On Wednesday, April 15, 2020 80 million Americans received their Stimulus funds via direct deposit. As the COVID-19 Relief funds are arriving in the hands of Americans that need it most, scammers are working hard to make attempts to get their hands on this money.  As the IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said, people need to take extra care during this period. Scammers are opportunists that historically take advantage of people when they are most vulnerable or in a state of need. The 2 trillion-dollar relief fund is a great place for them to go. The folks that are receiving relief from the Covid-19 Stimulus Package are generally more vulnerable than the average tax payer as it applies to individuals that make less than $75,000 year, a majority of whom are senior citizens and represent one of the most vulnerable groups in terms of fraud. It is important to become educated and to educate those around you about the scams that are out there to be able to avoid them properly. Below are examples of some of the most common signs of a scam and how to protect yourself against them.

  • A call from the “IRS” asking for a “small payment to ensure they have the right account information” or someone asking for your account information outright. Do not give it to them. The information for the direct depositing of your payment is based off of the information you provided on your tax return. The IRS would not call you for this information. There is also no check to make sure they have the right account information by taking a small amount first.
  • A fake check comes to you via mail. Then a sender calls you to verify your account information to “deposit it”. As mentioned already, the IRS would not do this.
  • You’re asked by the scammer to sign over the funds to the caller and they will get the funds to you via a cashier’s check, deposit, etc. This seems obvious, but scammers can be very convincing about this being the only way for you to receive the funds.
  • You receive an email or text about verifying account information. Once again, the IRS would not do this. Ignore them and report them if possible.
  • Scammers contacting you to help you receive your payment faster. This is most pertinent to those that did not have a direct deposit on file and are expecting a check in the mail. As mentioned above, the IRS would not contact you for this reason. Ignore and report of possible.

Other helpful tips:














To relieve the financial pressure many Americans are experiencing, the federal government has started to issue $1,200 payments to certain Individual Taxpayers, and $2,400 to married couples.  These payments have been a centerpiece of the $2.2 trillion rescue package meant to provide a buffer against the coronavirus pandemic that has closed much of the U.S. economy.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury and IRS expect roughly 80 million Americans will receive their payments via direct deposit by today (Wednesday, April 15.) These payments are being automatically issued to eligible 2019 or 2018 federal tax return filers who received a refund using direct deposit.


Who is eligible to receive a payment?

U.S. residents will receive a payment of $1,200 for individual or head of household filers, and $2,400 for married filing jointly if they are not a dependent of another taxpayer and have a work-eligible Social Security number with adjusted gross income up to:

  • $75,000 for individuals
  • $112,500 for head of household filers and
  • $150,000 for married couples filing joint returns

Taxpayers will receive a reduced payment if their AGI is between:

  • $75,000 and $99,000 if their filing status was single or married filing separately
  • 112,500 and $136,500 for head of household
  • $150,000 and $198,000 if their filing status was married filing jointly

The amount of the reduced payment will be based upon the taxpayer’s specific adjusted gross income.  Please use calculator found on the link below that will help provide an estimated total you can expect to receive if your AGI falls somewhere in the phaseout amount:


Additionally, if you have children who qualify for the child tax credit (they must be 16 years old or younger), you will receive an additional $500 for each child.


Who is not eligible to receive a payment?

Taxpayers will not qualify for an Economic Impact Payment if any of the following apply:

  • Your adjusted gross income is greater than
    • $99,000 if your filing status was single or married filing separately
    • $136,500 for head of household
    • $198,000 if your filing status was married filing jointly
  • You can be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s return. For example, this would include a child, student or older dependent who can be claimed on a parent’s return.
  • You do not have a valid Social Security number.


Is there any action required to receive payment if you’re under the required AGI income limits?

Individuals who’ve filed their 2018- or 2019-Income Tax return:

  • No action is needed in you’ve already filed your 2019 Income Tax return.
  • Also, no immediate action is required if you’ve filed your 2018 Income Tax Return, but not your 2019 Income Tax Return. The IRS will use information from your 2018 tax filings to determine the Economic Impact Payment calculations.

Individuals who are not required to file a tax return:

  • Recipients of Social Security retirement benefits, Social Security disability insurance (SSDI), Social Security survivor benefits and Railroad Retirement and Survivor Benefits that are under the income requirements to file Income Tax Return – no immediate action is necessary.
    • These recipients will receive their Stimulus payments as a direct deposit or by paper check, just as they would normally receive their benefits detailed above.


No Direct Deposit established with the IRS?

For those that have not previously participated in direct deposit with the IRS, physical checks will be mailed as early as April 24th at a rate of five million checks per week throughout the summer.  To allow taxpayers to track the status of their payment, the IRS will be launching an online application called “Get My Payment”. In addition to sharing the status of their payments, this FREE app will allow taxpayers who filed their tax return in 2018 or 2019 but did not provide their banking information to submit their direct deposit information to receive their payment immediately.


This is the latest available information as of today, and as more information becomes available LFA will continue to keep you updated. If you or a loved one have any questions or concerns please never hesitate to reach out.

We are living through an unprecedented event. Schools, businesses, and parks are closed. People are stuck in their homes and are unable to visit friends and family. Children are being taught in virtual classrooms. Life itself and every aspect of life is challenged. This situation, just like the Covid-19 virus, is unique…however we can look to the past for perspective.

Oil & Gold – In the early 1970s people believed the dollar was backed by gold. In 1973 the system collapsed and people had to make a mental shift that money holds value because we all agree it does. Our economy was dependent on foreign fuel when OPEC stopped shipping oil to US in 1973. This caused inflation and forced people to wait for hours in line just to get gas. Then the world changed, congress passed fuel efficiency rules and we, as a country, came to the realization that we needed more energy independence. These life lessons have forced us to be better prepared and rethink our systems going forward.

WWII – During WWII, it is not that people didn’t have money to spend, but rather that they had nothing to spend it on. Back then, people were pulled from the economy to go to or contribute to the war. In 1937 the market dropped 35%, then went up, then back down for many years. Cities were being destroyed, 70-85 million lives were lost, yet from 1942-1945, the market returned 20% per year during the darkest days of a generation. The dollar doubled from the beginning to the end of the war. Companies will find a way to be profitable. An extreme example, if they cannot make cars, then they will make tanks. Markets are resilient, because companies are resilient, because we are resilient.

Home – Another way to think of the stock market is like your house.  The daily price movements are not meant to be watched every day. It doesn’t matter what those daily price movements are, what matters is the long-term outcome. We are all bombarded by market news, notifications we didn’t ask for, and relentless media noise. When emotions are high it is easy to let them cloud your judgment. It is okay to feel the way you do, but be sure to disentangle your emotions from your investment decisions. We as your financial advisor and friend are here to help you along the way.

Global Diversification Matters – Last decade the US market did better, the previous decade the International market did better. So far in 2020 the US is not in the top 10. China had the best 1st quarter in 2020. As of now, Denmark is #1, followed by China.

Stock Market Big Picture – For every seller, there is still a buyer. For every pessimist, there is an optimist. There is no universal agreement on where the market is going. Continuous adjustments are made based on new data.

Bear markets last longer than bull markets, but many bull markets experience a 20% decline every 8-11 years. This is to be expected, it is the price of admission.

When the now overwhelms you, look to the future. The market is likely to recover before the “smoke clears”. 2009 was the worst year of the recession, but then the market went up over 25% before the recession was over.

Markets are choppy and have a huge range of volatility within a year, with a historical average of a 9-10% return, but these actual returns rarely occur. Historically after a 20% decline, the 1 year average return is 14.21%, 3 year return 11.58%, and 5 year return of 11.76%.

There can be a strong appeal to market timing but it is a fallacy, as one needs to make two right decisions….and just when the stress of being in the market is too much, remember being out of the market can be just as painful!

All we can do is take care of ourselves and those around us…so we go back to the process, rebalance your portfolio when necessary, harvest losses, and make sure short- term cash flow is met.  We are all here for you, please continue to reach out and we’ll get through this together.

As we try and  work our way through the pandemic, it can be very overwhelming looking for the end. One idea is to take an approach of “day to day”.

  1. It’s hard to do, but try every day to do something positive
  2. Number 1 priority – Keep yourself, family, and the people around you safe
    1. Try every day to do something positive
    2. Family
    3. Yourself (mental & physical)
    4. Co-worker’s & your company
    5. A Client
    6. Your community


Then break the day down –

  1. Wake up – a gift
  2. Make it to breakfast
  3. Make it to lunch
  4. Make it to dinner
  5. Relax & repeat

Hang in there and try to laugh a little every day.

On Friday March 27th, President Trump signed a $2 trillion financial stimulus known as the CARES Act. This immense package is designed at the federal level to help Americans who will be directly impacted by Covid-19 by providing aid to individuals, support to small business sectors, expanded provisions for health care, updated tax deadlines, and education provisions. Many individuals are still currently battling with substantial student loan payments. However, during these unprecedented times, the CARES act has adopted a few measures to help provide temporary relief.

Key Federal student loan provisions & how they will affect you:

  • 6-month grace period on current Federal student loan payments till September 30th
    • Note: this does not apply to private custodians (ex: Discover, Earnest, Sallie Mae)
      • If you have private loans, we still recommend reaching out to them to see if there are any options available, including forbearance
    • This legislation treats each month during the grace period as if a payment was made towards loan forgiveness
    • No interest will be compounded during the interim, applied to principal only
    • You must manually check your Federal custodial payment portal; this will not automatically change an autopay plan if you need to delay your payments
  • Employers can exclude student loan repayments from compensation
    • Employers can contribute up to $5,250 annually toward an employee’s student loans and it is not included in the employee’s income (applies currently to only 2020), meaning it is not taxed
  • Look for potential student loan refinancing
    • With recent cuts from the Federal Reserve, this can be a great opportunity to lock in a new rate and start saving on your monthly payments.
      • Need a credit score of at least 650 to qualify and have enough monthly income to make payments
    • If you are quoted rates that are higher than anticipated, look into having a cosigner such as a parent/guardian to see if you are granted a lower rate
  • If you are a current student, contact your bursars/financial aid office at your educational institution to check to see if there have been any changes.

All of these recent provisions can be helpful ways to lower some financial burden on student loans. With the addition of the $1,200 stimulus check, aid to vulnerable economic sectors, Federal student loan relief, tax relief, and other various additions, the US government intends that the CARES Act can provide some stability in an unprecedented time of hardship. As history has shown, we are strong and are always capable of overcoming the toughest of challenges.