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Watch Out for Online Scams

MoneyWise / Rob West and Steve Moore
The Truth Network Radio
January 13, 2023 11:25 pm

Watch Out for Online Scams

MoneyWise / Rob West and Steve Moore

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January 13, 2023 11:25 pm

Emotions can cause a lot of trouble, especially if you allow them to get anywhere near your money. And two of the most troublesome emotions are fear and greed. On today's Faith & Finance Live, Rob West will explain how scam artists use fear and greed to separate you from your hard earned cash and what you can do to avoid becoming a victim of their schemes. Then he’ll answer your calls and financial questions.

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Emotions can cause a lot of trouble if you allow them to get anywhere near your money.

Hi, I'm Rob West. The two emotions that will cause you the most trouble are fear and greed. Scam artists know this, and they use it to separate you from your hard-earned cash. I'll talk about how you can prevent that today, and then it's on to your calls at 800-525-7000.

That's 800-525-7000. This is Faith and Finance Live, biblical wisdom for your financial decisions. People are spending a lot of time and money online these days, so that's where scammers are focusing their latest efforts. We've talked about phishing many times before. That's of course phishing with a ph, but it bears repeating because it continues to be highly successful for thieves. A phishing email is the most common way cyber crooks try to fool you into giving up your personal financial information or getting you to click a malicious link. A phishing email will indicate that you owe money or that you're due money. The first capitalizes on fear.

The other, greed. You can often spot a phishing attempt by scanning the message for poor grammar and misspelled words. If you see any, hit the delete button. Next in the scammers bag of tricks is fake antivirus software. Let's say you're looking at a website and you get a message saying that your computer is infected. The scammer offers free software to clean your computer, but by downloading it you'll actually infect your system with a virus or malware.

Leave that page immediately and use only software from reputable anti-malware companies like Norton, McAfee or Intego. Or you might get a phone call from a scammer posing as tech support from your actual anti-malware provider saying your computer is infected. They'll ask you to download an app that allows them to take control of your computer remotely so they can quote unquote fix the problem for you. If you allow it, the crook gets access to any personal financial information on your computer like your social security number or credit card numbers.

Within hours you'll probably become another victim of identity theft. If you get a call like that, hang up. Reputable anti-malware companies won't cold call to tell you your device is infected. Norton, for example, says they'll only call you if you first contact them about a problem and their tech support is free to subscribers. And that's another clue that you're being scammed when tech support wants to charge a large sum of money to fix a problem, sometimes more than the device is worth. Also beware of ads on Google offering service for exorbitant sums because even scammers can advertise there. If you have a problem, contact the manufacturer or a reputable anti-malware provider directly.

Don't click a Google ad for tech support. Now that covers scams using fear. Let's turn to greed and scams promising ways to make fast and easy money, usually from home.

You'll often see these in your browser search results. They'll take you to fake websites that offer quick money for doing almost nothing. They're really trying to get you to turn over your personal information by filling out some type of online form. Never give out financial details in response to a search result, email or ad. Another way the fast and easy money scammers can get you is by requiring you to pay for something up front, like purchasing training materials for a bogus job they're offering.

Once the crooks get your money, you'll never hear from them again. You're more likely to find Bigfoot in your backyard than a job that pays well but requires no skills or training and few work hours. If jobs like that really existed, they wouldn't need to be advertised.

Everybody and their uncle would already be doing them. Okay, time for just one more online scam and that would be fake shopping sites. The internet is loaded with them and they usually have one thing in common. They'll offer you great deals on your favorite brands at ridiculously low prices, sometimes 75% off or more. If you fall for one of these fake deals, the scammers will then have your credit or debit card information and can then use it themselves or sell it on the dark web. You can usually spot them by taking a careful look at the URL or web address.

It will look very similar to the real online merchant but will always have a slight variation like an extra letter so be on the lookout for that. Well, those are the latest online scams and now you know how to avoid them so you can be gentle as doves but wise as serpents. This is also a great time for me to remind you to regularly pull a copy of your credit report to look for inaccurate or fraudulent information.

You'll find it at annualcreditreport.com at no cost. All right, your calls are next, 800-525-7000. We'll be right back. Delighted to have you with us today on Faith & Finance Live. I'm Rob West, your host. It's time to take your calls and questions today on anything financial. Let's turn the corner.

What are you thinking about? We'd love to hear from you. We've got some lines open. They're filling quickly but we've got one waiting for you at the moment at 800-525-7000. Again, that's 800-525-7000. Why don't we begin today in Doylestown, Ohio. Brenda, you'll be our first caller. Go ahead. Hi, I don't have a question as much as something I think people might need to be aware of. My husband and I, since I have a little side business, we file married separately, right?

Yes. And we've been contributing to Roth IRAs for the last several years and it just came to light accidentally that we are not eligible to contribute to a Roth IRA when we file separately. Now why would that be? As long as you're under the income cap, what would filing separately, how would that affect your Roth? The income cap is $10,000 when you file separately. This is something that I did not know and our tax preparer is not concerned about that because the Roth IRA doesn't have any tax implications. Yeah, the thing that's confusing me, Brenda, is that if you file taxes as a single person, your modified adjusted gross income has to be under, for last year was $144,000, for this year it's $153,000 for you to have Roth IRA eligibility. For a married person filing jointly, it's up at $214,000 for last year, $228,000 for this year.

So that's what's throwing me off a little bit. We're married filing separately because of the deductions that I can take from my extra income. And when you do that, you're not eligible to contribute to a Roth IRA, which we have, and now he's trying to undo everything. Yeah. Well, my understanding would be that if you're married filing separately, oh, I see. So if you live, yeah, there is a provision that I was not aware of. It's interesting that you're calling this out.

So it says if you've lived together at any time during the year, which clearly you do, you just happen to file separately, it's less than $10,000. That's really interesting. I think that's probably a little known provision in the tax law that probably trips most people up, which is really fascinating. So are you all in the process of removing your contributions? Yes. We switched to a new financial analyst a couple years ago.

And it just came to light very randomly. And so yeah, we're trying to undo it and put the funds into something else, because we're not eligible. Interesting. And do you plan to continue to file this way because of your business interests?

Is that right? Well, you know, and here's the thing, I don't think that saving several hundred dollars a year is worth the offset of being able to do a Roth. So no, I don't think I'm going to do that this year. Trying to save a little bit of tax money, you know, tax return. Yeah, and miss out on this opportunity. You know, the other option is I mean, do you all take advantage of a SEP IRA or anything else as self employed individuals? No, I'm no, I don't.

I don't really make that much extra income anymore. But I think what we're going to do this year instead is we're going to buy I bonds. Hmm. Yeah.

Yeah. And you certainly can do that. I think that the nice thing about the I bonds is the rate right now is fairly attractive at 6.89%. It's likely going to come down after your first six months. And we'll know what that rate is in May. And so the one year return would probably be pretty attractive longer term. You know, if this is money that you're looking five years plus on, I don't think it's going to be very attractive.

I mean, I would say in your one to five year bucket, I like the I bonds because you have the ability to pull it out after a year if you can find something more attractive if the Fed is successful at getting interest, the inflation back down, which would bring the I bond rate down because it's pegged to CPI. I think the key for you all is to make sure I mean, I would imagine if you are, are you both self employed? Or there's one of you from we Yeah, we both have full time jobs.

And I just have a side job. Okay, very good. And so are you contributing through your company sponsored retirement plan for your long term savings? Yes. Okay, very good.

Yeah. So you, you've got something going there, obviously, to build for your future. And I would say as a goal, let's target that at 10 to 15%. But I like the Roth a lot.

I think that could be a great option for you. And this discovery that you've made on the married filing separately may in fact lead you to changing that status moving forward. So thanks for pointing that out. Interesting curveball in the IRS tax code that you're uncovering here. So we appreciate you checking in with us today, Brenda, and I'm sorry, that's not going to work out for you for 2022. Let's head to Indiana. Hey, Randy, how are you doing today?

And how can I help? Good, thank you. If I'm taking anything out from my TSP, why is it taxed as income when I is declared as a taxable savings account? Well, a TSP Thrift Savings Plan is a retirement vehicle, and that money is contributed pre tax. So you think about it like a 401k, it's just for government workers. And so as you take that money out, not only will you pay tax on his income in retirement, but if you do so prior to age 59 and a half, you're going to have a penalty on top of that. Right. So if I'm taking out after 59 and a half, I'm fine with that. That's like putting my money in savings account, I'm taxed on I take it like savings money out of the bank.

That is not the same thing. No, because when you put money in a savings account, you're putting it in after tax. So the benefit here is the money going into the TSP, you're going to deduct that from your taxable income. So it's going in pre tax, you're not it's going to be excluded from your income that you pay tax on in the year of the contribution. And then they're going to let you allow it to grow tax deferred. So the taxes aren't impacting the growth along the way. But in exchange for that tax deduction that, you know, contribution pre tax and the tax deferred growth, as you take it out, you're going to pay on it as a withdrawal in the form of income tax. Different from your savings, which you put in after tax, and then you pay tax on the gains along the way the interest. Does that make sense?

Okay. Yeah, it does. I thought the TSP was pre taxed. It sounds like it's not a Roth IRA. It's more like an IRA where you're paying taxes after the fact. That's correct.

Yeah. So it goes in pre tax. So the contributions the TSP are like a traditional IRA or a traditional 401k. They're excluded from your income in the year of the contribution, and then tax deferred growth and then paying tax as it comes out. Unlike the Roth IRA, where it's going in after tax, and then you have tax free growth, the TSP is more equivalent to the traditional IRA and 401k. Is that a negative thing?

Not necessarily just different. So you know, the question is, are you paying more in the way of taxes today, and therefore that deduction today is more beneficial to you? Or would you rather pay tax on it down the road? You're banking on the fact that the taxes down the road are going to be lower.

They're probably not. So that's where the Roth is advantageous, because if we think we're in a lower tax bracket today, because politically rates are headed higher down the road, and again, that's uncertain, then you'd be better paying the tax today and taking it out tax free. I kind of like the idea of having two buckets. So perhaps you think about doing the TSP as your pre tax bucket, and then do a Roth in addition to that. So you'd have some tax free money growth growing for you as well.

But at the end of the day, it's going to come down to your future taxation. Thanks for your call. We'll be right back on Faith and Finance Live. Stay with us. Hey, it's great to have you with us today on Faith and Finance Live.

We have a few lines open, 800-525-7000. You know, as we look at the fundamental principles of managing money, one that just jumps off the page after God owns it all is that we have to live within our means, right? We've got to take our spending and dial it in such that we're living on less than we're earning.

It sounds easy or simple. It's not, as you well know, especially in light of four decade high inflation. And as a result of that, it's more important than ever that we have a spending plan that we really take the time to carefully craft our budget because margin, income minus expenses and having something left, that's what margin is.

That's key to funding your longer term goals that align with your values, being able to give more, save for an emergency fund, help a friend or neighbor fund your long-term retirement savings, or maybe finally eradicate that debt once and for all. Well, if you need a budget and a spending plan and a system to control it, perhaps you should check out the Faith Fi app. You'll learn more at our website, brand new site, faithfi.com. That's faithfi.com.

Just click on the app button, check it out. All right, let's go back to the phones to Spokane, Washington. Dean, thanks for calling, sir.

Go right ahead. Thank you. Thank you somebody for my call.

I'm turning 70 and so I'm going to retire. Dean, do me a quick favor. I'm sorry to interrupt you.

You're breaking up just a little bit on me. If you wouldn't mind just maybe relocating in the room where you're at, let's see if we can get a better connection and I'll have you try again. Okay. Let's give that a shot.

Any better at all? Yeah, let's try it. Okay.

Anyway, I'm turning 70. You know, I'm not hearing you, so I'm going to do this. I hate to interrupt you. If you'll hold the line, my team will work with you. Let's see if we can get a better connection and we'll get you back on here in just a moment.

Again, I apologize. We'll work with you and see if we can get a nice clear signal and then get back on the line with you. Let's head to Wichita.

Hi, Stacey. You go right ahead. Hey, thanks for taking my call.

Yeah, I got an interesting situation here. We built a home a couple years ago, took out a loan to do that, obviously, and I remember the originator at some point they had lowered our payment and we were like, yay, great. That's awesome. We didn't pay any attention to the numbers other than, you know, the payment amount. And then they sold the loan. And we're just now finding out that the escrow's a little over negative $6,000.

And so we just got a new mortgage payment that's almost $900 more than what we're just got used to paying. Wow. Wow.

Yeah. And why was it so you said it was negative $6,000? I have a hard time believing they allowed it to get that out of whack. What happened? You know, I don't know the answer. I haven't had a chance to talk to them yet.

I'm going to try to do that today. I believe that it's correct that, you know, they were under escrowing and, you know, not satisfying the law there. But yeah, I'm just kind of left with the massive trying to figure out how I'm going to pay this thing.

Yeah. And that's not a one time charge. They're saying that's your new your new payment until it's replenished. Yeah, that's the new payment for the year. The according to the thing, that's the new payment for this year. They spread out the shortage over the year plus whatever, you know, additional needed to go up just to have the escrow where it should be.

Yeah, no, I get that. Well, you're going to need to contact the escrow department. Normally what happens when they make an error and clearly they did because they should have been on top of this. I mean, they can't anticipate annual increases in homeowners insurance or property taxes. But this is a lot more than just, you know, it went up by 5% or something like that.

So something was awry. And normally when they make a mistake like that, the results in a shortage like this, they'll work with you to spread it out. Now, given that it's a pretty significant sum, you know, they may need to spread it out longer than they would normally do. So it may need to be that, you know, they do it over a full year if they are already, although 900 a month is is quite a bit more than 6000. I realize they're trying to make it up and replenish it, but that seems excessive. They may need to be willing to do it over two years.

Here's the reality. They don't want you to default on this mortgage because that doesn't do them any good. If they have to foreclose on you, that's going to be and let's not even go there. But I'm just saying in their minds, you know, that's not a good scenario for them financially because of the cost and, you know, how much money they would lose. So it's in their best interest to work with you, especially since, you know, somebody made a mistake here. So I would just call them and say, listen, this is not feasible based on our budget and what we have available. We want to make it whole. We're not arguing that, but we just need to do it over a timeframe that gets this payment into a reasonable, you know, range that, you know, we can actually do on a monthly basis without creating a hardship for our family. And I suspect they'll work with you on that, Stacey.

This is unusual, but this shouldn't be the first time they've had something like this. Okay, I appreciate it. Thank you so much. All right.

You're very welcome. Quickly to Wyoming. Mark, you're next on the program, sir. Go ahead. Yeah, I'm 59 years old and I don't know if I should be paying extra on my house payment or putting that to my retirement. Yeah. Are you putting anything toward retirement now, Mark? Yeah. I've been putting about 6,000 a year away.

That way I don't have to pay no taxes or nothing. Okay. And do you have the ability to do more than that? How much surplus do you have on a monthly basis? Well, my house payment is right around $1,500 and I've been paying like three on it. So it's been going down pretty quick. That's great. At this current rate, if you just keep doing what you're doing, how quickly would you have it paid off?

Do you know? Less than eight years. Okay. You know, here's what I would try to do. I'd call your mortgage company and say, pick your estimated retirement date, whenever you think that is. Let's say it's 65.

It may not be, but let's pick a number. And then you'd want to say to them, will you run an amortization schedule for me that tells me how much I need to send extra per month so I can have this paid off by my 65th birthday? And let them tell you what that number is. And that's what I would focus on because that way, as you're entering retirement, you take this largest major expense that you have in your budget and that's gone. And now that's going to help you keep your expenses as low as possible so you can fund your retirement.

And then every extra dollar you have available, let's put toward retirement savings. Thanks for your call. We'll be right back. Stay with us. It's great to have you with us today on Faith and Finance Live. This is the program where we apply the wisdom from God's word to your financial decisions and choices. So glad you're along with us today. We've got room for a few more questions between now and the end of the program. The number to call, 800-525-7000.

Hey, a quick listener email. This comes to us from Liz. She says, my husband and I would like to find a small starter home. That used to be what couples did, but that seems like just a dream these days as houses are so expensive. Do we just rent forever?

We both work and need to live where there are good jobs. Am I missing something? And Liz, I would say no.

And fortunately, you're not missing anything. Houses are very expensive these days. Although home values have begun to ease in many parts of the country and that's expected over the balance of the year, perhaps five to six percent down, maybe as much as 10 plus, depending upon if we get into a recession that's beyond just mild. Here's some guidelines. I would say number one, don't give up or lose heart.

Make this a matter of prayer. Use this time to save diligently. I think as mortgage rates come down, as housing prices come down, we're now clearly in a buyer's market versus a seller's market. All of those things are going to work in your favor. The things you're going to want to focus on, maintain a good credit rating. Save 20 percent for that down payment to avoid PMI and having plenty of equity in the home, getting pre-approved for the mortgage, but don't get as much mortgage necessarily as they pre-approve you for because they might let you borrow more than I would like for you to. And as a guide, look for your mortgage payment, including taxes and insurance, to be no more than 25 percent of your take-home pay. That's going to ensure that you don't stretch to buy that house and, you know, put your financial house in jeopardy, if you will.

So you don't lose heart. Start saving, and I think in time you'll find that God will provide just the right thing, perhaps later this year or early next. And we appreciate you writing to us. If you have a question you'd like read on the air, send it along to askrob at faithfi.com. All right, back to the phones.

We go to Savannah, Georgia. Hi, Lynn. Thanks for calling. Go ahead.

Hello. My husband and I are nearing retirement, and we have our money invested in savings, cities, IRA, SEP, and stocks. But with the rise and everything moving to a digital currency, what do you recommend as a secure means of investing our savings? Because I've heard predictions that our money will not be worth anything or possibly we could even lose our money. Yeah.

Yeah, I wouldn't be focused on that. I mean, you mentioned a digital currency. It's getting a lot of attention lately, and for good reason. We're seeing a lot of activity in what are called CBDC's central bank digital currencies, because more than 90% of the world's gross domestic product, you know, those countries are looking at digital currency right now.

But it's a long way off. Basically, what happened was that the Federal Reserve would have to create, after getting approval from Congress and the President, you know, the digital currency, and it can't be unilaterally ordered by the President. It's got to be an act of Congress. It's going to take a long time to work through even a comprehensive framework for the development of digital assets. And that's basically all that's been done is there's been some research that was done and a report issued by the Treasury on what it would look like. Keep in mind, the digital euro is scheduled to go online in the middle of the decade and a digital dollar is well behind it. It would most likely be several years before anyone was using a digital dollar in normal life. China started working on theirs in 2016, and they're still in the pilot phase.

That's a massive pilot, 260 million users. But the bottom line is that the U.S. is a long way off. The Central Bank really doesn't have the authority.

Coinage is a congressional function. So it's going to be hard to get legislative buy-in due to a lack of trust. The Federal Reserve doesn't really have a high degree of trust right now, and especially with a divided government.

You know, given that so much is moving digital, it's not out of the realm of possibility that we could have one. And obviously, because we're the world's reserve currency, a lot of countries will be looking to us to see our framework so that they know that they can use, you know, their currencies will work with our digital dollar framework. But I don't think this is a reason not to invest in stocks and bonds. I mean, I still think the very best way for you to build wealth, despite any headwinds we might have or, you know, a debt crisis, you know, way down the road, if we had a liquidity crisis in this country, there's just not really an alternative.

I mean, if you put it under the mattress or, you know, you're losing purchasing power, if you put it all in gold, then you've got a hard asset that's, you know, very difficult to do much with and the volatility and performance just doesn't match stocks and bonds. So ultimately, we need to trust the Lord. We should be wise and shrewd in handling God's money. And so I don't mean we should stick our heads in the sand. But at the same time, you know, I don't think we can see anything on the horizon that would put, you know, our financial system in jeopardy, despite, I think, some of the challenges we're seeing politically. So I would say you're doing the right things. You've got retirement accounts, you mentioned a SEP, you mentioned IRAs, you mentioned having proper savings.

I think those are still the very best ways for you to build wealth over time in a properly diversified stock and bond portfolio. And if godly, God-fearing economists begin to see something changing on the horizon, you know, we'll be talking about it, I think, well before anything like that were to happen. Does that all make sense, though, Lynn?

Yes, it does. And I appreciate you answering my question so much. All righty. God bless you and all the best to you as you manage God's money. Manage God's money. We appreciate you being a part of the program today.

To Oklahoma City. Hey, Mike, thanks for calling. Go ahead, sir. Hey, Rob, I like the new name of your show.

Well, thank you. Yeah, I have a secured credit card for about 20 months now. I had it to build my credit.

Hopefully on the 31st of this month, I'm going to close on a house. And my question is, is it time to switch to a regular credit card? And maybe what would be the best type of credit card to go to?

Yeah, you know, it might be Mike, and I think that was a great move that you had there to build your credit. You know, by getting that secured credit card, why would you want to move to an unsecured card? Well, if number one, you're only using it for budgeted items and paying it off every month, and I think then that's a possibility because the last thing we'd want you to do is turn that unsecured line of credit into debt that you begin to carry at a high interest rate.

But if you're confident you've got the discipline to, you know, only use that for budgeted items, then then I think that's a possibility. The benefit is you could obviously charge more than you have on deposit. So right now you can only charge up to what's on deposit with the institution. By getting an unsecured line, it would allow you to perhaps run more of your monthly budgeted transactions through that account because you've just got a bigger limit and you don't have to, you know, you can go beyond what you had on deposit. And, you know, there's just more varieties to pick from with the unsecured if you're looking for other benefits like cash back or, you know, travel rewards, things like that. I would do your homework, though, on the best cards because I'd rather you not pay an annual fee and you don't have to to still get a great card, you know, that's paying two percent cash back. I mean, Bank of America's got a great one. Fidelity does. A Wells Fargo bank also has a great one, two percent across the board on everything. So to find that next credit card, if you're confident you'll use it for budgeted items only, I'd head to NerdWallet, creditcards.com or bankrate.com.

Any of those will allow you to search and find the one that's going to be the very best fit for you depending upon what you're looking for in terms of perks and make sure that you're not paying any annual fees. Thanks for calling, Mike, and appreciate your kind remarks about the program. This is Faith and Finance Live, a quick break and back with much more, including Jerry Boyer just around the corner. Stay with us. Hey, great to have you with us today on Faith and Finance Live. I'm Rob Last year host. I'm so thankful you tune into the program. Thanks for your emails and your calls.

Thanks for your financial support as well at faithfi.com. With us this segment is our good friend Jerry Boyer. Jerry joins us each Friday on the broadcast to reflect on the markets and the economy. Jerry, you and I talked earlier today and I was saying we've got a few CEOs out, namely JP Morgan and Bank of America calling for a mild recession today. Well, it seems like we've been talking about that for a while. Maybe they're a little late to the party, huh?

I think they are. And I think that maybe to some degree, business commentary has a little bit of the cult of the CEO. And in my experience, the CEOs of major corporations are sort of the last ones to get back bad news, not the first and are particularly good at forecasting.

If you ever go back and look, you know, they have that Davos meeting every year where all of the masters of the universe, they're not really the masters of the universe, right? We know the masters of the universe is, but they gather together and they list, you know, the risk factors for the year, what they expect for the year. Go back and reread those and see how often they were, you know, what they didn't see, the great recession, COVID, the inflation that we've seen over the past year. I mean, they're almost a lagging indicator.

So what's a leading indicator? Well, I think that most of the knowledge about the economy is out there in the economy, not centered with the CEO or even an expert pundit like me, that all the people out there that, you know, the 8 billion of us and the, you know, 300 and some million Americans as we're out there making decisions about investing in business, there's more knowledge outside of the expert class than there is inside the expert class. And the knowledge outside the expert class has been screaming for about a year that the economy is slowing down. It was saying we're probably in a recession and we were in a recession first half of last year. And it also was saying we're going to enter a recession, another recession now. I'm glad to see that the CEOs of the major banks are catching up with what essentially retail investors and the rest of us, you know, already knew.

At this point, it's almost a contrarian indicator. If they think there's going to be a recession, oh, well, it'll probably be kind of mild because they're a little behind the curve. Who wants to give the boss the bad news about where the economy is heading?

That's it. Bad news moves up the corporate hierarchy very slowly. So CEOs are slow to hear bad news. That's why I like these ISM indices as well, which is basically surveys of people who are actually running supply chains, you know, people who are, you know, who know when the truck is arriving or not arriving. You know, they've got a pretty good track record of forecasting the economy because they're down in the guts of it. And I think we all know that any of us who work for big corporations, we kind of know where the knowledge is. So, Terry, the data that's for big corporations.

Yeah, that's exactly right. So the data you look at both the markets as well as some of the key indicators you're watching. What is the current thinking right now? The current thinking is, yeah, we're running into a recession, but the past couple of weeks have basically said maybe not so bad a recession as we thought, because the market is basically saying no matter how tough the Fed talks, we think that when we actually get into an officially designated recession, the Fed will take its foot off the brake. Now, I mean, the Fed wants to slow the economy. I know that's crazy, but being influenced by Keynesian economics, which is essentially atheistic economics, they think that growth causes inflation. Now, we as Christians know that we're created to fill the earth and subdue it, which you can't do without growth. We're supposed to grow.

Growth is not a bad thing, but they think growth is a matter of animal spirits, etc., and that, you know, the engine's going to overheat or something. So when there's inflation, instead of the Fed saying, well, it's our fault, it blames the people, the consumers, and says, well, we need to slow down the economy. People are living too well. I think it was Ronald Reagan said in his debate with Jimmy Carter, it's not the people who are living too well, it's the government who's living too well. And so they wanted to intentionally slow down the economy to fight inflation. But this week, we got two big sets of data points that both said, well, the inflation's maybe not so bad. That is the actual inflation numbers on Thursday, and then consumer sentiment numbers today, and consumer sentiment numbers are basically an inflation measure.

When you ask people how's the economy doing, the data indicates what they're really doing is looking at their own grocery bill and gasoline. So the inflation's not so bad, so maybe the Fed will take its foot off the brake. Also, CEOs saying there's going to be a recession, oh, the ruling class is catching up with the fact that there's a recession. The Fed probably can't ignore that. So basically, markets are betting that the Fed's going to lose its nerve. It's going to take its foot off the brake once we're officially in a recession.

Therefore, it won't really effectively fight inflation. And so markets are saying, so the recession is not going to be as bad as we thought. And that's why markets are up this week, and that's why the most growth-sensitive markets are up more. So stocks are up more than bonds. And risky stocks like tech stocks, the NASDAQ, is up more than the old stodgy Dow Jones. And the consumer cyclicals are up more than the consumer discretionary. The things like boats and jewelry are kind of coming back, whereas last year it was all about toothpaste and groceries, kind of necessities. So basically, so far this year is saying the trades of last year maybe went a little too far, and the recession probably won't be as bad.

But we're also not going to as effectively fight inflation. Yeah, and here we sit now only a little more than a couple of thousand points away from the all-time high on the Dow, which is hard to believe given all the bad news that's out there. Pretty interesting. Well, Jerry, I appreciate you weighing in, my friend. Hey, when you stop by next week, I want you to give us a preview of the 2023 shareholder corporate annual meetings that you're going to be participating in and what you're looking at this year as you do corporate engagement, okay? Yeah, a lot of abortion on corporate meeting agendas coming up this year. And I know a lot of our listeners, including me, were concerned about that. Interesting.

We'll hear more about that next week. Jerry, have a great weekend, my friend. You too. God bless. All right. God bless. Jerry Boyer, our resident economist and president of Boyer Research. Back to the phones we go here in our final segment. Let's get to as many questions as we can.

Deborah in Cleveland, thanks for your patience. Go ahead. Oh, thank you so much. I am nearing retirement, at least retirement from my primary job, transitioning to another one. I am a single mother with two adult sons and I have two life insurance policies specifically geared toward providing, I guess, what you would call an inheritance in the event of my death. And I'm wondering if it makes more sense for me to divert that money into something other than these whole life policies that I have.

I've calculated that I spent approximately $3,000 per year on these policies. And has that been increasing, Deborah? No, it's steady. It's the same. Okay. Yeah.

You know, I think, I mean, what is the cash value that's built up in there? Do you know? I don't know. One, I've had quite a while. The other one is more like six years.

The other one, the first one is more like 10 years. Okay. It's not a lot of cash value.

Yes. It looks like we lost Deborah there. Here's what I would say, Deborah. If your sons are grown and on their own and you essentially don't need life insurance, if nobody is depending upon you. And I think, you know, if you need this money for your own retirement, I think that's where it would go first. Beyond that, you could have more control over this money by pulling it out, taking whatever cash value is there, and then taking that $3,000 a year and just, you know, consistently funding a separate investment account. That would be money that's accessible to you during your life if you need it, and then available there as an inheritance moving forward. I think that would be my preference.

Now, obviously, there's a lot of details when it comes to these policies. So it's probably not a bad idea to visit with an advisor who can look at the actual policy you have and take this into account in your overall financial picture. And if you need a financial planner, somebody who could do that just on a one-time basis, you know, for an hourly charge, you could visit faithfi.com and click find to CKA. But just from a high level, Deborah, I like the idea of you redirecting this money because the life insurance is not necessary to a savings account, you'd have a little more control over. Thanks for your call today. Quickly to Tampa, Florida.

Kim, you'll be our final caller. Go ahead. Hi, I was telling I have a little over $100,000 in cash that I have. I have a $250,000 life insurance policy. I can put away $1,000 a month, $1,000 a week, for maybe the next four years.

I want to know what I can do with this money in order for it to give me a comfortable retirement. Yeah. Are you participating in a company sponsored retirement plan at work? I'm self-employed. You're self-employed.

That's my biggest issue. Yes. Yeah. And are you building an asset there?

Is that business able to be sold when you retire? Yes. Yes.

Yes. Okay. What do you think the business will be valued at when you get to that point?

I'm thinking once I sell the business, maybe half a million, 600,000, something like that. Okay. That's great. Yeah.

I mean, I think the key for you is to try to get as much of this as in a tax-deferred environment as you can. Are you four years out from retirement? Is that what that four-year number is or is it? Yeah. I'm 61. Okay. All right.

Yeah. So if you could put away $52,000 a year, that's another $200,000 you'd have to put away on top of the $100,000 you have in cash. And then if the business was worth, let's say, $600,000, I mean, you'd have $900,000 or more that you could use plus social security to fund your expenses. I think the key is trying to get as much of that into a tax-deferred vehicle as possible. I'd look to open a SEP IRA and then invest that. SEP IRA is what you want. And then get the rest of it invested as well.

I think you have enough that I'd connect with a Certified Kingdom Advisor to do some planning for you, some retirement planning, but also to help you get it set up and manage that money as it's invested so you can focus on your business and have somebody else focus on managing the money. You'll find a CKA in your city by heading to our website. That's faithfi.com. Just click find a CKA. Thanks for calling.

Faith in Finance Live is a partnership between Moody Radio and FaithFi. Thank you to my team, Jim, Amy, Dan, and Charles. Thank you for being here as well. Have a great weekend. We'll see you next week. God bless you.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-14 00:50:04 / 2023-01-14 01:07:13 / 17

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