Steven Knudson quoted in article regarding “6 Ways to Test Your Financial Literacy Today”

Written by: Stephanie Taylor Christensen

Improving your personal finance know-how is a goal worth aspiring to, but with so much to learn, how do you know where you stand when it comes to financial literacy?

Here are six aspects of money management to test your own financial literacy:

Budget basics

While there are plenty of online and mobile app tools that ease the burden of budgeting, your dedication to managing spending, eliminating debt, and saving as much as you can is key. The longer and more consistently you budget, you’ll begin to identify and plan for those red flag financial events like car repairs, vacation expenses, gifts, and medical bills so you don’t have to turn to using high-interest credit cards.

If you have debts, your budgeting plan should also include eliminating them, systemically, based on the interest rate on each loan. (Hint: Pay down the one that costs you the most, first).

Pre “financial crisis,” budgeting was about not overspending. In light of renewed focus on the risks of living paycheck to paycheck, the advice has shifted not to living within your means, but well under them.

In her book “Money Rules,” finance expert Jean Chatzky  says anyone under the age of 35 should aim to save 10% of what they earn. Anyone older who hasn’t saved yet should strive to save 15%. If those numbers aren’t feasible, identify what you can save — even if it’s $10 a month, and start doing it automatically.

doing it automatically.

Saving strategically

Building savings is the hallmark of financial security and is important in financial literacy, and it’s important no matter how much money you make.

Though saving can be as simple as putting money in a savings account, true financial literacy is about saving strategically, and staying current on what savings tools pay you for your business, while costing you nothing.

Search current deposit interest rates on checking, savings, money market accounts and certificates of deposit using a comparative tool like Bankrate.com, and consider only accounts that don’t require an account minimum, or charge fees to access or transfer your money.

If you’re comfortable with online banking, you’ll typically find higher rates than brick and mortar institutions offer.

Although  deposit interest rates have been paltry over the past few years, the idea is to make savings systemic, and consistent. Take advantage of automatic savings plans (also called ASPs), or automatic deduction options that an employer might offer so that a portion of each paycheck goes directly into savings, without giving you the opportunity to miss it.

Understanding fees

Banks got hit hard with regulatory legislation following the 2007 financial crisis, and they’ve got to make up for lost revenue in the form of fees.

It’s estimated that banks need to recoup, on average, between $15 and $20 a month from each depositor just to earn what they did in the past, according to an analysis on checking accounts by Oliver Wyman, a financial consulting firm.

If you’re unsure whether you’re paying fees to bank or use a credit or debit card, educate yourself by examining statements and the latest terms of your accounts online. If you’re in a product that doesn’t fit your needs, be proactive and seek one that is a better fit — before you dish out hundreds of dollars on a year on pointless fees. If you can’t find one at your current institution, a credit union may be a less expensive alternative.

You may never see an actual “bill” from a financial planner and wealth adviser, but rest assured, they don’t work for nothing. However, different advisory firms have different policies. Some get commissions from trades made on your behalf, others work on a flat- fee, and others take a percentage of the value of your portfolio, in a “ “you don’t win if I don’t win” approach.

The fee you are paying will be reflected in some shape or form on statements you receive, but it may be clear as mud. If you have no idea what you’re paying a financial adviser, ask. If you feel the value of their services is worth what you’ve paid, you’ve developed a good relationship. If you don’t, move on. The beauty of being financially literate is the power to make informed decisions.

The importance of expecting the worst

You probably know you need auto, renters, and homeowners insurance, but long-term financial planning and wealth building is highly correlated to an understanding of insurance as a risk-management tool that can protect you, your family, and your wealth for the long-term.

Familiarize yourself with the major benefits and drawbacks of different kinds of insurance, like term-life, disability, and long-term care, even if it seems like they don’t impact your life today.

Steven Knudson, financial adviser at Intermountain Financial Group, says that not having adequate life insurance is a disaster waiting to happen, and that anyone in their 50s and beyond should “obtain some level of long-term care insurance to avoid the catastrophic loss of a chronic illness in later years.”

Though employers may offer some level of insurance coverage, including for death and disability, it may not be enough to cover your survivors, and/or your assets. “Even if you have a group long term disability plan at work, pick up a personal fixed income protection in a non-cancellable disability insurance plan,” Knudson says.

Savings is largely based on preparing for the unexpected, and undesirable, aspects of life, too. Henk Pieters, certified financial planner and president of Newport Beach, Calif. based Investus Financial Planning, says that regardless of income, all clients should have at least 3-6 months worth of living expenses covered in an FDIC insured savings account — provided they have a very stable career.

Business owners and those in industries or salary tiers that present higher degrees of professional uncertainty need to save an entire year’s worth of living expenses.

Impact of tax laws

You know that taxes take a chunk out of your paycheck but the more you understand about them, the more you can leverage taxes to your advantage and increase your financial literacy.

There are many expenses that the government allows as deductions for tax reasons, including business-related travel, entertainment, and mileage. Education costs, child-care credits, mortgage fees, and expenses related to job-hunting, relocation, or a home-based business can mean paying fewer taxes, too.

Some charitable gifts and donations, including items made to qualifying non-profits, and funds that you “gift” to relatives or loved ones, whittle your tax burden too.

If you sell assets that appreciate in value, like stocks or bonds, you’ll need to pay capital gains taxes on them, but a qualified financial adviser can help dentify the best strategies to keep the most amount of money you legally can.

Use credit for good

Credit is often blamed as a reason people struggle financially, but when used as it was originally intended, it’s one of the greatest means of financial empowerment you can access and a key to financial literacy.

Building and maintaining healthy credit habits opens opportunities to borrow from lenders who can help you to build wealth, whether you choose to start a business, buy property, or invest in your future.

Amber Dixon Nominated for National Award by Peers

Amber Dixon recognized as 1 of 3 national nominees for Woman of the Year award

Salt Lake City, UT – The national office of the Women in Insurance and Financial Services (WIFS) organization asked its more than 1,000 national members to nominate one of their peers for its highest level of recognition, the Woman of the Year award. Amber Dixon, the Marketing Director for Intermountain Financial Group, LLC, and current Utah WIFS Chapter President, is one of only three nominees.

To qualify for this award, the nominee must demonstrate strong leadership within the industry, including services to WIFS and other organizations, on both national and local levels; have made a significant contribution to supporting, encouraging, and advancing other women in the insurance and financial services industry; and be a current member of WIFS for a minimum of three years.

After recognizing the strong need for a local organization built to motivate, inspire, encourage, share ideas, and mentor other women in the industry; Dixon co-founded the Utah chapter of WIFS in early 2009, with the financial support of the President/CEO of Intermountain Financial Group, the Utah agency of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), Todd Reid, JD, CLF.

“I am delighted and honored that I was nominated for this prestigious award by my peers,” stated Dixon. “I have loved building relationships with these women, while celebrating our many successes, and working through our few disappointments. Utah WIFS has been a tremendous group to be a part of.”

Dixon has worked in the financial services industry the past 11 years with Intermountain Financial Group, under the leadership of Todd Reid, JD, CLF.

“Amber has been instrumental in our company’s community involvement, recognition, and marketing efforts on a local and national level,” Reid said. “We are proud of her for being recognized as a person who is making a difference in our company and the financial services community.”

Dixon currently serves as President of the Utah WIFS board, VP of Trustees of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) Utah Chapter, Chair of the Workforce Development Committee (WDC) as part of the Salt Lake Chamber, and on the marketing and communications committee for the Utah Women and Education Initiative (UWEI). Dixon also served as an event judge at the International DECA Career Development Conference in 2012.

A celebration gala will be held at the WIFS National Conference in Atlanta, GA in October where Dixon will be recognized as a nominee.

To learn more about the Utah Chapter of WIFS, contact Sheila Leeds, VP of Membership, at 801-698-5110, msskyview2@msn.com, or find them on FaceBook and LinkedIn under Utah WIFS. For national information, visit http://www.wifsnational.org.

# # #

About WIFS:

As the preeminent professional organization for women in the financial services industry, Women in Insurance & Financial Services (WIFS) is dedicated to attractingcapable women to the financialservices sector, helping them develop their talents and advancing them toward their fullest potential.They celebrated their 75th anniversary in 2011.

 

About Intermountain Financial Group:

For more than 150 years, local residents and businesses rely on Intermountain Financial Group (http://www.intermountainfinancialgroup.com) to help them secure their financial futures. The company significantly impacts Utah’s economy as seen in the numbers below (as of December, 2011):

  • More than 13,800 policyholders and clients1
  • Servicing over $740 million in assets2
  • Over $3.9 billion in life insurance coverage in      force3
  • Over $21 million of life insurance benefits      (claims) paid4
  • More than $8 million in dividends to whole life      policyholders5

 

The company has been in awarded the national Sloan When Work Works award in 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009 and 2008, as well as the Work/Life Award by the Utah Department of Workforce Services in 2011, 2010, 2008 and 2007 naming them one of Utah’s best places to work. The company currently has offices in Salt Lake City, Utah and St. George, Utah.

* * *

*Securities and investment advisory services offered through qualified registered representatives of MML Investors Services, LLC. member SIPC.  (Salt Lake City Agency – 6340 S. 3000 E., Suite 500, SLC, UT  84121 – (801) 943-6277)

MassMutual Financial Group is a marketing name for Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) and its affiliated companies and sales representatives.

Insurance offered through MassMutual and other fine companies.

1.         An insured, owner, or payer of a MassMutual policy or contract.

2.         Includes values of MassMutual and subsidiary insurance companies’ insurance and retirement products and investment products offered through MML Investors Services, LLC, a MassMutual subsidiary.

3.         Amount of individual life insurance in force as of 12/31/11 related to products issued by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company and its subsidiaries, C.M. Life Insurance Company and MML Bay State Life Insurance Company.

4.         Amount of individual life insurance claims paid from 1/1/11 to 12/31/11 related to products issued by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company and its subsidiaries, C.M. Life Insurance Company and MML Bay State Life Insurance Company.

5.         The amount of dividends to whole life policyholders in 2011.

*Not practicing on behalf of MML Investors Services, LLC

David West, Founder of West Capital Advisors, Inc. Joins Intermountain Financial Group Firm

David West aligns his 30-year practice with local agency to further assist his clients with additional products and services

Salt Lake City, UT—David West, CLU, ChFC, has recently joined Intermountain Financial Group, the Utah Agency of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), as a financial services professional with over 30 years of industry experience. West joined the firm to enhance his product offerings for his current and future clients.

West’s focus is working with successful physicians and dentists in developing comprehensive strategies regarding their wealth. West also works with influential clients in transition with retirement, estate planning, and business succession needs.

“Joining Intermountain Financial Group was a decision that I did not take lightly,” stated West. “My clients’ wellbeing and financial needs take precedence, and this move allows me to offer additional strength and stability to their portfolios and lives.”

West received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business and History from Montana State University at Billings, and a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Phoenix. He has worked in the industry for over 30 years, has earned the Charter Life Underwriter designation, earned the Chartered Financial Consultant designation, and is a member of the Financial Services Professional Utah Chapter.  

# # #

For more than 150 years, local residents and businesses rely on Intermountain Financial Group (http://www.intermountainfinancialgroup.com) to help them secure their financial futures. The company significantly impacts Utah’s economy as seen in the numbers below (as of December, 2011):

  • More than 13,800 policyholders and clients1
  • Servicing over $740 million in assets2
  • Over $3.9 billion in life insurance coverage in force3
  • Over $21 million of life insurance benefits (claims) paid4
  • More than $8 million in dividends to whole life policyholders5

 The company has been in awarded the national Sloan When Work Works award in 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009 and 2008, as well as the Work/Life Award by the Utah Department of Workforce Services in 2011, 2010, 2008 and 2007 naming them one of Utah’s best places to work. The company currently has offices in Salt Lake City, Utah and St. George, Utah.

* * *

*Securities and investment advisory services offered through qualified registered representatives of MML Investors Services, LLC. member SIPC.  (Salt Lake City Agency – 6330 S. 3000 E., Suite 600, SLC, UT  84121 – (801) 943-6277)

 MassMutual Financial Group is a marketing name for Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) and its affiliated companies and sales representatives.

 Insurance offered through MassMutual and other fine companies.

 1.         An insured, owner, or payer of a MassMutual policy or contract.

2.         Includes values of MassMutual and subsidiary insurance companies’ insurance and retirement products and investment products offered through MML Investors Services, LLC, a MassMutual subsidiary.

3.         Amount of individual life insurance in force as of 12/31/11 related to products issued by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company and its subsidiaries, C.M. Life Insurance Company and MML Bay State Life Insurance Company.

4.         Amount of individual life insurance claims paid from 1/1/11 to 12/31/11 related to products issued by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company and its subsidiaries, C.M. Life Insurance Company and MML Bay State Life Insurance Company.

5.         The amount of dividends to whole life policyholders in 2011.

 

*David West is a registered representatives of, and offers securities, investment advisory, and financial planning through MML Investors Services, LLC. Member SIPC.  (Salt Lake City Agency – 6330 S. 3000 E., Suite 600, SLC, UT  84121 – (801) 943-6277)

 CRN201410-165145

Intermountain Financial Group Hires Debbie Engebretsen

Debbie Engebretsen Joins Agency to Enhance Financial Strategies for Clients

Salt Lake City—Debbie Engebretsen recently joined Intermountain Financial Group, the Utah Agency of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), to enhance her five-year practice as a financial services professional.

Engebretsen began her career five years ago and specializes in long-term-care insurance, and the women’s market. She particularly focuses women who are in transition like going through a divorce or who are recent widows.

“I wanted to take my career to the next level,” said Engebretsen. “Through my relationships with other women already associated with the firm, and knowing the strength of the products, and the agency, I believed joining the firm was the best fit for me and my clients.”

Engebretsen is a graduate of Rick’s College majoring in Business Administration. She is heavily involved in the community serving as the Vice President of Finance for Utah Women in Insurance and Financial Services (WIFS); committee member for Salt Lake Women, a subsidiary of BYU Management Society; member of Park City Business Women Network; committee member of Distinguished Young Women of Utah; member of Salt Lake Choral Artists; and serving as Vice President for Concert Choir.

View Published Release in Salt Lake Tribune

# # #

For more than 150 years, local residents and businesses rely on Intermountain Financial Group (http://www.intermountainfinancialgroup.com) to help them secure their financial futures. The company significantly impacts Utah’s economy as seen in the numbers below (as of December, 2011):

  • More than 13,800 policyholders and clients1
  • Servicing over $740 million in assets2
  • Over $3.9 billion in life insurance coverage in force3
  • Over $21 million of life insurance benefits (claims) paid4
  • More than $8 million in dividends to whole life policyholders5

 The company has been in awarded the national Sloan When Work Works award in 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009 and 2008, as well as the Work/Life Award by the Utah Department of Workforce Services in 2011, 2010, 2008 and 2007 naming them one of Utah’s best places to work. The company currently has offices in Salt Lake City, Utah and St. George, Utah.

* * *

*Securities and investment advisory services offered through qualified registered representatives of MML Investors Services, LLC. member SIPC.  (Salt Lake City Agency – 6330 S. 3000 E., Suite 600, SLC, UT  84121 – (801) 943-6277)

 MassMutual Financial Group is a marketing name for Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) and its affiliated companies and sales representatives.

 Insurance offered through MassMutual and other fine companies.

 1.         An insured, owner, or payer of a MassMutual policy or contract.

2.         Includes values of MassMutual and subsidiary insurance companies’ insurance and retirement products and investment products offered through MML Investors Services, LLC, a MassMutual subsidiary.

3.         Amount of individual life insurance in force as of 12/31/11 related to products issued by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company and its subsidiaries, C.M. Life Insurance Company and MML Bay State Life Insurance Company.

4.         Amount of individual life insurance claims paid from 1/1/11 to 12/31/11 related to products issued by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company and its subsidiaries, C.M. Life Insurance Company and MML Bay State Life Insurance Company.

5.         The amount of dividends to whole life policyholders in 2011.

 CRN201409-165099

Intermountain Financial Group Hosts Norman Rockwell Exhibit at Open House to Celebrate New Location

Intermountain Financial Group, LLC, a general agency of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), will celebrate its new location by hosting an open house with 40 Norman Rockwell pencil sketches on display. The public is invited to attend on September 27th from 11:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

MassMutual commissioned these works of art for use in advertising in the Saturday Evening Post and other magazines in the 1950s and 1960s. The scenes capture moments in everyday American life, with an emphasis on family and children’s activities.

“We have settled into our new offices, and want to celebrate with the Utah community by sponsoring this rare exhibit at no charge,” stated Todd Reid, JD*, CLF, General Agent. “Our new space provides us additional quality office space to serve our clients, and grow our existing agency of over 60 financial services professionals.”

Intermountain Financial Group moved to its new offices earlier in September at the Old Mill complex located at 6330 South 3000 East, Suite 600. Their phone number remains the same at (801) 943-6277.

Intermountain Financial Group was founded in 1857 and has been in the Old Mill area of Cottonwood Heights since 2003. The agency has over 13,000 policy owners with a total of almost $4 billion dollars of life insurance in force. The professional staff numbers over 60 associates with 10 support personnel.

For more information, visit www.intermountainfinancialgroup.com.

###

For more than 150 years, local residents and businesses rely on Intermountain Financial Group (http://www.intermountainfinancialgroup.com) to help them secure their financial futures. The company significantly impacts Utah’s economy as seen in the numbers below (as of December, 2011):
• More than 13,800 policyholders and clients1
• Servicing over $740 million in assets2
• Over $3.9 billion in life insurance coverage in force3
• Over $21 million of life insurance benefits (claims) paid4
• More than $8 million in dividends to whole life policyholders5

The company has been in awarded the national Sloan When Work Works award in 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009 and 2008, as well as the Work/Life Award by the Utah Department of Workforce Services in 2011, 2010, 2008 and 2007 naming them one of Utah’s best places to work. The company currently has offices in Salt Lake City, Utah and St. George, Utah.
* * *
*Securities and investment advisory services offered through qualified registered representatives of MML Investors Services, LLC. member SIPC.  (Salt Lake City Agency – 6340 S. 3000 E., Suite 500, SLC, UT  84121 – (801) 943-6277)

MassMutual Financial Group is a marketing name for Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) and its affiliated companies and sales representatives.

Insurance offered through MassMutual and other fine companies.

1. An insured, owner, or payer of a MassMutual policy or contract.
2. Includes values of MassMutual and subsidiary insurance companies’ insurance and retirement products and investment products offered through MML Investors Services, LLC, a MassMutual subsidiary.
3. Amount of individual life insurance in force as of 12/31/11 related to products issued by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company and its subsidiaries, C.M. Life Insurance Company and MML Bay State Life Insurance Company.
4. Amount of individual life insurance claims paid from 1/1/11 to 12/31/11 related to products issued by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company and its subsidiaries, C.M. Life Insurance Company and MML Bay State Life Insurance Company.
5. The amount of dividends to whole life policyholders in 2011.

*Not practicing on behalf of MML Investors Services, LLC

Intermountain Financial Group Moves Offices to New Cottonwood Heights Location

Originally posted on 9/7/2012

Intermountain Financial Group, LLC, a general agency of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), moves September 10, 2012 to its new offices at the Old Mill complex located at 6330 South 3000 East, Suite 600. Their phone number remain the same at (801) 943-6277.


“We wanted to stay in the area we were currently residing, while upgrading our offices,” stated Todd Reid, JD, CLF, General Agent. “Our new space provides us additional quality office space to serve our clients, and grow our existing agency of over 60 financial services professionals.”


Intermountain Financial Group was founded in 1857 and has been in the Old Mill area of Cottonwood Heights since 2003. The agency has over 13,000 policy owners with a total of almost $4 billion dollars of life insurance in force. The professional staff numbers 50 associates with 10 support personnel.


The agency will be hosting a Norman Rockwell Exhibit later in September, and will be inviting the public to view the many original pencil sketches to celebrate its grand reopening and new branding campaign.


For more information, visit www.intermountainfinancialgroup.com.

###

For more than 157 years, local residents and businesses rely on Intermountain Financial Group (http://www.intermountainfinancialgroup.com) to help them secure their financial futures. The company significantly impacts Utah’s economy as seen in the numbers below (as of December, 2011): • More than 13,800 policyholders and clients1 • Servicing over $740 million in assets2 • Over $3.9 billion in life insurance coverage in force3 • Over $21 million of life insurance benefits (claims) paid4 • More than $8 million in dividends to whole life policyholders5
The company has been in awarded the national Sloan When Work Works award in 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009 and 2008, as well as the Work/Life Award by the Utah Department of Workforce Services in 2011, 2010, 2008 and 2007 naming them one of Utah’s best places to work. The company currently has offices in Salt Lake City, Utah and St. George, Utah. * * * *Securities and investment advisory services offered through qualified registered representatives of MML Investors Services, LLC. member SIPC.  (Salt Lake City Agency – 6340 S. 3000 E., Suite 500, SLC, UT  84121 – (801) 943-6277)
MassMutual Financial Group is a marketing name for Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) and its affiliated companies and sales representatives.
Insurance offered through MassMutual and other fine companies.
1. An insured, owner, or payer of a MassMutual policy or contract. 2. Includes values of MassMutual and subsidiary insurance companies’ insurance and retirement products and investment products offered through MML Investors Services, LLC, a MassMutual subsidiary. 3. Amount of individual life insurance in force as of 12/31/11 related to products issued by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company and its subsidiaries, C.M. Life Insurance Company and MML Bay State Life Insurance Company. 4. Amount of individual life insurance claims paid from 1/1/11 to 12/31/11 related to products issued by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company and its subsidiaries, C.M. Life Insurance Company and MML Bay State Life Insurance Company. 5. The amount of dividends to whole life policyholders in 2011.

Greg Williams is given Two Thumbs Up in the Salt Lake Tribune

7/27/2012 Salt Lake TribuneLearn More

The Salt Lake Tribune gave Greg Williams “Two Thumbs Up” and labeled him “a highly effective person”.
As written in the Salt Lake Tribune July 27, 2012:


What do you do when you win an award for serving your community? If you are Greg Williams, a former high school teacher who has since made a mark as a financial adviser for the Massachusetts-based MassMutual Financial Group, you direct the $10,000 prize to your old school district. The Jordan School District will use the money to expand the The Leader in Me program, modeled after Stephen Covey’s book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People to two more schools. As Covey, who died earlier this month, advised (Habit 4), everybody can win.