Monday Morning Quarter-Buck 09/25/2017 – Equifax Breach, Student Loans, and Open Enrollment Season

Monday Morning Quarter-Buck


"Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage." Lao Tzu

If you didn’t catch it on our Facebook Page, Twitter, or LinkedIn, I am extremely excited to announce the release of my first podcast!  We will be posting once a month (the 4th Friday) and would love your feedback and topics you’d like us to cover!  You can find us on iTunes under “Wine and Dime,” and we will post it on our website as well (
Autumn is here, although the weather is saying something very different (I’m perfectly happy with it!).  This year is just flying by and the events of the past few weeks have made it feel like it has been months since my last blog post! 
On the mind of many is the Equifax Breach.  It seems every day we are learning more and more about this breach.   Many of you may have already signed up for the 1-year monitoring from Trusted ID Premier, but I’m beginning to wonder if that is enough.  According to an article published by the Federal Trade Commission, Equifax is now offering free freezes until November 21st.  However, unlike a fraud alert, a freeze needs to be placed with each individual credit reporting agency, so to make a freeze truly effective you would need to place a freeze with TransUnion and Experian.  If you’d like to read the article for yourself, here is the link:
I tried to help several clients with this recently and unfortunately when we tried to call, we kept getting a busy signal! 
Several of the podcasts I subscribe to covered this topic as well, one in particular that I thought had a great deal of information.  Listen to 513 - Equifax Data Breach: 5 Steps to Protect Your Personal Finances from Money Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for a Richer Life in Podcasts. 
Another great podcast is from one of my favorite sister in finance, Jean Chatzky.  I particularly loved this issue because it not only talked about the problem, it talked about some solutions with Frank Abagnale.  Does that name sound familiar?  It was his life story that the movie Catch Me If You Can was based on.  I would encourage you to take the time to listen to what he has to say about the breach: Listen to Headline: What To Do About The Equifax Breach With Frank Abagnale from HerMoney with Jean Chatzky in Podcasts
Taking it a step further, Kiplinger’s came out with a quiz to test your knowledge on protecting your identity called “Is Your Identity at Risk?”  It is a great short quiz that will also educate you.

If you have minor children, please don't forget to run a credit report on them as well.  I recently read a statistic that stated our youth is 50% more likely to be a victim of identity theft because who thinks of running a credit report on someone younger than 16?  This gives identity thieves sometimes over a decade to utilize the information.
For those of you that have been attending my Monday Wine and Dime events or may have attended the Three P’s of Student Loans that I co-hosted with Cornell Cooperative Extension and Caitlin Fuller, CFP® - you know that student loans are a very big concern for many.  I read some staggering statics recently:

  • This country has 1.4 Trillion Dollars in outstanding student loans;
  • 8 million dollars are in default, with about 3,000 every day (1 every 28 seconds) adding to that staggering number.

How do we fix that or at least slow it down?  One of my industry colleagues recently wrote a great blog on this topic – take a moment to read “6 Steps to End the Student Loan Debt Crisis One Family at a Time” by Joe Messinger, CFP®.  For many, as the FAFSA season opens on October 1, this is particularly important, and will be even more important when those award letters start rolling in.
For those of you that are still working, you may also have an important date coming your way.  October is a common month for employee benefits open enrollment season.  Are you fully aware of all the benefits your employer is offering to you?  Do you know how they may offer some financial support to your life?  This is an area I often see confusion for many employees, and to be honest, significant underutilization.  Remember, we are here to help you understand those benefits and how they might fit into your life.
For those of you over the age of 65, you too will have open enrollment coming!  Medicare open enrollment begins on October 15th and closes on December 7, 2017.  This is one of the few times of year that you can make changes to your Medicare plan.  It is also when insurance companies can make changes to their plan benefits.  Additionally, perhaps you began taking a new medication throughout the year and a different Part-D plan may be a better option for you.  That is why it is so important that we review your selection each year. 
Do you have a topic you’d like me to write about?  Send us a note at and we will feature your question in an upcoming release.
Happy Fall!

Irvine Wealth Planning Strategies in the Community

  • October 9, 2017 - Wine and Dime - Corning Radisson - Financial education with a glass of wine.  Register at Wine and Dime
  • October 12, 2017 - Retirement Planning for the X and Y Generations - Corning Library - sign up at Cornell Cooperative Extension - Put Knowledge to Work.
  • November 4, 2017 - Southern Tier Financial Conference - Corning Community College - Financial Education for Women by Women.  Sign up at Finances for Women

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