KFA Blog

October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month

By:  Jacqueline Whitaker - Business Manager

Cybersecurity can be a scary topic!

There are specters haunting cyberspace in pursuit of your Personally Identifiable Information (PII).  They can curse you by stealing your identity, tarnishing your reputation, and creeping into your bank accounts.

Personally identifiable information (PII), or sensitive personal information (SPI), as used in US privacy law and information security, is information that can be used on its own or with other information to identify, contact or locate a single persons, or to identify an individual in context.  KFA is sober minded when it comes to shielding our clients PPI.  We have procedures in place to help us recognize the ghostly shadows of cybercriminals.  Clients partnering with us in our culture of protection provide the best defense against fraudsters.

Click HERE to view a flyer that will provide more detail on how you can protect your PII and your money.  Fortunately, there are simple steps you can take to thwart the actions of the ghouls and goblins who seek to entangle you in their dark web.

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Market Commentary: 3rd Quarter 2016

By:  Lisa Thuer - Senior Trading and Research Specialist

The fourth quarter is upon us and where do we go from here. 2016 started out with one of the most volatile Januaries in history only to be led by an upward climb in February and March. June ended with the whipsaw of Brexit. Not to mention the Federal Reserve indecision of raising interest rates or not. If all of that isn’t enough, let us bring an unconventional Presidential Election into the mix.

Putting all of the noise aside, the economy is growing. Perhaps not at leaps and bounds, but it is growing and slow growth keeps inflation intact. The unemployment rate is low and wages are rising, slowly. Home and auto sales are good. Consumer confidence is up which is a positive sign that people feel things are improving. Oil has come off its lows and the dollar has come off its highs giving both of them some stability.

How does all this relate to your portfolios? Our job becomes challenging at times when the markets do not trade on fundamentals. In the long run, fundamentals do win out. However, short-term it makes it quite difficult to tune out the noise and look to the long-term goals and know that your timeline may be extended to reach these goals. Depending on your age, this timeline may be shorter or longer for each individual. Emotions do get in the way of money and investing, however this year has taught us that the markets are resilient and can weather many storms even when stuck in the eye of the hurricane you cannot see the light of day.

Sorting through whom to believe in all of this – so far the media has put nothing but fear and panic into our heads. We have made several adjustments to many portfolios over the past couple of weeks and a few more will continue but no major changes. Earning season is upon us and we are looking for a positive one. Should there be some misses in earnings, we may experience some volatility. The Presidential Election is just a few weeks away which may also cause a stir in the markets. Investment wise we are erroring on the cautious side and staying with U.S. dividend payers. Unfortunately, healthcare has been a drag on our portfolios, but we believe it has bottomed and healthcare innovations are nothing but a positive story in the works. Merger and acquisitions are materializing, the biotech space is increasing with clinical trials, medical innovations and many more are all taking place. There may be some pullback in this sector depending on the elections since there are different views on healthcare from both candidates. However we will remain invested and perhaps increase our allocation to the healthcare sector. Technology remains in focus and we will continue to hold and look for areas of further interest. Some other areas of allocation will be an increase small-caps, a watch is on for the energy sector and for the conservative income portfolios we will add bond like or equivalent bond like holdings. Global and International holdings are always in our research, but at this time we remain with a very small international holding due to the volatility that currently comes with investing internationally.

With the election upon us in the 4th quarter, some unknowns remain in the market since this election is like no other. However, the market has withstood many storms and this is just one more. Keep in mind, the markets have never seen anything like Brexit before and look at the markets now. We continue to build a solid and well-diversified portfolio with your short and long-term goals in focus.

As always, should you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact any one of us on the KFA Team.



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3 Key Financial Lessons I Learned from Playing Golf

 

Knowing many of you love golf, we thought you might like this article that shares similarities to finances and investing.

 

Click HERE to be taken to the article posted on CNBC.com.

 

 

 

 

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Cybersecurity

By:  Jacqueline Whitaker - Business Manager

Cybersecurity. Hackers. Phishing. Whaling. Ransomware. Data Breach. Cybercrime.

These are just a few of the words in the “Cyber Speak” lexicon and, sorry to say, they are becoming common words to anyone who uses a PC or mobile device to conduct financial business. Cybercrime is a profitable business for those who practice it. The fraudsters are out there and after your identity. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to protect your valuable personal information from those who seek to steal it.

Even the U.S. government is aware of the risk. An executive order was issued for federal agencies to provide more secure authentication for their online services. Starting in August of 2016, any agency that provides online access to a customer’s personal information must use multifactor authentication. “Multifactor Authentication” means more than one method is used to make sure you are the actual owner of your account. For example, in addition to using a user ID and password to login to a website, you will also have to provide and additional security code that is texted to you before you can access the site.

Your team at Kabarec Financial Advisors takes the threat of cybercrime seriously. We are dedicated to protecting our clients’ personal information and to prevent unauthorized access to their accounts. Some of the methods we employ are vulnerability assessments by qualified IT specialists, use of enterprise antivirus software, two-factor authentication to access the network, and physical securities for our hardware. Our team takes advantage of training opportunities offered by a variety of vendors in order to stay up-to-date in best practices.

For a robust defense against cybercrime fraud, we need our clients to partner with us. Here are few ideas to get started:

  • Install a spam manager, firewall, and antivirus program on your computer.
  • Do not use public WiFi to conduct personal business.

  • Bear with us when we make an extra phone call to verify it is really you requesting to move money.

  • Visit the Schwab Client Learning Center to view the Schwab Security Guarantee and to learn about SchwabSafe multifactor authentication. http://content.schwab.com/learningcenter/index.html

Engage in of our culture of protection by doing what you can to make it difficult for the fraudsters to steal your identity - and your money!

 

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Brexit Relief Rally

By:  Lisa Thuer - Senior Trading and Research Specialist

As the dust settles from Brexit, markets are close to back where they were a week ago. Even though we did take some money off the table and did not panic, we are confident that the funds will be deployed to more profitable and less volatile investments. There has been a quick run up after the drastic down turn from Brexit and it almost feels like whiplash. The second quarter ends today and Alcoa kicks off second quarter earnings on July 11th.  We will wait till next week to start investing cash that is sitting on the sidelines. Everyone wants to get in when the markets are going up and sell when the markets are going down. Keeping long-term goals in mind and ignore the everyday noise is what we all need to remind ourselves. Patience is a virtue in these markets.  Stick with the fundamentals, stay diversified and don’t panic. 

We are looking forward to a better second half of the year.

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