As the year winds down, please take a moment to review your situation. This is especially true if you have students that will be attending college during the 2017/2018 school year as the Federal College Aid Package is now open for submission. 2017 tax figures and some suggestions to help protect yourself from a new area of cyber security risk round out this month’s newsletter.
Should you know of someone who may benefit from this information please feel free to forward this newsletter to them.
NEW! College Aid Financial Package (FAFSA) Timing
|If you have a child in college or entering college during the next school year, you need to read this. The time to apply for federal financial aid is now.|
|The new application timeframe
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is now available for the 2017 – 2018 school year. The FAFSA application process opened on October 1st. This is a major departure from prior years when the new application was made available three months later, on January 1st.
The time to file is now
The earlier you file your application, the earlier you will receive aid packages from most participating schools. The application is used to receive grants, federal loans, and work study awards. Here are some hints to make sure the application process works in your favor.
|Filling out the form can be a daunting task for the uninitiated, but with proper preparation you can get your form done in quick order.|
Breaking News: 2017 Retirement Contribution & Social Security Limits
|If you have not already done so, now is the time to plan for contributions into your retirement accounts in 2017.
Retirement Contribution Limits
Don’t forget to account for any matching programs offered by your employer as you determine your various funding levels for next year.
Change Your Passwords Now
|A recent internet attack in the eastern United States by hackers opens up a new area of vulnerability for all of us. Here is what you need to know.|
|What is new
This recent cyber attack hijacked many computing devices. The attack took over these devices and used their computing power to attack a large internet provider. The result was some large service providers having their sites slow to a crawl and temporarily shut down from this massive attack.
The new, and disturbing, change is what kinds of computing devices are now being taken over. They are non-computer devices with internet connectivity. They include things like baby monitors, home security systems, and smart TVs. This new technology is targeting devices that traditionally have low or no security measures in place.
Change your password
|The biggest thing you can do to protect yourself is to make it a habit to change the passwords on all your devices. Here are some other suggestions.|
|Identify your devices. Go through your home and create a list of all devices that could be vulnerable to hackers. Anything that has internet connectivity can be vulnerable. Smart TVs, game consoles, TV set boxes (like Roku and Apple TV), thermostats, security systems, baby monitors, and more.|
|Check new purchases. More and more appliances are being loaded with computer technology. Some of these devices do not have security protection in them, others have factory settings that most of us do not change. Know what you are buying before you buy.|
|Reset the passwords. When installing a new smart device, immediately change the password. If professionally installed, change the password from the one set by the installation company.|
|Periodically change your passwords. Create a system to update and change all your passwords on a regular basis. This can create havoc as remembering this changing password landscape can be a real burden. So develop a system that is easy for you to remember but virtually impossible for a cyber thief.|
Tick Tock. Tax Reduction Ideas Still Available
|As the end of the year approaches, there is still time to make moves to manage your tax liability. Here are some ideas to consider.|
As always, should you have any questions or concerns regarding your situation please feel free to call.
This publication provides summary information regarding the subject matter at time of publishing. Please call with any questions on how this information may impact your situation. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission, except as noted here. This publication includes, or may include, links to third party internet web sites controlled and maintained by others. When accessing these links the user leaves this web page. These links are included solely for the convenience of users and their presence does not constitute any endorsement of the Websites linked or referred to nor does R.D.M. Tax Service & Notary Public have any control over, or responsibility for, the content of any such Websites.
All rights reserved.