- Sprucing Up, Reaching Out by Brad Herzet, President/CEO
- Overcoming Financial Setbacks by Emily Reinhardt, blogger for Mid American's www.moneymatters.coop
- Saving on Holiday Spending
- 10 Chores for Your Fall To-Do List
- Don't Let Debt Derail Retirement by Jessica Brokaw, Investment Advisor
Sprucing Up, Reaching Out
During the COVID-19 lockdown, home renovation projects were on the rise. At Mid American Credit Union, we took similar actions to get some much-needed updates done to our branches.
While most of the updates had already been planned, doing most of the work while our lobbies were either closed or open by appointment only helped reduce any inconveniences for members who normally visit us.
Here is a quick look at the improvements that have been made or are in their final stages.
Wichita home office on West Kellogg: While we had already made some remodels to accommodate our Member Contact Center, we focused on creating improvements in our member-facing areas — the places where members interact with our staff. Our spruced-up lobby includes a modernized teller area and small stand-up conference rooms that allow members to conduct quick transactions when more privacy is required.
Wichita Northeast Branch: The lobby in this branch, which opened in 2014, has been reconfigured with the removal of a front-door greeting station and freestanding teller pods. The updated lobby now features a modernized teller line along with a small, quick-transaction private office, much like the home branch. ITMs were installed. The adjoining retail/commercial space remains available for rent. Prospective tenants may contact me at email@example.com to discuss potential use.
Arkansas City Branch: An ITM was added to improve member access.
Lawrence Branch: Along with updating the décor, an ITM was installed.
Overland Park: In addition to installing an ITM, the lobby décor will be updated.
Continuing our outreach
With the return of in-person school this fall, we have resumed our financial literacy outreach with our partners at The Pando Initiative. We are again visiting schools in Sedgwick County that participate in the organization’s interactive Reality U financial simulation project. Teens learn how their education today ties into their earning potential of the future and ability to afford a lifestyle they want. We explain the concepts of borrowing money for college and investing for their future. It is often an eye-opening experience for the students.
We’ve extended our community support to include four-legged friends. We are supporting efforts to build custom dog houses that will be auctioned off to benefit the Kansas Humane Society and recently partnered with Beauties and Beasts, a state-licensed animal rescue group to help in their fundraising efforts by matching donations made during a fundraising visit to our home office.
Keep your motor running
Regular vehicle maintenance can cut down on costly repairs later, boost your vehicle’s performance, extend its life and even increase safety. Another perk: A well-maintained vehicle can get you a higher trade-in value or resale price.
While scheduling regular maintenance means investing some time and money into your vehicle, it can help you avoid some expensive bumps down the road.
Here are some of the benefits of maintaining your vehicle, according to AAA:
Longevity. Keep your vehicle in good shape and you can maximize its drive time. Schedule regular checks and maintenance for your vehicle’s fluid levels, tires, lights, brakes and battery.
Safety. Regular checks of critical parts like brakes and tires can help you drive safely. Having your brakes fail or a tire blowout can lead to an accident. Regularly rotate tires to extend mileage and check for tire wear patterns.
Save money. A properly tuned engine, proper tire pressure and proper fluid levels mean your vehicle will run better. That tends to result in better fuel economy. Maintenance can also prevent more costly work and replacement of your vehicle’s parts.
Overcoming Financial Setbacks
As we have seen during the COVID-19 pandemic, people are susceptible to financial setbacks. It’s impossible to predict exactly how and when a financial setback might creep into your life but what we can anticipate is that personal finances will take a hit from time to time. So what can you do when that happens?
Do not procrastinate. Ignoring your financial issues will only bring on more issues. So put on a brave face and stay focused on effectively tackling the problem. You likely won’t solve it overnight, but time, planning and strict attention will help you overcome a financial setback.
Adjust your spending. If you’ve not tracked your spending before, do it now. Think of it as building a new habit. Use apps or software to track your spending and review monthly statements. If you already practice budgeting, revisit and re-evaluate your spending. Create a new budget and categorize your spending into two simple categories: needs and wants. Take a good, hard look at what you can live without and cut as many expenses as you can. Avoid using credit cards, as that will build more debt.
Plan strategically. It’s important that you make a plan that will work best for you to deal with and solve your situation. This might mean reaching out for support from the people in your life. Consider seeking professional help from a counselor who works specifically with people experiencing financial hardships. (Consumer credit counseling services are great resources.) Stay positive and motivated and keep your end goal at the front of your mind.
Find more income. There are two ways to have more money: Earn more and spend less. Ask for extra hours or projects at work, seek out a better-paying job if possible or create a side hustle. Figure out how you can monetize your skills and abilities.
Keep a positive mindset. I know it can be hard to shift your mindset when you’re panicked or in the middle of a crisis. The power of positive thinking can have an impact on overcoming hardships, including financial setbacks. The best way to deal with stress from a financial crisis is to create and stay focused on a plan and strive toward the goal of resolving the problem.
Saving on Holiday Spending
• Determine the amount of money you can devote to holiday spending after paying regular monthly expenses.• Create a budget and remember to include more than gift purchases. Holiday spending includes wrapping paper, meals, travel and related costs (like pet boarding) and hosting expenses.
• Track your holiday-related purchases to stay within spending limits and adjust if needed.
• One of the best ways to save for holiday spending is to take advantage of Mid American’s holiday savings account. Start your account at any time and set up automatic deposits to it. You can make penalty-free withdrawals from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31. ATM access is not available on this account.
10 Chores for Your Fall To-Do List
Take advantage of nice autumn days and invest some time into end-of-summer and winter prep chores. Here are 10 things to put on your fall to-do list to help avoid costly repairs or replacements and higher heating bills.
• Clean and store outdoor furniture to avoid weather damage or mildew setting in. Check and clean garden tools so they are ready for next spring. Put away kids’ summer toys.
• Drain, disconnect and store garden hoses to prevent damage to water pipes and the hoses. Be sure to have inground sprinklers blown free of water to prevent damage to the system.
• Inspect windows, entry doors and garage doors. Make necessary repairs, including caulking and weather stripping, or replacements to eliminate drafts.
• Check and clean, if necessary, gutters and downspouts so that melting snowfall and ice can drain properly. Freezing elements in a clogged gutter will expand and cause damage.
• Stock up on ice melt for sidewalks and make sure you have a usable snow shovel on hand. If you have a snow blower, make sure it’s in good working order.
• Do final winterizing on your lawn. Remember, fall is a great time to plant trees and shrubs.
• Deep clean your carpets and furniture. Dust and clean light fixtures since you’ll use them more as the days get shorter. Dust ceiling fans as well.
• Ensure climate systems are in good working order. Schedule an annual furnace inspection and have chimneys and flues inspected. Clean vents and air ducts, and stock up on furnace filters. Check and clean humidifier systems.
• Inspect and clean appliances, from vacuuming refrigerator coils to checking washer hoses to cleaning out dryer exhaust vents. Remember to clean the back of appliances, along with the floors underneath them.
• Check and replace batteries, if necessary, on your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
If you need financing for any major repairs or renovations, ask about Mid American’s great rates on home equity loans and lines of credit. For a limited time, Mid American is offering a $100 Lowe’s gift card to members who take advantage of one of our home equity loan options.
For more information or questions, please call 316-722-3921 and ask for either me or LeeAnn Marker in mortgages, or email
firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Don't Let Debt Derail RetirementBy Jessica Brokaw
Debt poses a growing threat to the financial security of many Americans. Recent studies by the Center for Retirement Research (CRR) at Boston College and the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) reveal an alarming trend: The percentage of older Americans with debt is at its highest level in almost 30 years.
Debt Profile of Older Americans
In the 20-year period from 1998 to 2019, debt increased steadily for families with household heads ages 55 and older. From 2010 to 2019, families with household heads ages 75 and older who carried debt rose from 38.5% to 51.4%, the highest level since 1992.
The largest proportion of debt for older Americans is mortgages, representing 80% of the total burden. According to EBRI, the median housing debt held by those ages 75 and older jumped from $61,000 in 2010 to $82,000 in 2019. The CRR study reported that baby boomers tend to have bigger debt loads, largely because of pricey home purchases financed by small down payments.
Credit-card debt is another large debt among older Americans. In 2019, those ages 75 and older reporting credit-card debt reached 28%, its highest level ever. The median amount owed rose from $2,100 in 2010 to $2,700 in 2019.
Another problem is medical debt. In the CRR study, 21% of baby boomers reported having medical debt, with a median balance of $1,200. Among those coping with a chronic illness, one in six said high prescriptions costs have caused debt.
Surprisingly, student loan obligations are the fastest-growing kind of debt held by older adults, who are borrowing to help children and grandchildren pay for college.
How Debt Might Affect Retirement
Both studies warn that increasing debt levels may be unsustainable for current and future retirees. Stress endured by those who carry high debt loads often results in negative health consequences, which can then result in even more financial need. Individuals may postpone retirement to stay current on debt payments. Another risk is that workers and retirees may tap retirement savings accounts earlier than anticipated to cope with debts.
Jessica Brokaw is available for free consultations by telephone 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday or in-person by appointment only at the west Wichita branch. She can be reached at 316-722-3921, ext. 182 or Jessica.Brokaw@cusonet.com.
All investing involves risk, including the possible loss of principal, and there is no guarantee that any investment strategy will be successful.
Jessica Brokaw is available for free consultations in-person at the west Wichita branch or by telephone during her office hours of 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday and by appointment. She can be reached at 316-722-3921, ext. 182 or Jessica.Brokaw@cusonet.com.
1. Employee Benefit Research Institute, 2020
*Non-deposit investment products and services are offered through CUSO Financial Services, L.P. (“CFS”), a registered broker-dealer (Member FINRA/SIPC) and SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Products offered through CFS are not NCUA/NCUSIF or otherwise federally insured, are not guarantees or obligations of the credit union, and may involve investment risk including possible loss of
principal. Investment Representatives are registered through CFS. Mid American Credit Union has contracted with CFS to make nondeposit investment products and services available to credit union members.