National Data Privacy Day: 8 Tips for Keeping Your Personal Information Safe

Robert M. Duplessis, CRISC, CISM, CBVM, Senior Vice President—Information Security Officer 

January 28 is National Data Privacy Day. Its observance serves as a reminder that maintaining the privacy of your personal information is a year-round responsibility.

What’s at Risk

At the heart of the battle for your privacy is your personally identifiable information (PII). PII is any combination of data points that can lead to your identification. The more information a hacker can pull together on you the easier it becomes to obtain more, with the goal being to steal your identity.

This information may include your email address and full name—data readily available online. But, it also includes your:

  • Social Security number
  • Driver’s license
  • State identification
  • Financial account numbers
  • Medical information
  • Passwords
  • Address
  • Cellphone number

Companies like ours work diligently to protect your privacy and your data. We only collect the information we need to do business with you. We safely dispose of personal information when it is no longer needed. Unless required by law, we do not share your information without your permission or knowledge. (For more on Old Second’s privacy policies, click here.)

Every website, health care provider, insurance and financial company you deal with should have a similar policy. If they don’t or there is something about their policy that makes you uneasy, you should consider doing business elsewhere. However, it isn’t just businesses that collect data you need to be concerned about.

What You Can Do

Protecting your privacy is a shared responsibility. Every time you share your dog’s name or your child’s photo on Facebook, post vacation photos on Instagram or update your new job title on LinkedIn, you are adding to what hackers can find out about you and those you tag. Consider what Alexa and Google Home know! Then, consider how much information would be needed to start guessing your passwords.

The reality is that none of us will stop posting, sharing or using products that enhance our daily lives. What we can do, however, is take some precautions before we do. Here are some things to consider adding to your regular routine that can help safeguard your PII and that of your family members and friends.

  1. Revisit your social media settings. Make sure you know who you are sharing information with and whether you really want to. Also consider living less “in the moment.” Share photos and locations after you’ve left them.
  2. Tag only with permission. Not everyone wants their location and activities broadcast or their children’s names made public. Be respectful of the privacy of others.
  3. Manage your passwords. Change them regularly and refrain from using one to access everything. Many companies and services now use double authentication options. Consider opting into them.
  4. Monitor your credit reports. Whether your information was involved in a data breach or not, take advantage of your ability to order a report for free from each of the three reporting agencies each year. A credit-monitoring service, while an added expense, also may be warranted if your information was hacked, since hackers do not necessarily use your information right away. They may sit on it until your free year of monitoring is up.
  5. Keep your software and apps current. Updates and patches are intended to address vulnerabilities in the system. Also, uninstall apps and programs you no longer use. Hackers could use them as back doors into your system.
  6. Check your credit and debit card charges regularly. As soon as you see something odd, call your card issuer and cancel your card. Replacement cards arrive within days.
  7. Use caller ID. Every piece of information, including your voice, is fodder for scammers. If someone calls you and you don’t recognize the number or the caller’s name, do not feel compelled to pick up. Often, by entering the number in a Google search, you can confirm it was a fraudulent call.
  8. Refrain from clicking through links in emails. While legitimate companies provide links for convenience, you are better off signing onto your online account the way you typically do, just to be safe, or calling the customer service number you have on file for them.

For more tips and information on keeping your personal information safe, we maintain a variety of resources on our website. Also, feel free to call 877-866-0202 . We are always happy to talk through your concerns, privately.

DACA, Shutdown: Wealth Economic Update Jan. 26, 2018

U.S. and World News

  • worker-614128222_400The shutdown of the U.S. government lasted all of 3 days as Congress voted to reopen the government and provide funding through February 8th. Senate Democrats reluctantly voted to adopt a short-term spending bill to fund government operations without first addressing the fate of young undocumented immigrants in the DACA program. With another government shutdown on the horizon, President Trump will release a “legislative framework” on immigration issues next week that he believes “represents a compromise that members of both parties can support.” This would include “four agreed upon pillars”, “securing the border and closing legal loopholes, ending extended family chain migration, canceling the visa lottery and providing a permanent solution on DACA.”

Markets

  • Markets had yet another week of strong gains. The S&P rose 2.23%, closing at a new All-Time High of 2,872. The Dow Jones gained 2.09% for the week, also closing at a new All-Time High of 26,617. Since the beginning of 2018, the S&P is up 7.54% and the Dow is up 7.77%.
  • Interest rates were little changed from last week. The 5 year and 10 year U.S. Treasury Notes are now yielding 2.47% and 2.66%, respectively.
  • The spot price of WTI Crude Oil climbed by 4.48% this week, closing at $66.21 per barrel. Oil has started 2018 with a gain of 9.58%.
  • The spot price of Gold rose by 1.44%, closing at $1,350.97 per ounce. In 2018, gold prices are up 3.70%.

Economic Data

  • Initial jobless claims rose 17,000 from last week, coming in at 233,000, in line with expectations. The largest increases were in Michigan (+4k) and Wisconsin (+3k). The four week moving average for claims fell to 240,000.
  • The first estimate of 4th quarter 2017 real GDP showed 2.6% annualized growth, below expectations of 3.0%. Much of the miss was due to net exports which reflected the strength in goods imports during the quarter. For the entirety of 2017, real GDP of the U.S. grew 2.3%.

Fact of the Week

  • Janet Yellen’s 4 years as Federal Reserve Chair ends next Wednesday January 31st with her 32nd and final meeting. During Yellen’s term, the central bank implemented 5 rate hikes and began reversing the $4 trillion of bond purchases made from 2008-2014 during “Quantitative Easing”, which was started by her predecessor Ben Bernanke. President Trump’s nominee Jerome Powell is poised to take over as Fed Chair next month after being confirmed by the Senate this week.

Please contact a member of the Wealth Management Department if you have any questions about this information.

Rich Gartelmann CFP® – (630) 844-5730 rgartelmann@oldsecond.com
Steve Meves, CFA® – (630) 801-2217 – smeves@oldsecond.com
Brad Johnson CFA®, CFP® – (630) 906-5545 bjohnson@oldsecond.com
Joel Binder, SVP – (630) 844-6767 jbinder@oldsecond.com
Jacqueline Runnberg CFP® – (630) 966-2462 jrunnberg@oldsecond.com
Ed Gorenz, VP – (630) 906-5467 ejgorenz@oldsecond.com

Visit Old Second Wealth Management

Non-deposit investment products are not insured by the FDIC; not a deposit of, or guaranteed by, the bank; may lose value.

 

The Truth About Student Loans and Mortgage Applications

David M Kozuh, First Vice President Sales—Residential Lending David Kozuh, Vice President—Residential Lending   Things have changed. But, not in the way many potential borrowers think. Many still think it’s harder to get a mortgage than it used to be. Not necessarily. Despite the Financial Crisis of 2007–2008, banks have been helping homebuyers and owners take advantage of the low interest-rate environment all along. Even Millennials, despite their student debt loads, have been getting approved for mortgages. It’s also still possible to get a mortgage with a down payment of less than 20%. And, first-time homebuyer programs that provide money for down payments may even make it a little easier to afford a new home than in 2008. What Has Changed Since the crisis, the process of applying for a loan has improved. Many lenders, Old Second included, have made initiating a loan request even easier, leveraging online and mobile technology for applications, document gathering and communication. But, the biggest change involves the way an application is now processed. It takes longer…much longer. What could be done inside of 30 days in 2008, may now take longer. No home loan lender is immune—we are all subject to the same regulations. And, it’s about to get a little worse. It’s Not You, It’s the New Federal Regulations Whether you are a first-time homebuyer or an experienced homeowner, in the aftermath of the financial crisis there has been a return to the kind of lending standards—operational checks and balances—that most of us have used to apply to loans for decades. Those standards require time to analyze and verify that each mortgage applicant is qualified for and entering into the right type of loan for their financial circumstances. As of Oct. 3, a new rule from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, “Know Before You Owe,” will take effect. It is intended to offer additional protection by ensuring you understand the terms and consequences of your loan agreement at closing. This new rule will add a few more days to the closing process for all mortgage lenders no matter how automated their internal processes are. While a degree of patience has re-entered the mortgage process, we believe it ultimately ensures that you’ll gain full advantage of our expertise. Whether it’s a 30-year fixed mortgage, an adjustable rate, a line of credit for remodeling or a refinancing into a 15-year loan that will help you retire mortgage-free, our goal is—as it’s always been—to make sure you enter into the right financing structure.

Student loans are a reality for millions of Americans, many of whom are Millennials with dreams of becoming homeowners. However, contrary to a widely held belief, the two things—student loans and homeownership—are not mutually exclusive. You can afford to have both, even when you use a mortgage to buy your home.

How Student Loans Impact Mortgages

When you apply for a mortgage, the lender will look at your existing debt. That typically includes outstanding credit card balances, car loans and student loans (whether they are deferred or not). We then look at what you are paying toward each on a monthly basis, versus what your make, to determine how much would be left over to make payments on a mortgage.

Generally, lenders are required by the loan programs not to accept an application if your existing debt-to-income (DTI) ratio will exceed a certain level. The last thing we want is to create financial stress by letting you borrow more than you can comfortably afford to repay. However, there are ways to decrease your DTI that can make it easier for you to both afford and qualify for a mortgage.

Manage Your Student Debt

Student loans, especially those that are part of the federal loan programs, tend to have low interest rates and long payback periods. There are also several repayment options available to you to ensure your payments are affordable. Among these is an income-based option, which ties your monthly payment to your income. As your income changes over time, the payment adjusts to what you can afford. For many, this means that they have lower monthly payments in the early part of their careers. That can leave them with enough discretionary income to make mortgage payments while repaying their student loans.

Student loans can also be deferred, which frees up monthly income. Although, when you borrow, we will still consider the loan in our calculations, typically using a figure of 1 percent of the outstanding balance in our analysis of your monthly debt load. However, if you are considering applying for a mortgage through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) program, your deferment will not be a factor in the DTI calculation.

Other Preventive Measures

Often, the bigger obstacle to qualifying for a mortgage is not how much student debt you have but how well you’ve handled it and how much non-student debt you are carrying. Before applying for a mortgage, it helps to address these factors first.

For instance:

  1. Have a year or more of on-time payments. Know what you owe, when it is due and whom you are expected to repay. Missing payments or a history of late payments will come back to haunt you when you apply for a mortgage.
  2. Manage your debt. Repay credit card balances and establish a pattern of paying them off in full each month. If you are working through an outstanding balance, look for options that might lower your rate and allow you to speed up your payback period.
  3. Carry only your debt obligations on your record. If you have debt but your parents are repaying it or a portion of it, it should be shifted off your record, where it counts toward your DTI, and into their names. Depending on the circumstances, there are a variety of ways to do this. It’s something your lender can discuss with you.
  4. Don’t focus so much on the down payment. There are many first-time homebuyer programs that were designed to make monthly payments affordable, using a low down payment. For some student debt holders, therefore, it may make sense to save for a 3 percent down payment and direct the rest of their discretionary income toward paying down their student loans before applying for a mortgage.
  5. Don’t assume; talk to a lender. We have access to a variety of loan programs and strategies and know which local incentives you may qualify for that would help your cause. As bankers, we are also able to look at your total financial picture for ways to set you up for long-term financial success.

To learn more about your best options for qualifying for a mortgage, whether you have student loans or not, give us a call at 877-866-0202. Let’s sit down and talk about what we can do to help you realize your homeowning goal.

Spending Bill, Shutdown: Wealth Economic Update Jan. 19, 2018

U.S. and World News

  • debate_664944046_370If lawmakers in the senate do not agree on a spending bill by 12:01 A.M Saturday, the government will shut down for the first time since October of 2013. There was a meeting held today between Democratic Leader Charles Schumer and President Trump at the White House, however no deal has been reached. Democratic leaders are strongly against the bill because it does not protect illegal immigrants who arrived in the United States as children from deportation. House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney stated that the odds of a government shutdown are 50-50 and preparations by the administration are being made. The top percentage of furloughed workers during the event of a government shutdown would be from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Department of Education.

Markets

  • Markets had yet another week of gains. The S&P rose 1.23%, closing at a new All-Time High of 2,810. The Dow Jones gained 1.12% for the week, also closing at a new All-Time High of  26,072.
  • Interest rates also increased this week. The 5 year and 10 year U.S. Treasury Notes are now yielding 2.45% and 2.66%, respectively.
  • The spot price of WTI Crude Oil fell by 1.23% this week, closing at $63.51 per barrel.
  • The spot price of Gold edged lower by 0.39%, closing at $1,332.48 per ounce.

Economic Data

  • Initial jobless claims fell 41,000 from last week, coming in at a 45-year low of 220,000, far below expectations. The largest declines were in California (-5k), Pennsylvania (-5k), Michigan (-4k) and Illinois (-3k). The four week moving average for claims fell to 245,000.
  • Housing starts declined 8.2% month-over-month in December to 1192k, missing expectations of a 1.7% decline. The prior two months were revised up by a net 7k. The 11.8% drop in single-family starts largely attributed to the overall broad based decline.
  • Building permits were down 0.1% in November, exceeding expectations. The multifamily category declined by 3.9% while the single family category rose 1.8% driven by permits in the northeast (+43%).
  • The University of Michigan’s index of consumer sentiment fell 1.5 points to 94.4 to a six-month low in the January preliminary report.

Fact of the Week

  • There has not been a government shutdown when one party controls the government since Carter was President in the 1970’s. (Source: Strategas Research Partners)has not been a government shutdown when one party controls the government since Carter was President in the 1970’s. (Source: Strategas Research Partners)
  • Each week of government shutdown would reduce Q1 GDP by 0.2% (quarter-over-quarter annualized), but this would be reversed in the subsequent quarter. (Source: Goldman Sachs)

Please contact a member of the Wealth Management Department if you have any questions about this information.

Rich Gartelmann CFP® – (630) 844-5730 rgartelmann@oldsecond.com
Steve Meves, CFA® – (630) 801-2217 – smeves@oldsecond.com
Brad Johnson CFA®, CFP® – (630) 906-5545 bjohnson@oldsecond.com
Joel Binder, SVP – (630) 844-6767 jbinder@oldsecond.com
Jacqueline Runnberg CFP® – (630) 966-2462 jrunnberg@oldsecond.com
Ed Gorenz, VP – (630) 906-5467 ejgorenz@oldsecond.com

Visit Old Second Wealth Management

Non-deposit investment products are not insured by the FDIC; not a deposit of, or guaranteed by, the bank; may lose value.

 

NAFTA: Wealth Economic Update Jan. 16, 2018

U.S. and World News

  • NAFTA-655951028Negotiators have set a March deadline to rewrite NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) amid an increasingly contentious process between the U.S., Mexico and Canada. This also comes amid reports of Canadian officials believing President Trump could pull the U.S. out of the deal altogether. Regarding the timeline, Trump told the Wall Street Journal that he was a ‘little flexible’ on it given Mexico’s July 1 presidential election. On the topic of the border wall between the U.S. and Mexico, Trump said, “They can pay for it indirectly through NAFTA…We make a good deal on NAFTA, and, say, I’m going to take a small percentage of that money and it’s going toward the wall. Guess what? Mexico’s paying.” The next round of negotiations will be taking place in Montreal in two weeks.

Markets

  • Markets continued their upward move to start 2018. The S&P rose 1.61%, closing at a new All-Time High of 2,786. The Dow Jones gained 2.02% for the week, also closing at a new All-Time High of  25,803.
  • Interest rates generally rose again this week. The 5 year and 10 year U.S. Treasury Notes are now yielding 2.35% and 2.55%, respectively.
  • The spot price of WTI Crude Oil rose by 4.66% this week, closing at $64.30 per barrel.
  • The spot price of Gold ended the week up by 1.37%, closing at $1,337.64 per ounce.

Economic Data

  • Initial jobless claims were up 11,000 from last week, coming in at a three-month high of 261,000. The largest increases were in California (10k), Pennsylvania (3k) and Wisconsin (3k). The four week moving average for claims rose to 251,000.
  • The headline Consumer Price Index (measure of inflation) rose 0.15% in December, beating expectations of 0.1%. A 1.2% drop in energy prices partially offset a 0.2% rise in food prices. Headline inflation rose 2.1% in 2017.
    • Core CPI (excludes food and energy) rose 0.3% in December, higher than the expected 0.2%. During 2017, Core CPI rose 1.8%.
  • Retail sales rose 0.4% in December, a bit below consensus expectations of 0.5%. The largest December gains were at nonstore retailers (+1.2%) and building materials stores (+1.2%) while sales declined at clothing (-0.3%) and sporting goods (-1.6%) stores.

Fact of the Week

  • During the 2000-2002 bear market, the S&P 500 hit a bear market low on October 9, 2002. The headline in USA Today the following morning (10/10/02) was, “Where’s the bottom? No end in sight.” The S&P rose 102% from that point on until peaking five years later in 2007.

Please contact a member of the Wealth Management Department if you have any questions about this information.

Rich Gartelmann CFP® – (630) 844-5730 rgartelmann@oldsecond.com
Steve Meves, CFA® – (630) 801-2217 – smeves@oldsecond.com
Brad Johnson CFA®, CFP® – (630) 906-5545 bjohnson@oldsecond.com
Joel Binder, SVP – (630) 844-6767 jbinder@oldsecond.com
Jacqueline Runnberg CFP® – (630) 966-2462 jrunnberg@oldsecond.com
Ed Gorenz, VP – (630) 906-5467 ejgorenz@oldsecond.com

Visit Old Second Wealth Management

Non-deposit investment products are not insured by the FDIC; not a deposit of, or guaranteed by, the bank; may lose value.

 

2017 Summary: Wealth Economic Update Jan. 2, 2018

U.S. and World News

  • wallst-462756183_380Trading in 2017 has concluded, wrapping up a very positive year in global stock markets despite facing a laundry list of headwinds and fears. In a year that included the inauguration of a new President, nuclear tension with North Korea, fears of Populism spreading in Europe, numerous terrorist attacks domestically & abroad, pessimism over tax overhaul, multiple devastating hurricanes, renegotiations of several global trade agreements and three Fed rate hikes; the U.S. benchmark index, the S&P 500, set 62 new all-time highs on its way to a 8% total return in 2017. The technology weighted Nasdaq Composite returned 29.7% and the Russell 2000 (small cap U.S. stocks) lagged but still gained 14.7%.  International markets also enjoyed strong gains in 2017 with developed international stocks returning 25.2% (MSCI EAFE Index) and emerging market stocks returning 36.9% (MSCI Emerging Markets Index). Looking forward to next year, markets will be focused on the effects of the new tax reform law on both businesses and individuals, the path of the Federal Reserve under new incoming Chairman Jerome Powell and the effects of synchronized global growth on inflation and asset valuations.

Markets

  • Markets ended 2017 on a bit of a down note. The S&P fell 0.33%, closing at 2,674. The Dow Jones dipped 0.14% for the week and closed at 24,719. In 2017, the S&P gained 21.82% and the Dow returned 28.11%.
  • Interest rates pulled back this week. The 5 year and 10 year U.S. Treasury Notes are now yielding 2.21% and 2.41%, respectively.
  • The spot price of WTI Crude Oil rose by 2.81% this week, closing at $60.11 per barrel. During 2017, Oil prices rose 11.90%.
  • The spot price of Gold ended the week up by 2.28%, closing at $1,303.28 per ounce. In 2017, Gold prices were up 13.58%.

Economic Data

  • Initial jobless claims were flat from last week, coming in at 245,000. The largest increases were in Texas (4k), New York (4k) and Kentucky (3k). The four week moving average for claims rose to 238,000.
  • The Case-Shiller home price index rose by 0.7% in October, slightly beating expectations of 0.6%. Prices rose in all 20 cities measured with Las Vegas (+1.4%), San Francisco (+1.2%), New York (+0.8%), and Charlotte (+0.8%) showing the largest monthly increases. Over the last 12 months, home prices as measured by the index have risen 6.4%.

Fact of the Week

  • The largest drawdown in the S&P 500 during 2017 was a mere -3% pullback seen from March to mid-April. This was the smallest intra-year drawdown in the S&P 500 since 1995 which also only saw a -3% pullback. The next year in 1996, the S&P 500 did see an -8% drawdown at one point but wound up gaining 20% by year’s end. (Source: Strategas Research Partners)

    Happy New Year!

Please contact a member of the Wealth Management Department if you have any questions about this information.

Rich Gartelmann CFP® – (630) 844-5730 rgartelmann@oldsecond.com
Steve Meves, CFA® – (630) 801-2217 – smeves@oldsecond.com
Brad Johnson CFA®, CFP® – (630) 906-5545 bjohnson@oldsecond.com
Joel Binder, SVP – (630) 844-6767 jbinder@oldsecond.com
Jacqueline Runnberg CFP® – (630) 966-2462 jrunnberg@oldsecond.com
Ed Gorenz, VP – (630) 906-5467 ejgorenz@oldsecond.com

Visit Old Second Wealth Management

Non-deposit investment products are not insured by the FDIC; not a deposit of, or guaranteed by, the bank; may lose value.