Archive for January, 2009



How your IRA can grow: an example

As we wrote last week, Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) are a safe, steady way to save for retirement. But how much can your money grow when it’s in the IRA?

Here’s an example. Let’s say you rollover $4,500 to an American 1 IRA at our 4.05% APY rate. After that, you contribute $5,000 a year to the account. At the end of the three year term, you will have contributed $15,000 to the IRA, plus the $4,500 you rolled over into the account. That’s $19,500. At 4.05% APY, with dividends paid quarterly, your account would be worth $21,345.99.

You would have earned more than $1,800 in those three years. Pretty cool, huh?

We have longer terms available. Stop in to any branch to learn more about our IRA products.

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A1 Teen Idol to appear on Fox’s ‘American Idol’

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We always knew she had what it takes.

Jessika Baier, American 1’s 2006 Teen Idol singing contest winner, will appear on Fox’s “American Idol” program sometime this week – possibly tomorrow night. Jessika won a Moose Lodge singing contest to earn tickets to Puerto Rico to audition.

She was one of 16 to audition in front of the four main “American Idol” judges, says the Jackson Citizen Patriot.

Jessika placed second in American 1’s 2005 Teen Idol contest, and won the competition the next year. We awarded her a trip to audition for “American Idol,” too. She told us she made it to the audition, but wouldn’t appear on TV.

Now she gets her big break.

You can see her performing for the AP news service on this YouTube video – she yodels at the 1:30 mark.

Congratulations, Jessika!

Traditional vs. Roth IRAs: what’s the difference?

As the Motley Fool says, there are actually 11 different kinds of Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA), but we’ll stick with the most popular: Traditional and Roth IRAs.

The main difference we’ll focus on is tax-deferred versus tax-exempt savings.

A Traditional IRA means you pay taxes when you withdraw your funds at retirement, but you will qualify for a tax deduction on the money you contribute to the IRA. So say you make $30,000, and you contribute $2,000 each year to your Traditional IRA. Come tax time, you’ll pay taxes on $28,000. That’s tax-deferred savings.

Roth IRAs, on the other hand, let your savings grow tax-free. You pay taxes on contributions (In our $30,000 income case, you pay taxes on the full $30,000 even though you contributed $2,000 to your Roth IRA each year). But when you start withdrawing funds when you retire, you pay no taxes on them. That’s tax-exempt savings.

Got it? So with a Traditional IRA, you take the tax hit come retirement. With a Roth IRA, you take the tax hit now, but your retirement funds come out tax-free.

Now, you could opt to do both, but check with your tax advisor to see how things stack up.

There are a few other differences between a Traditional and Roth IRA. Investopedia has a good article on the contribution, income, and age limits that IRAs stipulate. The good news is you can start an IRA for just $50, and can contribute up to $5,000 annually ($1,000 more if you’re 50 years old or older – they call those “catch-up contributions”).

Young Money has an IRA calculator, where you can compare the tax rate situation.

As with any retirement decisions, be sure you talk either choice over with your financial advisor. American 1 provides both kinds of IRAs. You can stop in to any branch to find out more.


College scholarship application available

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Each year, American 1 gives out $1,000 scholarships to altruistic high school students in the counties we serve. Last year, we awarded 10 college scholarships to community-minded students.

We’re making our application available for this year’s award on our What’s New page. You can download the application, and either mail or fax in your form and essay.

The Community Inolvement scholarships are funded through our Skip-a-Pay program, where members can make a $25 donation to our scholarship fund instead of making a loan payment. Members can use Skip-a-Pay once per year, per loan.

This year’s application and essay are due by February 27.

[Above: last year’s Community Involvement Award winners.]


Santa visits American 1 branches

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St. Nick took time out of his busy holiday schedule to visit a few of the American 1 branches before Christmas.

Kids got a free picture with Santa, but as you can see from our Flickr page, a few adults snuck in there, too.

Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.


Thanks for our ‘Corporate Citizen of the Year’ nod

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What a way to start the year.

If you haven’t heard, American 1 earned the Jackson Citizen Patriot’s Corporate Citizen of the Year Award for 2009.

Cascade Humane Society’s Debra Carmody and Jackson School of the Arts’s Kim Hastings nominated us for the award. American 1 organizes the Paws & Claws Expo and Teen Idol, which benefit each respective group.

With our sponsorship of the Rose Parade and the American 1 Fair Event Center, plus our good fortune in navigating through the local economic troubles, 2008 was a great year for the credit union. We all worked really hard to be successful, but the fact is none of it could be possible without our members and the communities that support us.

So thanks for the nod, and thanks for helping to make American 1 the best way to bank. Here’s to a great 2009!

Above: Dave Puckett, American 1’s president/CEO, and Kristi Latoszewski, vice president of marketing and communications, in our Home Office lobby. Photo courtesy of the CitPat’s Erik Holladay.