LifeSteps Financial Briefing | May 2019
Henry's Take
The market is going to our new normal: turbulence. We no sooner issued our last Market Update, then trade talks became rocky and the market tumbled. We anticipate more of the same as the talks and negotiations continue.
We have recently received several calls about cybersecurity. Specifically, several of our clients (and me) have had some run-ins with scams or phishing. As summer season starts with graduations, vacations, etc., we can get distracted. Vigilance and awareness is important in managing personal online profiles, especially financial accounts. I explain my experience in this video. 

Our guest columnists Courtney Casey from Accent Computer Solutions and Brian Reider, Esq. from Best, Best and Krieger provide helpful insights and suggestions on how to keep your personal and business profiles safe.
Stay safe, be vigilant, and feel free to call us if you have questions.
Henry Ford, Principal
Managing Financial Wellness
Protecting Your Personal Cyber Information
 by Courtney Casey, Accent Computer Solutions
We’re living in a time where cybercrime and ransomware attacks are announced like the next big box office hit. They’re making an impact worldwide, causing headaches and financial troubles for many businesses and consumers. So, how do you stay safe from these threats?

Here are a few tips to keep your personal information out of the wrong hands.

Be Conscious of What You Share Online
The lines of privacy have blurred in our “share everything” social media culture. People are sharing aspects of their personal life that they never did before, giving criminals a leg up.

Sharing your whereabouts can cause trouble in a couple ways. Tagging images and status updates with your location may seem harmless, but it allows the outside world to see exactly where that image was taken or posted from. Where you live, work, exercise and spend your time is now out in the open. This information can potentially be used for things like opening credit cards in your name.

Surveys and quizzes are common on social media platforms like Facebook. They’re certainly fun, but it’s important to be aware of the information you’re sharing. Questions like : What was your high school mascot? , How old were you when you graduated high school? , When did you meet your spouse? , etc. seem like innocent trivia. However, this can unintentionally give away answers to some of your security questions for banking or other accounts in the process.
CyberCrime in the Workplace
 by D. Brian Reider, Esq.
It’s a sad fact of business life today. The same internet which allows a small business to reach markets all over the world, that puts customer contacts at your fingertips and lets people find you fast is also the new Wild West of crime. We have had to learn a new vocabulary, with words like “phishing”, “hacker” and “malware” striking fear into every business owner’s heart. It can be a helpless feeling watching profits (and perhaps an entire business) disappear into cyberspace because an evil person has stolen data, money or both, leaving behind almost no trail.

I recently attended a great presentation at the Inland Empire Family Business Center where Warren Kato, a Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney in the Cyber Crime Division and Stan Stahl, Ph.D. of Citadel Information Group helped a group of business owners to both see the risks and gave solid advice as to how to minimize the chances of being a victim. There was far more information than I can pass on in a short article, but fortunately, Dr. Stahl has also founded a non-profit called SecureTheVillage which is dedicated to giving great advice on the topic. You can read more and get great resources from his website:
The Facts

The US economy is projected to grow +2.2% in 2019 , nearly a percentage point higher than the +1.3% projected growth rate for the collective economies of the 19-nations that make up
the Eurozone .

Source: International Monetary Fund
Used with permission from By the Numbers

On Wednesday 5/01/19, the USA began its 119th month of an economic expansion, i.e., the nation has been expanding since July 2009 . The average length of all 33 expansions in the country since 1854 ( not counting the current expansion) is 58 months .

Source: National Bureau of Economic Research
Used with permission from By the Numbers   


“Malware” is short for “malicious software”. Malware is any software that is intentionally designed to cause damage to your computer or programs. The term could refer to viruses, worms, Trojan horse and spyware, to name a few. Malware exploits security defects in software. It looks for loopholes to exploit.

The best-known types of malware are a virus or worm. They are designed to spread without your knowledge. It uses legitimate software and when the software is used or opened, it begins to spread.

Viruses need you to do something with legitimate software before they begin to work. A worm does not. It can spread without you performing any action. A trojan horse is a harmful program the pretends to be a legitimate program. When it is downloaded, the hidden destructive function is activated.
Giving Back
This month's featured charitable organization is  Children's Fund .
Since its inception in 1986, Children's Fund has assisted more than 1.4 million children. Children's Fund serves as a safety net for the at-risk children in local communities. They are positioned to leverage donations to help provide vulnerable children with essential services and resources.
This report is for information purposes only and is not a recommendation for any particular security. Mention of individual securities should not imply that we own the security or have owned it in the past. In addition, the information provided here should not form the basis for investment decisions. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. This information should not be used in any transaction without the advice and guidance of your Tax Professional. LifeSteps Financial has not independently verified, or attested to the accuracy or authenticity of the information, including any investment performance measurement.