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  • Just How Good Are You?

    Tuesday, April 16, 2013

    There are things we all know we should do or at least we’ve been told we should do them. But just how good are you at getting them all done? Here’s a quick test. How many of these can you answer “yes” to?

    • You have your teeth cleaned every six months.
    • You pay every bill on time and in full every month.
    • You hit the gym at least 5 days a week… and do a full exercise routine.
    • You visit your doctor for a full physical twice a year.
    • You keep track of your intake of calories, fats, and proteins… every day.
    • You drink eight glasses of water every day.
    • You take your car in for an oil change every 3000 miles… or 7000 miles.

    Did you do pretty well? How about this one?

    • You pay close attention to retirement plans you left behind at former employers by studying the investment choices and making rational changes in line with your long term needs.

    If I got you on that one, then you should consider a retirement plan rollover to a MutualWealth Management IRA.

    More and more of us work for multiple employers throughout our careers and we end up with multiple retirement plans left behind. Even if you only had one employer you may have several plans that were offered at different times throughout your career. You don’t have to be retired to do a rollover. If you have terminated employment any retirement plan at that employer is eligible to roll over to an IRA.

    The most important reason to roll over to a MutualWealth IRA is for our professional services including helping you to establish investment goals, management of the day-to-day investment decisions, ongoing monitoring, record-keeping and keeping you informed.

    There are a lot of other things to consider before doing a rollover. For instance, company stock held in a retirement plan such as an ESOP or 401(k) generally should not be rolled to an IRA because you may end up paying more tax on it than necessary.

    If you’re over age 55 but under 59 ½ when you retire you can access retirement plan assets without the 10% early withdrawal penalty. This isn’t available in an IRA.

    Another feature not available to IRAs is that if you work past age 70 ½ you can defer taxable required minimum distributions until you do retire (unless you own more than 5% of the company).

    On the other hand, a MutualWealth IRA has advantages in addition to our services that aren’t available in company retirement plans. The possible investment choices are much greater and include individual stocks and bonds; you can withdraw money prior to age 59 ½ for education expenses for you or a dependent without the 10% penalty; and an IRA can allow you to stretch the tax deferred growth of your assets out over generations of your heirs.

    Let’s face it. We just don’t do all the things we’re supposed to do. It’s too easy to put off complicated decisions like a retirement plan rollover. MutualWealth can help weigh the pros and cons so you make the right choice. That’s another way we help you live a better life.

    David Riggs is Vice President and Trust Investment Officer with
    MutualWealth Management Group.

  • A Few Potential Tax Savings Reminders

    Wednesday, April 10, 2013

    It is once again that dreaded yet unavoidable time of year…tax time. While many taxpayers have already filed their 2012 tax return, many more are still gathering information and preparing to submit their returns. As the deadline approaches, we at MutualBank would like to take an opportunity to send a couple of reminders and highlight some potential tax-saving efforts for which customers may be eligible.

    First of all, make sure you have received all of your important tax documents for the year. If you have a mortgage or consumer loan, an IRA or Health Savings Account, or an interest-bearing deposit account like a CD or Savings account, then you will most likely have a corresponding tax document for each of those accounts. In addition, review your tax documents for accuracy. We want to make sure that our records match your records to ensure error-free reporting. If you have any questions or concerns about the tax documents you have received, or if you think you should have received one and didn’t, our Customer Support team will be glad to help resolve these situations.

    This time of year also presents opportunities to maximize your tax return for the previous year. Customers who have an IRA or a Health Savings Account may still be able to make contributions to count towards last year’s taxes. The IRS allows this as a way to take advantage of maximum contribution limits and the potential tax-deductibility of many contributions. The tax-filing deadline (April 15) is also the deadline for these prior year contributions, so eligible customers wishing to make use of this opportunity should stop by their local Financial Center at the earliest convenience.

    If you are curious about your eligibility to make these types of contributions, or if you have any other tax-related questions, we strongly encourage you to seek tax advice from a CPA or other qualified tax professional. Though tax time can be hectic and frustrating, a little planning and preparation can alleviate much of the stress of filing your return. 

    For banking questions, please call or email Customer Support at 800-382-8031 or customersupport@bankwithmutual.com.

     

    Jared Matchette is MutualBank's Deposit Product Analyst.

     

  • Why Is Change So Hard?

    Wednesday, March 20, 2013

    I was “hanging out” with some lady friends a few weeks back.  And the discussion came up about banking and using online banking.   Of course, I had to weigh in on this discussion.

    One lady expressed that she was upset that Social Security was about to require electronic deposits for Social Security funds.  She was upset by this change, and further, she noted would never trust using the internet for banking.

    Change is hard!  I expect that when Henry Ford introduced a motorized vehicle, that many expected that invention would never take hold.  Look at us now!  At the time, I expect it took a little while for that horseless carriage idea to catch on.

    In the early 1940s, women worked primarily in the home and were the primary child bearers and caretakers.  With the advent of WWII, a much greater need came about for women to leave the homes and go to work in all sorts of industries supporting families and the war effort for the United States.  And I would venture a guess that the multitude of ways women make a difference in & outside the home since that time have multiplied exponentially – think Melissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo!  Yet, it was likely difficult for some of those women of the 1940s to leave the home and learn a trade, go in to an office to work, and contribute in a different way.

    I grew up in a simpler time as well.  In the 60s, there were no cell phones, no computers, and no computer games.  I remember a time when we didn’t even have a television in our home – we couldn’t afford one.  We had to actually talk to one another, go outside to play in the neighborhood, use our fingers to dial a telephone, and once we got a TV, we had to get out of our chair to change a television channel.   My daughter today has no concept of this.  Change is hard.

    I was an Office Manager in the 90s when the fax machine was ‘born.’  Now I think of the fax as antiquated technology.  Likely, many of us balked at moving from receiving our wages in cash, to receiving a hand-written paycheck.  Then we moved to a typewritten paycheck, still hand-delivered.  Today, it is all automated – the money gets into our accounts faster than ever before with the same or better accuracy, because of technology. Change is hard.

    I expect folks in my age range (notice I’ve gone from a certain age, to a “range”) – in our 50s and more mature– are somewhat divided on technology.  Some are very ”techknowlegeable,” and some are not.   Making that change is, no doubt, difficult.   As few as five years ago I absolutely refused to try or use LinkedIn or Facebook.   I’m now regularly using both, learning Twitter, and using Klout, and even blogging in and outside my bank. 

    I continue to advocate, even gently encourage, my fellow 50-somethings to consider using the internet – and in particular, online banking & bill pay.  It is not going away.   In terms of safety and the risk management of using such things as online banking and bill pay, everyone must be diligent.  I am confident the same was said of using dollar bills instead of gold pieces, checks instead of dollar bills, mail instead of hand delivered payments.  Give careful consideration to learning to use the internet for your banking needs.  I use a colleague’s example.  His son is in his 30’s and has lived all across the country, including New York City.  He has been with the same bank since college, and he has never set foot inside a brick & mortar building.  (By the way, did you know you can open a checking account online and apply for a mortgage online!?) Change is hard – yet, it is all around us.   

    You have heard me share some of the positives of moving to online banking & bill pay – the most precious to me, is the time I have back in my life.  I also just got a discount on my personal car insurance by moving to electronic statements – one less piece of mail to track.  Sometimes it doesn’t take much to make me excited.  And yet, change is, indeed hard. 

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