Pet therapy for children and the elderly is now considered a charitable purpose by the IRA’s standards. An organization that has others take their therapy dogs on visits to hospitals and nursing homes at no cost to the patient or facility, now qualifies for tax exemption as a 501 (c)(3) charity. These pet therapy sessions are intended to improve the well-being of patients, lessen distress and encourage socialization. Donors can now deduct contributions made to the group.
(Source: The Kiplinger Tax Letter May 19, 2017)
In the same Kiplinger Tax Letter, Knight Kiplinger suggests that things are looking up for the housing market. As home prices rise, underwater mortgages are falling steadily. Currently 10% of homeowners owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth, however this statistic is projected to be 8% by year-end and even fewer next year. Having fewer folks upside-down on loans means more homes hitting the market.
And finally, Kiplinger warns us to expect more destructive cyberattacks to strike in the coming months. Recent U.S. intelligence agencies data breaches have exposed hidden security flaws to criminals and other nations.
Microsoft urges Uncle Sam to quickly reveal such security holes so they can be covered.
Although future attacks will be more difficult to stop as malware becomes more sophisticated, there are ways to help fend off hackers.
- Spend money on anti-virus / anti-malware software and keep it up-to-date with virus definitions
- Install software updates often and quickly to plug security holes – especially on your operating system such as Microsoft Windows.
- Back up data regularly with an external remote local hard drive. Keep it disconnected from your computer between back ups. Also take advantage of web-based back up storage.
- Don’t click on suspicious email hyperlinks or unknown attachments without proper vetting.
Your Resonate team continues to increase our security measures on a regular basis. For example, our broker-dealer, Valmark Securities requires all Resonate employees to undergo ongoing cybersecurity training. We also back up our files daily.
Of course, we still know that hackers continue to increase their sophistication as well.
As always, we would love to hear from you.
Barbara A. Culver
CFP®, ChFC®, CLU, AEP®