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7 Steps to Help Prepare for Retirement

June 12, 2019

Take steps now to create a plan

When thinking about saving for retirement, a good plan includes some important steps. We can help you get started by considering your income, budget, lifestyle, and goals. Begin with these steps, and you’ll be on your way. 

1. Create a Budget

Regardless of age, it’s a great idea to create a budget to manage your spending and increase your savings. When we have a good savings habit started, we can begin to think about saving for retirement.


2. Set a goal to save a percentage of your income every year

This includes matching contributions from your employer 401(k) if available, IRAs, and any other workplace retirement accounts. A good target: by the time you reach 30, try to have saved a total amount equal to your current salary.


3. Set targets based on your age

If you're in your 40s to early 50s, saving is especially crucial as you approach retirement age. Common recommendations include having at least 3 times your salary saved by age 40, and 6 times your salary saved by age 50. If you haven’t met these goals, it's okay, then try to increase the portion of your income you save in an amount that works for you.


4. Maximize your 401(k), especially with employer matching

If it’s available to you, your first place to put retirement savings should be the maximum allowed in a 401(k) with employer matching. The matching funds are essentially free money. Ask your employer what you’re currently contributing, and consider having more deducted from your paycheck (up to the maximum allowed) if you can. If your employer doesn’t offer it, or you are self-employed, other options are available, such as a SEP IRA, SIMPLE IRA, or Self-Employed 401(k).


5. Take advantage of IRAs

IRAs, both Traditional and Roth, offer tax breaks if you meet certain eligibility requirements based on your income. Each may have a place in your retirement savings mix. Learn more here, and ask us what may work for you.


6. Make your savings automatic

You won’t spend part of your income that you don’t see. We recommend setting up automatic withdrawals for retirement. Making automatic contributions to your retirement accounts with each paycheck makes it easier.


7. Check your progress regularly

It’s a good idea to evaluate your retirement plan once or twice a year, or whenever your income, expenses, or other factors change. We can help you evaluate your savings, your goals, and whether any changes are in order.


Getting Started Planning

Make an appointment with a First Source Representative to start your retirement planning process. Once you have a plan in place, you can begin to work toward your goals, and take control of your future. We’ll be here for you as you move toward your retirement, ready to help you Retire Smarter. 

Learn More
 

Posted in: retirement, savings

How to Start Saving For Your Kids’ College

August 2, 2018

Parents help young children with homework as they prepare for attending college somedayEducation Savings Account vs. a 529 Plan

There are several options when saving for your children’s college expenses. It’s important to understand them and choose what’s best for you. Along with regular savings options, First Source offers a New York State 529 College Savings Plan, and a Coverdell Education Savings Account. What is a 529 plan? The 529 Savings Plan is a good option if your children are relatively young, you’re going to commit to saving regularly, and you have the time (you start early). The 529 plan has a higher contribution limit of $10,000/year, and anyone can contribute. Let’s say it’s your child’s birthday: all party attendees could give money as a gift toward this account.


How does a 529 Plan work? 

In a 529 Plan, your account earnings grow without you having to pay federal taxes on them, and some states (like New York) have other tax benefits as well. When your 529 funds are withdrawn and used for education, the funds are tax-free (with some restrictions). And you don’t have to use them only as savings for college; covered expenses also include private elementary or secondary school tuition. If you want to withdraw the funds for something other than education, that’s ok, too, though you will have to pay taxes and fees. Find more information online at nysaves.org.


What is a Coverdell Education Savings Account?

The Coverdell Education Savings Account is a good option for a family on a tighter budget. Contributors must contribute by the due date of their tax return (not including extensions). The funds can be used for either college or private schools, and cover a wider range of K-12 expenses. The funds must be used by the time your student reaches age 30, unless there is a special needs situation. No states currently offer state tax deductions for Coverdell accounts. Check contribution and income limits for each year you plan to contribute, as they are subject to change. Ask us for more details if you’re interested in a Coverdell account. 


Choosing a College Savings Plan

There are advantages for each type of account, and many people even save using both Coverdell and 529 accounts. Live Smarter by making an appointment today to meet with one of our Financial Services Representatives to discuss your best college savings plan approach. 

 
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Posted in: 529, account, college, plan, savings

Tiny’s Grill: A Community Pillar

March 6, 2018

Outside front view of Tiny’s Grill, using First Source Business Services, Players of Utica in background

Making Business Personal

Joanne “Jo” Gerace, Owner/Manager of Tiny’s Grill in Utica, has been a First Source Member for more than 25 years, and as a small business owner, knew that First Source was the perfect place to do her business banking.

Jo’s Story

Joanne Gerace smiling in front of sports memorabilia photos on wall inside Tiny’s Grill
 Joanne Gerace

Joanne Gerace has lived a fascinating and storied life, and many who know her only from Tiny’s Grill may be surprised by her many adventures. The Utica native is an avowed sports fanatic, has worked for the New York Yankees organization, helped the Utica Blue Sox become a successful and profitable business (as eventual General Manager), and then re-launched a local business, Tiny’s Grill, more than 27 years ago. It was something she had always wanted to do. Reviving an older, traditional business fit her well. Tiny’s Grill has been a Utica staple since 1931. The original site was at the Whitesboro circle (where the Utica Aud now stands). Tiny’s moved to the current State Street location—where the Oneida Grill once stood—and Joanne Gerace took over in 1990. 

“I had revived Jazz in Utica by bringing in local and world-class jazz musicians and artists,” says Gerace. “I was also very connected to local professional and amateur sports teams, so we sponsored and hosted them at the Grill. I have always been very community oriented, involved in many local community boards of directors and community projects, from the St. Patrick’s Day parade to downtown Utica projects.” Jo is a member of the Chamber of Commerce (Tiny’s Grill is a previous winner of the Business of the Year award), as well as a member of the auditorium authority since 1984, YWCA Woman of the Year, a Utica Sports Hall Of Fame founding member, a mentor to budding women entrepreneurs, and more. She has worked to make Tiny’s Grill a mainstay in the area. In addition to the iconic life-sized Blues Brothers statues flanking its sign outside, the restaurant is known for its sports and music memorabilia—with many photos signed by the pros—and its traditional Christmas display, including what she believes is the largest collection of nutcrackers in the state (and country)!

 

Tiny’s and First Source FCU

Jo knew she wanted to bank with someone that shared her love of community and embodied all of the wonderful gifts that Utica has to offer.

In her words: “I do both my personal and business banking with First Source, and have for as long as I can remember. They have always been wonderful with the service I receive and their generosity to the community. I have savings, checking, business savings, and business checking, as well as credit card merchant services. We are very happy with everything. The merchant services portion really makes my business run smoothly at the point of sale. It’s important to me to have those aspects of my business run smoothly so I can focus on my customers. First Source makes it easy.”

 

Gerace says she has stayed with First Source for many reasons, primary among them that she always receives personal attention, and good experiences with her banking and the staff. “There have been many people working with me over the years, and I have always had a good relationship with every one...great customer service!” She adds that, as a downtown business, she has easy access to the South Utica branch, including drive-up services. And now, she does the bulk of her banking online; it’s easy and convenient, letting her work around her unique schedule.

“First Source has made it a priority to help our business,” Jo says. “Great customer service, good rates, and many services for a business to take advantage of.” She has recently worked to update Tiny’s Grill, and hopes to use First Source Business Services to keep them running profitably for many years to come.

First Source Business Services

First Source provides a full suite of Business Services, including Merchant Services for POS with Central Payment, Human Resources Management and Scheduling with ADP, Accounting with Quickbooks, business checking and savings accounts, business credit cards and lines of credit, as well as a multitude of business lending options.

Live Smarter

Want to learn more about First Source Business Services? Make an appointment today to meet with one of our Business Services Representatives about managing your business smarter.

 

When is a Money Market a Good Idea?

January 17, 2017

A Money Market account is a good idea for short-term needs, giving you the benefit of earning dividends (when you meet a minimum balance), and the flexibility to deposit and withdraw funds when you need them.

Want to make your kids Wild About Savings?

April 23, 2015

Then help us celebrate National Credit Union Youth Week from Monday, April 20th through Saturday, April 25th. This year’s theme is “Wild About Savings”. You have two ways to win. Open a new youth account or make a deposit into an existing account to qualify for a chance to win a family pass and behind-the-scenes … Continue reading "Want to make your kids Wild About Savings?"

Posted in: about, savings, wild

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