October 2013 eNews

Catch up on the latest Starion news in our October 2013 Starion Financial eNews.

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Fall fix-up: Prepping your home’s exterior for winter

With fall creeping up and winter looming just behind, it’s a great time to take a few preventive steps to save your home from deterioration. Sunlight and moisture take a toll on each part of the house, but the following tips can help you to prepare the exterior of your home for the onslaught of winter.

Water falling from the roof and constantly wetting siding and trim causes premature finish failure, mildew, mold and decay, and uncontrolled roof drainage deteriorates entrance components, erodes foundation mortar joints and causes soil erosion and wet basement problems. Before the leaves have fallen, you should drag out the ladder and climb up and examine the gutters. Clean them out, treat them with boiled linseed oil (if made of wood), then consider installing gutter screen guards to reduce clogging. Make sure the downspouts are securely fastened and that they each discharge water well away from the foundation.

Proper inspection of a fireplace is vital to ensuring its safe operation, even if it is rarely used. An experienced chimney sweep will check wood fireplaces for flammable buildup (known as creosote) and chimney blockages such as bird nests. A chimney or fireplace professional should also check for these red flags: improperly functioning dampers, damaged brickwork and masonry, and missing or damaged flue caps (the screen covering the top of the chimney). Also, make sure that your chimney has a metal rain cap. If not, rain will enter causing brick and mortar joint deterioration, and you may experience uninvited new tenants moving in for the winter and blocking your flue.

Steps and decks
Sunlight and moisture also affect entrance steps and decks. Each entrance should be examined for fall fix-up needs. Take a moment to consider safety. Do you see any potential area where someone could slip, trip or fall and suffer a personal injury? Examine all handrails and guard rails for secure attachment. Check the brick steps for eroded mortar joints, broken nosings, tread defects and missing corner bricks and perform safety repairs as needed. Eroded mortar joints are especially vulnerable to water infiltration and frost damage, so repainting should be on your to-do list. If the steps are made of wood, check for signs of decay.

Decks and wood staircases need specialized maintenance even if constructed of treated lumber. Treated lumber will suffer from sun damage and moisture absorption resulting in splintered surfaces, nail pops and decay if not maintained with a wood preservative. You should apply a wood preservative to every deck component at 2-3 year intervals or you could be facing major replacement expenses far sooner than expected.

Repair driveways and walks
Small cracks and gaps in a driveway or walkway can quickly expand during winter's freezing temperatures. Cracked cement and disintegrating asphalt can create treacherous conditions for pedestrians. Hire a professional to ensure these cracks are fixed properly and that they don't return or get worse.

If you discover some major repairs need to be done while doing your winter preparations, our personal banking experts can help. Talk with a banker about a home equity line of credit today.

Allsafehomeinspection.com; Bhg.com

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Starion Financial proudly supports the Virtuosic Vision

Starion Financial has made a substantial donation towards the Bismarck Mandan Symphony Orchestra’s Virtuosic Vision for the 2013-2014 season. The Virtuosic Vision is a new category of giving for the orchestra. It gives its music director, Dr. Beverly Everett, the unique opportunity to bring in guest musicians, allowing the symphony to fulfill its local and regional potential.

“The Bismarck Mandan Symphony Orchestra brings something truly special to our community,” said Craig Larson, CEO/President. “We are proud to support them and the unique vision they have for their orchestra.”

Starion’s donation was the first towards this vision. “This partnership allows me to envision the very best version of our orchestra, and then to build on that with programming and guest artist selection,” said Everett. “I could not be more grateful to Starion Financial for being our first partner in this exciting venture.”

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Is an ag escrow account right for you?

A Starion Financial escrow account can give you peace of mind that the crop you harvest in the fall will reap the most financial benefits for your farm. Placing your grain or livestock sale proceeds in an escrow account allows you to control:

  • The timing of your sales, which can impact the price you receive
  • The tax year in which you take farm income
  • The date you receive funds for loan payments and/or debt servicing

Your grain sale proceeds can go immediately to the bank in the fall, where they are held safely and securely in escrow until a date you determine.

What are the benefits of escrow?
There are many ways to use an escrow agreement to your advantage, such as:

  • You plan ahead for the date to receive the grain or livestock sale proceeds for tax planning purposes
  • Your money is safe and secure
  • Funds can be earmarked to pay your operating loan on a specific date, controlling your interest expense

Want to learn more?
Talk with your accountant and Starion agribusiness banker to get details on what an escrow account can do for you. We would be pleased to answer any questions you have.

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Consolidating your finances

Are you finding that you want more control over your finances? Maybe you’re in the midst of changing jobs, or perhaps you’ve been enrolled in multiple retirement plans over the years. Whatever situation you find yourself in, an IRA rollover might be a wise choice for you.

An IRA rollover moves money from one qualified retirement plan to another, helping you consolidate and control your assets. Here are some of the reasons rolling your assets into a single IRA can be beneficial:

  • It reduces the number of financial statements you receive and can provide a clearer picture of your financial situation
  • Your 401k plan has administrative fees that will cut into your investment returns over the years, plus an extra maintenance fee once you are no longer an employee. If you roll over your money to an IRA, you may be able to avoid this
  • You generally don’t have to pay tax until you withdraw from the new plan. Your money continues to grow tax-deferred. If you don’t roll over your distribution, you will pay tax on the amount received (other than qualified Roth distributions) and possibly an additional penalties on early distributions
  • It gives you access to a wide range of mutual funds, stocks, bonds, ETFs and FDIC-insured Brokered CDs

It’s very possible an IRA rollover could be the financial change-management tool that fits you best. If you’d like to learn more about IRA rollovers and their potential benefits, talk with a Starion Investment Services financial executive today.

Securities and insurance products are offered through Cetera Investment Services LLC, member FINRA/SIPC.  Cetera is not affiliated with the financial institution where investment services are offered. Investments are: * Not FDIC insured with the exception of certain brokered CDs * May lose value  * Not financial institution guaranteed  * Not a deposit  * Not insured by any federal government agency.

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What is the most commonly grown crop in the United States?

Corn. There are roughly 84 million harvested acres in the U.S., resulting in about $63.9 billion in revenue.

Courtesy of epa.gov

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