Making Plans for Your Retirement Plan

A distribution from your retirement plan is simply defined as a payout of the amount of money that has accumulated in your retirement savings plan. This may include amounts you have contributed, the "vested" portion of any amounts your employer has contributed, plus any earnings on those contributions.

You will want to think carefully before making any decisions about the money in your retirement plan, as some choices may mean you have to pay more in income taxes on your distribution.

In general, you must begin taking distributions from your account by April 1 of the year following the year in which you turn 70½. Your distribution options may include keeping your money in your plan, enacting a direct rollover, or taking a cash distribution. Each option has different consequences.

What Will You Do With Your Tax Refund?

According to the IRS, the average refund for 2012 was just over $2,800. That’s over $309 billion refunded to over 110,000 filers. Does Uncle Sam owe you some money this year?  If so, what are your plans? Pay off debt? Save? Invest? Splurge?

Here are a few ideas on what to do with your refund:

Why Choose a Roth IRA?

First, congratulations on taking control of your future by investing in it. But now you have decisions. If you choose an IRA as an investment vehicle, which one do you choose? Traditional? Roth? The experts at Vantage Investment Services Group recommend the Roth IRA and have provided a few reasons why.

Tax-Free Growth and Withdrawals
Contributions to a Roth IRA are taxed, whereas contributions to a Traditional IRA are not, they are taxed at the time you distribute funds. Any growth/earnings generated in Roth accounts are free from federal taxes, as is the money you withdraw in retirement, as long as the withdrawals are taken after age 59½ and the account is at least five years old. If qualifications are not met, this may result in a 10% IRS penalty tax.

American Yard Pickers

Your attic looks like a forgotten warehouse. The basement has more boxes than Fed Ex. Your car hasn’t seen the inside of your garage since … well, let’s face it, it’s NEVER seen the inside of your garage. It’s clutter central around your house with every nook overflowing and every cranny stuffed tight. Time for a yard sale.

Whether you call it a yard sale or garage sale, a household sale is all about clearing the clutter, with the side benefit of picking up some extra cash along the way. But having one of these sales is more than just dumping a few wheelbarrows of unwanted goods in your front yard. It takes planning to ensure your sale is a success. Yard sale experts (yes, they exist) have a few ideas to consider:

Bank On MOre: The Credit Unions of Missouri

Bank On MOre is a campaign developed by the Missouri Credit Union Association (MCUA) to raise awareness about credit unions in Missouri and our distinct differences from banks. You will see this campaign all around the area.

So you know the benefits of being a member of a credit union, but your friends and family don’t. Here’s a quick list of what credit unions offer that banks don’t, from the Bank On MOre campaign:

Acting On Community Needs

East St. Louis. Florissant. Sunset Hills. Warrenton. Vantage has a presence throughout the St. Louis Metro area. We’ve been entrenched in the community for over 55 years now, and we consider ourselves lucky to be in a position to give back, whether through donations or services. Here are just a few things we’re proud of:

Richly Deserved?

So that knock at the door was a neighbor girl selling Girl Scout cookies, not the Publisher’s Clearing House Prize Patrol delivering that big check. And the phone call before that was Aunt Edna describing her latest bout with achy joints, not your financial guy with advice on what to do with your Powerball winnings. Nope, you’re still not rich. But why?

Believe it or not, there might be concrete reasons as to why you’re not “rich,” or at the very least, more comfortable in your financial skin. Let’s take a look at a few reasons that might be responsible, courtesy of Yahoo! Finance.

Start Early. Start Now!

When you start saving early for retirement, it can make a big financial difference. Compare the two IRA examples*:

Emily Jacob
Age 25 Age 35

Contributes: Contributes:
$4,000 per year $4,000 per year
10 years         30 years

Balance at 65:  Balance at 65:
$680,120                  $528,534

Life Happens.

So you were hurrying to work, late for a meeting, and you backed out of the driveway a little too quickly...YIPE! YIPE! YIPE! It’s all right, Gizmo is going to be fine...after a hefty vet bill. And you were just getting ahead financially. Sheesh. File it under “Life Happens.”

Kids. Car trouble. Spending spree. Unexpected illness. Yes, life happens, with or without our consent. It’s filled with twists and turns, many times with expenses for which we haven’t planned.

And when life happens, everyone has a story to tell.

The Financial Side of Emergencies

Your boss called you into her office, and you immediately got that sinking feeling in your stomach. Sure enough, your position within the organization was eliminated. You were jobless. Or maybe the air conditioner went out at home, just in time for the sweltering summer months. Financial emergencies, most of us experience them at some point. Are you ready for one?

According to the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, 64% of Americans don’t have enough cash on hand to deal with a $1,000 emergency. That cost could easily equate to a financial emergency. Maybe your car’s transmission goes out or your furnace dies at home. What would you do if such a sudden financial cost arrived unexpectedly? Here are a few tips that might help out:

There’s a Hole in Your Budget

10:00 a.m. Here come the stomach growls, time for a mid-morning snack.

Today it’s a bag of chips and a diet soda. Total cost: $1.75. That won’t break the bank … but how about your budget? Have you ever thought about how all those easily forgettable little expenses can add up? Let’s take a look at just a few you may view as trivial at the time of purchase. You’ll soon see they add up to very real amounts over the course of a year.

Football’s Financial Follies

Are you ready for some football?!

It's crunch time for the professional football season. The play-off picture is shaping up, although our hometown Rams have had better seasons (understatement of the year!).

What does football have to do with your credit union? Personal finances, of course! While most of us can’t begin to imagine life with the salary of professional athletes, we can see that they have many of the same financial problems we do, just on a much grander financial scale. It’s true. Just take a look at a few NFL players and former players who’ve had a tough time with finances for various reasons.

The New Year is a Great Time to Review

Welcome to 2012! Well, almost. How’s that list of resolutions coming along? While a new diet or the promise of a new workout routine is nice, don’t overlook your financial health. The new year is a perfect time to review your finances and insurance needs. Oftentimes things change and you need to adjust accordingly. So, it’s time to leave 2011 behind and look ahead to 2012 and all you’ll need for some peace of mind.

How are your financial goals doing? Are you meeting them? Do you need to set new goals? Are you saving for long-term or short-term goals?

Breaking Up (With Your Bank) Isn’t So Hard To Do

So your checking account is at a bank—like the U.S. MegaBank of Wealthy Stockholders… That’s okay, we won’t hold it against you. But your bank keeps adding more drama (and cost) to your relationship with more fees. Again? Well, keeping their stockholders happy is job one. Unfortunately, keeping YOU happy is job two … maybe even three or four. Don’t keep playing second fiddle to those huge entities out there in financial space. Break up with your bank! That’s right, cut the ties. Ditch the deviance. Move on to someone who will appreciate you and treat you with respect. And hey, we know just the credit union!

Vantage and You, A Union of Financial Souls

So maybe we’re a little impartial when it comes to places that offer financial services. O.K., we’re intensely impartial. We’re down with credit unions, all credit unions. We’re a pretty unique bunch of financial institutions, we are. But when people talk about credit unions as alternatives to banks, many times there are questions, which is good; you want to be as informed as possible when it comes to something as important as your money. So to put minds at ease, let’s take a look at some of the concerns involving credit unions.