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Women's Initiative Blog

Discover. Energize. Connect.

Diane Middlebrooks,
Women's Initiative Coordinator

Diane comes from a corporate management background. Prior to joining Itasca Bank & Trust Co. Diane owned her own business, The Business Coach, and led numerous companies and individuals toward greater success and prosperity. During that time she was very active in the National Association of Women Business Owners, serving on the Board for four years, and one year as the Chicago chapter president. As Women's Initiative Coordinator, Diane plans the programs and events. She also facilitates monthly Roundtables for women business owners.

Diane invites you to contact her about the Women's Initiative at 630-773-0350 ext. 421

Time to Think about Money!

Has another year passed and you have been so busy with work, family, and other interests that you haven’t taken time to do something for yourself? One of the most important things we can do for ourselves is to take some time to think about money – how it affects our present and our future, and that of our family.

I sat down with David Mercurio, Vice President, Itasca Bank & Trust Co.’s Financial Planning Center, to ask him to share any advice he had about money that would help us create a more secure financial future. Here are eight suggestions that David has found, over years of working with people, which can have the most beneficial impact on their financial future.

  1. Take care of yourself – your health and your mind. Stay physically and mentally active; keep up social connections and develop new interests. If you deteriorate too prematurely as you age, all your savings that you had intended to use for a comfortable retirement will be eaten up by medical costs and nursing home care. Your goal should be a long, healthy life so that you can enjoy your money, and also be able to gift to family members or favorite charities.
  2. Always pay yourself first. Have some amount from your paycheck directly deposited to a savings or investment account each month. Your goal should be to have enough money in an FDIC insured savings account to cover all of your household expenses for three to six months. If you work at a company that offers a 401k plan, enroll in it, especially if it matches your contributions. If you change companies, roll over your 401k to the new employer plan or to an IRA – do not spend the money.
  3. Manage your debt. This is crucial to your financial flexibility. You do not want to be in a position of having the majority of your income used for paying down debt. Stay away from high interest credit cards, payday loans, and car title loans. Make a budget and stick to it. This does not have to be a complicated spreadsheet. Use whatever works for you to live within your means – it can even be as simple as using envelopes for different living expenses.
  4. "Chance only favors the prepared mind" – Louis Pasteur. Always work on learning new ideas, new skills; take classes, read voraciously. That way you are preparing for an opportunity that you may not even know exists right now. Be open to reinventing yourself over your lifetime.
  5. Mitigate risk. Review all insurance plans to assure you have the right coverage. Do you have a personal umbrella policy? Do you have cash reserves in the event of an unexpected job loss? Do you have a health care power of attorney, a living will, and other estate planning documents, and are they up-to-date? Who knows about these documents and your wishes? Are they accessible by the people you choose to carry them out?
  6. "Failing to plan is planning to fail." - Benjamin Franklin - What is your plan for guaranteed income? Pension or Social Security? Learn the impact on your payments based on the age you file for Social Security. Understand the impact of being invested in dividend growth stocks, annuities, reverse mortgages and other sources of retirement income.
  7. Hope for the best, plan for the worst. While the need for getting one’s financial affairs in order often seems far off in the distance, as we know, life can change in an instant. Make sure you have necessary Powers of Attorney, your Will, a Trust (having evaluated if you should have a Corporate Trustee), and have identified your wishes for your final resting place. Not addressing these things will put a terrible burden on your family, often leading to divisions in the family.
  8. Be an informed consumer. While the Internet can be a great source of information, for something as important as your future, seek the advice of reputable professionals in person, especially when it comes to many of the things discussed in this article.

If you would like to discuss any of these ideas or want more clarification, please contact David Mercurio, at 630-875-4234. He would be glad to offer a complimentary consultation. David is easy to talk with; he has a good sense of humor which I enjoy; and as you have noticed he favors memorable quotes! I also like the way he sees money in a more holistic way, rather than simply credits and debits.

2018 is an exciting year for Itasca Bank & Trust Co. – we are celebrating 70 years of helping people shape their future, through services like those provided by our Financial Planning Center, and of course, through the Women’s Initiative.

We wish all of you a Happy, Prosperous New Year!


Diane Middlebrooks
Women's Initiative Coordinator
Itasca Bank & Trust Co.

All Securities through Money Concepts Capital Corp., Member FINRA/SIPC
Itasca Bank & Trust Co. is an independent firm not affiliated with Money Concepts Capital Corp.
Not a Deposit. Not FDIC Insured. No Bank Guarantee. May Lose Value. Not Insured by any Government Agency.


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