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Latest News

The Secret to Moving the Needle on Your Credit November 17, 2020

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Lesser Known Provisions of the Secure Act November 3, 2020

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Caring for Aging Parents October 20, 2020

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Your Emergency Fund: How Much Is Enough? September 10, 2020

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Four Really Good Reasons to Invest August 6, 2020

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Cheat Sheet to Sending your Child to College July 15, 2020

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Market Timing and Your Investment June 5, 2020

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Spending Triggers May 5, 2020

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Pullbacks, Corrections, and Bear Markets May 5, 2020

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April is National Credit Union Youth Month! April 24, 2020

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Featured

The Secret to Moving the Needle on Your Credit

Person sitting down in chair with hand holding phone with credit score on screen

Do these things to begin improving your credit score:

With millions suffering job losses during the COVID-19 global pandemic and perhaps falling behind on some bills, it’s a good time to discuss how to build up and maintain a solid credit score. A good credit score, after all, provides you with the best chance of applying for and receiving low-interest mortgages, car loans, and lower rates on credit cards.

Why does that matter? Someone who qualifies for low-interest rates can end up paying thousands less on everything from automobiles to college tuition to a new home. Which is why it’s important to begin building your credit back up if it has started to slip.

First of all, don’t panic. With historically low-interest rates in the U.S. expected to stay that way for a while, now is the perfect time to get to work moving the needle northward on your credit score so you can eventually reap the rewards.

Create a budget

It’s vital to have a solid foundation in place as you begin to rebuild or strengthen your credit score.

You need to have a budget and a way to track your spending. When you are trying to rebuild your credit score you need to be aware of your debt and stay below your credit limits. Really focus on sticking to your budget.

With so many economic changes in 2020, it makes sense to adjust your budget now to account for less money, or more if that’s the case, coming in each month. Living within your means, and not spending more than you earn, will help put you on the road to a better credit score.

Pay bills on time every time

Understanding how credit scores are calculated also can help move your score up. Credit scores take into account several factors including your payment history and credit utilization ratio, which compares the amount of credit being used to the amount of total credit that’s available to you. A low utilization ratio is great for your credit score. It means that you have a lot of available credit but not much debt. While it’s acceptable to carry a 30% utilization when trying to build up better credit try to keep it as low as you can, below 10% is even better. For example, if you have a $500 limit, try not to have more than $50 on the card. The simplest rule to follow is to pay all of your bills on time every time and keep low balances on credit cards. To help with this, consider setting up auto-pay with your bank or credit union or set yourself an electronic calendar reminder the day before or on the day a payment is due.

Use credit cards at least once a month

This might seem counter-intuitive, but these days you have to use your credit cards or risk losing them. If you don’t use your credit card at all during a six-month period, it may be considered inactive and your card issuer may cancel your account.

Unfortunately, having an account closed will also impact your credit score. To keep your cards active, be sure to use each card once a month or so, even if it’s for something you might typically pay cash for, such as coffee or lunch.

Consider a secured card

Another option for those with very limited credit, or those trying to rebuild credit is to get a secured card from a bank or credit union. A secured credit card uses the money you place in a security deposit account as collateral. A security deposit gives a lender the confidence you will pay them back, even if you have damaged credit or no credit history.

Bottom line it for me

So, how long does it typically take to see your credit improve? By keeping low balances and making timely payments for six months, you should start to see an improvement in your credit score. Remember, slow and steady wins the race.

Credit: Jean Chatzky via SavvyMoney.com

Lesser Known Provisions of the Secure Act

Man and woman sitting at table outside of coffee shop with coffee cups in hand

The SECURE Act was passed into law in late 2019 and changed several aspects of retirement investing. These modifications included modifying the ability to stretch an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) and changing the age when IRA holders must start taking requirement minimum distributions to 72-years-old.1,2

While those provisions grabbed the headlines, several other smaller parts of the SECURE Act have caught the attention of individuals who are raising families and paying off student loan debt. Here’s a look at a few.

For College Students

For those who have graduate funding, the SECURE Act allows students to use a portion of their income to start investing in retirement savings. The SECURE Act also contains a clause to include “aid in the pursuit of graduate or postdoctoral study.” A grant or fellowship would be considered income that the student could invest in a retirement vehicle.3

One other provision of The SECURE Act: you can use your 529 Savings Plan to pay for up to $10,000 of student debt. Money in a 529 Plan can also be used to pay for costs associated with an apprenticeship.4

Funds For A Growing Family

Are you having a baby or adopting? Under the SECURE Act, you can withdraw up to $5,000 per individual, tax free from your IRA, to help cover costs associated with a birth or adoption.  However, there are stipulations. The money must be withdrawn within the first year of this life change; otherwise, you may be open to the tax penalty.5

Annuities

This might be the most complicated part of the SECURE Act. It’s now easier for your employer-sponsored retirement plans to have annuities added to their investment portfolio. This was accomplished by reducing the fiduciary responsibilities that a company may incur in the event the annuity provider goes bankrupt. The benefit is that annuities may provide retirees with guaranteed lifetime income. The downside, however, is that annuities are often the incorrect vehicle for investors just starting out or far from retirement age.6

The best course is to make sure that you review any investment decisions or potential early retirement withdrawals with your professional.

 

Sincerely,

Steve Lindquist


Steve Lindquist

Steve Lindquist
stevelindquist@peakfns.com
Financial Consultant
295 Los Altos Parkway, Suite 105
Sparks, NV 89436
(775) 789-3140

www.gbfinancial.org/

Steve Lindquist is a registered representative offering securities and advisory services through Cetera Advisor Networks LLC, member FINRA/SIPC a Broker/Dealer and Registered Investment Advisor. Cetera is under separate ownership from any other named entity. Registered address: 295 Los Altos Parkway, Suite 105., Sparks NV 89436.

Investments are not deposits; not FDIC/NCUSIF insured; and not insured by any federal government agency. No credit union guarantee. May lose value.

  1. Under the SECURE Act, your required minimum distribution (RMD) must be distributed by the end of the 10th calendar year following the year of the Individual Retirement Account (IRA) owner’s death. A surviving spouse of the IRA owner, disabled or chronically ill individuals, individuals who are not more than 10 years younger than the IRA owner, and child of the IRA owner who has not reached the age of majority may have other minimum distribution requirements.
  2. Under the SECURE Act, in most circumstances, once you reach age 72, you must begin taking required minimum distributions from a Traditional Individual Retirement Account (IRA). Withdrawals from Traditional IRAs are taxed as ordinary income and, if taken before age 59½, may be subject to a 10% federal income tax penalty. You may continue to contribute to a Traditional IRA past age 70½ under the SECURE Act as long as you meet the earned-income requirement.
  3. Forbes, 2019.
  4. Forbes, 2019. A 529 plan is a college savings play that allows individuals to save for college on a tax-advantages basis. State tax treatment of 529 plans is only one factor to consider prior to committing to a savings plan. Also consider the fees and expenses associated with the particular plan. Whether a state tax deduction is available will depend on your state of residence. State tax laws and treatment may vary. State tax laws may be different than federal tax laws. Earnings on non-qualified distributions will be subject to income tax and a 10% federal penalty tax.
  5. Congress.gov, 2019
  6. Marketwatch, 2020. The guarantees of an annuity contract depend on the issuing company’s claims-paying ability. Annuities have contract limitations, fees, and charges, including account and administrative fees, underlying investment management fees, mortality and expense fees, and charges for optional benefits. Most annuities have surrender fees that are usually highest if you take out the money in the initial years of the annuity contact. Withdrawals and income payments are taxes as ordinary income. If a withdrawals is made prior to age 59 ½, a 10% federal income tax penalty may apply (unless an exception applies).

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG, LLC, is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright 2020 FMG Suite.

Caring for Aging Parents

Mother and daughter hugging

Thanks to healthier lifestyles and advances in modern medicine, the worldwide population over age 60 is growing. The United Nations estimates that by 2050 the number of people aged 60 and older will have more than doubled.¹  As our nation ages, many Americans are turning their attention to caring for aging parents.

For many people, one of the most difficult conversations to have involves talking with an aging parent about extended medical care. The shifting of roles can be challenging, and emotions often prevent important information from being exchanged and critical decisions from being made.

When talking to a parent about future care, it’s best to have a strategy for structuring the conversation. Here are some key concepts to consider.

Cover the Basics

Knowing ahead of time what information you need to find out may help keep the conversation on track. Here is a checklist that can be a good starting point:

  • Primary physician
  • Specialists
  • Medications and supplements
  • Allergies to medication

It is also important to know the location of medical and estate management paperwork, including:

  • Medicare card
  • Insurance information
  • Durable power of attorney for healthcare²
  • Will, living will, trusts and other documents²

Be Thorough

Remember that if you can collect all the critical information, you may be able to save your family time and avoid future emotional discussions. While checklists and scripts may help prepare you, remember that this conversation could signal a major change in your parent’s life. The transition from provider to dependent can be difficult for any parent and has the potential to unearth old issues. Be prepared for emotions and the unexpected. Be kind, but do your best to get all the information you need.

Keep the Lines of Communication Open

This conversation is probably not the only one you will have with your parent about their future healthcare needs. It may be the beginning of an ongoing dialogue. Consider involving other siblings in the discussions. Often one sibling takes a lead role when caring for parents, but all family members should be honest about their feelings, situations, and needs.

Fast Fact: The state with the oldest population is Florida, with 19.06% of its population over the age of 65. Maine is second, with 18.24%.
Source: WorldAtlas.com, March 8, 2018

Don’t Procrastinate

The earlier you can begin to communicate about important issues, the more likely you will be to have all the information you need when a crisis arises. How will you know when a parent needs your help? Look for indicators like fluctuations in weight, failure to take medication, new health concerns, and diminished social interaction. These can all be warning signs that additional care may soon become necessary. Don’t avoid the topic of care just because you are uncomfortable. Chances are that waiting will only make you more so.

Remember, whatever your relationship with your parent has been, this new phase of life will present challenges for both parties. By treating your parent with love and respect—and taking the necessary steps toward open communication—you will be able to provide the help needed during this new phase of life.

 

Sincerely,

Steve Lindquist


Steve Lindquist

Steve Lindquist
stevelindquist@peakfns.com
Financial Consultant
295 Los Altos Parkway, Suite 105
Sparks, NV 89436
(775) 789-3140

www.gbfinancial.org/

Steve Lindquist is a registered representative offering securities and advisory services through Cetera Advisor Networks LLC, member FINRA/SIPC a Broker/Dealer and Registered Investment Advisor. Cetera is under separate ownership from any other named entity. Registered address: 295 Los Altos Parkway, Suite 105., Sparks NV 89436.

Investments are not deposits; not FDIC/NCUSIF insured; and not insured by any federal government agency. No credit union guarantee. May lose value.

  1. United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, 2017
  2. Note: Power of attorney laws can vary from state to state. An estate strategy that includes trusts may involve a complex web of tax rules and regulations. Consider working with a knowledgeable estate management professional before implementing such strategies.

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG Suite is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright 2020 FMG Suite.

Your Emergency Fund: How Much Is Enough?

Young lady on the phone while standing next to broken down car

Have you ever had one of those months? The water heater stops heating, the dishwasher stops washing, and your family ends up on a first-name basis with the nurse at urgent care. Then, as you’re driving to work, you see smoke coming from under your hood.

Bad things happen to the best of us, and sometimes it seems like they come in waves. That’s when an emergency cash fund can come in handy.

A 2019 Bankrate survey found that 28% of Americans had no emergency savings. Another 25% of respondents said that the cash they had on hand would last less than three months in a financial crisis.1

How Much Money?

How large should an emergency fund be? There is no “one-size-fits-all” answer. The ideal amount may depend on your financial situation and lifestyle. For example, if you own a home or have dependents, you may be more likely to face financial emergencies. And if a job loss affects your income, you may need emergency funds for months.

Coming Up with Cash

If saving several months of income seems unreasonable, don’t despair. Start with a more-modest goal, such as saving $1,000, and build your savings a bit at a time. Consider setting up automatic monthly transfers into the fund.

Once your savings begin to build, you may be tempted to use the money in the account for something other than an emergency. Try to avoid that. Instead, budget and prepare separately for bigger expenses you know are coming.

Where Do I Put It?

Many people open traditional savings accounts to hold emergency funds. They typically offer modest rates of return. A certificate of deposit (CD) may provide slightly higher returns, but your money will be locked away until the CD matures, and that could take several months to several years.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) insures bank accounts and certificates of deposit up to $250,000 per depositor, per institution, in principal and interest. CDs are time deposits offered by banks, thrift institutions, and credit unions. While CDs offer a slightly higher return than a traditional bank savings account, they also may require a higher deposit amount. If you sell before the CD reaches maturity, you may be subject to penalties.

Others turn to money market accounts or money market funds in emergencies. While money market accounts are savings accounts, money market funds are considered low-risk securities. Money market funds are not backed by any government institution, which means they can lose money. Depending on your particular goals and the amount you have saved, some combination of lower-risk investments may be your best choice.

Money held in money market funds is not insured or guaranteed by the FDIC or any other government agency. Money market funds seek to preserve the value of your investment at $1.00 a share. However, it is possible to lose money by investing in a money market fund.

Money market mutual funds are sold by prospectus. Please consider the charges, risks, expenses, and investment objectives carefully before investing. A prospectus containing this and other information about the investment company can be obtained from your financial professional. Read it carefully before you invest or send money.

The only thing you can know about unexpected expenses is that they’re coming. Having an emergency fund may help to alleviate stress and worry that can come with them. If you lack emergency savings now, consider taking steps to create a cushion for the future.

 

Sincerely,

Steve Lindquist


Steve Lindquist

Steve Lindquist
stevelindquist@peakfns.com
Financial Consultant
295 Los Altos Parkway, Suite 105
Sparks, NV 89436
(775) 789-3140

www.gbfinancial.org/

Steve Lindquist is a registered representative offering securities and advisory services through Cetera Advisor Networks LLC, member FINRA/SIPC a Broker/Dealer and Registered Investment Advisor. Cetera is under separate ownership from any other named entity. Registered address: 295 Los Altos Parkway, Suite 105., Sparks NV 89436.

Investments are not deposits; not FDIC/NCUSIF insured; and not insured by any federal government agency. No credit union guarantee. May lose value.

 

1. Bankrate.com, July 1, 2019

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG Suite is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright 2020 FMG Suite.

Four Really Good Reasons to Invest

Forty-six percent of Americans do not own any stocks or stock-related investments, such as mutual funds, according to a recent Gallup poll.¹

Individuals may cite different reasons for not investing, but with important long-term financial goals, such as retirement, in the balance, the reasons may not be good enough.

Why Invest?

  • Make Money on Your Money

    You might not have a hundred million dollars to invest, but that doesn’t mean your money can’t share in the same opportunities available to others. You work hard for your money; make sure your money works hard for you.

  • Achieve Self-Determination and Independence

    When you build wealth, you may be in a better position to pursue the lifestyle you want. Your life can become one of possibilities rather than one of limitations.

  • Leave a Legacy to Your Heirs

    The wealth you pass to the next generation can have a profound impact on your heirs, providing educational opportunities, the capital to start a business or financial support to your grandchildren.

  • Support Causes Important to You

    Wealth can be an important tool for impacting the world in a meaningful way. So whether your passion is the environment, the arts, or human welfare, you can use your wealth to affect positive changes in your community or around the world.

A Framework for Investing

The decision to invest is an acknowledgment that it comes with certain risks. Not all investments will do well and some may lose money. However, without risk, there would be no opportunity to potentially earn higher returns that can help you grow your wealth.

To manage investment risk, consider maintaining a broad diversification of your investments that reflects your personal risk tolerance, time horizon, and the nature of your financial goal.²

Because investing can be complicated, consider working with a financial professional to help guide you on your wealth-building journey.

 

Sincerely, 

Steve Lindquist


Steve Lindquist

Steve Lindquist 
stevelindquist@peakfns.com 
Financial Consultant
295 Los Altos Parkway, Suite 105
Sparks, NV 89436
(775) 789-3140

www.gbfinancial.org/

Steve Lindquist is a registered representative offering securities and advisory services through Cetera Advisor Networks LLC, member FINRA/SIPC a Broker/Dealer and Registered Investment Advisor.  Cetera is under separate ownership from any other named entity. Registered address: 295 Los Altos Parkway, Suite 105., Sparks NV 89436. 

Investments are not deposits; not FDIC/NCUSIF insured; and not insured by any federal government agency.  No credit union guarantee.  May lose value.

  1. Gallup.com, May 24, 2017
  2. Diversification is an approach to help manage investment risk. It does not eliminate the risk of loss if security prices decline.

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG, LLC, is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright 2020 FMG Suite.