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What does the merger with Sparks City Employees Federal Credit Union really mean?

In mid-February, the board of Great Basin agreed to a merger with Sparks City Employees Federal Credit Union. Prior to the actual merger, at least two key steps must occur including getting the regulatory approval and then the members of Sparks City need to vote and agree to the merger. So assuming these things happen, what does that really mean to Great Basin members? Well, for now not much, as we will be the continuing credit union, so all your favorite employees (like me) will still be here doing what we’ve always done.  Out a year or so, we will see the added leverage of 1900 additional members. Sparks City really wasn’t that bad off, as it will bring over $750,000 in their accrued earnings and $4,300,000 of existing loans to the table. Essentially, they were facing the disadvantage of being a smaller credit union in bad times. They were unable to grow loans sufficiently to pay for the ongoing expenses or add newer services that cost a lot to set up and maintain.

With the merger, the consolidated credit union will be able to eliminate most of the Sparks City operating expenses while adding existing income with loan programs not available to their members currently.

It really is a win-win scenario as their members will be able to access all the products and services that Great Basin has added over the years. We will gain the added contribution of positive net income from more members at a lower expense ratio. The merger is a solid match with Great Basin combining with another local credit union that shares a common emphasis in how we serve our members.

Want to Retire Tomorrow?

I tell members they ­might be able to, but it depends on how much money they want to live on.  Some people prefer to work longer so they can have a higher income; others are willing to live on less if they can retire earlier.  That’s why financial planning is such an individual process.

Setting goals is the first most important step.  I worked with one member who needed to retire for health reasons but didn’t think he could until all his debts were paid off.  I helped him design an income plan in which he had a higher income until his debts were paid off and then lowered it for future years.  Another member wanted to retire early and thought he would use his 401k to pay off his house so he could live less expensively.  I showed him that he would pay so much in early withdrawal penalties and taxes it would use up his whole account.  Instead, we set up a monthly automatic withdrawal to pay his house payment and invested the rest of the funds for future growth.  Many members want a higher income stream early in retirement while they still have to pay for health insurance or want to do a lot of traveling.

So do you have enough to retire tomorrow?  It depends on what your goals are.  Get the clearest idea you can about what is most important.    If you are not ready, you’ll have to decide whether you want to retire later, live on less, save more, or some combination of the above.

Join us for a complimentary workshop on avoiding the “10 Most Common Retirement Mistakes” on Wednesday, February 29th at 5:30 p.m. This workshop will be held at the Main Branch. Please click here for details and to RSVP.

Betsy Dart is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM for the MEMBERS Financial Services programs located in Great Basin Federal Credit Union.   For more information on Betsy and her services, please click here.