Tag Archives: Finance

7 Worthwhile Ways to Use Your Tax Refund

 

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According to the Internal Revenue Service, more than 70 percent of the nation’s taxpayers received a tax refund averaging nearly $3,000 in 2017 and will get a similar amount this year. As Americans receive their refunds along with additional benefits coming from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed in December, we have highlighted seven tips to help them use their money wisely.

To help consumers make the most out of their money, We have provided you with the following tips.

  • Save for emergencies.  More than 60 percent of Americans are not prepared for unexpected expenses. You can prepare by opening or adding to a savings account that serves as an “emergency fund.” Ideally, it should hold about three-to-six months of living expenses in case of sudden financial hardships like losing your job or having to replace your car.
  • Pay off debt.  Pay down existing balances either by chipping away at loans with the highest interest rates or eliminating smaller debt first.
  • Save for retirement, your child’s education or future health expenses. Open or increase contributions to a tax-deferred savings plan like a 401(k) or an IRA. Your bank can help set up an IRA, while a 401(k) is employer-sponsored. Look into opening a tax-advantaged 529 education savings plan to ensure school expenses will be covered when your child reaches college age. Or save for future health expenses with tax-free dollars by investing in a Health Savings Account.
  • Pay down your mortgage or student loans.  Make an extra payment on your mortgage or student loans each year to save money on interest while reducing the term of your loans. Be sure to inform your lender that your extra payments should be applied to principal, not interest.
  • Invest safely with U.S. savings bonds or municipal bonds. The U.S. Treasury allows for savings bond to be purchased using your tax refund for as little as $50. Savings bonds earn interest for a maximum of 30 years.
  • Invest in your current home.  Use your refund to invest in home improvements that will pay you back in the long run by increasing the value of your home.  This can include small, cost-effective upgrades like energy-efficient appliances that will pay off in both the short and long term – and with tax credits (as long as Congress continues to renew the program).
  • Donate to charity.  The benefit is two-fold: Giving to charity will make a difference in your community, and you can also claim the tax deduction, if you itemize.

Resource information provided by the American Bankers Association.

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Market Update

by Mark Holloway & Paul Stropkay

Stock Yards Bank Wealth Management and Trust


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Having enjoyed relative calm in the capital markets, as well as all-time highs across a variety of equity indices during 2017 and into the first month of 2018, many investors were stunned by price volatility in stock and bond markets this afternoon.  While price volatility may feel unsettling, we are aware that secular bull markets are often temporarily interrupted by intermittent downdrafts in market prices.

So, what happened today?  Early reports cite computerized trading as the source of market price volatility.  A more fundamental cause may be that interest rates have risen in recent weeks and offer current yields that investors have not seen in recent memory.  At some level of interest rates, bonds compete with stocks.

Famous value investor Benjamin Graham is attributed with the following quote: “In the short run, the market is a voting machine but in the long run, it is a weighing machine.”  As long-term investors, we weigh the wealth-creating power of the companies we have purchased for our clients’ portfolios and welcome investment opportunities that price volatility provides.

As always, we will continue to monitor developments in the economy and in the capital markets with our clients’ portfolios in mind.  Rest assured that our commitment to quality, liquidity, and risk management will not waiver.

Should you have any questions or concerns, please contact your investment officer at Stock Yards.  We always welcome the opportunity to discuss your objectives and to develop an investment portfolio to help you reach your goals.


Wealth Management & Trust

KATHY THOMPSON, Senior Executive Vice President, (502) 625-2291
E. GORDON MAYNARD, Managing Director of Trust, (502) 625-0814
MARK HOLLOWAY, Chief Investment Officer, (502) 625-9124
SHANNON BUDNICK, Managing Director of Investments, (502) 625-2513
PAUL STROPKAY, Chief Investment Strategist, (502) 625-0385

NOT FDIC INSURED | MAY LOSE VALUE | NO BANK GUARANTEE


We provide the information in this newsletter for general guidance only. It does not constitute the provision of legal advice, tax advice, accounting services, investment advice, or professional consulting of any kind. The information provided herein should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional tax, accounting, investment, legal, or other competent advisers. Before making any decision or taking any action, you should consult a professional adviser who has been provided with all pertinent facts relevant to your particular situation. The information is provided “as is,” with no assurance or guarantee of completeness, accuracy, or timeliness of the information, and without warranty of any kind, expressed or implied, including but not limited to warranties of performance, merchantability, and fitness for a particular purpose.

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The Basics of Creating a Life Plan

by Claudette W. Patton, J.D.

Stock Yards Bank Wealth Management & Trust


Preparing a Life Plan is all about living and making good choices about your legacy. Most people avoid planning because they think it’s morbid to think about death, but a Life Plan – estate planning – isn’t about dying at all. It’s simply providing direction for your legacy and determining how you want to be remembered by your community, family, charities, and personal causes. It is a chronicle of your life’s work with a plan to continue the fruits of your work for the benefit of others.

The most important question remains: “Do you want to control your personal life legacy?” A well written and thought out Life Plan keeps you in control of your life even after you’re gone. The list of those who do not plan is replete with examples of unintended ex- spouses, estranged siblings, children with addictions, and others being granted inheritances by state intestacy law (lawyer lingo for “without a will”). A recent example of a man who did not control his legacy is the music legend, Prince. According to court documents filed in a Minnesota probate court, Prince Roger Nelson left no instructions to divide his belongings. As a result, state law could divide his vast estate equally among 8 siblings. It is reported Prince has one surviving full sister, five surviving half siblings, and two deceased half siblings (with surviving children). Some of these heirs had not spoken with Prince in over twenty years. However, Minnesota state law does not distinguish between full and half siblings, plus any personal relationship to Prince is irrelevant. Would Prince have approved of this distribution? Would you?

The following is a Life Plan “Control Checklist” to assist in protecting and directing your legacy:

Control Who Inherits Your Legacy and Designate The Amount For Each Heir

Many people assume everything in an estate automatically goes to the spouse. Please be aware not every state law automatically passes the entire estate to a spouse! I repeat. A spouse may not automatically inherit everything without a Will. Some states only allow a spouse 1/3 of an estate due to parental inheritance distribution laws. According to Kentucky intestacy law, a spouse may be fourth in the line of distribution. Also, state laws typically divide assets equally to the state designated heirs without consideration of a spendthrift relative, or someone with special medical needs. Children born out of wedlock may not be recognized in some states. Charitable giving may not occur. Additionally, if no living descendants are located the estate may “escheat” (go to) to the state coffers.

Control Who Will Take Care Of Your Minor Children

Preparing a Will and naming a guardian for your children places you in control of the person(s) you desire to meet the needs of your children and reflect your values. Without a Will the court may select a guardian from any family member, regardless if you were estranged during your life. If no family member agrees to guardianship or is deemed appropriate, the court may choose a state appointed guardian such as foster care.

Control Estate Taxes

Controlling taxes is a continuous event during our lifetime. An estate plan continues the control in minimizing estate taxes. A spouse may not take an inheritance tax free. Now is the time to put a plan in place to ensure the maximum of your legacy goes to your heirs rather than for taxes. Let’s revisit the example of music legend Prince. Without a Will or other estate planning, roughly one half of Prince’s estate could go to Federal and state taxes.

Control Probate

Having an estate plan helps speed the probate process, reduces probate costs, or in some circumstances, avoids probate completely.

Control Who Does Not Inherit

Earlier we discussed a plan to choose the exact people who receive your legacy. Now, we draw attention to controlling who will not inherit from your estate. An estate plan is your personal outline and direction of exactly how you want your personal legacy to be distributed. The estate plan allows you to be as detailed as possible and gives you the opportunity to exclude heirs making your intention of distribution clear. For example, perhaps some family members are financially established and you want to distribute assets based upon need, perhaps a family member may be incapable or irresponsible with money management needing small distributions of money over time using a trust, or perhaps a family member participates in lifestyle choices you may not wish to support.

Control Family Feuding

Estate planning may reduce the fighting and conflict among family members. Executing a well drafted estate plan places you in control of potential conflicts. Family members may not view your clear directions of dividing assets in a favorable manner, but your intentions will be clear to the court. Further, some states allow forfeiture/no contest clauses, indicating if an heir contests your estate plan then the heir may forfeit any gift made under the Will.

Control Charitable Legacy

An estate plan allows your legacy to live on by personally choosing charitable giving reflective of your values, interests, and social concerns.

Control Financial and Medical Care

Through estate planning with a Durable Power of Attorney, you control your financial and medical care in the event of a disability.

You can take control of your Life Plan now by engaging an experienced estate planning attorney to assist with the personal legacy you want to create. An estate plan expresses your values and outlines how you desire your assets to be preserved and protected. Who is in control of your legacy?

For more information about Life Plans, please contact our Wealth Management and Trust department.

Homearama Workshop Series

This weekend begins Louisville’s annual home showcase event, Homearama! This highly anticipated event includes tours of custom built homes that are fully furnished, decorated, landscaped and feature the latest in building trends, technology and interior design (via https://bialouisville.com/signature-events/homearama/homearama/).

This year, Homearama takes place July 15-30, 2017 at Poplar Woods. Stock Yards Bank & Trust is excited to sponsor daily workshops as part of the two week event. These workshops are free with Homearama admission and range from landscaping topics to mortgage financing options. There are several to choose from and each workshop last about 30 minutes.

Please join us!

Homearama Workshop Series:

Saturday, July 15 – 11 am: “Outdoor Living/Landscaping” – House 6
Grant Jones, Jones Landscape and Design

Saturday, July 15 – 4 pm: “Technology in the Home” – House 7
Jason Stevenson, Automated Living & Perry Lyons, P.L. Lyons Architectural Builders

Sunday, July 16 – 2 pm: “Green Egg Grilling Demonstration” – House 7
Jim Graven, Steepleton

Monday, July 17; Wednesday, July 19; Friday, July 21 – 7 pm: “Current Design Trends” – House 7
Cherry House Design Specialists

Tuesday, July 18; Thursday, July 20 – 7 pm: “Mortgage Financing Options” – House 7
Melinda Golde, Stock Yards Bank

Saturday, July 22 – 11 am: “Outdoor Living/Landscaping” – House 6
Jeff Wallitsch, Wallitsch Nursery & Garden Center

Saturday, July 22 – 4 pm: “Technology in the Home” – House 7
Jason Stevenson, Automated Living & Perry Lyons, P.L. Lyons Architectural Builders

Sunday, July 23 – 2 pm: “Brownsboro Hardware Outdoor Grilling Demonstration” – House 7
Brownsboro Hardware

Monday, July 24; Wednesday, July 26; Friday, July 28 – 7 pm: “Current Design Trends” – House 7
Cherry House Design Specialists

Tuesday, July 25; Thursday, July 27 – 7 pm: “Mortgage Financing Options” – House 7
Melinda Golde, Stock Yards Bank

Saturday, July 29 – 11 am: “Outdoor Living/Landscaping” – House 6
Grant Jones, Jones Landscape and Design

Saturday, July 29 – 4 pm: “Technology in the Home” – House 7
Jason Stevenson, Automated Living & Perry Lyons, P.L. Lyons Architectural Builders

Sunday, July 30 – 2 pm: “Brownsboro Hardware Outdoor Grilling Demonstration” – House 7
Brownsboro Hardware

Please visit the Homearama website for additional information.

8 Ways to Protect Your Data Online

The American Bankers Association is highlighting eight tips to help online users protect their data and guard against online threats.

“Cyber thieves are using social media profiles to gather personal information and use it to commit fraud,” said Doug Johnson, ABA’s senior vice president of payments and cybersecurity policy.  “It’s extremely important that consumers limit the amount of information they share online and stay away from using easily retrieved information — such as birthdates, pet’s names or school mascots — as answers to security questions.”

ABA is offering the following tips to help consumers safeguard their information online:

  • Keep your computers and mobile devices up to date.  Having the latest security software, web browser, and operating system are the best defenses against viruses, malware, and other online threats. Turn on automatic updates so you receive the newest fixes as they become available.
  • Set strong passwords. A strong password is at least eight characters in length and includes a mix of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.
  • Watch out for phishing scams. Phishing scams use fraudulent emails and websites to trick users into disclosing private account or login information. Do not click on links or open any attachments or pop-up screens from sources you are not familiar with.
      • Forward phishing emails to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at spam@uce.gov – and to the company, bank, or organization impersonated in the email.
  • Keep personal information personal. Hackers can use social media profiles to figure out your passwords and answer those security questions in the password reset tools. Lock down your privacy settings and avoid posting things like birthdays, addresses, mother’s maiden name, etc.  Be wary of requests to connect from people you do not know.
  • Secure your internet connection. Always protect your home wireless network with a password. When connecting to public Wi-Fi networks, be cautious about what information you are sending over it.
  • Shop safely. Before shopping online, make sure the website uses secure technology. When you are at the checkout screen, verify that the web address begins with https. Also, check to see if a tiny locked padlock symbol appears on the page.
  • Read the site’s privacy policies. Though long and complex, privacy policies tell you how the site protects the personal information it collects. If you don’t see or understand a site’s privacy policy, consider doing business elsewhere.

Resource Information Provided by the American Banker’s Association

7 Things You Didn’t Know About ITMs

Next time you are in a hurry and there is a line in the lobby, why not give one of Stock Yards’ ITMs a try? Interactive Teller Machines are located in several of our offices throughout Louisville, Cincinnati, and Indianapolis. Convenient and easy to use, ITMs can take care of your banking needs with a few simple steps. Here are 7 things you may not know about ITMs:

  1. Stock Yards’ first ITM opened in Louisville in the fall of 2014.
  2. Our three Virtual Service Associates are located out of a branch in Louisville.
  3. You can cash a check and receive exact change back – right down to the penny.
  4. You do not need a deposit ticket when using the ITM to make a deposit. There are several options to choose from, such as typing in an account or simply inserting a debit card.
  5. Stock Yards has ITMs at the following office locations:
    • 5th Street
    • Poplar Level
    • Highland Heights
    • Francis
    • Florence
    • St. Matthews
  6. All of the drive in ITM’s have dual functionality and are available to customers 24/7 as an ATM.
  7. Our virtual staff has over 25 years of combined experience at Stock Yards!