Wealth Management and Estate Planning Matter
January 2018: How soon should I start planning my financial future and for the security of my family after I am gone?
It’s a difficult question, and one that FAB&T Vice President Jane Gunter, the newest addition to our Wealth Management & Estate Planning team, hears often. Gunter recently sat down for a conversation on how her career started, her connection with the military families we serve, and how to LIVEFirst when it comes to wealth management and estate planning.
Gunter did not initially plan on a career in wealth management, but “fell in love” with it shortly after getting her start. A graduate of the ABA Trust School at Northwestern University and the Cannon Trust School, Gunter lives in Cabot and joined the FAB&T team in October. Gunter is a certified Alzheimer’s support group facilitator and a volunteer for the Lonoke County Exceptional School and Alzheimer’s Arkansas. She is a past president of the Central Arkansas Estate Council and the North Little Rock American Cancer Society and a has served on the Leadership Council for the Alzheimer’s Association, Arkansas chapter.
I loved that. My son is in the United States Navy. As I was talking with the bank and Mr. Wilson about joining the Wealth Management Department, that connection to the Little Rock Air Force Base and those who have family members serving in the military really resonated with me.
How did you get your start in wealth management and estate planning?
I started in banking as a teller and moved to customer service. The bank president wanted to start a trust department and he told me I was going to start it. It wasn’t something I had thought about at the time, but I fell in love with it. That was many years ago.
What is it about the job that you love?
The hardest thing to do in life is deciding what you want to happen after you pass away. Some people want their children or nieces and nephews or a charity to benefit. But they need a plan to carry out their wishes. It’s very, very cool when, as a trustee, we can help carry out the wishes of our client.
What advice do you have for people who aren’t yet in the estate planning phase? People who don’t currently have wealth to manage?
When you have a job, get into the 401K program. Then after you accumulate some assets and you have a spouse and children, you need to look at insurance options. Those can be another way to protect and provide for your family. Human nature is we don’t want to think about bad things, but they can happen. There are things we all need to consider.
I’m able to comfortably retire. I have wealth. Now what?
See an estate planning attorney to plan the rest of your life or update your current plan. We believe in a team approach. We’ll work with an attorney and you to get the plan set up, and get everything documented. Some people want to retire in Heber Springs, some want to stay in the home they’ve been in forever. It’s different for everybody. We work to carry out your wishes.
What are common mistakes people make when it comes to estate planning?
Assets that are not titled properly. If it’s just in your name, it will have to go to probate court to get it transferred to somebody else. You want to try to avoid probate if at all possible. Estate planning will help you get that all carried out.
Some people will put their kids names on the checking account while they are living. Maybe the kid is fine, a great kid, but they’re in a car accident. Guess what? If their name is on the checking account, that account, which is actually yours, is vulnerable.
Trust departments serve as protection. There are so many frauds and scams associated with elderly people. We are watching out for you, helping protect things you’ve worked really hard for.
Is there anybody who shouldn’t be thinking about establishing a trust or managing wealth for retirement?
No. It’s important that everybody be prepared. Everybody is so different and we keep that in mind. We sit down and discuss with the client how to plan for what they want.. It takes a team approach with their attorney and CPA. It’s not an easy process. It’s heavy stuff. And as humans we don’t want to talk about the inevitable, but we really need to if we want our wishes to be carried out, and want our kids or family or charities we care about to benefit. Our Wealth Management department also offers money management services – personalizing investments to our client’s particular situation.
Ways To Prioritize Savings In The New Year
January 2018: How are those New Year’s resolutions holding up?
Studies show that many of the promises made by people entering a new year are broken by February. So, if you are already struggling to make progress in your plan to diet or get more organized, you’re not alone.
The good news: it is not too late to commit to improvement. And while helping you meet those diet and exercise goals might not be our thing, we can get you pointed in the right direction when it comes to saving money.
Whether you are building a rainy day fund, preparing to send yourself (or a loved one) to college or saving for a family vacation, there are simple steps you can take to improve your savings.
Some ideas to consider:
Setting SMART goals — Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely — are often recommended in the workplace, but the strategy can help grow your FAB&T savings account as well.
Have a vacation you’d love to take? Want to upgrade your car? Need to pay college tuition? Have a goal to pay cash for Christmas, rather than putting it on credit cards again this year?
Give yourself something to work toward. Remind yourself of why you are making sacrifices each month.
If you are just getting started on your savings plan, then putting aside $1 million by the end of the year might not be realistic. Consider what you can reasonably save over the next 12 months — you don’t want to set an amount so high you get discouraged.
Remind yourself daily what you are working towards. And check in often via mobile or online banking to gauge your progress.
Before you begin paying bills and making purchases for the month (and after you have tithed to your church if that is a priority) make sure you “pay” yourself.
Many experts recommend you save 10-15 percent of your monthly income, but do whatever you can comfortably save. Setting up direct deposit to funnel part of your paycheck into your savings account is a good way of making sure the money gets there.
If saving a certain percentage of your income is not possible at this time, consider paying yourself a certain amount each week. If you want to save $2,018 in 2018, check out this plan . Or consider this 52-week plan that will net you $1,378 by the end of the year .
Keep Track of Expenses
Log what you are spending each month.
Doing this will make it easier to determine where you can trim costs (like that $7-a-day mocha habit). Once you’ve identified “waste,” you can dedicate that money to your savings account.
Are you paying for subscriptions to services you no longer need or use? Automatic withdrawal for magazine subscriptions, memberships and other expenses can add up.
You might consider joining the more than 20 million U.S. adults who “cut the cord” in 2017.
Cable subscribers spend an estimated $1,300 per year on TV as prices continue to rise. Streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and HBO Now also are increasing in price, but are still substantially cheaper than cable. Subscribing to those three services would cost about $400 for the year, a savings of nearly $900 from cable.
Nearly every website devoted to personal finance will encourage you to eat at home as a way to save money. Just by taking your lunch daily, rather than eating out, you can save $2,400 per year .
Do you really NEED to make that purchase? Is it, you know, essential to survival?
No? Then walk away.
This exercise in self control can help cut expenses and build your savings. And, who knows, maybe the extra walking will help you hit those fitness goals.
Extending Holiday Cheer -
Without Overextending Your Bank Account
November 2017: Do you believe that Christmas decorations should go up as soon as the final leftovers are put away on Thanksgiving? Perhaps your lights are still up from last year’s holiday celebrations. Maybe you’ve been humming holiday tunes since just after Halloween.
Whatever your approach to the season might be, you are likely about to drop some real money buying gifts and spreading cheer for your loved ones. Multiple studies on Christmas shopping estimate the average American household will spend just under $1,000 on gifts this year.
FAB&T recognizes what a challenge that can be for family finances and have made a list of shopping tips that you should check twice before reaching for your wallet.
1. Know Your Limits
Set a spending cap before you get started shopping.
It can be easy to get caught up in what family members, friends and fellow shoppers are spending. Remember that you are shopping for your own family and friends, not to impress anybody else.
Enter your shopping experience with an idea of what you are willing to spend and what you can comfortably afford. Nothing kills the holiday cheer quite like lugging a sack full of debt into a new year.
2. "Deals" Aren't Always Deals
Many retailers offer “savings” on items — especially TVs and other electronic gadgets — on Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) or Cyber Monday (the first Monday after Thanksgiving). While merchandise can often carry an attractive price, be sure that what you are purchasing is not an outdated model or low-quality versions of a product that have been produced specifically for the big sales.
(By the way, if you do wind up buying electronics, you’re better off not buying the extended warranty.)
3. Use Credit Cards Responsibly
Credit cards can be — when used responsibly — a smart and rewarding way to shop. Just make sure you’re in a position to pay off the balance at the end of the billing cycle.
Some cards offer cash back and other rewards on purchases. For every dollar spent, a shopper can earn a percentage of that purchase to be paid back in cash.
If you already have a card that offers cash back, use those rewards to shop.
Price protection is also a great feature that give you peace of mind as you shop. Cards with this service will refund money on a purchase if a better price is found elsewhere.
Visit any of our 21 branches (or this link) to learn more about FAB&T personal cards.
4. Make a List
Impulse buys are a great way to overextend as you shop.
Have a clear plan of what you want to buy and take 30 minutes to research for the best prices and deals online. That little bit of time spent searching for the best prices and planning your trip can be a huge help in sticking to your budget.
Write down everybody you plan to shop for and the maximum amount you feel comfortable spending on each person.
5. Join the Club!
It might be a little late for 2017, but a FAB&T Christmas Club account is a fantastic way to prepare for next year’s holiday shopping.
Want to save $1,000 by next Christmas? You can do it by putting $20 a week into a FAB&T Christmas Club Account. And if you make 49 deposits, we’ll make the 50th for you!
To learn more about our Christmas Club Accounts, click here to contact our Account Services Department.
September 2017: Technology has increased the speed at which we all live.
That means tasks can often be carried out quicker, more efficiently.
Banking is no different.
Beginning Sept. 15th, regulatory changes will require all financial institutions, including FAB&T, to process transactions more quickly and more often.
This means our business and individual account holders may see credits to their account become available on the same day.
Likewise, charges to accounts that have previously taken 2-3 business days to hit an account may now be withdrawn within minutes.
As money moves to and from FAB&T at a faster rate, we want to encourage you to get more familiar with your daily account balance.
A few tips on adjusting to the changing banking landscape:
•Spend only what you have available in your account. Writing a check for groceries a couple of days before payday could be costly.
•Keep track of your available balance daily. Set a time each day — sometime after 5 p.m. would be ideal — to double-check the funds you have available.
•Take advantage of FAB&T mobile banking’s alert features. We’ll send a text or email to you each day outlining your available balance. We can also alert you when your account balance has fallen below a certain dollar amount.
•FAB&T mobile banking allows you to not only check your balance on the go, you can also make check deposits from your mobile device.
•Talk with FAB&T staff about setting up mobile banking.
•Visit with staff to discuss overdraft protection options.
Not only will these steps help you keep better track of your spending and available balance, it will allow you to keep closer tabs on any account irregularities. Feel free to visit any of our 21 locations with questions or feel free to give us a call at (800) 982-4511.
Subscribe to our monthly newsletter at the bottom of the FAB&T home page to stay up-to- date on policy changes and receive helpful tips on home improvement, small business growth, wealth management and more.
Going back to school, without breaking the bank...
August 2017: There’s a good chance you are reading this at the beach, in the mountains or perhaps somewhere closer to home, but no less scenic and relaxing. You and your family deserve a little downtime. We know the feeling here at FAB&T.
So it feels, well, a little cruel to ask you this right now: Have you started planning for back-to-school?
Students in FAB&T local school districts all report back on Aug. 14. We’re talking a little more than a two weeks before school starts.
That’s the bad news.
Now for some good news…
Arkansas will again hold its annual sales tax holiday to give families a break on their back-to-school shopping.
Clothes, commonly used school supplies, art supplies and instruction materials are all eligible for a waiver of state and local taxes if purchased as part of the 2017 Arkansas Sales Tax Holiday beginning Saturday, Aug. 5, 2017 at 12:01 a.m. and ending Sunday, Aug. 6, 2017 at 11:59 p.m. , you can make select purchases for a return to school that are exempt from state and local taxes.
A full list of eligible purchases and eligible amounts ($100 or less on some items and $50 or less on others) is available through the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration.
Sales Tax Holiday is a great way to save money on what can be one of the most expensive times of the year for families. A study from the National Retail Federation estimates the average family with K-12 students will spend $673.57, a total of $75.8 billion nationwide.
Looking for additional ways to save? Consider the following…
Start At Home
Before you head out for pens, construction paper, binders, etc., make sure you don’t already have those items on hand.
It is easy to forget those great deals you found last year and stashed away.
Make a Plan, Stick to It
Just like the weekly trip to the grocery store, it is best to have a list when you go shopping for back-to-school necessities. Not having a plan provides too many opportunities to burn money on impulse purchases.
Plus, having an idea of where you want to shop and what you want to buy can save you time.
Skip the latest clothing or gadget trend and spend only on timeless and more traditional merchandise.
You’ll potentially get more than one year of use out of it, and avoid regrets down the road. Today’s must-have fashion is tomorrow’s embarrassing photo, after all.
Budget before you buy.
Not only will this help you stick to the plan, it will provide an opportunity to talk to your kids about topics like the value of money, budgeting and saving.
Newer Is Not Always Better
Consider thrift stores or online options like Ebay or Craigslist for bargains. Nobody has to know those name-brand clothes and expensive gadgets are gently-used.
Likewise, that calculator or tablet you bought for last year’s classes do not have to sit unused in a drawer at home. List them online for a chance to generate some extra cash.
FAB&T partners with Arkansas Regional Organ Recovery Agency (ARORA) to help save lives!
March 2016: FAB&T is pleased to join with the Arkansas Regional Organ Recovery Agency (ARORA) to help save lives. The Workplace Partnership for Life unites ARORA with FAB&T to encourage bank employees to register as organ, tissue and eye donors. ARORA's mission is to recover life-saving and life-enhancing organs and tissue for transplantation. In making the announcement, FAB&T Chairman, President and CEO, Larry T. Wilson stated, "We are pleased to announce this partnership with ARORA to encourage our team mates and associates to learn about, and register, for organ donation. This is a big deal because there are people every day who are in desperate need of organ transplants, and, every day there are people who would be capable of meeting those needs, but have not yet registered to be a donor. Our hope is that the FAB&T family will rise up to see the value of organ, tissue and eye donation, and will consider giving a new life (or new quality of life) to someone in need."
Currently, there are nearly 130,000 Americans on a waiting list for a vital organ, and another person is added to that list every 16 minutes. Sadly, about 21 patients will die each day while waiting for an organ.
Tammy Tompkins named Manager of FAB&T Home Mortgage Solutions
Tammy Tompkins has been hired as Manager of the FAB&T Home Mortgage area. Tammy brings years of experience in various aspects of the local housing market and current trends in customers needs to the mortgage business. She is a graduate of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock with a degree in Marketing.
After graduation, Tammy worked in commercial property management in the New Orleans and Dallas markets. Since moving back to Arkansas in 2003, she has been actively involved in real estate sales, construction, home building, and developing. She has been recognized as an Executive Real Estate Broker and a consistent Top Level Producing Realtor by the North Pulaski Board of Realtors. She has also been recognized by Arkansas Business as a Top Producing Realtor. She was in the Top 50 in the state of Arkansas for production in 2011, and the Top 25 in the state for Team Production in 2014. Her many contacts, network connections, and reputation for integrity bring strong relationships to her new role in the mortgage industry.
Tammy has been married for 34 years to Tommy Tompkins, and they are both natives of Jacksonville, Arkansas. She is the mother of three children and two grandchildren. Tammy is actively involved in community service and sits on the boards of several local volunteer organizations.