10 Ways to Reduce Holiday Stress

Wednesday, December 17 at 10:20 AM
Category: Arvest News

With Christmas only one week away and New Year's two weeks away, it's hard not to stress about what still needs to get done buy and wrap last-minute presents, fill stockings, send out Christmas cards, make cookies for the neighbors, plan/shop/cook gourmet meals, the list goes on…

Here are 10 tips to make the next couple of weeks more enjoyable.

  1. Make Christmas shopping a group activity with some friends/family. They can help give you ideas of gifts to buy for people on your list. You’ll kill two birds with one stone – get to spend quality time with friends/family and get your Christmas shopping done!
  2. Arrange a stocking stuffer blitz. Grab your significant other and $10 each and head to a discount store. You’ve each got 30 minutes to fill a stocking for the other person!
  3. Tie it with a bow. Give your gifts unwrapped with just a bow. You’ll save yourself time and money!
  4. Skip some events. Don't feel obligated to attend every party you're invited to. The neighborhood cookie exchange isn't necessary.
  5. Walk off your pecan pie. Instead of focusing on Jack Frost nipping at your nose while walking across a cold shopping center parking lot, think of it as your daily exercise so you don’t feel guilty about missing the gym.
  6. Make new friends. When you’re waiting in a long line at your local retailer, instead of getting frustrated at the seasonal cashier who doesn’t know how to handle returns, get to know the people in line next to you.
  7. Belt out holiday jingles when you’re stuck in traffic. After all, “The best way to spread Christmas cheer, is singing loud for all to hear.” The other drivers may also cheer up just looking at you singing, especially if you do some shoulder sways and pretend to hold a microphone.
  8. Think of someone other than yourself. When you see others’ poverty, you’ll realize how much you have to be grateful for. Finding the perfect party dress just won’t seem so important when your neighbor doesn’t even have money for Christmas dinner. Look for opportunities to help others like serving dinner at a soup kitchen, buying presents for children in need or singing Christmas carols for your neighbors.
  9. Laugh. Choose to be jolly and bright even if the Christmas decorations don’t get put up, the presents you ordered online don’t show up in time or the Christmas cards you sent get returned because you forgot to put stamps on them. Laughter will help you keep it all in perspective.
  10. Catch some Zs. Don’t sacrifice your sleep for fun. If you do, you’ll end up being as grumpy as the Grinch and find Santa’s left coal in your stocking.

This year don’t let yourself get run over by the sleigh full of parties, presents, limited time and bad attitudes. Practice these stress reducing tips to help you feel like you’re gliding along a wintry fairy land!

 

Holiday Hours

Wednesday, December 17 at 09:00 AM
Category: Arvest News

We hope you’re just as excited to celebrate the holidays as we are! Arvest Bank branches and customer service close at 2 p.m. on Christmas Eve as we eagerly await sleigh bells. We’ll remain closed on Christmas Day and reopen Dec. 26 for normal business hours.

Arvest branches and customer service close on Dec. 31 at 5 p.m. as we prepare to ring in the New Year. We’ll remain closed on New Year’s Day and reopen Jan. 2 for normal business hours.

For your convenience you can bank 24 hours a day, 7 days a week using:

We thank you for your patronage and wish you a safe and enjoyable holiday season! We look forward to serving you in 2015!

Tags: Holiday Hours, Hours
 

Maximize Your Retirement Plan Contribution

Wednesday, December 17 at 07:35 AM
Category: Personal Finance

Along with making money with their business, most small business owners also try to minimize income taxes and grow their wealth. Qualified retirement plans present an excellent opportunity to accomplish these last two objectives. While the rules for retirement plans can be confusing and you may want to consult qualified tax and investment advisors, here are some guidelines that can prepare you for those conversations.

Single Employee Businesses
This article focuses on the opportunities for sole proprietors and companies that employ only the owner (and a spouse). Individuals such as real estate brokers, consultants, outside board members, sole professional practitioners and other self-employed individuals can have a great deal of flexibility in choosing a plan that best fits their goals. Businesses that have other employees must cover those employees in most cases and should seek guidance for a more detailed explanation of the options.

SEP-IRA
The SEP-IRA is probably the easiest plan to have. The plan can be established and funded any time up to the due date or extended due date of your tax return. The employer can contribute up to 25 percent of your W-2 or self-employment income to a maximum of $52,000 for 2014. Contributions are deducted from the employer’s current taxable income.

SIMPLE-IRA
These plans are relatively easy to have and are generally more attractive than SEP-IRAs if your income is less than about $40,000. Generally, the plan must be established by October to provide tax deductions for the current year. For 2014, employees can defer up to $12,000 of wages into the plan and employers can match the employee contribution up to 3 percent of the employee’s wages. The 2001 Tax Act also provided for an additional $2,500 “catch-up” contribution for 2014. The employee’s deferral reduces their taxable wages and the employer contributions are deducted from their current taxable income.

The One Person 401(k) Plan
Large companies have been using 401(k) plans for many years. Recent changes have resulted in these attractive plans now being attractive to single employee businesses. These plans are more complicated than SEP-IRAs and SIMPLE-IRAs but offer higher contribution limits and more flexibility. The plan must be established before year-end and contributions must be made by the due date or extended due date of your tax return.

For 2014, employees may defer up to $17,500 of their wages into the plan. In addition, the employer can contribute up to 25 percent of the employee’s income (maximum income considered is $260,000 for 2014). There is also an overall limit of $52,000 for employee and employer contributions. The 2001 Tax Act also provides for an additional $5,500 “catch-up” contribution for 2014. Employees can borrow from their 401(k) plans with certain restrictions and repayment schedules.

2014 Maximum Deductible Contributions for Incorporated Businesses



Summary
Very small business owners and sole proprietors have options and flexibility to reduce taxes and accumulate wealth through the use of qualified retirement plans. Be sure to get the qualified advice you need when making this important decision.

The views of this article are for general information use only. Please contact and speak with a subject expert when specific advice is needed. Find articles like this and much more in the online Arvest Biz Center.

Tags: Arvest Biz, Business Banking
 

Moreton Named Loan Manager at Arvest Bank in Prairie Grove, Ark.

Tuesday, December 16 at 06:40 AM
Category: Arvest Community News

We're excited for the 14 years of experience as a commercial loan officer Dax Moreton brings to his new role as Loan Manager of Arvest Bank in Prairie Grove, Ark. 

PRAIRIE GROVE, Ark. — Arvest Bank is pleased to announce that Dax Moreton has been named as Loan Manager for Arvest Bank in Prairie Grove. He replaces Steve Purdy, who is retiring in January after serving as loan manager in Prairie Grove for 19 years.

Moreton has worked as a commercial loan officer for Arvest Bank in Prairie Grove for the past 14 years. During the past year he has worked from the Arvest Bank branch in Lincoln. He will continue to manage his existing commercial loan portfolio as he assumes his new duties.

“Dax is a strong asset for Arvest Bank and the local community,” said Mike Willard, president of Arvest Bank in Prairie Grove. “His banking experience is top-notch and he understands what our customers need from their banking partner.” 

Moreton graduated from Lincoln School and earned his Bachelor of Science in agriculture business in 2000 while he played baseball for Arkansas Tech University. He is a 2009 graduate of The Southwest Graduate School of Banking at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

He is active in the community and currently serves as the vice president of the Lincoln School Board, the Board of Directors for the Lincoln Summer Ball Program, Lincoln Chamber of Commerce and the Ganderville Cemetery.

He and his wife, Christina Moreton, have a daughter, Brinkley. The family operates a small farming operation of commercial beef cows and attends the Summers Missionary Baptist Church.

Tags: Arkansas, Associates, Prairie Grove, Press Release
 

Do IRA and 401(k) Contributions Still Make Sense?

Monday, December 15 at 09:40 AM
Category: Personal Finance

In almost every case, the answer is a resounding YES. 

Planning for a financially secure retirement is most often ranked as the number one reason why people save and invest. Social Security and company pension plans may provide some of the income you need during retirement, but contributions to your company retirement plan and your IRA may make the difference between enjoying the retirement lifestyle you want or relying on others for your basic needs.

Contributions to retirement plans and IRAs move you closer to a financially secure retirement in three ways.

You save and accumulate money.
Having a portion of your wages deferred into your 401(k) or other retirement plan can be the simplest and least “painful” way to save. Often the amounts are not missed as you automatically adjust your spending accordingly. Contributions to an IRA also add up, especially over longer periods of time. Contributing $5,500 a year over 20 years will add up to over $202,000 with a 6 percent earnings rate. 

Your earnings are tax deferred. Earnings on funds within your retirement plan and IRA are not subject to income tax each year the way your other savings are. This means you have more money working for you. You will have to pay tax on the earnings when you withdraw the funds (except for a Roth IRA), but most people are in lower tax brackets when they retire.

You reduce your current income taxes. The amount you defer into your 401(k) plan reduces your taxable wages and you pay less tax each year. For 2014, the limit on the amount you can tax-defer into your 401(k) is $17,500 unless you are age 50 or above and then it is even larger. Contributions to a regular IRA are deductible if you are not covered by an employer-sponsored plan or if your adjusted gross income is below $96,000 for 2014 (married filing jointly) or $60,000 (filing a single tax return). Contributions to a Roth IRA are not tax deductible, but distributions are tax-free.

Saving for retirement in 401(k) plans and IRAs continues to make good financial sense. 

Tags: Financial Education, Investing, Retirement

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