Posts

So many of us are focused on how we can make the maximum amount of money possible. While this is important, learning how to protect your money is equally as critical. There are many different threats and risks out there that you need to be aware of, such as fraud, identity theft, stolen bank cards, and hackers. Thankfully, there are a variety of measures you can take to help protect your money.

protecting your money

Potential Risks

  • Fraud: Fraud is a major risk that you need to be aware of. Fraud simply means somebody attempting to deceive you or someone else for either personal or financial gain. An example of this are the spam calls that all of us have been getting about your car’s extended warranty expiring. In this example, the scammer is attempting to deceive you into giving them your credit card or bank account information to then steal your money. 
  • Identity Theft: Identity theft, although it is a form of fraud, is an extremely dangerous risk to your money. Identity theft is where somebody attempts to steal your identity, usually by obtaining your social security number and other important personal information. In some cases they even use digital synthetic identities that are so realistic most fraud detection services are fooled. They then use your identity to open up new credit cards or bank accounts, among other things. The risk of this is that, as the account is tied to your identity, any debt can potentially be your responsibility and severely impact your credit score.
  • Stolen Bank Cards: Most people, at least once in their life, have checked their bank accounts to see a bunch of charges they didn’t make. Usually, this happens through somebody illegally obtaining your debit or credit card, whether it’s through theft or you simply misplacing your wallet.
  • Hacking: Another common risk you need to be aware of when learning how to protect your money is a hacker gaining access to your bank accounts. This can happen either through hacking the bank directly (which is extremely difficult, as banks and other financial institutions have a ton of safeguards in place) or by hacking either your phone, app, or username and password.

Best Practices: How to Protect Your Money

Now that we’ve shared a few common risks that you should be aware of, we’d like to give you a few basic, simple best practices that will help you protect your money. You might already be aware of some of these, but they are all important when thinking about how to protect your money.

Check Your Accounts Often

One of the easiest things you can do to protect your money is to check your checking, savings, and credit card accounts daily.  Although it might sound a little extreme, taking the 5 minutes to briefly check your accounts allows you to stay on top of any potentially fraudulent transactions. 

monitor credit score

Monitor your Credit

There are many sources available to monitor your credit and even get notified if your credit is being checked or a new account is being opened in your name.

Lock your credit file when you are not applying for new credit. This can be a simple way to protect your identity and restrict fraudsters from impersonating you even if they gained access to your personal data. In order to lock your credit file, you will need to contact each of the following three credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion

Do Research on Your Bank

One of the most important steps you can take in learning how to protect your money is to thoroughly research your current and/or future banks. You will want to make sure your bank is FDIC-insured, which protects your money up to $250,000 per account. Another crucial thing to research is whether or not your bank has good customer service. Lastly, you’ll want to learn about any potential missteps that your bank has had in the past, such as the Wells Fargo scandal a decade ago, where employees were fraudulently opening new accounts without customer awareness.

Don’t Share Your Bank Info With Anyone

This seems like a no-brainer, but it’s actually one of the most common ways to have your identity or money stolen. Unless you are calling your bank directly, under no circumstances should you share your bank account information with anybody, even if they seem legitimate. 

two factor authentication

Use Strong Passwords & Multi-factor Authentication (MFA)

Strong passwords and MFA can help prevent unauthorized access to your accounts. By having long, complex passwords that you change frequently, you reduce the risk of somebody or a computer program guessing your password. Multi-factor authentication is another way to keep your accounts safe. MFA uses 2+ checks to confirm your identity, such as entering a password and then inputting a numerical code texted to your phone number. 

Be Sure You’re Using Secure Devices & Networks

You should only log in to your financial information from a secure, personal device and secure (password-protected) wifi network. It’s much easier for hackers to gain access to your data if you are using an unsecured, public device or wifi network. In a perfect world, you’d have a dedicated computer to access your finances, but this obviously is not realistic for most.

Protect Your Money w/ Marygold & Co.

Marygold & Co. is a new financial services app that’s dedicated to helping organize your financial life and reach your financial goals.

Not only is it revolutionizing budgeting and expense tracking through a new feature called Money Pools, but Marygold & Co. is extremely concerned with safety and security. That’s why we employ state-of-the-art technology like biometrics with facial authentication to determine if a government-issued identification is authentic and a selfie of a live person matches the picture on the ID.  This is highly effective because fraudsters don’t like to have their real picture taken and faking a real face is not an easy task. 

Other security measures like multifactor authentication and fingerprint credentials offer additional layers of protection once an account is opened.

You shouldn’t entrust your hard-earned money to just anybody, and Marygold & Co. will not only help protect your money but it gives you all the tools needed to push towards your financial goals.

You’ve worked hard for the things you have under your name – it’s more than a sinking feeling to find out that someone has stolen your belongings, finances, and identity. It can be a real pain to try and sort it all out once it happens. It’s best to try and take preventative measures so that you’re not a victim of identity theft. Here are some tips on how to avoid identity theft.

identity theft on mobile

What is Identity Theft?

When someone deliberately uses another’s identification, that person is committing identity theft. This information might be a name, a driver’s license number, social security number, a fingerprint, a PIN, a passport, a health card identification, a bank account, an electronic signature, a credit card, or debit card number.

The High Cost of Identity Theft 

If you fell victim to identity theft, you’re not alone. Last year, forty-nine million Americans experienced identity theft according to the 2021 Identity Fraud Study by Javelin Strategy & Research. The cost to consumers was $56 billion—for one year!

It’s not just about cleaning out your bank account. With your identity, the thief can make regular bank withdrawals, apply for credit cards, get a loan, buy a car, a house, or a plane ticket.

Writer Asaf Griener paints a frightening scenario. We won’t go into detail here but it is worth taking a look at.

How Technology Helps the Thief

In a NewScientist article “Cyber Crime Made Easy”, the author explains the level to which hackers are making adept use of malicious software. You can purchase an app for credit card theft.

Just as high-tech makes it easy to steal a car, points out CBC’s Sarah Bridge, so too, there is an alarming array of gadgets for identity theft. Ed Oswald describes some of these.

Skimmers

Identity thieves capture data on your debit cards by skimming. A data storage device could be attached to an ATM. They could also be attached to credit card readers. While the transaction is going through a digital copy of your credit card information is being made.

How Can You Combat Skimming?

Never let your credit or debit card out of your sight. Be cautious if a machine looks unusual.  Use cards with an EMV chip if possible.  Cover the pad when you enter your PIN and always monitor your transactions on your app or statements.

Laptops

Some identity thieves simply drive around looking for unsecured hotspots with their laptop.  Then they log into your wireless network looking for vulnerabilities.

How Can You Combat the Laptop Thief?

Make sure your computer’s firewall is up and running. Never leave your home wireless network unsecured. Choose a Wi-Fi password that is hard to crack. Enable all security features on the router.

Your Old Gadgets

How we treat old, broken gadgets is important. Those old gadgets may not work but they contain data. Often before they are discarded, data is not wiped, identity thieves can gather personal information.

How to Combat Identity Theft from Old Gadgets

Be careful what you store there—like passwords and PINs. Keep sensitive information off these devices. Before you discard them, wipe clean every device before you trade it in or sell it. The New York Times offers this easy way to clean data from your device.

Internet Connection

If thieves have one of your credit card numbers, it is easy for them to conceal their actions. All it requires to change a system is a name, address, and a credit card. Once an address is changed, they can open credit cards and other fraudulent accounts in your name. And you probably won’t even realize it until months later!

How Can You Stop Internet Theft?

Use your credit cards wisely. If you lose one, shut it off immediately. Restart it when you know it is safe.  Some banks offer a freeze/unfreeze option for your card. If you aren’t sure if you’ve lost it but want to keep your funds protected, this is a great option! Then you don’t have to worry about cancelling your card and waiting for the bank to reissue your new one.

Lost, Stolen, and Compromised Cards

Identity theft is far from rare. Fraud is a global problem that continues to grow. The Insurance Information Institute claims that in 2020, losses from identity theft cases topped $712.4 billion dollars. Which is a 42 percent increase from 2019. In 2020, the second highest reported identity fraud came from credit cards and opening new accounts. By 2021, losses are forecasted to increase to $721.3 billion dollars. It continues to climb annually.

stolen identity

Common Mistakes of Online Banking

We’re lulled into a sense of security because online banking seems so private and safe. Our naiveté blunders can make us easy victims of fraud and identity theft.

  • Never assume everything is okay.

Check credit card activity and your bank accounts often. Monitor the activity on your accounts. Inform your financial institution if there are any suspicious transactions immediately.

  • Don’t use predictable and/or unchanging passwords.

I know. It’s easier to keep a password forever. It’s tempting to choose one that makes sense and is easy to recall. Don’t be one of those people who use the same password for several cards!

Make it hard for thieves. Change your passwords often. One banking institution recommends changing your password after every transaction!

Write down new passwords and store them in a safe place—not your smartphone or your computer.

  • Guard your smartphone at all times.

Sadly, our lives are stored in our smartphones. Over fifty percent are used for online banking. How can you cut the odds of theft? Use only official banking apps.

  • Don’t decline security features.

Without security alerts to your phone or email, identity thieves can use your information undetected 75% longer. Look for free apps. Some banks even provide information when the account falls below a specific limit.

  • Don’t avoid online banking.

Your financial institution spends millions bolstering online security and keeping firewalls strong. It would be a shame if you avoided the convenience of online banking simply because it might be risky.

Customized security is tailored to your needs and desires.  New features are coming out as technology improves them.

how to avoid identity theft

Why Choose Marygold & Co.?

Marygold & Company has over two decades of experience in financial services. Recently launched, the Marygold & Co. Mastercard Debit Card and mobile app gives customers safe FDIC-insured accounts with a custom security dashboard that allows users to take more control of their finances.

Marygold & Co. has created a new card and app where you can control the use of your card with just a toggle. With the Marygold & Co. app, you can even control where your card is used.

With Marygold & Co’s user-friendly, customized security, you can freeze and unfreeze your account or type of transaction like international with the touch of your mobile phone..

We all have those heart-stopping moments when our card goes missing. Whether it was lost, stolen, or misplaced, canceling is time-consuming and inconvenient. You have to contact businesses to stop recurring payments tied to that card. You have to wait to receive a new one.

With Marygold & Co.’s customized security, you need only use your secure app to freeze  your card. If it turns up, you merely unfreeze it!

Spring is the season for cleaning and that shouldn’t just end at home. Your finances should go through a little spring cleaning themselves. Having an organized financial life can help you better understand the flow of your money. Tracking your income, how you spend it, and how much of it you save can give you the information you need to set financial goals for yourself.

So, while you’re decluttering your closet, remodeling your back patio, consider some financial spring cleaning, as well.

Here are some ways to organize your finances this spring (or anytime, really):

financial spring cleaning

Review and Establish a Budget

To ensure your finances are in order and that they remain that way, it’s best to set up a balanced and realistic budget, if you don’t have one already. Review your monthly income and expenses then establish what your financial goals are. You could be saving for a long-term investment like a down payment on a home or you could be saving for a new gaming system or a getaway.

Whether it’s a long-term or short-term goal, budgeting is essential to making sure those goals are achieved. Organize your budget on a simple spreadsheet and review it often to ensure you are on track.

Having a budget will make it easier for you to reach your savings goals because it’ll help you determine how much money you can spend and how much you need to put away. You don’t need to plan out the rest of the year perfectly but instead start by creating a monthly budget, then track your finances for that month. Once you get into the habit, you’ll find yourself becoming a budgeting expert.

organize your finances

Set up a Money Pool/Automated Savings

One way to keep yourself organized financially is to set up automated savings, or an interest-earning Money Pool, like the one we offer at Marygold & Co.

Having a Money Pool allows you to separate and categorize your finances all within one account, making it easy for customers to track multiple savings goals at once.

Each individual can customize their automated savings to best align with their goals and current financial standing.

You can choose to contribute to your savings goals on a bi-weekly or monthly basis, and the amount you deposit is up to your discretion as well.

Automating your savings will help prioritize your goals and will reduce the temptation to overspend. You don’t even have to worry about making those regular deposits, it’s all done for you!

Pay Off Outstanding Payments

Look over any outstanding payments, if you have the means to pay them off, then do so. If not, this is the time to work out a way to pay your debts off.

Is there anything laying around your house you could sell? Are there extra shifts you could pick up at work?

Find opportunities that’ll help you earn that extra income to help you pay off your debts.

If you are unable to pay everything off right away, setting up a debt repayment plan can help you stay on track. While you may not pay everything off in one go, at least you have taken steps to reduce that debt and eventually eliminate it.

Make sure you include your debt payment plan in your budget.

This will help you stay on top of your payments by ensuring there is money available in your checking account to contribute to this payment plan.

Automatic Billing and Investments

Having your bills automated can help you ensure that they are always paid on time and that you’re not rummaging around for extra cash to meet your phone bill payment at the end of the month.

The best part about automatic billing is you don’t even have to think about it, it is automatic after all.

Additionally, you can even set up automatic deposits to your IRA or 401k investments. Automating deposits into these accounts will ensure you’re continually investing your funds.

The advantages of investing your money include reducing your taxable income for the year.

control your spending

Analyze Your Spending Habits

Analyzing your spending habits will help you point out your spending habits, bad and good. When looking over your spending habits, you might find some patterns that are preventing you from achieving your financial goals.

An important step while spring cleaning your finances is to look over your spending habits and find areas where you can save.

Are there any unnecessary monthly subscriptions billed to your credit card?

Are there unnecessary transactions you can eliminate?

These are important questions to ask yourself when analyzing your spending habits. Find areas in your daily life where you can save. Maybe pack a lunch instead of ordering out every day, you’ll definitely see big rewards from the small changes you make in your daily habits.

If you lack financial discipline, the Marygold & Co. app can help. The customizable security dashboard allows customers to limit where the card can be used.

Accounts can also be turned on or off – which can also remove the temptation to unnecessarily spend.

Clean Up and Shred Old Paperwork

It’s easy for those paper bills and bank statements to pile up on the corner of your table.

Marygold & Co. can help you keep your finances organized. The best part about the Marygold & Co. app is that you won’t have to worry about paper – checks, receipts, pay stubs, etc.

Take the time to shred and discard any old paperwork. Make sure you dispose of these documents properly as they contain very sensitive information including personal information and bank statements. We recommend using a shredder to ensure these documents are properly destroyed.

Marygold & Co. Makes It Easy

Marygold & Co. can help you sort your finances and keep them organized throughout the year through an innovative new app launching this spring.

The FDIC-insured fintech app offers customers interest-earning savings accounts and allows them to send, receive, spend and save securely through their mobile device.

Control and organize your finances easily with Marygold & Co.

Your finances will never have to go through a spring cleaning again – instead, you can keep them clean and organized.

A basic thesis on Wall Street is that what has worked well in the last market cycle is likely to underperform in a new cycle, and conversely, the underperformers of the last cycle can or should be the outperformers of the new cycle.

The basic logic is intuitive – an asset class that had been a leader in the previous run-up will, at some point, become overpriced and will struggle in the future without significant earnings growth to support the higher prices.  

Historically speaking, small caps outperform large caps. 

This makes sense because investors need to be compensated for the increased volatility and risk in the small-cap space. 

Also, over the long term, value stocks outperform growth stocks. 

Since 1926, value investing returned 1,344,600% vs. 626,600% for growth stocks, according to Forbes Advisor. And some of the most famous investors on the planet (think Warren Buffet and Benjamin Graham) are value investors.     

But largely none of these long-term trends mattered over the last few years of this past market cycle. 

The bull market of the last decade seemed to make investing quite easy, large-cap growth dominated, and as long as you held the big-name tech stocks your portfolio, probably did well.  

This trend was exacerbated during the COVID-19 global pandemic. 

During the 2020 bear market caused by the pandemic, U.S. markets bottomed on March 23, 2020. From that bottom, the S&P Growth Index initiated a historic recovery and peaked on September 1, 2020.  

Much has been made in the media about how quickly markets recovered from the market bottom, but that outperformance was mostly a product of the “Big 5” stocks (Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Microsoft).  

As of September 2, 2020, those five stocks had a year-to-date performance of 65%, the other 495 stocks in the S&P 500 had a total YTD performance of just 3%. Since the fourth quarter of 2020, the story has begun to shift to the performance of small caps and specifically small-cap value. 

At the end of the first quarter of 2021, the top two performing sectors of the S&P 500 were Energy and Financials.  

reversion to the mean

What Does it Mean?

Is the “reversion to the mean” a story of small caps over larger caps, or is it Energy & Financials over Tech and Consumer Discretionary?  

It is still early and we will continue to watch how this plays out.  The main point here is to not be married to a thesis that worked very well in 2020, because the markets may have already started to revert to the mean.  

“This time is different” is a phrase commonly heard toward the end of market cycles.  

If you hear someone tell you that “this time is different”, run! This time is not different.  

Math does not evolve over time. Corporate price/earnings ratios and other investment metrics matter just as much as they have in the past.  

Don’t chase performance.  

What happened in the past, even in the recent past, is not guaranteed to continue in the future.