Information from UMassFive Financial & Investment Services & CFS* to help keep your financial life in balance.

Market Ups and Downs

With the market constantly fluctuating up and down, you may find it difficult to manage expectations concerning your investments. There seems to be plenty of distractions in headlines that could make you feel uneasy about your current investment strategy. Setting long term goals that meet your investment needs may be one of the best ways to deal with today’s market volatility. By setting goals that meet your investment strategy, you should be essentially unaffected by day-to-day fluctuations in the market. Following these steps may help calm your nerves and trust your investment choices in the long term.

Assessing Risk

An integral part of investing is determining your own risk tolerance. It is a good idea to take a look at yourself and decide how much risk you are willing to incur. This may seem like a daunting task so you may want to consider working with one of our CFS* Financial Advisors, who may be able to help you determine your risk tolerance and allocate investments accordingly.

Looking Toward the Future

Although past performance is no guarantee of future results, those who have stayed invested for the long-term have generally been rewarded for their patience. If you sell when your investment declines you are locking in a loss, and may miss on future profits. In fact, many investors perceive market declines as an opportunity to expand their financial portfolios. This can be an ideal time to take a step back and reassure yourself of your investment goals. The longer your time frame, the better chance your investments may have in reaching their full potential.

Reassess Your Portfolio

The best way to deal with market fluctuations is to remember your investment goals and stay focused on the long term. If your investments are aligned with your long-term goals, you should be comfortable with your portfolio no matter what conditions the market experiences. In addition, a regular review of your investment portfolio holdings can help keep you on track to attain your important financial goals by incurring the necessary amount of risk.

Who Can Help Me?

An experienced CFS* Financial Advisor here at your UMassFive will work closely with you to conduct a thorough financial review. Together, you can analyze your portfolio to ensure that you are aligned with your long-term investment goals. To learn more about working with a financial advisor, contact us today.

Sources: http://www.usa.gov/topics/money/investing/tips.shtml

Taking Advantage of Employer-Sponsored Retirement Plans

Employer-sponsored qualified retirement plans such as 401(k)s are some of the most powerful retirement savings tools available. If your employer offers such a plan and you're not participating in it, you should be. Once you're participating in a plan, try to take full advantage the benefits offered.

Understand the Plan

Before participating, be sure to fully understand how the plan works. Read everything you can about the plan and talk to your employer's benefits officer, and you can also talk to a CFS* Financial Advisor. Some key features that many plans share are: automatic payroll deduction of contributions, flexibility as to the amount of salary deducted up to the legal limit, income tax deferral on contributions made to the plan, and protection of plan assets from creditor claims to satisfy your debts.

Contribute as Much as Possible

Why put your retirement dollars in your employer's plan instead of somewhere else? One reason is that the pretax contributions to your employer's plan lower your taxable income for the year. This means you save money in taxes when you contribute to the plan--a big advantage if you're in a high tax. Participation also allows you to tap into the power of tax-deferred growth. Your investment earnings compound year after year and aren't taxable as long as they remain in the plan. Over the long term, this gives you the opportunity to build an impressive sum in your employer's plan.

Know Your Options

When you leave your job, your vested balance in your former employer's retirement plan is yours to keep. You have several options at that point, including taking a lump-sum distribution. This is often a bad idea, because you'll pay income taxes and possibly a penalty on the amount you withdraw. Plus, you're giving up continued tax-deferred growth. You can leave your funds in the old plan, which may be a good idea if you're happy with the plan's investments or you need time to decide what to do with your money.

You can roll your funds over to an IRA or a new employer's plan if the plan accepts rollovers. This is often a smart move because there will be no income taxes or penalties if you do the rollover properly.

Who Can Help Me?

Employer sponsored plans can be complicated to understand. Here at UMassFive, there are experienced CFS* Financial Advisors who can help make sure you have a full comprehension of what your plan offers and how it benefits you in retirement. To learn more about working with a financial advisor, contact UMassFive!

Sources: http://www.ebri.org/

How Much Life Insurance Do You Need?

How much life insurance do you really need? It’s a great question, and it’s especially pertinent now as the life insurance industry is planning a month-long campaign to encourage consumers to consider their life insurance needs. The main purpose of life insurance is to provide financial security for your family. Life insurance helps ensure that, when you die your family will have the financial resources it needs to provide for your spouse, children, an elderly parent or some other dependent. Life insurance also may be used to meet a variety of long-term financial planning goals. It can help provide educational funds for your children or funds for your own retirement.

So How Much is Enough?

There are no hard and fast rules for determining how much life insurance is enough, because no two families have exactly the same needs. The bottom line is, if you provide financial support for people who depend on you, you probably need life insurance.

The Importance of Life Insurance Policy Review

As part of your life insurance review, some additional components can be critical to your plan and to keeping pace with changing lives.

-Beneficiary designations—those who will receive proceeds-- may need updating.

-Health may have improved since the policy was purchased, creating an opportunity for lower cost insurance.

-Premiums on term insurance can increase upon renewal, prompting a move to consider a permanent, fixed premium policy.

-Loans or withdrawals may affect your policy performance.

Take the time today, during Life Insurance Awareness Month, to help ensure your family’s financial security. Talk to your financial advisor and get help in finding the right products to fit your specific needs and budget.

Who Can Help Me?

As there often seems to be an unmanageable number of variables in navigating your unique financial situation, the aid of an experienced CFS* Financial Advisor can be a valuable resource. The financial professionals here at UMassFive will work closely with you to help assess your needs.

Sources: www.lifehappens.org

Get Help From Our Financial Professionals

To schedule an appointment with a CFS* Financial Advisor here at UMassFive, call us at 800.852.5886, or email us at investments@umassfive.coop.

*Non-deposit investment products and services are offered through CUSO Financial Services, L.P. ("CFS"), a registered broker-dealer (Member FINRA/SIP) 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. UMassFive College Federal Credit Union has contracted with CFS to make non-deposit investment products and services available to credit union members.

CUSO Financial Services, L.P. (CFS) and its Registered Representatives do not provide tax or legal advice. Clients should always check with their tax advisor before engaging in any transaction involving IRAs or tax-advantaged investments.