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How to Start Saving For Your Kids’ College

August 2, 2018

Parents help young children with homework as they prepare for attending college somedayEducation Savings Account vs. a 529 Plan

There are several options when saving for your children’s college expenses. It’s important to understand them and choose what’s best for you. Along with regular savings options, First Source offers a New York State 529 College Savings Plan, and a Coverdell Education Savings Account. What is a 529 plan? The 529 Savings Plan is a good option if your children are relatively young, you’re going to commit to saving regularly, and you have the time (you start early). The 529 plan has a higher contribution limit of $10,000/year, and anyone can contribute. Let’s say it’s your child’s birthday: all party attendees could give money as a gift toward this account.


How does a 529 Plan work? 

In a 529 Plan, your account earnings grow without you having to pay federal taxes on them, and some states (like New York) have other tax benefits as well. When your 529 funds are withdrawn and used for education, the funds are tax-free (with some restrictions). And you don’t have to use them only as savings for college; covered expenses also include private elementary or secondary school tuition. If you want to withdraw the funds for something other than education, that’s ok, too, though you will have to pay taxes and fees. Find more information online at nysaves.org.


What is a Coverdell Education Savings Account?

The Coverdell Education Savings Account is a good option for a family on a tighter budget. You can contribute up to $2,000/year, and any individual whose modified adjusted gross income is under the limit set for a given tax year can make contributions. Contributors must contribute by the due date of their tax return (not including extensions). The funds can be used for either college or private schools, and cover a wider range of K-12 expenses. The funds must be used by the time your student reaches age 30, unless there is a special needs situation. No states currently offer state tax deductions for Coverdell accounts. Ask us for more details if you’re interested in a Coverdell account. 


Choosing a College Savings Plan

There are advantages for each type of account, and many people even save using both Coverdell and 529 accounts. Live Smarter by making an appointment today to meet with one of our Financial Services Representatives to discuss your best college savings plan approach. 

 
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Posted in: 529, account, college, plan, savings

Tiny’s Grill: A Community Pillar

March 6, 2018

Outside front view of Tiny’s Grill, using First Source Business Services, Players of Utica in background

Making Business Personal

Joanne “Jo” Gerace, Owner/Manager of Tiny’s Grill in Utica, has been a First Source Member for more than 25 years, and as a small business owner, knew that First Source was the perfect place to do her business banking.

Jo’s Story

Joanne Gerace smiling in front of sports memorabilia photos on wall inside Tiny’s Grill
 Joanne Gerace

Joanne Gerace has lived a fascinating and storied life, and many who know her only from Tiny’s Grill may be surprised by her many adventures. The Utica native is an avowed sports fanatic, has worked for the New York Yankees organization, helped the Utica Blue Sox become a successful and profitable business (as eventual General Manager), and then re-launched a local business, Tiny’s Grill, more than 27 years ago. It was something she had always wanted to do. Reviving an older, traditional business fit her well. Tiny’s Grill has been a Utica staple since 1931. The original site was at the Whitesboro circle (where the Utica Aud now stands). Tiny’s moved to the current State Street location—where the Oneida Grill once stood—and Joanne Gerace took over in 1990. 

“I had revived Jazz in Utica by bringing in local and world-class jazz musicians and artists,” says Gerace. “I was also very connected to local professional and amateur sports teams, so we sponsored and hosted them at the Grill. I have always been very community oriented, involved in many local community boards of directors and community projects, from the St. Patrick’s Day parade to downtown Utica projects.” Jo is a member of the Chamber of Commerce (Tiny’s Grill is a previous winner of the Business of the Year award), as well as a member of the auditorium authority since 1984, YWCA Woman of the Year, a Utica Sports Hall Of Fame founding member, a mentor to budding women entrepreneurs, and more. She has worked to make Tiny’s Grill a mainstay in the area. In addition to the iconic life-sized Blues Brothers statues flanking its sign outside, the restaurant is known for its sports and music memorabilia—with many photos signed by the pros—and its traditional Christmas display, including what she believes is the largest collection of nutcrackers in the state (and country)!

 

Tiny’s and First Source FCU

Jo knew she wanted to bank with someone that shared her love of community and embodied all of the wonderful gifts that Utica has to offer.

In her words: “I do both my personal and business banking with First Source, and have for as long as I can remember. They have always been wonderful with the service I receive and their generosity to the community. I have savings, checking, business savings, and business checking, as well as credit card merchant services. We are very happy with everything. The merchant services portion really makes my business run smoothly at the point of sale. It’s important to me to have those aspects of my business run smoothly so I can focus on my customers. First Source makes it easy.”

 

Gerace says she has stayed with First Source for many reasons, primary among them that she always receives personal attention, and good experiences with her banking and the staff. “There have been many people working with me over the years, and I have always had a good relationship with every one...great customer service!” She adds that, as a downtown business, she has easy access to the South Utica branch, including drive-up services. And now, she does the bulk of her banking online; it’s easy and convenient, letting her work around her unique schedule.

“First Source has made it a priority to help our business,” Jo says. “Great customer service, good rates, and many services for a business to take advantage of.” She has recently worked to update Tiny’s Grill, and hopes to use First Source Business Services to keep them running profitably for many years to come.

First Source Business Services

First Source provides a full suite of Business Services, including Merchant Services for POS with Central Payment, Human Resources Management and Scheduling with ADP, Accounting with Quickbooks, business checking and savings accounts, business credit cards and lines of credit, as well as a multitude of business lending options.

Live Smarter

Want to learn more about First Source Business Services? Make an appointment today to meet with one of our Business Services Representatives about managing your business smarter.

 

When is a Money Market a Good Idea?

January 17, 2017


We’re often asked when a Money Market account is the right vehicle to save. We start by sitting down with you to find out your goals. Are you saving for a near-term purchase, like furniture, or planning for the long term, for something like a retirement home? Your short-term needs can be met with a Money Market, and it can also be a great transition to that longer-term account as well.

Almost every Member with any extra savings is a good candidate for a Money Market; think of it as a safe place between a savings account and a longer-term savings account like a Share Certificate (similar to a CD or Certificate of Deposit).

What is Your Spending Plan?
A spending plan is simply your budget: all your income, including earnings, dividends, and interest, versus your outflow, including debts, bills, and monthly expenses. We work with you to develop a spending plan so you know how much you have for everyday spending, and how much you can set aside on a regular basis for saving. That amount can start accumulating in a Money Market account.

How Does a Money Market Work?
While some accounts require you to tie up your money for a fixed amount of time in order to earn, a Money Market account allows you to access your funds at any time. You can start a Money Market with no minimum deposit, and it’s safe and flexible: deposit or withdraw money whenever you need it.

And your account pays you monthly dividends if you meet a minimum $5,000 deposit, with higher earnings the more you have deposited (at preset tiers).

We have many kinds of savings accounts, and a Money Market is a great start to longer-term savings. What’s best for you may be a mix of options. We can look at your overall financial profile and goals, and help you make a plan.
To set up a Money Market account, contact us to make an appointment.
 

Want to make your kids Wild About Savings?

April 23, 2015

wildaboutsavings

Then help us celebrate National Credit Union Youth Week from Monday, April 20th through Saturday, April 25th. This year’s theme is “Wild About Savings”. You have two ways to win. Open a new youth account or make a deposit into an existing account to qualify for a chance to win a family pass and behind-the-scenes tour at the Utica Zoo. Or visit any branch, and have your kids draw, and write about, what they like to save for and why. Each form qualifies for a chance to win one of four $25 Toys“R”Us Gift Cards. Good luck!

Get Details >

Posted in: about, savings, wild

It Pays to Save Early…Literally

February 18, 2014

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‘Compound interest’ is a term it is very good to be familiar with, especially if you’ve just started your first job. Let’s say you’re in your early 20’s, just graduated from college and got a job making roughly $35K. You save about $5,000/year for retirement. Let’s say you do this for 10 years saving $50K. Then something happens, you have a life change and end up not contributing any more to this initial savings. Your existing savings will still continue to grow until you retire when you’re 65.

Now let’s say instead, you were unable to save right away. But at around 40 you had a secure job making roughly $75K, and now you could start to save. So you save $10K/year for 10 years, saving $100K. At 50, you have a life change and cannot contribute any more. But your initial savings grow until you retire at 65.

In both scenarios, let’s say your investment grew at 10%/year. At age 65 your totals would be very different. The “you” who started saving in your early 20’s would have a little over $1 million to retire. The “you” who started saving at 40, even though you contributed more, would have only a little over $500,000.

Why?

Time. Investments take time to grow and the longer you have, the better. So even if it doesn’t seem like much, it’s better to start saving even a little now, than waiting to save more later.

Want to know more and see what will work best for you? Talk to our friends at Choice Investments. They’ll customize a plan that works within your budget. It’s never too early to start. Call them today at 315-732-7200.

Posted in: savings

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