Help your teen get a job
Spring break is over and summer is around the corner. It’s not too early for your teenager to start looking for a summer job. Here are some tips for your teen and ways that you can help them find a job.
• Start looking now. As the saying goes, the early bird gets the worm. Don’t wait until school ends to start looking for a job. A job search can take some time. Encourage your teen to start with limited hours now, if possible, and increase hours in the summer.
• Be prepared. As a parent, you can help in the job search by proofreading your teen’s resume and putting them through some mock interviews. If it’s hard for your teen to role-play with you, ask a family friend to step in as a mock interviewer.
• Pass on advice. As a parent, you’ve probably been through a few job interviews. Make sure to share good pointers on how to get a job: Dress professionally, show enthusiasm, and send a thank-you note.
• Network. If your teen is ready to hit the job market, start telling friends, co-workers and encourage your teen to do the same. Many job prospects are found by word-of-mouth.
Once your teen is getting those summer job paychecks, help them understand the importance of budgeting and saving. Mid American offers a number of youth accounts, including FirstStep and Freedom checking accounts, open to youth older than 13 who take a financial quiz.
Spring into action
Regular, preventative maintenance is important in keeping the value of your home. Springtime – a season of renewal – is a great time to do checkups and repairs. Regular checkups can also help save you costly emergency repairs.
Here are a few things for your spring maintenance list:
> Keep it cool – and hot. Schedule an annual check of your air conditioning unit to ensure it will run efficiently and effectively for the warm days ahead. While you’re at it, inspect your water heater, too, for leaks and corrosion.
> Take it out of the gutter. Inspect your gutters and keep them clean, especially if you have foliage hanging over your roof. Trapped moisture can cause damage to your home’s roof and walls. Check downspouts to ensure they are clear and pointing at least two feet away from foundation walls.
> Keep a good roof over your head. After rains, check for wet spots in ceilings and walls. Have a licensed professional inspect the roof after strong winds and storms, or if you notice cracked or buckling shingles.
> Keep water and pests out. Ensure doors and windows are well-sealed to keep your home cool in the summer and to keep water out to avoid mold growth and damage. Also look for any gaps and holes and seal them up to keep mice and insects from sharing your indoor space.
> Make it pretty. A good paint job doesn’t just add curb appeal. Chipped, cracked paint can leave wood exposed, which can cause rot. Pressure wash siding to give it a nice, clean look. Give your deck a good washing and apply a protective seal, too.
> Check the foliage. Out-of-control vines or branches too close to the house and siding can cause moisture and other problems.
Remember, in addition to helping you finance the purchase of your new home, Mid American makes available home equity loans and lines of credit that can be used to help with any home improvement ventures.
When was the last time you updated the inventory of your belongings to ensure you have adequate insurance coverage?
With a current inventory, you can be sure your belongings are properly insured for their value, in the event of theft or disaster.
Most basic home insurance policies have standard limits for big-ticket items such as electronics, jewelry, sporting equipment or art, according to the Kansas Insurance Department, but you’ll want to check with an insurance agent if you need additional or special coverage.
Several resources, from hard copy lists to smartphone apps, are available to make the inventory process easier. Here are three such resources:
• Printable inventory sheets at www.insureuonline.org/home_inventory_checklist.pdf
• The Insurance Information Institute’s free Know Your Stuff software, www.knowyourstuff.org
• The National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ free smartphone app, myHome.Scr.APP.book, from iTunes or Google Play
Photographing or making a video of belongings is recommended. The NAIC has the following tips for creating an inventory for insurance purposes:
• Group possessions by logical categories, such as by room or item.
• Don’t forget infrequently used items, such as holiday decorations.
• Make copies of original sales receipts or appraisals.
• Write down model and serial numbers for electronics and other items.
Keep your inventory lists and supporting material in a safe deposit box. Mid American offers annual rentals of various-sized safe deposit boxes at its northeast and west branches in Wichita and in Larned.
Online, mobile banking improvements
By Jim Holt, President/CEO
We are making great progress toward rolling out a new, more robust remote access system for our members in early fall.
It has been 20 years since we did a major conversion, so you can imagine how excited we are to get a far more efficient, easier-to-use system to deliver the services we provide to you. We have tried our best to keep up with technology advances and member demands with our existing system, but it is time for us to get a brand new, state-of-the-art foundation that will allow for continued growth.
Internally, we are calling our journey the Amazing Race. We have divided responsibilities among various staff teams, just as the contestants are organized on the TV show that inspired our concept. Conversions are major undertakings, so we are incorporating some fun adventures on our trek.
When we are finished with our Amazing Race – our ”go live” date is Sept. 3 – you will notice far improved ways of doing business with us. In particular, you will find that our virtual banking features will be far more user-friendly.
In visiting with other Kansas credit unions who converted to the same system, we have heard nothing but rave reviews about the system’s features. To keep up with accelerating technology, the system continues to be upgraded and enhanced with members in mind.
“We keep discovering more things that we can do,” said a staff member at one Wichita credit union.
The system will allow a broader range of electronic alert capabilities about activity on your accounts. You can customize when you want to be alerted – such as when your balance is below or above a certain dollar amount, when an item clears and more.
Other features include being able to see pending transactions on your account and customizing your account homepage with the options and features you use the most. We are sure many members will also appreciate the forgotten password feature, giving members the ability to retrieve or reset online access to their accounts.
Just as in the Amazing Race, we realize there will be challenges during this conversion, but we will provide user tips and assistance to help you maximize the advantages of our new system.
Mid American adds Lawrence branch
Mid American Credit Union, based in Wichita, has added a Lawrence branch through its recent merger with Jayhawk Federal Credit Union.
The merger gives Mid American Credit Union a presence in northeast Kansas, but more importantly it provides the members of the much smaller Jayhawk Federal Credit Union access to a broader range of services and products. Jayhawk Federal, formed in 1940 by a group of employees of the Lawrence Paper Co., had about $2 million in assets and more than 1,000 members.
Mid American – with four branches in Wichita and also in Larned and Arkansas City – has $225 million in assets.
“We have long had members in the area thanks to relationships with numerous auto dealers in northeast Kansas,” said Jim Holt, Mid American president/CEO, “but this merger allows us to bring a range of services to those members and new services to Jayhawk Federal.”
Travis Colibert, former manager of Mid American’s Arkansas City branch, is the manager of the Lawrence branch.
Mid American is a full-service financial institution, with products that include first and second mortgages and retirement and investment planning. Members also have online and mobile access to accounts.
Through a nationwide cooperative agreement, Mid American members can conduct financial transactions at more than 5,000 shared branches nationwide and have surcharge-free access to more than 30,000 ATMs.
Mid American Credit Union was established in 1936.
Ruling changes allowed IRA rollovers
Individuals with multiple individual retirement accounts, or IRAs, will have to be more careful now when moving money between their traditional IRAs.
Starting as early as Jan. 1, 2015, anyone with an IRA will be allowed to make only one non-taxable rollover in a 12-month period to another or the same IRA, no matter how many IRAs a taxpayer has.
The U.S. Tax Court made the new rollover ruling earlier this year, but the IRS is waiting until at least Jan. 1, 2015, to implement the ruling to give IRA owners and trustees time to adjust, according to an IRS announcement. The tax court ruling changes long-standing guidelines in the IRS Publication 590 that said a rollover from one IRA to another would not affect a rollover involving other IRAs of the same individual.
The ruling doesn’t affect trustee-to-trustee transfers, as those transfers don’t count as a rollover because they don’t pass through a taxpayer’s hands. A rollover from a qualified retirement plan, such as a 401K plan, also doesn’t count.
Because the rollover ruling applies to a 12-month time period, and not any particular calendar year, taxpayers will have to be diligent when making rollover decisions, financial experts advise.
For more information about the new IRS guidelines on IRA rollovers, consult a tax professional or your accountant.
Holt wins top professional award from KCUA
Jim Holt, president/CEO of Mid American Credit Union since 2005, will be honored with the 2013 Henry Peterson Professional of the Year Award by the Kansas Credit Union Association.
Holt received the award, given to a credit union professional for outstanding leadership and management abilities and for bettering Kansas credit unions, at the KCUA’s annual state convention in Wichita in April.
Holt has been involved with the credit union industry for more than 40 years, starting as a stock boy at a Topeka credit union while attending Washburn University. He is a former lobbyist for the KCUA and former CEO of Mountain West Credit Union Association in Denver, and spent 14 years as a consulting attorney to credit unions in Kansas and the Kansas Department of Credit Unions.
In the past year, he served as chairman of the KCU and one of its boards, helping the two organizations in efforts to strengthen credit union growth and management both statewide and nationally. Initiatives included creating a leadership development program and an innovation lab to share ideas for credit union growth, as well as a grassroots effort to educate lawmakers about the effects of a proposed federal income tax on not-for-profit credit unions.
As Mid American’s top executive, he has overseen the credit union’s significant growth in membership and assets over the past nine years, including mergers with credit unions in Arkansas City and Lawrence.
Accessing your equity
From Debbie Stang, Home Loan Officer
If your New Year’s resolutions include finding better ways to handle your debt or making some changes to your home, consider a home equity loan or line of credit.
Both options are based on providing you with access to the equity you’ve built up in your home. Equity is the difference between your home’s value and what you still owe on it. At Mid American, the value assessed to your home for property tax valuation is used as the market value. A home equity loan is a type of second mortgage, since you’re pledging your home as collateral.
You have a couple advantages when using equity to consolidate and pay off debt. Home equity loan rates are often considerably lower than the interest rate paid on unsecured debt. Interest paid on the home equity loan is generally tax deductible, as well. (Check with a professional tax adviser to see if this applies to you.) By combining debt, you’ll also lower what you spend each month on debt. To make your new year more financially stable, be disciplined enough to not take on any more debt.
Making home improvements can not only update your home, but can also increase the value of your home, in some cases. Be aware that kitchen and bath remodels generally add value, while upscale landscaping or invisible improvements, like new plumbing or HVAC systems, don’t.
If you don’t need all the money at once, consider a home equity line of credit. While giving you access to your pool of equity, you pay interest only on the money you actually borrow. This is an attractive option when you’re working on home improvement projects that may be spread over some time.
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