Download Now – Summer 2017 Newsletter (PDF 504k)
Cybersecurity Project at HC Financial Advisors
In December 2016, Karla and Katie began a project to review the status of cybersecurity readiness at our firm and we committed to cover some of these important topics in each newsletter this year. In the last newsletter, we reviewed password security and safe surfing. In this edition, we discuss the next two topics in our cybersecurity circle: protecting your money and limiting what you share online.
Protect Your Money
- Review your credit card, cell phone, and financial statements as soon as they are available.
- Contact your financial institution if you see anything suspicious on your statements.
- Help us protect your information and assets by not sending any personal information through email (SSN, account numbers, etc.). Treat every email as though it were a postcard. Know that we have increased the number of cases where we follow up with you when you request money. If we have any doubts at all, we will call.
- Add dual factor authorization on your investment accounts and use voice recognition at Schwab for an extra layer of protection.
- Respond to requests for personal information from an unsolicited email or from an unsolicited incoming phone call.
- Send personal identifiable information or account information via unsecure channels like email, chat, or text.
Limiting What You Share Online
- Be very selective about the information you choose to share on social media and with whom you choose to share it.
- Keep your personal information private (home address, phone number, birthdate).
- Set privacy and security setting on web services.
- Configure your online accounts with two-factor authentication wherever available.
- Post personal information about family and friends online.
If you ever suspect suspicious activity with any of your accounts, we encourage you to call immediately. We put a high priority on keeping your accounts safe and free from cyberattacks.
News Around the Office
Congratulations to Katie Horton, who was recently named to the West Region Board of NAPFA (National Association of Personal Financial Advisors). Katie will begin her term in September and will serve for 3 years.
Meanwhile, congratulations are also in order for Steve Biggs. Steve, an up-and-coming BBQ pitmaster, recently won 2nd place in both the chicken and ribs divisions at the King of the County BBQ Challenge in Martinez. Unfortunately, we did not get to taste any of his winnings.
Alta Bates Tele-Care Program
Residents of Alameda and Contra Costa County may be interested in a program we learned about recently called Tele-Care.
Tele-Care has been in place since 1970 and provides a daily phone service to clients as a way to verify they are OK each day. This free program is run by volunteers, operates 365 days per year, and is used by those living alone to ensure they stay connected to their community and can stay in their own homes as long as possible.
To be eligible to enroll in Tele-Care, you must live alone and be homebound, disabled or recovering from an illness. A Tele-Care volunteer calls each morning at a pre-arranged time. If the volunteer can’t reach you, they will call an alternate you designate to go and check on you. The daily phone call can be a great source of comfort and friendship to those retired or widowed.
If you are interested in Tele-Care or know somebody who may be interested, please review the program at:
For more information or to enroll call (510)204-4487.
You can also call if you are interested in volunteering for the program. All volunteers make calls in the morning and call from Alta Bates’ Berkeley location.
Our Driverless Future
By now, you’re familiar with at least the concept of driverless cars-a new technology where computers will replace humans behind the wheel, gradually at first, and then all at once ten or more years down the (pun intended) road. But what you probably haven’t seen is a comprehensive review of the interesting social changes a driverless world would bring about and the potential investment implications of it.
The CFA Institute – the organization of professional investment managers has published an article which takes us on a tour of that not-so-distant world. Start with the fact that cities and communities will be able to re-use (or develop) acres of space currently devoted to parking lots. A self-driving car will deliver you to your destination and then go park itself in a compact high-rise parking facility and spend the time recharging itself, since it will also be electric. At the end of the day (or the shopping trip, or the sporting event) the car will be summoned to pick you up at the door and take you home. If your home is an urban apartment, then the car will drop you off before relocating itself to a parking facility. Alternatively, you might “subscribe” to a car service that will take you wherever you want to go without the need to actually own the vehicle.
In a city environment, this simple change would bring about a huge reduction in traffic, since many of the cars currently on the road are driving around hunting for a rare parking space. Traffic flows will be faster and less congested, making cities more pleasant to live in. The article even envisions the commute as a time for work or personal relaxation. Your office might be a detachable, mobile pod that could drive itself downtown while you’re answering emails. If you were to take a trip to another city, your 5-hour drive can be spent productively.
Of course, a driverless society would eliminate the hazards of drunk driving, people texting behind the wheel, people falling asleep on the road and prevent some 30,000 highway deaths each year. Since driverless cars are more precise, a 4-lane highway could become a 5 or 6 lane road simply by making the lanes narrower and using the curb spaces. Driverless cars might move more quickly, adapting to opportunities to move 80 or 100 miles an hour in safety. These shifts would eliminate traffic jams, making transportation easier and more convenient.
Meanwhile, think of all the time that parents currently spend driving their kids to soccer games, orthodontists and school. In the future, the driverless car would become the chauffeur while the parents live their own lives. Older people would no longer have to give up the keys to the car when they reach a certain age; instead, they could travel where they pleased without endangering others.
Cities would be more spread out, since fewer people would dread the shorter, painless commute on uncrowded highways.
Of course, there would also be negatives, and this is where the investment analysis comes in. The article points out that hospital emergency rooms would have fewer patients as they would no longer have to care for hundreds of thousands of people injured in auto accidents. Organ donation would be reduced. Auto insurers would suffer, since there would be little need for insurance in a world of nearly zero accidents. Car companies would have to shift their value proposition from a thrilling drive to more robust in-car entertainment systems. And millions of jobs involving driving trucks and cabs would be eliminated from our economy.
Are you ready for that world?
Article by Bob Veres
Image: General Motors
Although HC Financial has successfully managed portfolios exclusively at Charles Schwab for many years, we have grown to the size where it is prudent to offer clients a choice in where they custody their assets. As such, we are pleased to announce that we have added TD Ameritrade as another option for our clients.
We chose TD Ameritrade for the following reasons:
- They take security and safety of account assets very seriously.
- In some cases, their transaction/trading costs may be lower.
- They offer free incoming and outgoing wire transfers.
- They have an elite service team based in San Diego.
- They advocate for the fiduciary standard and provide strong support for fee-only registered investment advisors, like HC Financial Advisors.
- They offer a newer technology platform and easier to use interface for both clients and our operations.
- They are a conservative firm that is easy to work with.
While we have no intention of leaving Charles Schwab, we are excited to begin this relationship with TD Ameritrade. We have reached out to clients where we feel there is a real benefit to switching and will begin moving some accounts this summer. In the meantime, if you have any questions about this addition or you are interested in finding out more about TD Ameritrade, please let us know.
About HC Financial Advisors, Inc.
HC Financial Advisors, Inc. is a fee-only registered investment advisory firm offering full financial management services to individuals and their families. We offer ongoing investment management and financial planning services for an annual fee based on assets managed.
Our current minimum annual fee is $10,000 ($1,000,000 under management). This fee includes the investment management of all assets as well as our comprehensive financial planning services.
We welcome your referrals to our firm. There is no charge for a preliminary, one hour informational meeting to learn more about our services, investment philosophy, and backgrounds. You can also find us at our website www.hcfinancial.com.