ASB Blog

07/16/2014

What Is Estate Planning?

You have an estate plan in place, right now.  Even if you haven’t taken the important first step of having a will drafted, you already have an estate plan, because every state has a property management plan that takes over when someone dies without a will.  It’s called the law of intestacy.  Most people find the state-provided estate plan to be unsatisfactory, and they prefer to exercise a measure of control over the final disposition of their property.  Wills and trusts are the means to this end.  You should be familiar with the broad outlines of your estate planning documents, or, with the law of intestacy, if you don’t have any.

What would happen to your assets if you died today?

Is that what you want? 

Does your estate plan:

  • Provide an adequate income for your surviving spouse?
  • Meet the education needs of children or grandchildren?
  • Support your favored charities and meet philanthropic goals?

https://mdm.ca/multimedia/wealth-management/estate-planning-e.jpg

 

 

 

 

These are just a few of the possible goals that you may have for your wealth.  If you are not confident of your answers, you’ll want to schedule an early meeting with an attorney who specialtizes in estate planning.

Other things to consider:

  • Inventory your assets
    • Assets owned jointly with right of survivorship.
    • Assets with a named beneficiary.
    • Solely owned assets.
  • Assess your distribution plan.
  • Tax Issues

Consult your attouney, accountant or tax advisor for information specific to your needs.  Neither the broker-dealer, nor any of its representatives may give legal or tax advice.

For additional information please contact John Volden

320-274-8216

jvolden@mylakecentral.com

estate planningestate planning

 

 

 

 

Lake Central Investments is a Cetera Investment Services program.  Securities and insurance offered through Cetera Investment Services LLC, member FINRA/SIPC.  Investments are not: FDIC Insured-Not a Deposit-Not Insured by any Federal Government Agency-May Lose Value–Not Financial Institution Guaranteed.               

 

 

06/18/2014

Online Banking Makes Life Better


Let’s be honest, your life is busy. From getting the kids out of bed and ready for school, rushing to work, attending athletic online bankingevents and social gatherings, to making dinner and getting those same kids back into bed, it is wall-to-wall coverage for you. The last thing you want to do during a hectic day is spend time in line at the bank.
Text Box: Online Banking with Annandale State Bank is convenient, secure and free!

That’s why we offer free online banking to all our customers so that you can conduct your banking securely and easily from the comfort of your home, office or mobile device. You can monitor all of your transactions, check your balance anytime and even set up alerts to keep you informed of your account activity.

Along with 24-hour access to your checking and savings accounts, you can enroll in paperless e-Statements and received a 12-pack of soda for doing so.

Another benefit is your ability to pay bills electronically. Just log into your account and select “Bill Payment” in the left hand column to enroll. You can now avoid the hassle of paper bills, worrying about checks being lost in the mail and now save a trip to the post office. You can pay anyone, just as you would via a check, without paying for postage!

Feel free to contact us anytime if you have questions or need additional information in order to have a smooth, successful online banking experience.

 

05/28/2014

Technology: Get on board…or get out of the way!



snow ballHave you seen the TV commercial where the two boys are having a snowball fight? One of the snowballs lands on the ground and continues to roll downhill, growing in size. Soon it is larger than a house. You can’t stop it. You can only hope it crashes into something to slow it down. I know you are picturing the image in your mind.

That is how new technology can feel, sometimes. If not embraced, it may run you over. With the continuing changes in technology (47 changes are probably happening while you are reading this blog) it is challenging to keep up, let alone, understand how the now “outdated” stuff works.

We feel the same way at Lake Central Insurance Services. That is why we will guide you through our high-tech social media sites and hold your hand, if needed, while learning to navigate our new agency smart-phone app.  (For those technology challenged folks out there, an “app” is short for “application”. Think of it as a free computer program you can put on your smart-phone. (Now, if you’re not certain what a smart-phone is, then you may be beyond hope, but we won’t pass judgment.)

smart phoneYes, our little, three office agency has a smart-phone app for your iPhone or Android device. We can play with the “BIG BOYS” when it comes to technology. Our app gives you instant access to our agency staff via email and also links our office phone numbers without needing to dial.

THE BEST NEWS OF ALL…IT IS FREE!!! Yes, we said free.

While the familiar saying, “There is no such thing as free lunch” generally applies to most areas of life, just know there are no strings attached with our app. In fact, you don’t even need to be a client of ours to download and take advantage of the app’s awesome features, such as:

  • Using it to document a claim and take photos of the accident scene. Store important information such as your policy information and use it as an ID card to show proof of insurance. You can store a list of your home inventory so you can access it in the event of a loss at your home.
  • Utilizing the GPS locator, which helps locate your address when you dial 911. The GPS locator also aids you in finding a gas station, towing company or even a hotel in the event you break down and need to stay somewhere overnight.

Of course, if you are our client, we encourage you to download the app and use it as a communication tool directly to our offices in Annandale, Clearwater or Maple Lake. You can send a message to one of the staff directly.

To download the app, simply go to the App Store for your iPhone, or the Google Play Store for your Android device. Search for Lake Central Insurance Services and install. Did we mention it’s free?

Let’s Connect!

“Like” us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/LakeCentralInsuranceServices to get current information and offerings from our agency.

You can also follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/LakeCentral1  to get real-time happenings around Lake Central.

Or visit us at: www.mylakecentral.com

Now, for the quiz….what brand of car was being advertised in the snowball commercial? Don’t know, neither do we. But, we remember the giant snowball!!!

 

05/14/2014

Home Equity Lines of Credit

HELOCSpring is finally here!  This is the time of year when people start envisioning landscaping projects, consider an addition to their home or contemplate putting in that pool the kids have been asking for.  With minimal closing costs, competitive interest rates and low payment options, a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC ) is a good fit for many people to get these goals accomplished.

Our HELOC’s are revolving lines of credit with interest only payments required.  Anything that you pay towards principal is available to use again. And, in most cases, the interest you pay may be deductible.  The funds can be used for virtually any purpose; home improvements, a new car or even a Caribbean cruise!

Now that home values are finally on the rise, our HELOC’s are a great way to utilize the equity in your home to make it the place you’ve always dreamed of.  Contact one of our knowledgeable lenders at Annandale State Bank today to see if we can help make those dreams come true.
HELOC
Stacy Rasset
320-274-8216
srasset@annabank.com

HELOC

 

 

04/30/2014

Your 401k Rollover Options


1. Cash out of the account.
Cashing out of a 401k can be advantageous, but the drawbacks are too many for most people to handle comfortably. On the one hand, you gain immediate access to your cash. If an unexpected financial hardship arises you can use the money to get yourself out of that tight spot.
The allure is instant cash, a loan of sorts, usually made with an honest intent to “put it https://www.mint.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/retirement-401k.jpgback.” Future tax-deferred earnings evaporate along with nearly one quarter of the wealth contained in the assets. Furthermore, with substantial withdrawals, contribution limits will constrict how quickly an account can be restored.
Taxation and penalties on early withdrawals are steep. Taking cash out of a 401k takes away the tax-deferred status of those funds, so your income taxes could jump dramatically, especially if you enter a higher tax bracket. Expect your employer to withhold 20% of your 401k funds for tax payment purposes. On top of the taxes, a 10% early withdrawal penalty applies if you take delivery of the money before the age of 59 ½.

In most circumstances cashing out is a trap akin to payday loans. It provides a short-term fix at the expense of considerable wealth and potential for future growth. This makes the cash-out option the least attractive of the four available options.

2. Leave your money in your previous employer’s retirement plan.
By leaving your 401k in your previous employer’s care, your funds retain a tax-advantaged status and growth. Most employers require that you have at least $5,000 in the account when you leave the company in order for you to keep it there, and you won’t be able to contribute to the account after you leave the company.
If the 401k was started with a large employer, it may be to your benefit to leave it there after your employment ends. Why? Some large companies give their employees access to low-cost institutional investments that aren’t available to individual investors. If you decide to leave your old 401k with your previous employer, however, make sure you don’t forget about your money. The average person holds at least 10 jobs between the ages of 18 to 44, so take care to not let your hard-earned money get lost as you change jobs over the years.

Fees are another factor that must be taken into consideration when figuring out your 401k plans. Employer-sponsored plans are notorious for hidden administrative and service fees that can reduce the account balance by up to 25% over the years. If your previous employer is charging you 1% or more annually in fees, seriously consider moving the money away.

3. Transfer your 401k away from your old employer and into your new employer’s plan.
Some employers will allow new employees to transfer funds from old 401ks into the new company’s plan. You will need to study the fee structures and plan offerings of both companies before deciding to combine your old 401k plans with a new plan, but if the new company allows account combinations you could save thousands per year in administrative fees.

4. Execute a 401k Rollover by placing your funds into a self-directed IRA.
Control…by rolling the money into a traditional IRA, you will realize control over where those monies are invested and how.  There is a litany of advantages to transferring an old 401k into a self-directed IRA. The account will retain its tax-advantaged status. The potential for the account to grow into a respectable nest-egg will be even greater since the fees for IRAs are usually less than those for 401k plans, and IRA custodians offer a wider array of investment vehicles from which you can choose.

If you decide that turning an old 401k into an IRA is the best option for you, please contact us.  We will be happy to provide the direction and guidance you need.  The process is relatively simple and since 401k to IRA rollovers are so common most investors will not face any difficulties with the transfer.

John Volden

John Volden
jvolden@mylakecentral.com

 

 

 

FDIC Insured IRA’s can be purchased through Annandale State Bank by talking with Roxann McNellis or at our ASB Clearwater branch by talking with Jeannie Schermer.

Non FDIC Insured IRA’s can be purchased through Lake Central Investments by talking with John Volden.
Lake Central Investments is a Cetera Investment Services program.  Securities and insurance offered through Cetera Investment Services LLC, member FINRA/SIPC.  Investments are not: FDIC Insured-Not a Deposit-Not Insured by any Federal Government Agency-May Lose Value–Not Financial Institution Guaranteed.

 

03/26/2014

Long Term Care Insurance

The gambler in you says to roll the dice. The conservative money-manager in you knows how hard you’ve worked your http://www.zontikgames.com/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/b/a/backgammon-precision-dice-dark-red_primary.jpgentire life to build up your retirement funds, assets and family’s inheritance. Long-term care could be the highest stakes gamble you’ll ever make. Are you ready to play; the dice are in your hands.

What is long-term care? The term refers to ongoing care to help you with day-to-day living activities. This could include needing help dressing, toileting, bathing and making meals. Care could be provided by family or friends, home-health aids, or skilled nursing services. Unless you or your family is able to put your life on hold while caring for an aging or disabled family member, you’ll need some outside help.

If you’re like most people, you probably know someone who has needed long-term care services or acted as a caregiver. Maybe you’ve been the caregiver yourself. Either way, you may be wondering how you’ll handle your own long-term care needs. Will your family take care of you? Will you be able to stay in your home? How will the need for care impact your retirement nest egg?

If you have already taken that important step towards planning for a secure future, CONGRATULATIONS! You are in the minority when it comes to being prepared by planning for added security in your retirement portfolio by owning a long-term care insurance (LTCi) policy.

Statistics indicate that 1 out of 2 people will need some form of long-term care in their lifetime. That is a coin flip you could possibly lose! According to the Department of Health and Human Services, 70% of baby-boomers turning 65 this year alone will require care before they die. If you are not prepared for the financial impact that the cost of elder care will be, then now may be the time to learn more about long-term care insurance and how it may protect what you’ve worked your entire lifetime to achieve.

Many people mistakenly believe government programs, like Medicare and Medicaid (medical assistance), will provide all the long-term care services they need. Unfortunately, this may not be the case. Failing to plan how you’ll pay for long-term care services may place you at serious financial risk.
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LTCi has evolved from solely offering coverage for people who are confined to a nursing home. The emphasis to keep people comfortable and in their home as long as possible has caused LTCi to add home health care and assisted living coverage.  People live better lifestyles and remain healthier longer when they can stay in their own home; it just makes them happier and is a better situation.

How does care work when you can stay in your home or if you end up in an assisted living arrangement or nursing home? Well, someone might have to stay with mom or dad during the day while a family member works their job to provide for their own family. Maybe you hire a neighbor to stop by each day to sit with them for a while to make sure they take the proper medication and at the right time of day. Think of it as adult day-care.

You may need to hire a day-nurse or home healthcare provider to come in to give assistance for bathing or do some form of physical therapy. Lastly, a skilled nursing professional may need to be hired to administer more complex mediation or perform other medical procedures.

It currently costs an average of $6,000 a month for a semi-private room in a nursing home and $3,000 a month for a one-bedroom unit in an assisted-living facility. Starting to get the picture? All of this care has a cost associated with it and can add up extremely fast, depending on the individual situation.

The mindset is that long-term care is expensive, and that can be true. But, something is better than nothing, so purchase what your budget allows. Purchasing any form of long-term care insurance will help to cover care costs and avoid spending down your own money to pay for the care. If all you can afford is a $50 per day/$1500 per month benefit policy, then you just avoided spending that same amount out of your personal funds, therefore protecting that same monthly amount from any spend-down. Ask any financial advisor if spending $25,000-$30,000 in LTCi premiums over a 20-30 year period to protect your financial net worth, and they would tell you it is a sound investment.

Minnesota now offers a state partnership program which allows you to protect your policy’s maximum lifetime benefit amount from a medical assistance spend-down. Plain and simple, you can protect assets equal to your lifetime maximum benefit and still qualify for medical assistance from the State of Minnesota.

As you can see, long-term care coverage and what benefits you may need to cover in your unique situation can be complicated. Most consumers need to meet to discuss coverage and affordability with a certified LTCi insurance agent a minimum of 4 times in order to fully understand what it is they want or can afford.

Lake Central Insurance Services agents are knowledgeable and certified long-term care insurance specialists. They can provide information and answer questions to give you the tools to make sound decisions on your unique needs.

For more information, please click on the links below. The first step in the process is easy. Just contact Paul Manuel or Pete Edmonson and start to journey to financial security for your long-term care needs and protecting your lifetime’s hard work.

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Paul Manuel

320-274-8216 Annandale   

320-963-3163 Maple Lake     

 

pmanuel@mylakecentral.com             

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Pete Edmonson 

320-558-2271 Clearwater

 

 

pedmonson@mylakecentral.com

Don't Wait to Plan Long Term Care

Own Your Future

 

03/12/2014

Mortgage Outlook

outlookThe past 6 years have been a turbulent time for the American economy with few areas hit as hard as real estate.  We witnessed our home values take a dramatic plunge from the overinflated values of the early 2000’s. Everyone knows somebody who experienced foreclosure, and the national unemployment rate peaked at just under 10% in 2010.

Although we have suffered many hardships, homeowners have been fortunate to see the lowest mortgage interest rates in over 50 years with the 30yr fixed rate dropping below 3.50% in 2012.  We saw the first signs of renewed life in the economy last year with home prices increasing by 9% across the US as a whole. New construction and purchases of new homes increased by almost 30%, the foreclosure rates dropping significantly and the unemployment rate steadily declined throughout the year to below 7%.

2014 brings with it the optimism of increased economic growth.   While interest rates have begun to slowly increase, they are still amazingly low, with the national average at approximately 4.375%.  Annandale State Bank will continue to be your hometown mortgage specialists.  Stop in and speak with our lenders to see how we can assist you in financing your home improvement, refinance or home purchase.  We have diverse, affordable and competitive mortgage products and are willing to lend.

House Price Performance By State

(December 2012 to December 2013

housing market

If your dream is to build a home, now may be the right time.  ASB owns   over 100 residential lots that we are actively selling.  With lots starting at $19,900, purchasing property can be a great investment.  If you are ready to build, we would love to discuss our construction-permanent construction financing.U.S. House Price Performance By State (December 2012 to December 2013)


To take the first step towards home ownership or building your new home, contact Stacy Rasset at Annandale State Bank today!         

Stacy Rasset

320-274-8216

srasset@annabank.com

FDIC

 

 

2/26/2014

Traditional or Roth: Let us help you decide

John Volden
Roth IRA’s have been around since 1997, but many Americans don’t understand the full range of their benefits.  Unlike traditional IRA’s, contributions to Roth IRAs are made in after-tax dollars.  Many people choose Roths because they project that their tax rate will be higher when they’re ready to take distributions.  But, the benefits don’t end there.

Roth IRAs don’t require you to take withdrawls while you are alive.  And, that makes them a useful vehicle to pass assets to the next generation tax-free.  What’s more, tax-free distributions can be taken before age 59½ providing savers a way to suplement income and perhaps even retire early.

IRAs often offer more investment options than the typical employer-sponsored retirement plan.  The longer your account has the potential to grow, the more you could stand to save on taxes when it comes time to make withdrawals in retirement.

Remember, the big difference between a traditional IRA and a Roth IRA is when your investments get taxed: With Traditional IRAs, you pay taxes when money is withdrawn; contributions to Roth IRAs are made with money that has already been taxed.

It’s very easy to set up and contribute to an IRA.  You can start an IRA with as little as $25 a month, and it can be linked to your checking account so you can make contributions automatically.

Set up an appointment and get started down the right fiscal path…today! jvolden@mylakecentral.com

FDIC Insured IRA’s can be purchased through Annandale State Bank by talking with Roxann McNellis or at our ASB Clearwater branch by talking with Jeannie Schermer.

Non FDIC Insured IRA’s can be purchased through Lake Central Investments by talking with John Volden.
Lake Central Investments is a Cetera Investment Services program.  Securities and insurance offered through Cetera Investment Services LLC, member FINRA/SIPC.  Investments are not: FDIC Insured-Not a Deposit-Not Insured by any Federal Government Agency-May Lose Value–Not Financial Institution Guaranteed.

 

2/12/2014

Did you know ASB has an AED?
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The term “AED” has become more and more common in our society; yet, many people are unaware of its life saving benefits.
An AED (Automated External Defibrillator) is a portable electronic device that automatically diagnoses the life threatening cardiac arrhythmias of ventricular fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia in a patient, and is able to treat them through defibrillation, the application of electrical therapy which stops the arrhythmia, allowing the heart to reestablish an effective rhythm.
With simple audio and visual commands, AEDs are designed to be simple to use for the layperson, and the use of AEDs is taught in many first aid, first responder, and basic life support (BLS) level cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) classes.
The first documented use of an AED was in 1947.
John & TaraToday, there are over 350 AEDs registered in Wright County alone – one being located in the lobby of Annandale State Bank.  John Volden, Lake Central Investment’s manager won the AED at an Allina event and donated it to the Bank.
A “shocking” statistic is that for each minute defibrillation is delayed, a victim’s chance of survival is reduced by approximately 10%. And, if you ever have to operate an AED, an important fact to know is that the AED will not shock someone who does not need it.
ASB has registered its AED which allows 911 dispatchers the ability to direct first responders to the closest available AED.
With February being heart health month, see how many defibrillators you can locate in your community.


01/29/2014

Christmas Club Savings Account

xmas blog1Are you tired of the uncomfortable feeling of swiping the credit card for those holiday purchases? Are you concerned because you overspent your holiday budget? Frustrated by having to pay a high interest rate on the credit card balance from your holiday spending? Want to earn 3.33% APY* on a deposit account? If so, we have the solution!

Annandale State Bank’s Christmas Club account is a terrific and simple way to budget for your holiday spending. Earn 3.33% APY* on your savings, and spend the cash you have saved for your holiday purchases.  Here’s how it works…

xmas blog2When you open a Christmas Club account, we set up an automatic transfer of up to $300 per month from your ASB checking account to your Christmas Club savings. This savings will accumulate and earn an interest rate of 3.33% APY*.  On November 15th of each year, we automatically transfer the amount saved in your Christmas Club savings into your checking account for you to use for holiday shopping. It’s that simple!

Also, consider using the Christmas Club savings as a way to save and plan for your winter vacation.  Whatever you’re saving for, Christmas Club savings is a great way to change your spending pattern from charging it and paying a high rate of interest, to saving it, and earning at a rate above the market.

What are you waiting for? With only 330 days until Christmas, now is the time to open your Christmas Club account and make this year’s holiday shopping season your best ever!

If you have any questions or need additional information, contact a New Accounts Representative today at 320-274-8216.

* Annual Percentage Yield (APY) effective 05/01/11.  Rates subject to change without notice.  $5.00 minimum weekly deposit required.  Fees could reduce earnings.  Restrictions apply. Member FDIC
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For more information, please contact us.