Having a sound overall financial strategy requires you to recognize that your finances are in a constant state of change. Not only do financial markets fluctuate, but your financial needs also change over time. Luckily, it is easier to predict the changes in your financial life stages than it is to predict the direction of the financial markets.

Most individuals pass through three primary financial life stages as they age. Income levels, spending patterns, family situations and areas of financial concern, while not exactly predictable, tend to follow a pattern.

Life Stage Life Events Financial Events
Stage One Enter work force
Marriage
Children
Develop financial habits
Purchase car
Purchase home
Stage Two Family grows
Career advancement
Inheritance
More home purchases
Accumulation of wealth
Funding college educations
Stage Three Major promotion
Retirement
Grandchildren
Death of spouse
Greater tax sensitivity
Preserving wealth
Estate planning

Stage One - Building a Financial Foundation
Young adults face the task of learning how to manage spending and saving within the constraints of their income levels. Developing sound financial habits is critical. Here are some issues to consider.

  1. Learn how you are spending your money to identify ways to save. Prepare a household budget.
  2. Use a wise borrowing strategy. Borrow for things that provide long-term value. Control the use of credit cards.
  3. Establish a saving pattern. Consider an automatic savings program so that some amount is deposited into a savings account each paycheck.
  4. Set some savings goals. Whether it is accumulating a down payment for a home, paying for a car or saving for a vacation, connecting a tangible goal with your saving can provide the motivation and discipline you need to save.
  5. Make sure you have adequate insurance.
  6. Take advantage of employee benefit plans at work.

Stage Two – During Your Prime Earning Years
This is often a time when your income is rising as well as expenses. Nicer homes, nicer cars and children can easily consume your increasing income. This is also the time when the financial decisions you make will have the greatest impact on the financial lifestyle you will enjoy during retirement. By now, you should have developed some savings and the expertise to make sound choices.

  1. Start early to save for children’s college expenses. Consider using custodial accounts, Section 529 Plans or Coverdell Education Savings Accounts (Education IRAs) to get additional tax advantages with the college funds.
  2. Take full advantage of employer offered retirement plans. If you have a 401(k) plan available, contribute as much as you can or at least enough to get the full employer matching contribution.
  3. Invest wisely. Consider an asset allocation strategy that matches your time horizon and risk tolerance. Don’t ignore the potential long-term returns of equities, but do your homework or rely on a qualified advisor.
  4. Be sure your insurance protection has kept pace with your needs. Having adequate life insurance to protect your family, in case of your untimely death, is critical.
  5. Prepare an estate plan to minimize taxes and to ensure that your custodial, financial and medical wishes are carried out.

Stage Three – Nearing or During Retirement
These years can and should be some of the most enjoyable and fulfilling times of your life. If children and grandchildren are part of your life, having the financial ability to help them can be rewarding. A successful career, the freedom to live the retirement lifestyle of choice and a sense of satisfaction with what you have accomplished can make your "golden" years truly enjoyable. However, there are still financial issues that should be addressed.

  1. Be sure your medical insurance is adequate. The costs of medical care continue to rise and we are living longer. Medicare, Medicaid and private health insurance will all be important.

  2. Be sure your estate plan is up to date. Changes in your financial situation, moving to a different house or state and changes in your family should all be triggers for reviewing your estate plan with a qualified estate planning attorney.

  3. Continue to manage your investments carefully. If you are using an advisor or stockbroker, be sure to fully understand their recommendations before accepting them.

  4. Enjoy.

Hot Topics

What is FAIRWINDS' Routing Number?

263181368

What are the 2013 IRA and HSA contribution limits?

Find out here.

When will I receive my 2012 5498 form?

Find out here.

What is a Routing Number?

FAIRWINDS' routing number (263181368) is used to identify FAIRWINDS Credit Union from other financial institutions and in no way identifies you or your accounts to others.

A routing transit number (RTN) is a nine digit bank code, used in the United States, to facilitate the sorting, bundling, and shipment of paper checks back to the drawer's (check writer's) account.

The RTN is also used by Federal Reserve Banks to process Fedwire funds transfers, and by the Automated Clearing House (ACH) to process direct deposits, bill payments, and other such automated transfers.

What can I do with my Relationship Rewards points?

Relationship Rewards provide you the opportunity to enjoy special member benefits including:

  • Buying down the interest rate on a loan.
  • Increasing your rate on a new CD.
  • Reducing service charges on additional products and services.
Learn more about our Relationship Rewards program.

How do I send or receive a wire?

To send a wire from FAIRWINDS, please provide the following:

  • Name, address and routing number of financial institution receiving the wire
  • Account number for the receiving account
  • Name and address of receiving account holder

There is a $20.00 service charge for an outgoing domestic wire from a personal account and a $25.00 service charge for an outgoing wire from a business account.

To receive a wire at the credit union, you will need to provide the following:

  • FAIRWINDS routing number (263-181-368)
  • Name of account holder
  • FAIRWINDS account number to receive the funds

There is a $10.00 service charge for an incoming domestic wire to a personal account and $15.00 service charge for an incoming wire to a business account.

*Please verify this information with the receiving financial institution as there may be an intermediary financial instititution involved.

When should I expect my 5498-ESA tax forms?

5498-ESA tax forms will be mailed by April 30th for all Coverdell Educational Savings Account owners who made contributions and/or rollovers into their ESA's in 2011.

5498 and 5498-SA tax forms will be mailed in mid-May for all Traditional, SEP, and Roth IRA owners and Health Savings Account owners who made contributions and/or rollovers into their IRA's and HSA's in 2011.

For questions regarding the 5498 forms please call Member Services at 407-277-5045 or visit your local branch.

When should I expect my tax forms?

FAIRWINDS mails 1099-INT and 1098 tax forms at the end of January. However, if you have e-Statements, these tax forms are available online right now!
Learn more here.

Members will only receive a 1099-INT form if the aggregate earnings amongst the accounts they are tax reported for (the primary owner) have earned at least $10 in interest.

These accounts include:
Savings, checking, money market, certificates of deposit, and US Bonds Redeemed, but do not include IRA accounts. If members have not earned at least $10 in interest, they will not receive a 1099-INT form.

Members will only receive a 1098 Mortgage Interest Statement if they paid $600 or more in interest on their mortgage.

FAIRWINDS mails 1099-R, 1099-Q, 1099-SA, and FMV/RMD statements to members by January 31st each year. We also mail 5498, 5498-SA, and 5498 ESA forms to members by the end of May.

Important information for all MasterCard® and VISA® credit and debit card holders.

You may have seen news stories recently about a potential data breach with MasterCard® and VISA® through a third-party payment processor. While there is no indication that any FAIRWINDS members have been impacted by this event, it is an opportunity to remind all consumers about the importance of being diligent, safeguarding your personal information and monitoring your accounts on a regular basis to minimize the effects of fraud.

Take the few extra steps to proactively protect your accounts. If you believe your credit or debit card information is at risk or unauthorized transactions have posted to your account, contact your financial institution immediately. In addition, you may want to consider looking into an identity theft alert program to keep you informed of activity on your accounts. There are many reputable programs available, including ID Secure. Click here to learn more.

There is an active texting scam occurring in the Central Florida area.

People are receiving a text at random stating their "card has been deactivated." This is a Scam!

Always remember, FAIRWINDS will never ask members to provide confidential information, such as debit or credit card numbers, PINs or Social Security numbers via email, text messages, direct mail or over the phone.

If you feel you are the victim of account fraud or identify theft, act immediately. This should help minimize the damage to your personal accounts and credit rating. Click here to learn more.

What are the 2013 IRA and HSA contribution limits?

Traditional and Roth IRA owners under age 50 may contribute up to $5,500 toward tax year 2013. A $1,000 catch up contribution may be added for Traditional and Roth IRA owners age 50 and over.

2013 SEP contribution limits have increased to a maximum of $51,000 or 25% of the employee's compensation, whichever is less.

HSA owners under age 55 with an individual HDHP (self coverage only) may contribute up to $3,250 toward tax year 2013. HSA owners under age 55 with a family HDHP may contribute up to $6,450 toward tax year 2013. A $1,000 catch up contribution may be added for HSA owners age 55 and over.

When will I receive my 2012 5498 form?

5498, 5498-SA, and 5498-ESA forms report IRA, HSA, and ESA contributions, rollovers, conversions, and fair market value (December 31st balance) information to the IRS and account owners. 5498 and 5498-SA forms are expected to be mailed by Saturday, May 18th.

Please contact Member Services at (407) 277-5045 or visit your local branch if you have questions about your form(s).

How can I make a prior year (2012) contribution to my IRA or HSA?

Eligible prior year (2012) IRA and HSA contributions may be made through the close of business on Monday, April 15th. The IRS requires signed documentation before contributions may be designated for a prior year.

Members can accomplish this by visiting a local branch during business hours or by submitting an e-Signed form through Retirement Central® and click Manage An Account on the left menu.