What 2020 has in Store for IRA and HSAs


Nancy Denstad

Nancy Denstad, Deposit Account Services Manager

Are you taking control of your financial future by maximizing the benefits of an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) or Health Savings Account (HSA) ?

To help you make the most of these accounts, here are the new maximum contribution limits for 2020. Nancy Denstad, our Certified IRA Services Professional (CISP) and a Certified Health Savings Professional (CHSP), outlines this year’s new limits.


For IRA’s, the 2020 limit is $6,000. This limit has increased from 2018. Anyone 50 years of age or more has the option of contributing an additional $1,000.


HSA contribution 2020 limits depend on your employee’s type of insurance coverage:

  • Individual contribution limit – $3,550
  • Family contribution limit – $7,100

An additional $1,000 catch-up contribution is an option for those 55 or more.

“It might be a good idea to, if at all possible, contribute the maximum to an IRA or HSA,” Nancy said. “It’s an opportunity to invest in your future and give yourself some peace of mind.”

Contributing to these kinds of accounts helps grow your money and secure funds for retirement. An HSA can set aside funds for health expenses before and after retirement. While you cannot make contributions to an HSA after you’re enrolled in Medicare, distributions are not limited to health expenses after you are 65 years old. You can even use HSA funds for health insurance premiums at age 65 or older as well.

You can find detailed information on IRAs and HSAs at irs.gov – look for Publication 969.

Of course, it is important to remember that depending on your specific account, there may be additional details to consider when planning your saving contributions. You should consult your tax advisor regarding your own saving plan with these kinds of accounts.

Starting to think you should have an IRA or HSA?

Options like IRAs and HSAs can be extremely beneficial in saving for your future. You may be able to open your own IRA or HSA for 2020 at Merchants Bank. Call 1-800-944-6285 and ask to speak to the Customer Service Representative at your local Merchants Bank branch.

MARCH 17: Online & Mobile Banking Upgrade

Woman using cell phone

At Merchants Bank we are dedicated to delivering superior service in many forms, including all the banking conveniences you’ve come to expect. That means that we have some exciting new changes coming up: we are getting an upgrade to our personal and small business online banking system. Here is everything you need to know about this new online banking system (or watch the video).

Logging In:

  1. On March 17 you will go to the usual place to login to online banking – the home page of Merchants Bank website or use the Merchants Bank mobile banking app.
  2. You will start by using your current login credentials. Then you will be prompted to confirm your information and update your password. It may be helpful to have a copy of your most recent statement or your checkbook to reference.
  3. You will need your phone (cellphone or landline) next to you to verify your identity with a two-factor authentication process.

What will update automatically:

  1. Merchants Bank accounts set up for transfers and scheduled transfers involving these accounts
  2. Small businesses – administrator and user login access will migrate.

What you will want to update in the new system:

  1. Your account nicknames
  2. Any external account information
  3. External linked accounts (non-Merchants Bank accounts)
  4. Small business administrators – You will need to reset your secondary user entitlements. If you have multiple users, you may want to record your current user access rights prior to March 17 so you can reset accordingly in the new system.

What You Need to Know about Mobile Banking:

  1. You do NOT need to download a new app. If you have auto-updates turn on, your app will update automatically. If you do not have your smartphone set to auto-update, you will receive a notification to update your app.
  2. Your mobile and desktop online banking logins are the same – it’s the same system.
  3. If you’re having issues, call your local branch or call 1-800-944-6285.

Now for the fun new features:

  1. Credit Score – Check on your estimated score and get tips for improving your score
  2. Customizable Alerts that can be pushed to your email or cellphone
  3. Send secure messages to Electronic Banking
  4. Submit a secure travel notification

If you have questions:

Stop in or call your local branch.

Congratulations, New and Promoted Staff


We are happy to have these new employees on our team! If you’re interested in working with these local experts, find your branch.

New Staff

Josh Blaskowski Josh Blaskowski, Item Processor, Winona
Larry Bodin Larry Bodin, Commercial Banker, Onalaska
Rachel Bork Rachel Bork, Mortgage Closing Specialist, Winona
Gabby Cleveland Gabby Cleveland, Electronic Banking Specialist, Winona
Anna Gadach Anna Gadach, Teller, Goodview
Sue Hassinger Sue Hassinger, Teller, Winona
Hannah Hewatt Hannah Hewatt, Teller, Apple Valley
Shayla Hustad Shayla Hustad, Teller, Hampton
Tracy Johnson Tracy Johnson, Teller, Lakeville
Barb Kerns Barb Kerns, Teller, Spring Grove
Amanda Koebke Amanda Koebke, Graphic Designer, Winona
Karla Linna Karla Linna, Teller, Hastings
Brooke Mann Brooke Mann, Loan Servicing Representative, Winona
Crystal Mills Crystal Mills, Teller, Hastings
Norma Nemeth Norma Nemeth, Teller, Red Wing
Kelly Welti Kelly Welti, Teller, Winona
Betsy Wells Betsy Wells, Sales Support & Reporting Specialist, Winona
Anna Ramstad Anna Ramstad, Teller, Red Wing
Malak Ratrout Malak Ratrout, Teller, Rochester – Northwest Plaza
Lois Rogers Lois Rogers, Teller, La Crescent
Kara Stevenson Kara Stevenson, Lending Assistant, Red Wing
Jerhad Thompson Jerhad Thompson, Electronic Banking Specialist, Winona

Transfers and Promotions

Joe Ahlman Joe Ahlman, Lead Electronic Banking Specialist, Winona
Jerad Brown Jerad Brown, Commercial/Ag Banking Officer, Lanesboro & Rushford
Helen Carlson Helen Carlson, Administrative Assistant, Merchants Bank Equipment Finance
Trista Mann Trista Mann, Creative & Digital Marketing Team Lead, Winona
Stephanie Singer Stephanie Singer, Customer Recovery Assistant, Winona


Better Late Than Never: How to start saving in your 40s

Couple planning finances

If you’re in your 40s and have no nest egg to speak of, don’t panic. There are things that can be done. No matter what led to this situation, you can try some of the following tactics to build up a retirement fund as quickly as possible. The most important thing is that you start now.

Ask Questions

The first step in creating your retirement fund is to identify your goals. That means asking yourself some questions, and being brutally honest with the answers. When do you want to retire? How many years will you spend in retirement? How much cash will you need yearly during retirement? When will you start taking Social Security payments and how much will they be? Be as thorough as you can with these questions so that you set your retirement goal as accurately as you can.

Revise Your Budget

Now that you have a rough idea of how much you’ll need in retirement, it’s time to revise your budget so that you can save more. First, go through all your expenses and see where you can cut back. According to one report from Chase, the average American household spends about $500 per month on unnecessary expenses. Once you have your spending slimmed down and the excess funneled toward your 401(k) or other retirement account, see if that puts you on target for your goal. If not, it’s time to think of making big changes, like downsizing your home.

Revisit and Adjust

The final step in kicking your retirement savings into high gear is going back to your goals. You now know how much you can save and are stashing as much as you can. Will it be enough? If not, you might need to revise your retirement goals. You can also consider delaying Social Security payments even longer than you initially thought. If you wait to start taking checks past your full retirement age (FRA), your payments will increase. For example, if your FRA is 66 and you delay payments until 70, your check will be 32 percent more. Hey, we never said saving for retirement in your 40s is easy. We just said it could be done.


Article written by Chris O’Shea, originally published by SavvyMoney.