July 2015

Simply More Newsletter

July / August 2015

Inside this issue:

 Summer Travel Plans?

August is one of the busiest travel months of the summer. In order to provide top tier fraud security we monitor where your charges are coming from. If we see activity taking place in an unusual location we will take every precaution to investigate it immediately, which may involve putting a freeze on your card. If you're planning a trip out of state give us a call and we can make a note on your account to avoid any travel disruptions.

New Faces at the Bank

We are pleased to announce the addition of three new members to our team of bankers; Gregg Vetesnik, Rob Rynes, and Joe Gorman.

Gregg Vetesnik has joined the Board of Directors of the bank and is bringing with him years of retail industry knowledge stemming from his experience as president of the Richland Center-based, Vetesnik Power Sports. Gregg's familiarity of the region and his entrepreneurial background compliment the backgrounds of our other board members well.

Rob Rynes joined our Investment Center team and will be serving our Richland Center and Spring Green locations as an investment representative.  He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin - Whitewater with a degree in Finance and Management. Rob has strong ties to the Richland Center area where he grew up and we are excited to have him join us in serving you.

Joe Gorman, another native of the area, started with us in June as our new Communications Director. He initially worked with us as an Intern while in college, learning each aspect of the bank during that time. Joe went on to complete his degree in Marketing and Finance and has now rejoined us to help bolster our marketing and communication efforts.
If you see them around, join us in welcoming them to the bank! 

Avoid Late Fees, Automate Loan Payments

A recent change in the routing of mail through Milwaukee rather than its typical route through Madison has led to a small spike in late loan payments. This is due, in part, to the extra time it takes for payments to reach the bank. One simple way to avoid late fees on your loan is to automate the payment. We can quickly and easily set up an automatic payment for you that will make the specified payment, on the exact date, without any hassle. Funds for the payment come directly from your deposit account and save you the time, and money, associated with mailing a check.  To start the process you need only call or visit a personal banker at any of our six locations.

Community Contributions

Our goal as a bank is not only to improve the financial lives of our customers, but to add to the quality of life in the communities in which we do business. In the first half of 2015 we were able to contribute just under $50,000 to a number of local non-profit organizations that are working to improve and enrich our communities.  The primary emphasis of our support is to those organizations that have a focus on charitable, educational or cultural purposes and where the effect of the contribution is measurable on a long-term basis to a wide group of area residents.

Tips for First-Time Homebuyers in a Seller's Market

While interest rates are still near record lows, supply is tight and properties are moving fast, making it a seller's market. In fact, it's not uncommon for a Wisconsin seller to receive three or four offers the day their house is listed. So, if you're looking to take advantage of great rates and buy your first home, make sure you prepare with today's real estate market in mind. Here are a few tips to get you started on your journey to homeownership:

Know your budget.
The first - and most crucial - step in home buying is to determine how much you're able to spend. That includes knowing how much of your savings you're willing to apply to the down payment and how much you can afford each month for your mortgage payment. In general, housing costs (including property taxes, utilities, maintenance and homeowners insurance) should not be more than 28 percent of your pretax income. If you can afford it, negotiate for a larger down payment or a shorter loan term to reduce overall interest costs.

Get preapproved.
To improve your changes at getting a lower interest rate on your mortgage and have the flexibility to move quickly once you find a house you want to buy, ask your bank to pre-approve you first.  Loan pre-approval will boost your credibility with real estate agents and sellers because it shows you're able to get financing and are serious about buying. It will also make the process of applying for your mortgage faster, especially if you obtain the loan from the same bank that pre-approved you for credit.

We have six experienced and very capable mortgage bankers working with us:  Brian Banker in Plain, Judy Butteris in Barneveld, Mary Lynn Johnson in Spring Green, Stacy Dyreson in Mazomanie, Tom Gainor in Richland Center and David Jones who rotates between locations as demand dictates.  Based on the favorable feedback from customers, you'll be well-served in working with any of these folks.

Get the Most out of your Money: Start Saving for Retirement Early

An estimated 1.85 million Americans will graduate from college with an undergraduate degree this year, and most of them will enter the workforce rather than continue on to a graduate degree. As these twenty-somethings begin earning steady income for the first time, many overlook the need to start saving for retirement. However, saving early is the best way to get the most out of the money you set aside for retirement. It's also more important than ever. With pension plans becoming increasingly rare and Americans living an average 22 years longer than they did when Social Security was created in 1937, todays youngest members of the workforce are largely responsible for their own retirement income.

Here's a quick overview of the most common investment accounts used to save for retirement:

IRA - If your employer doesn't offer a company retirement plan (or if you're currently under- or unemployed), start your own nest egg by opening an Individual Retirement Account (IRA). These accounts provide tax advantages that a regular savings account does not. The maximum contribution to an IRA is $5,000 per year if you're under age 50. The money in IRAs is invested by the company managing the account and it is also easier to withdraw from than a 401(k). However, there are still several fees and penalties associated with early withdrawal.

401(k) - This type of retirement savings account is directed by employers and contributions are deducted from paychecks, before taxes. The account is then taxed when a withdrawal is made. The current maximum annual contribution to a 401(k) plan is $18,000. Also, many employer plans include a matching contribution, which is money that the employer will contribute to the account in addition to what the employee puts in. For example, if the company you work for has a program where they will match 50 percent of your contribution up to 3 percent of your paycheck, if you contribute the full 3 percent, you'll receive an additional 1.5 percent from your employer. That's free money for your retirement!

Roth vs. Traditional - There are two types of both IRAs and 401(k) plans, Roth and Traditional. The basic difference is when you have to pay the taxes on the account. With a traditional retirement account the taxes are paid when the money is withdrawn. With a Roth account the taxes are paid upfront (when the money is added to the account). Roth accounts are especially valuable to young workers, as they are more likely to climb into higher tax brackets as they age, meaning they would owe more in taxes on the same amount of money later in life.

Notice that keeping cash under your mattress isn't on this list. Money that isn't invested or placed in a bank account earns no returns or interest and, in fact, loses value over time with inflation. Make your hard-earned money work for you by investing in an IRA or 401(k) or depositing it into an interest-earning savings account. If you have questions about how to get started saving for your retirement call or schedule an appointment with one of our Investment Center Team members; Mike Peterson, Jon LaVenture, or Rob Rynes. They are knowledgeable resources here to help you on your way to a successful retirement plan.