WFA Quarterly E-Newsletter                         

February 2017 

Greetings from WFA! In this edition of the Woodward Financial e-newsletter, you will find an article summarizing several scams to be aware of, especially as we approach tax season. Next, you'll find quick reference tables for 2017 contribution limits for both retirement and health savings accounts. Finally, you can read about some of the exciting things happening behind the scenes at WFA. To read more on these topics, click on the links below: 
Senior woman talking on phone and using laptop in living room
Tax season is on its way and with it comes the possibility of tax-related frauds and scams.
We know that the different companies and government agencies that have access to our financial and personal information try to protect that information using various methods and techniques. But hacks can and do happen from time to time. More importantly, scams that attempt to get you to divulge your personal information are growing in sophistication and are an ever-present risk in our world, particularly for those with substantial financial assets.
Scams come in a variety of forms, and there's not enough space to discuss them all.  The IRS does maintain a list of common tax-related scams on their website if you're interested in specific examples.
So rather than focusing on a specific scam, we've identified ten tips that might apply to any scam.  These ideas should help you spot and avoid a variety of potentially fraudulent activities. 
#1  Be cognizant of your immediate circle of contacts
You should be leery of any communications (email, voicemail, phone calls, or letters) that you receive from people outside your immediate circle (i.e., your friends, family, and professional colleagues and contacts). It's probably best to not respond to a phone or email request from someone you've never met, or at least be wary about responding. 

  #2  Get a second opinion
Speak to a friend, your attorney, accountant, and/or financial planner and ask them for their professional assessment.  You may be too close to the situation to recognize potential fraud, and a sanity check might help.
#3  If it seems too good to be true, it probably is
This is a time-honored technique and is going to hold up most of time.
#4  You probably didn't win anything
A new blender? A new car? A free boat? A trip to the Bahamas? $10,000? Probably not. People love free stuff, no matter their net worth - it's something that's built into our DNA.  On the off chance that you did enter a drawing or lottery of some type and think you might have won, do not give away your personal or financial information to "confirm" or "validate" your winnings.  See the other rules on this list and make sure that you conduct your due diligence.
#5  I just need you to confirm...
Someone from your bank calls or emails you to ask you to confirm your Social Security number or bank account number.  It's probably not legit. The fact that the person was so nice doesn't matter, because...
#6 ...You need to be a little (or even very) cynical
Protecting your private information is an area where you need to be suspicious.  You're not being mean, you're being prudent and methodical and you're managing your risks.  You must understand that there are some people out there every day employing schemes and scams to try to steal your personal information and money.
#7 Focus on the information request, not the person making the request
I'm not a psychologist but I'm fairly certain that people are more likely to respond to a request from someone "nice" or "someone in need" or "someone with less".  That's why it can be helpful to focus on the information being requested, not the person making the request.
#8  You're probably not the long-lost beneficiary on some account
Again, if you think you might be, proceed methodically.  This is a situation that, if legitimate, will go through an official process - you'll be working with a local attorney or an insurance company or an investment firm, not emailing some person from a foreign country with an official sounding (though bogus) title.
#9  You don't need to respond to every email, voicemail and phone call
When it comes to your protecting your personal information, you don't owe everyone a callback.  You need to apply your set of filters to determine who merits a response.
#10  Beware of communications that are time-sensitive, or threatening
"We need you to call back within 60 minutes to confirm your free big screen TV" or "If you don't remit payment for your past taxes within 24 hours we will garnish wages from your paycheck."  The fraudsters are trying to get you to eliminate your methodical approach by getting you to make an emotional decision.  Don't fall for it.
2017 Contribution Limits Article2.1
A Quick Reference for 2017 Changes to Retirement Account & HSA Contribution Limits as well as Social Security Cost-of-Living Adjustments

Retirement Accounts Contribution Limits: 
401(k)/403(b)/457 Plan - employee contribution limit
401(k)/403(b)/457 Plan - catch-up contribution limit (age 50+)
Traditional IRA and Roth IRA
Traditional IRA and Roth IRA catch-up contribution limit (age 50+)
HSA Contribution Limits:
Individual coverage limit (aggregate contribution from employee & employer can't exceed limit.)
Family coverage limit (aggregate contribution from employee & employer can't exceed limit.)
Catch-up contribution limits (age 55+ for Individual coverage or Family coverage)
Social Security Cost-of-Living Adjustment
Cost-of-Living Adjustment

Behind the Scenes at Woodward Financial... Article3
  • Thank you  to those of you who completed our client survey in November 2016. Among respondents (over half of our client base), 98.7% answered that they were somewhat or very satisfied with their overall relationship with WFA, with 85% reporting that they were very satisfiedWe recently sent clients a letter in the mail with more details about the survey results. It is our goal to continue to improve the services we provide to you, and this survey helps us toward that end. 
  • Ben Birken recently reached his tenth anniversary at WFA! Please join us in congratulating Ben on this milestone. We're grateful for his decade of service at Woodward Financial and appreciate the opportunity to work alongside such an outstanding colleague. 
  • Every year, we have a fun inter-office competition to try to pick where the Dow Jones Industrial Average will end on December 31st. This year, Joe Marques did what no WFA team member has ever done before by winning the DOW Prognostication Contest for a second year in a row. Joe guessed that the Dow would end the year at 18,600, which was 1,163 points shy of the actual close of 19,762.60. Be sure to ask to see Joe's trophy the next time you're in the office
  • February is a busy month for conferences and continuing education!
  • Jim Miller is attending TD Ameritrade's LINC Conference in San Diego, CA. Additionally, Jim began a three year stint on TD Ameritrade's Advisor Panel, a group that serves as a sounding board for new initiatives and receives access to top leadership and resources at TD Ameritrade. WFA is honored to be selected as one of 20 top-level firms that make up the Advisor's Panel. 
  • Allison Palmer will be "enrolled" at the Insurance Academy put on by Low Load Insurance Services in Clearwater Beach, FL during the first week of the month.  
  • Ben Birken is helping to run the annual Symposium for the South Region of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) in Atlanta, GA on Monday, February 6th. 
  • Tax time is just around the corner: the first wave of 1099s from TD Ameritrade is scheduled to go out on Feb. 7. If you have accounts at Fidelity, your 1099s should begin becoming available on Feb. 4. Please keep in mind that both Fidelity and TD Ameritrade must wait to receive final reporting from securities before they're able to issue 1099s, so some 1099s may not be available until later in February. And as happens every year, it's possible that some clients could receive amended 1099s if TD Ameritrade or Fidelity receive updated information regarding the classification of income and/or the tax nature of certain transactions.   
Thank you for reading our e-newsletter. We wish you a fantastic 2017! 

Woodward Financial Advisors