone needs to keep certain personal financial files more or less permanently. But which files should you keep, and why do you need to keep them? How long should you keep them and in what format?

This article serves as a brief guide to organizing your personal paperwork.

In this article

  • Why Keep All Those Papers?
  • A Structure You Can Use
  • Consider These Real-World Issues
  • Roadmap for Heirs

Why Keep All Those Papers?

You need to maintain personal financial files in order to prepare for any number of contingencies. These include:

Tax Audits and Calculations: Your tax return might be audited. Tax authorities at both the federal and state levels have the right to reopen your tax return at any time if there is a suspicion of fraud. However, most audits are designed to resolve less troubling discrepancies, with various audit deadlines typically set to occur within seven years. This audit risk creates the need to keep tax and supporting documentation in general for seven years.

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