January 2018 News Update | McIntosh & Associates, Inc.

Define & Reach Your 2018 Financial Resolutions

With the New Year upon us, it brings a fresh opportunity to consider your goals. For 2018, we are taking a different approach to resolutions. Instead of giving you a laundry list of tasks to accomplish, we want to encourage you to make this the year you really own your financial life. READ MORE


Holiday Debt Hangover

The holidays are in the rear-view mirror, but the credit card bills are front and center! All the fun and festivities can really add up – many households will be paying off their debt through the entire winter and even into spring. We need to watch how much we are putting on our credit cards during the holiday season because holiday debt adds to a bigger problem of growing credit card debt. Nearly two-thirds of households pay for at least some of the holidays by using credit. READ MORE


Get Financially Fit

Saving more and spending less are often at the top of the New Year’s resolution list – but only 8% of people actually stick to their goals! When you want to get physically fit, you don’t skip certain muscle groups or avoid cardio. You need to take the same approach to getting financially fit – working on all aspects of your money. READ MORE


Book of the Month

The Total Money Makeover
Reach your 2018 goals with Dave’s 20 years of financial teaching and counseling into 7 organized, easy-to-follow steps that will lead you out of debt and into a Total Money Makeover. Plus, you’ll read over 50 real-life stories from people just like you who have followed these principles and are now winning with their money. It is a plan designed for everyone, regardless of income or age.

“The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge.”

– Bertrand Russell

Sausage with Confetti Couscous

Ingredients:

1 ¼ pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 pound sausage links, lamb, pork, or chicken
1 cup couscous, cooked
2 medium carrots, chopped finely
2 small sweet peppers, chopped finely
½ cup fresh mint, chopped

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 475ºF, and coat Brussels sprouts with olive oil and ¼ teaspoon each of salt and pepper.
2. Place prepared Brussels sprouts on a greased, rimmed baking sheet, and put into oven. Roast for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until they tenderize and brown.
3. Cover another baking sheet with aluminum foil, and put the sausage links on the sheet while the Brussels sprouts cook. Place baking sheet with sausage in oven and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until links reach 165ºF.
4. Mix the finely chopped carrots, peppers, and fresh mint into the cooked couscous. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt. Toss until thoroughly combined.
5. Top couscous with cooked sausage and serve with a side of Brussels sprouts.

Recipe from Good Housekeeping.

Keep Your Data Safe Online

As more and more of our lives go online, we must take measures to actively protect ourselves. From credit card information to Social Security numbers, and more, a trove of data exists that can put you at risk. Here are some tips to help you keep your data safe online.

1. Shop on secure websites: A website has better safety measures in place when it lists an “s” in its website address (URL). Shop safely online by only using websites that start with “https.”

2. Avoid financial transactions on unsecured WiFi: Public wireless accounts can be helpful to use when you need to access the internet, but they can leave you vulnerable. To protect your data, never do any financial transactions on unsecured public WiFi.

3. Sign up for alerts: Many accounts allow you to sign up for alerts in order to receive notifications on any suspicious activity. Make sure you opt into these communications to stay ahead of odd account behavior.

Other details may apply, and you can find more information on the IRS website at IRS.gov. This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized advice. We suggest you discuss your specific issues with a qualified professional.

Risk Factors for Hypertension

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, happens when the ongoing force of blood against your artery walls is too high. As a result, a variety of health issues can emerge, such as heart disease. Hypertension typically develops over the course of many years. Knowing the risk factors can help you take preventative care to beat hypertension.

Older Age: As we age, our chances for hypertension increase. Men often begin to have complications around 45 years old. Women typically develop hypertension later, around 65 years old.

Family History: Genetics play a role in whether people are at risk of high blood pressure, so be sure to check your family’s health history.

Too Much Salt in Diet: Foods high in sodium can increase the fluids you hold inside you, which affect blood pressure. Minimize your salt intake to help manage hypertension risks.

Simple Tips That Make a Green Difference

Sometimes, the small actions we take each day are the ones that add up to make a real difference in our green lifestyles. Here are some simple ways you can help the earth without having to make a huge change in how you live:

Pick up litter: Even though you didn’t make the trash, you can help take it away from our parks, streams, and roadways. Take a bag with you on walks and pick up litter along the way.

Avoid releasing balloons: Sending balloons off into the air may seem fun, but the plastic eventually falls back down to earth. Animals that mistake deflated balloons for food can die from choking or intestinal blocks. Marine animals are especially vulnerable.

Fix water leaks: Households waste about 13.7% of water due to leaks. Check your water meter regularly while no one is using the water; if the meter moves, then you have a leak somewhere.