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From monthly archives: February 2020

We are pleased to present below all posts archived in 'February 2020'. If you still can't find what you are looking for, try using the search box.

MARKET UPDATE: Coronavirus Concerns Drive Stock Market Down

U.S. stocks are off approximately 12% over the past week, erasing the earlier gains of this year. It’s not only the amount of the drop, but how quickly the markets have dropped from recent record highs that has made investors nervous. The uncertainty from the spreading impact of the coronavirus, both from a health impact as well as an economic impact, is concerning investors. While there is still much uncertainty regarding the virus and the media is not helping with their constant bombardment of the latest scary headlines, we need to put things into perspective. The news on the virus remains very fluid and there are new developments daily, if not hourly, and there is much we don’t know yet about the virus and the potential impact. We aren’t healthcare experts as there are plenty of other sources with updated information on how to best protect yourself from the virus, but we’ll focus more on the economic and market impact. While we don’t want to make light of the current ...

Structures and Strategies: Family Business Succession Planning

Submitted by David Frederick, J.D., LL.M., Director of Wealth Planning at First Bank Wealth Management. A family business is more than just a business. It’s a livelihood, a life’s savings, a retirement plan, an inheritance, and a legacy. Family businesses face many challenges that require careful planning. Perhaps the greatest challenge is passing the business from one generation to the next and allowing it to successfully grow into the future. While a careful plan can help ensure the successful transfer and continued viability of the business, a lack of planning could effectively end the business during this critical juncture. Parents passing the business to the next generation generally have three areas of concern in common: economic benefit, control of the business, and tax reduction. The confluence of these concerns creates a complex environment that requires careful planning and a sound strategy. Families and individuals engage in business to earn a profit, or an economic benefit. E ...

How can I improve my credit report?

Most lenders use credit report information to evaluate the creditworthiness of potential borrowers. Borrowers with good credit are presumed to be more creditworthy and may find it easier to obtain a loan, often at a lower interest rate. You can do a number of things to help improve what's on your credit report, including the following: Pay bills on time. Your credit report provides information to lenders regarding your payment history. For the most part, a lender may assume that you can be trusted to make timely monthly debt payments in the future if you have done so in the past. Consequently, if you have a history of late payments and/or unpaid debts, a lender may consider you to be a high credit risk and turn you down for a loan. Limit credit inquiries. Each time you apply for credit, the lender will request a copy of your credit report. The lender's request then appears as a "hard inquiry" on your credit report. Too many of these inquiries in a short amount of time could ...

How can I lower my credit card debt?

If you find that you are struggling to pay down a credit card balance, here are some strategies that can help eliminate your credit card debt. Pay off cards with the highest interest rate first. If you have more than one card that carries an outstanding balance, one option is to prioritize your payments according to their interest rates. Send as large a payment as you can to the card with the highest interest rate and continue making payments on the other cards until the card with the highest interest rate is paid off. You can then focus your repayment efforts on the card with the next-highest interest rate, and so on, until they're all paid off. Apply for a balance transfer with another card. Many credit card companies offer highly competitive balance transfer offers (e.g., 0% interest for 12 months). Transferring your credit card balance to a card with a lower interest rate may enable you to reduce interest fees and pay more against your existing balance. Most balance transfer offers ch ...

The SECURE Act Offers New Opportunities for Individuals and Businesses

The SECURE Act (Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act) is major legislation that was passed by Congress as part of a larger spending bill and signed into law by the president in December. Here are a few provisions that may affect you. Unless otherwise noted, the new rules apply to tax or plan years starting January 1, 2020. If you're still saving for retirement To address increasing life expectancies, the new law repeals the prohibition on contributions to a traditional IRA by someone who has reached age 70½. Starting with 2020 contributions, the age limit has been removed, but individuals must still have earned income. If you're not ready to take required minimum distributions Individuals can now wait until age 72 to take required minimum distributions (RMDs) from traditional, SEP, and SIMPLE IRAs and retirement plans instead of taking them at age 70½. (Technically, RMDs must start by April 1 of the year following the year an individual reaches age 72 ...

Market Month: January 2020

The Markets (as of market close January 31, 2020) January was full of ups and downs as investors rode a wave of uncertainty. The month began with many of the benchmark indexes listed here losing value (except for the Nasdaq) only to surge ahead during the middle of the month. However, fears that a widespread outbreak of the coronavirus would impact global economic growth pushed investors away from stocks, which lost significant value by the end of the month. By the close of trading on the last day of January, only the tech-heavy Nasdaq gained value, as each of the remaining benchmark indexes listed here fell, led by the small caps of the Russell 2000, which plummeted by more than 3.25%. The Global Dow dropped 2.75%, followed by the Dow and the S&P 500. Unfortunately, the momentum enjoyed in December didn't carry over to January for stock investors. By the close of trading on January 31, the price of crude oil (WTI) was $51.61 per barrel, well below the December 31 price of $61.21 per barrel. ...

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All First Bank blog information and content is strictly informational. It is not intended to be specific investment, tax, or legal advice. If you need detailed financial, investment, or tax advice, please contact a First Bank qualified professional. Please note, First Bank occasionally shares third-party content we find to be relevant and helpful to our audiences.