Tag Archives: Money Saving

6 Pointers to Help Seniors Live at Home Longer

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The vast majority of older Americans want to remain in their homes as they grow older, also known as aging in place. ABA is offering the following tips for older Americans considering this option:

Take a hard look at your finances.

Arrange a meeting with a trusted family member or friend and a banker. It’s critical to understand your financial resources, how long they’ll last and what housing options are the most cost effective for you. Be sure to consider all costs associated with aging in place, including:

  • Home modifications, home insurance and property taxes
  • Transportation to medical appointments, shopping and other errands
  • In home caregiver for house upkeep and medical purposes

Consider a reverse mortgage.

Though not for everyone, a reverse mortgage loan can provide monthly cash payments based on your home’s equity.

  • Shop around. Be sure to check with multiple lenders. You can use sites like http://www.reversemortage.org, sponsored by the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association, to find lenders in your area.
  • Make sure to read all loan documents carefully. There are a number of actions that could cause the loan to become due. For more information on reverse mortgages, visit aba.com/consumers.

Assess your home and determine what modifications are necessary.

While staying in your home is preferable for many, there are often design changes that must be made to ensure it’s also safe and comfortable.

  • Make sure there is at least one step-free entrance to your home.
  • Update lighting inside and outside of the house so that all walkways and stairs are well lit.
  • Clear pathways throughout house and firmly secure all carpets to the floor to prevent tripping.
  • If a bedroom and bathroom does not or cannot exist on the first floor, consider installing an elevator or chairlift. At a minimum, make sure you have handrails on both sides of your stairs.
  • Install grab bars in the bathtub, shower, or near the toilet.

Make security a priority.

Older Americans are often targets for scams and other criminal behavior. Be cautious about who you allow in your home and disclose sensitive information to.

  • Install up to date and easy to use locks. Make sure your front door has a peep hole or a security monitor so you can see who is outside.
  • Consult someone you trust when hiring a contractor, financial advisor, etc. Look into community resources. If mobility is limited, look in to services offered in your area. Many communities have established non-profit programs that offer transportation and food delivery to assist older Americans at a reasonable cost.

Be prepared for possible emergencies.

  • Keep a list of all emergency contacts on your refrigerator or by a phone.
  • Consider a Personal Emergency Response System. Transmitters can be worn as a bracelet or around your neck and require the simple push of a button to send a signal to a call center.
  • Have your address number visible from the street so emergency responders can easily identify your home.

Reevaluate every six months to make sure all needs are being met.

As you age, your needs inevitably change. Take time twice a year, or as needed, to sit down with your trusted family or friend and make sure your current living situation is still the right one.​

Resource Information Provided by the American Bankers Association.
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How to Avoid Holiday Spending Headaches

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As early Black Friday deals kick off the holiday shopping season sooner than ever, it’s important for you to develop a holiday spending plan to avoid financial headaches in the future, says the American Bankers Association.  The ABA is highlighting seven tips to help consumers minimize their holiday spending debt.

Below are seven spending habits Americans should consider to help relieve the financial stress of the holidays:

  • Plan ahead. Before you start shopping, develop a realistic budget for holiday expenses. Figure out your bottom-line number and set aside holiday cash in increments throughout the year. If you need to use your credit card, think about what you can afford to pay back in January.
  • Keep track of other costs. Don’t forget costs beyond gifts, like postage, gift wrap, decorations, greeting cards, food, travel and charitable contributions. Keep in mind the end of the year is a time when large annual or semi-annual costs like car insurance, life insurance and property taxes arise.
  • Make a list and check it twice. Keep your gift list limited to family and close friends, noting how much you want to spend on each. If you’re donating to charities, factor in the total amount you plan to donate and how much each charity will receive.
  • Shop early and space out purchases. Avoid shopping while rushed or under pressure, which can lead to overspending. Make sure to comparison shop online first, or download an app that lets you compare prices before you buy anything in a store.  Before you head to the cashier (or online checkout), make sure your purchase is within the budget you set.
  • Avoid impulsive spending decisions. Finding a spectacular sale on something you’ve been wanting can easily throw you off course.  Stay strong and stick to your budget.  Don’t be blinded by limited-time incentives geared toward getting you to spend more.
  • Use credit wisely. Limit the use of credit for holiday spending.  If you must use credit, use only one card—preferably the one with the lowest interest rate—and leave the rest at home.  Pick a date when you can pay off your holiday credit card bills, and commit to paying off the balance by that time.  Be sure to check statements for unauthorized charges and report them immediately.
  • Save your receipts and get acknowledgements for charitable donations. Not only will you need receipts for possible returns, you’ll need them to keep track of what you’ve spent and to compare with your credit card statement.  Knowing how much you spent will help you plan for next year, too.  Keeping receipts or acknowledgement letters for charitable donations is a must if you want to receive tax deductions in the spring.

Information provided by the American Bankers Association

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Understanding Interest Rates and Your Financial Situation

interest.jpg Untitled-logo trustWhen discussing bank accounts, investments, loans, and mortgages, it is important to understand the concept of interest rates. Interest is the price you pay for the temporary use of someone else’s funds; an interest rate is the percentage of a borrowed amount that is attributable to interest. Whether you are a lender, a borrower, or both, carefully consider how interest rates may affect your financial decisions.

The Purpose of Interest

Although borrowing money can help you accomplish a variety of financial goals, the cost of borrowing is interest. When you take out a loan, you receive a lump sum of money up front and are obligated to pay it back over time, generally with interest. Due to the interest charges, you end up owing more than you actually borrowed. The trade-off, however, is that you receive the funds you need to achieve your goal, such as buying a house, obtaining a college education, or starting a business. Given the extra cost of interest, which can add up significantly over time, be sure that any debt you assume is affordable and worth the expense over the long-term.

To a lender, interest represents compensation for the service and risk of lending money. In addition to giving up the opportunity to spend the money right away, a lender assumes certain risks. One obvious risk is that the borrower will not pay back the loan in a timely manner, if ever. Inflation creates another risk. Typically, prices tend to rise over time; therefore, goods and services will likely cost more by the time a lender is paid back. In effect, the future spending power of the money borrowed is reduced by inflation because more dollars are needed to purchase the same amount of goods and services. Interest paid on a loan helps to cushion the effects of inflation for the lender.

Supply and Demand

Interest rates often fluctuate, according to the supply and demand of credit, which is the money available to be loaned and borrowed. In general, one person’s financial habits, such as carrying a loan or saving money in fixed-interest accounts, will not affect the amount of credit available to borrowers enough to change interest rates. However, an overall trend in consumer banking, investing, and debt can have an effect on interest rates. Businesses, governments, and foreign entities also impact the supply and demand of credit according to their lending and borrowing patterns. An increase in the supply of credit, often associated with a decrease in demand for credit, tends to lower interest rates. Conversely, a decrease in supply of credit, often coupled with an increase in demand for it, tends to raise interest rates.

The Role of the Fed

As a part of the U.S. government’s monetary policy, the Federal Reserve Board (the Fed) manipulates interest rates in an effort to control money and credit conditions in the economy. Consequently, lenders and borrowers can look to the Fed for an indication of how interest rates may change in the future.

In order to influence the economy, the Fed buys or sells previously issued government securities, which affects the Federal funds rate. This is the interest rate that institutions charge each other for very short-term loans, as well as the interest rate banks use for commercial lending. For example, when the Fed sells securities, money from banks is used for these transactions; this lowers the amount available for lending, which raises interest rates. By contrast, when the Fed buys government securities, banks are left with more money than is needed for lending; this increase in the supply of credit, in turn, lowers interest rates.

Lower interest rates tend to make it easier for individuals to borrow. Since less money is spent on interest, more funds may be available to spend on other goods and services. Higher interest rates are often an incentive for individuals to save and invest, in order to take advantage of the greater amount of interest to be earned. As a lender or borrower, it is important to understand how changing interest rates may affect your saving or borrowing habits. This knowledge can help with your decision-making as you pursue your financial objectives.

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Information to Consider about Volatility

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Volatility has dramatically returned to the domestic stock market after a stellar third quarter performance for major market indices.  All of this year’s gains have been erased over the last three weeks.   We realize volatility can be traumatic for investors, and want to reassure you that stock market volatility is normal even in bull markets.  What is causing this sudden increase in volatility?

  • Market volatility began to increase in early October with the increase in interest rates, which we think was driven by Federal Reserve’s guidance. The market believes the Federal Reserve could be too aggressive by increasing interest rates too quickly, and create the next recession.
  • With this increase in interest rates, bond yields are starting to become more and more attractive to investors, causing money to shift from the stock market to the bond market.
  • Many growth stocks are trading at very high valuation levels.  It is not surprising that stocks in some of the more growth oriented industry groups like technology have been the hardest hit as investors are taking profits from these companies.
  • Recent earnings shortfalls from some well-known industrial companies disappointed investors, adding to the selling pressure.

With these new concerns facing the market, in addition to the midterm elections and the ongoing trade dispute with China, we expect volatility to remain in the market, at least in the short-term. What should you as an investor do to deal with this increased volatility?  The answer is very little.  There are several reasons for suggesting that you stay invested in the market.

  • There are very few signs of a recession on the horizon.  Fiscal stimulus and a high level of confidence among businesses and consumers are keeping US growth strong.
  • Pull backs of 5-10% happen frequently in general market cycles, and do not disrupt long-term performance of a diversified portfolio of stocks.
  • We have had 42 days when the stock market has lost 4% or more in a single trading session.  The average one year return after one of these traumatizing one day losses is 21%.
  • No one can time the market.  Riding out these short-term swings and staying invested in the market is the best way to achieve long-term performance goals.
  • The price of the market can be very volatile, but the value of the individual businesses that make up the marketplace is amazingly stable.  Short-term price changes are usually based on emotion.

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From that, we conclude that we are in one of the normal 5%-10% corrections that are generally short-lived and have quick recovery times.  (See attached chart.)

Thank you for the confidence you have placed in Stock Yards Wealth Management and Trust group.  Please call any of the members of our team for a more detailed explanation of our economic and capital markets outlook or our investment process.  We look forward to working with you in the future.

Sincerely,

Stock Yards Bank Wealth Management & Trust Group

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6 Smart Money Moves for College Graduates

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SYB-Logo_Since1904Living expenses add up quickly once you’re out on your own, and many young adults who didn’t plan ahead are delaying major milestones like getting married or buying a home because of their financial situation. The good news is that you can have a bright financial future if you think strategically about money right out of the gate.

We recommend the following financial tips for new college graduates:

  1. Live within your means. Supporting yourself can be expensive, and you can quickly find yourself struggling financially if you don’t take time to create a budget. Calculate the amount of money you’re taking home after taxes, then figure out how much money you can afford to spend each month while contributing to your savings. Be sure to factor in recurring expenses such as student loans, monthly rent, utilities, groceries, transportation expenses and car loans.
  2. Pay bills on time. Missed payments can hurt your credit history for up to seven years and can affect your ability to get loans, the interest rates you pay and your ability to get a job or rent an apartment. Consider setting up automatic payments for regular expenses like student loans, car payments and phone bills. Take advantage of any reminders or notification features. You can also contact creditors and lenders to request a different monthly due date from the one provided by default (e.g., switching from the 1st of the month to the 15th).
  3. Avoid racking up too much debt. Understand the responsibilities and benefits of credit. Shop around for a card that best suits your needs, and spend only what you can afford to pay back. Credit is a great tool, but only if you use it responsibly.
  4. Plan for retirement.  It may seem odd since you’re just beginning your career, but now is the best time to start planning for your retirement. Contribute to retirement accounts like a Roth IRA or your employer’s 401(k), especially if there is a company match. Invest enough to qualify for your company’s full match – it’s free money that adds up to a significant chunk of change over the years. Automatic retirement contributions quickly become part of your financial lifestyle without having to think about it.
  5. Prepare for emergencies. Hardships can happen in a split second. Start an emergency fund and do your best to set aside the equivalent of three to six months’ worth of living expenses. Start saving immediately, no matter how small the amount. Make saving a part of your lifestyle with automatic payroll deductions or automatic transfers from checking to savings. Put your tax refund toward saving instead of an impulse buy.
  6. Get free help from your bank. Many banks offer personalized financial checkups to help you identify and meet your financial goals. You can also take advantage of their free digital banking tools that let you check balances, pay bills, deposit checks, monitor transaction history and track your budget.

Resource information provided by the American Bankers Association

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The End of the 4 Percent Rule?

retirement plan1Untitled-logoThe “4 percent rule” was a retirement spending approach that became mainstream in the 1990s. The rule suggested that a retiree with an average portfolio distributed between stocks and bonds (approximately 60-40) should withdraw 4 percent of his or her retirement funds each year (adjusting each year for inflation). If the retiree could stay limited to that 4 percent, he or she would be able to fund retirement for at least 30 years.

The simplicity of the 4 percent rule made it a hugely popular with investors. The method made planning easy and was projected to leave the vast majority of retirees with surpluses late in life. Many quickly adopted the method and the approach became a staple of retirement budgeting.

Modern Problems

Recently, the 4 percent rule has begun to fall out of favor with financial planners and investors. The rule, which was designed in the bull market of the mid-90s, relies heavily on regular, high returns from stocks. However, since that time, low economic growth and a major slump [in] the market has made equities look much less attractive. Few retirees will want to take on the risk of holding over half their portfolio in potentially volatile stocks.

The market is simply not what it was once thought to be. Retirees who are trying to reduce the risk of significant loss are less willing to put faith in perpetual stock growth. In addition to smaller gains, the average lifespan is on the rise and people are living longer in retirement. Strategies have become more conservative to deal with these concerns, and individuals planning for retirement must consider changes to saving and investing.

Ideal Rates in Retirement

The changes in the market do not indicate that the 4 percent rule can never work for retirees, just that it causes problematic exposures. The 4 percent rule works when yearly withdrawals are matched by yearly growth. Even if a portfolio averages 4 percent real growth, it could still underperform a target goal because it suffered severe losses early on.

So is there a better rule to follow? A 3 percent rule, perhaps? Unfortunately, there are no fixed guidelines when it comes to retirement income planning. A retiree must adjust his or her plans regularly to match both changing needs and market performance. The 4 percent rule might be a great place for investors to get a rough estimate when planning, but they should always be prepared to adjust their annual withdrawals lower if necessary.

What Can Investors Do to Make Retirement Work?

Since investors cannot control market performance and the rate of return, they often try to increase allowable withdrawals by increasing total portfolio value. By starting with more money in their retirement plan, a smaller rate of withdrawal will still be worth a solid dollar amount.

To sustain larger dollar withdrawals, retirees must either invest more money or delay retirement by a couple of years. Though neither option may seem pleasant, retirement planning is full of these give-and-take situations; an investor must find a way to make retirement income sustainable.

As another option, some retirees might look to an annuity to lock in an income. Annuities do not provide the flexibility or adjustable withdrawals of direct portfolio management, but they are guaranteed to pay out for the rest of the retirees’ lives—always providing them with some level of income.

Changing Rates

There may be many reasons to change withdrawal rates during retirement, but retirees must always keep one eye on the market and the other on the future. A profitable year might entice higher withdrawals, but a retiree could benefit far more if the extra earnings were reinvested for later expenses. On the other hand, if withdrawals are greatly restricted early on, people might miss their opportunity to travel and enjoy active life in retirement.

There are no simple answers when it comes to the chaos of the market and the unknown developments of the future. Investors should prepare themselves for changes and be ready to adjust their portfolios as things come into focus. No matter what hap- pens, it is important to plan with trusted financial advice. If you have concerns about your retirement strategy or want to better understand your financial options, contact Stock Yards Bank & Trust Company with all your questions.

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This article was written by Advicent Solutions, an entity unrelated to Stock Yards Bank & Trust Company. The information contained in this article is not intend- ed to be tax, investment, or legal advice, and it may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any tax penalties. Stock Yards Bank & Trust Company does not provide tax or legal advice. You are encouraged to consult with your tax advisor or attorney regarding specific tax issues. © 2013 Advicent Solutions. All rights reserved

Financial Considerations for Single Women

Untitled-logo trustIf you’re divorced or separated, money management will become an important part of your life. While it may be true that money can’t buy or ensure happiness, your ability to manage your finances can play a large role in your financial future, and to a large extent, your ability to live life on your terms.

A huge amount of time is not necessarily required to get your finances moving in the right direction. It is often simply a matter of attending to the “basics.” The following steps may help you stay on track:

1. Pay Yourself First. Transfer a set amount from your earnings to your savings each month. Even a small amount in the beginning helps.

2. Reduce Consumer Debt. Avoid high credit card finance charges by paying off the balances each month, or if you must carry a balance, use only cards offering low finance rates beyond the introductory period.

3. Maintain Good Credit. You can obtain one free annual credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus: TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. Good credit is required for obtaining loans and low interest rates. Monitoring your credit can also help you guard against identity theft.

4. Diversify Your Savings. Develop a plan for your short- and long-term needs. Consider your liquidity needs, risk tolerance, and time horizon for retirement. Be sure to consult a qualified financial professional to determine an appropriate strategy for your financial future.

5. Take Advantage of Tax Benefits. If you qualify, contribute to an Individual Retirement Account (IRA), an employer-sponsored 401(k) plan, or another similar retirement plan. These plans offer tax benefits that may help enhance your retirement savings.

6. Update Your Estate Plan. Have your will and any trusts reviewed by a legal professional. Prepare advance directives, such as a durable power of attorney, living will, and health care proxy. This is important for everyone at any time, regardless of age.

7. Review Your Insurance Needs. Periodically review your risk management program. Your life, health, and disability income insurance needs will likely change as you progress through various life stages.

8. Plan for Future Care. Consider your possible long-term care needs. Have you ever thought about your future care needs, should you one day require help with activities of daily living, such as meal preparation, personal care, dressing, and housekeeping? Long-term care insurance increases your care options, should the need arise by helping to cover care at home, an assisted living facility or in a nursing home.

9. Build a College Fund. College tuition, at a public or private institution, continues to rise. So, relying on your children to receive scholarships or financial aid may not be the most practical strategy. Look into opening a 529 college savings plan or other college planning account. As soon as possible, begin saving for your child’s education. Eighteen years can pass quickly.

10. Set Long-Term Financial Goals. Establish one-, three-, five- and10-year goals. Evaluate your progress yearly and make adjustments, as appropriate, to achieve long-term success.

Whether you’re divorced or separated, straightening out your finances can become a top priority. Make a commitment now to start this planning process. Attention to the basics may help you meet your financial goals and improve your emotional and financial well-being.

Visit https://www.syb.com/wealth-management-and-trust/how-we-serve-our-clients/ to see how Stock Yards Bank and Trust can help you.

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Resource information provided by Financial Media Exchange

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