Posted on 7/14/2020 8:28 AM By First Bank
It's never too soon to start teaching children about money. Whether they're tagging along with you to the grocery store or watching you make purchases online, children quickly realize that we use money to buy the things we want. You can teach some simple lessons today that will give them a solid foundation for making a lifetime of sound financial decisions.
Start with an Allowance. An allowance is often a child's first brush with financial independence and a good way to begin learning how to save money and budget for the things they want. How much you give your children will depend in part on what you expect them to buy and how much you want them to save. Make allowance day a routine, like payday, by giving them a set amount on the same day each week or month.
Help Them Set Financial Goals. Children might not always appreciate the value of putting money away for the future. Help them set age-appropriate short- and long-term financial goals that will serve as incentives for saving money. ...
Posted on 7/7/2020 11:02 AM By First Bank
First Quarter 2020
This report features world capital market performance and a timeline of events for the past quarter. It begins with a global overview, then features the returns of stock and bond asset classes in the US and international markets.
The report also illustrates the impact of globally diversified portfolios and features a quarterly topic.
World Asset Classes
International Developed Stocks
Emerging Markets Stocks
Select Market Performance
Select Currency Performance vs. US Dollar
Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)
Global Fixed Income
Impact of Diversification
Quarterly Topic: The Coronavirus and Market Declines
Quarterly Market Summary
Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. Indices are not available for direct investment. Index performance does not reflect the expenses associated with the managemen ...
Posted on 6/29/2020 9:45 AM By First Bank
Posted on 6/2/2020 12:17 PM By First Bank
The Markets (as of market close May 29, 2020)
May saw several states and foreign countries ease restrictions put in place in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As economies slowly picked up momentum, investors grew more confident in stocks, driving values higher. However, investor optimism was kept in check by sobering economic reports and growing tensions between the United States and China.
The unemployment rate reached its highest level since the Great Depression while claims for unemployment insurance soared past 25 million. Economic output lagged in April as expected. Hardest hit were automakers, restaurants, and airlines. The month closed with a speech from President Trump condemning China over the pandemic, Hong Kong, and several other "broken promises."
Despite these issues, investors drew optimism from the possibility that a COVID-19 vaccine is on the horizon, the gradual lifting of lockdowns, and the stimulus efforts in play. While May didn't see the double-digit gains enjoyed ...
Posted on 6/2/2020 9:31 AM By First Bank
The Roth "five-year rule" typically refers to when you can take tax-free distributions of earnings from your Roth IRA, Roth 401(k), or other work-based Roth account. The rule states that you must wait five years after making your first contribution, and the distribution must take place after age 59½, when you become disabled, or when your beneficiaries inherit the assets after your death. Roth IRAs (but not workplace plans) also permit up to a $10,000 tax-free withdrawal of earnings after five years for a first-time home purchase.
While this seems straightforward, several nuances may affect your distribution's tax status. Here are four questions that examine some of them.
1. When does the clock start ticking?
"Five-year rule" is a bit misleading; in some cases, the waiting period may be shorter. The countdown begins on January 1 of the tax year for which you make your first contribution.
For example, if you open a Roth IRA on December 31, 2020, the clock st ...
Posted on 6/2/2020 9:13 AM By First Bank
The first part of 2020 was rocky, but there should be better days ahead. Taking a close look at your finances may give you the foundation you need to begin moving forward. Mid-year is an ideal time to do so, because the planning opportunities are potentially greater than if you waited until the end of the year.
Renew Your Resolutions
At the beginning of the year, you may have vowed to change your financial situation, perhaps by saving more, spending less, or reducing your debt. Are these resolutions still important to you? If your income, expenses, and life circumstances have changed since then, you may need to rethink your priorities.
While it may be difficult to look at your finances during turbulent times, review financial statements and account balances to determine whether you need to make any changes to keep your financial plan on track.
Take Another Look at Your Taxes
Completing a mid-year estimate of your tax liability may reveal planning opportunities. You can use last year's tax r ...
Posted on 5/18/2020 9:40 AM By First Bank
About 80 million Americans actively participate in employer-sponsored defined contribution plans such as 401(k), 403(b), and 457(b) plans.1 If you are among this group, you've taken a big step on the road to retirement, but as with any investment, it's important that you understand your plan and what it can do for you. Here are a few ways to make the most of this workplace benefit.
Take the free money. Many companies match a percentage of employee contributions, so at a minimum you may want to save enough to receive a full company match and any available profit sharing. Some workplace plans have a vesting policy, requiring that workers be employed by the company for a certain period of time before they can keep the matching funds. Even if you meet the basic vesting period, funds contributed by your employer during a given year might not be vested unless you work until the end of that year. Be sure you understand these rules if you decide to leave your current employer.
Bump up your contribut ...
Posted on 5/6/2020 1:00 PM By First Bank
Wills and trusts are common documents used in estate planning. While each can help in the distribution of assets at death, there are important differences between the two.
What Is a Will? A last will and testament is a legal document that lets you direct how your property will be dispersed (among other things) when you die. It becomes effective only after your death. It also allows you to name a personal representative (executor) as the legal representative who will carry out your wishes.
What Is a Trust? A trust is a legal relationship in which you, the grantor or trustor, set up a trust, which holds property managed by a trustee for the benefit of another, the beneficiary. A revocable living trust is the type of trust used most often as part of a basic estate plan. "Revocable" means you can make changes to the trust or even revoke it at any time.
A living trust is created while you're living and takes effect immediately. You may transfer title or ownership of assets, such as a hou ...
Posted on 5/6/2020 12:10 PM By First Bank
The Markets (as of market close April 30, 2020)
April began on a sour note for stocks as each of the indexes listed here lost value. Economic reports reflected the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. There were more than 700,000 jobs lost in March while total claims for unemployment insurance benefits soared to nearly 18 million. A cut in production didn't prevent crude oil prices from hitting negative numbers as demand waned and storage neared full capacity. Purchasing managers saw manufacturing hit lows not seen in more than ten years. The federal government continued to try easing the economic strain on individuals and businesses. The Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act replenished the Paycheck Protection Program, provided funding for additional small business loans, offered financial support to hospitals, and increased the availability for more virus testing. The Federal Reserve added trillions of dollars in funds to its lending programs for states, cities, and midsize ...
Posted on 5/6/2020 11:41 AM By First Bank
Keeping your cool can be hard to do when the market goes on one of its periodic roller-coaster rides. It's useful to have strategies in place that prepare you both financially and psychologically to handle market volatility. Here are 11 ways to help keep yourself from making hasty decisions that could have a long-term impact on your ability to achieve your financial goals.
1. Have a game plan
Having predetermined guidelines that recognize the potential for turbulent times can help prevent emotion from dictating your decisions. For example, you might take a core-and-satellite approach, combining the use of buy-and-hold principles for the bulk of your portfolio with tactical investing based on a shorter-term market outlook. You also can use diversification to try to offset the risks of certain holdings with those of others. Diversification may not ensure a profit or guarantee against a loss, but it can help you understand and balance your risk in advance. And if you're an active investor, a tr ...