Is Being Vulnerable a Weakness
By Brian Halverson, President
Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is a hot topic in today’s business world, and rightfully so. It is your ability to express and control your own emotions and also your ability to understand and interpret other people’s emotions. Why is this so important, you may ask? Just watch an episode of The Bachelor or Bachelorette. Many of our own problems we bring onto ourselves.
As humans, it is impossible to get every decision just right or have the proper reaction to everything. It’s hard work balancing a sick kid, getting everyone out the door in the morning and on time, dealing with a flat tire, meeting deadlines, dealing with health issues, etc. This is where having the ability to be vulnerable is so important. If you are aware you made a poor decision or said something out of line in a meeting, recognize that and have the courage to admit it. It’s far better for your team at work or your family if you address it, put it behind you, and move on. If you don’t, it will linger on and not only affect your performance but those around you.
At the end of the day, we all want to be happy and that starts with ourselves. In my mind, being vulnerable is not about winning or losing, it’s about showing strong character.
The Importance of Annual 401(k) Census Information
Businesses that sponsor 401(k) plans are required to run annual compliance tests to ensure that their plan meets the regulatory requirements to maintain their qualified status. In order to run these tests, your Third Party Administrator (TPA) will request certain information from you such as a complete census file. This file includes important information on each employee who received a paycheck from you during the year, regardless of whether or not they are eligible to participate in the plan. Your census information should be compiled and forwarded to your TPA within a month following your plan year-end to ensure that the proper tests are run and any necessary corrections to testing failures are completed timely.
SECURE Act Passed; Stretch IRAs Facing Elimination
Adapted from Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions
On December 20, 2019, a $1.4 trillion spending package was enacted that included the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act, which had overwhelmingly passed the House of Representatives in the spring of 2019, but then subsequently stalled in the Senate. The SECURE Act represents the most sweeping set of changes to retirement legislation in more than a decade.
While many of the provisions offer enhanced opportunities for individuals and small business owners, there is one notable drawback for investors with significant assets in traditional IRAs and retirement plans. The elimination of the “stretch IRA’” could cause far-reaching change to many financial and estate plans. Individuals will likely want to revisit their estate-planning strategies to prevent their heirs from potentially facing unexpectedly high tax bills.
All provisions took effect on or after January 1, 2020, unless otherwise noted.
Celebrating 30 Years
Heartland Trust Company turns 30 this year. As we celebrate this milestone, we’ll include a feature on one of our old locations in each quarterly newsletter.
Steve Halverson, chairman of the board and former president, was approved for a charter by the North Dakota Department of Financial Institutions in August 1989 to start an independent trust company. Office space for the upstart trust company was found in the same building as Busy Bubbles Car Wash & Laundromat at 2102 12th Street North in Fargo. Steve’s father, Hans Halverson, owned the building and let Steve use the space for several months while he was getting everything ready. The charter was officially granted on January 18, 1990. Doors officially opened for Heartland Trust Company on January 23, 1990, and as Steve likes to add, “the door didn’t open, and the phone didn’t ring.”
Investment Year in Review for 2019
The year 2019 was a solid one for investors. A year after one of the worst fourth quarters since the Great Recession, stocks rebounded to close 2019 with several major indexes reaching record highs.
During the year, investors faced a yield curve inversion for the first time since 2007, a slowing economy, and a constant barrage of positive and negative information on the trade war with China. Nevertheless, investors stayed the course for most of the year, pushing stocks to their best year since 2013.
Each of the benchmark indexes listed here closed 2019 in fine fashion, led by the tech stocks of the Nasdaq, which gained more than 35.0%. The large caps of the Dow (22.34%) and the S&P 500 (28.88%) also fared well by year’s end. The small caps of the Russell 2000 began the year on a tear, ending February up almost 17.0%. However, the small-cap benchmark index pulled back some in March, but remained a steady gainer for much of the rest of the year, closing 2019 about 24.0% ahead of where it started.
Meet Missy Zarak
Meet Missy Zarak
Missy is an administrative associate working in the personal trust area. She provides excellent service to clients with trust, agency, and IRA accounts. She has over 30 years of experience in the trust business and has served many clients over the years in various roles.
Tell us about yourself.
I was born and raised in Dickinson, North Dakota, in a large family as one of 12 children. Following graduation at Trinity High School, I finished college at Minnesota State University in Moorhead, Minnesota, and graduated with a bachelor of science degree in legal assistant studies.
I commute every day from Wahpeton, North Dakota, where I live with my husband, Mark. We have four children who are now all adults: Cole, Cody, Carson, and Carleigh. I have been promoted from mother to grandmother status and I’m now called “Ma Ga” by two beautiful granddaughters. Spending time with my growing family is one of my greatest pleasures.
HTC Team News
In December, the Heartland Trust team made tie-blankets to donate to the YWCA.
Dropping off blankets at the YWCA (Pictured L to R: Gary Hanson, Jan Nelson, Mary Fridgen, Renee Hobbs, Lori Theis, and Erin Prochnow of the YWCA)
Be Present; Be Great
After my grandmother’s funeral in early August, the message from Pastor Corey Bjertness stuck with
me: “Achieving meaningful greatness comes from having good character and consistently being
present.” In our family life, meaningful greatness is not achieved by working long hours so your kids can
have the fanciest toys or electronics. In our work life, it’s not achieved through a grand marketing plan
or a single transaction.
Meaningful greatness is achieved by consistently being present.
When it comes to family, there are things we don’t want to miss: T-ball games, summer vacations, piano
recitals, and more. There are also those small moments you don’t realize you miss.
Agent for Trustee: Another Service Heartland Trust Provides
If you’ve been named as an individual trustee, it’s often considered an honor. However, you
now have significant responsibilities to the current and future beneficiaries of the trust,
which may feel overwhelming. Some of your duties as a trustee are to administer the trust
in accordance with the terms of the agreement, invest the trust assets, keep accurate
records, make sure the taxes are filed, and process distributions to beneficiaries. Plus, you
are responsible for managing the family dynamics of the trust beneficiaries.
One way to alleviate the pressures of your trust administration duties is to partner with a
corporate fiduciary in the capacity as an Agent for Trustee. Working with a corporate
fiduciary allows you access to professionals who have knowledge, experience, and
expertise in trust administration and investment management.
Why You May Need a 401(k) Investment Policy Statement
No matter how business savvy you are, choosing how to invest your money can be tricky.
If you are a business owner who sponsors a retirement plan, this becomes even more
worrisome because you are expected to choose investments to offer your employees.
While it is possible to divest yourself from some of the risk involved in this process
(a larger topic for a future article), as a retirement plan sponsor you can never completely
remove yourself from this fiduciary duty. This is why an investment policy statement may be
right for you.
An investment policy statement (IPS) is simply a roadmap that a retirement plan sponsor
uses to select and regularly evaluate the investments that they offer to their employees in
the retirement plan. While there are no government regulations that require you to have
one, adopting an IPS can make it easier for you to operate efficiently, and give you some
much-needed peace of mind on the topic of investments.