Rent or Buy? 5 Questions to Ask First

Before pursuing a rental or homeownership opportunity, consider the following questions:
• How much money have you saved ?
Start with an evaluation of your financial health. Figure out how much money you have for a down payment or deposit on a rental. Down payments are typically 5 to 20 percent of the price of the home. Security deposits . . . → Read More: Rent or Buy? 5 Questions to Ask First

College Assignment #1: Create a Budget

Heading off to college represents a number of firsts. For many students, it’s the first time they are in direct control of their money.

Putting together a budget requires time and effort. Iowa State Bank offers the following steps to create a budget:
• Be a Spending Sleuth. Track every penny you spend for a month. Keep receipts . . . → Read More: College Assignment #1: Create a Budget

Dollars & Sense: Talk to Your Kids about Money this Summer

Help kids learn about money. Create three jars labeled "spend, save & donate."

Spend. Save. Donate. Help kids learn the power of saving money.

Let’s face it, talking to your kids about the power of saving money is not an easy conversation to start. However, starting a conversation about . . . → Read More: Dollars & Sense: Talk to Your Kids about Money this Summer

Tips to Create a Budget

America Saves Week, an annual event sponsored by the Consumer Federation of America, is Feb. 24 to March 1. In these tough economic times, it is more important than ever for families to develop a budget and stick to it. Rainy-day funds, savings for college or just making your rent payment can all be made easier . . . → Read More: Tips to Create a Budget

Mobile Banking: Safety First

As mobile banking continues to exceed online users, it’s more important than ever for customers to use mobile banking safely. Convenience is the driving factor in the rise of mobile banking. It opens the doors to consumer choice and access to banking options. But, as mobile devices such as smartphones and iPads become more popular, . . . → Read More: Mobile Banking: Safety First

Ten Timely Tax Time Tips

The income tax filing season has begun, and important tax documents should be arriving in your mailbox. Although your return is not due until April 15, you can make tax time easier on yourself with an early start. Here are 10 tips to help ensure a smooth tax-filing process.

1. Create a system for organizing tax documents . . . → Read More: Ten Timely Tax Time Tips

New Year’s Resolutions — For Your Wallet!

As you’re considering your New Year’s resolutions for 2014, don’t forget to think about your money. The New Year is a great time to assess your finances, gain control and stick to a new budget or saving plan. Taking control of your personal finances will allow you to save and prepare for unexpected expenses. Here are . . . → Read More: New Year’s Resolutions — For Your Wallet!

IRS Warns of Tax-Time Scams

It’s true: tax scams proliferate during the income tax filing season. This year’s season opens on Jan. 31. The IRS provides the following scam warnings so you can protect yourself and avoid becoming a victim of these crimes:

• Be vigilant of any unexpected communication purportedly from the IRS at the start of tax season.
• Don’t fall for phone . . . → Read More: IRS Warns of Tax-Time Scams

Got a Charity that’s Near & Dear?

Consider using Qualified Charitable Distributions to benefit you and your favorite non-profit

Qualified Charitable Distributions (QCDs) from your IRA account are authorized for 2013 as long as they are made by December 31, 2013. Local charities and other non-profit organizations benefit when qualifying individuals make QCDs. The individual benefits, too. A QCD is a tax-free distribution and . . . → Read More: Got a Charity that’s Near & Dear?

Small Business Loan Tips

Today’s low interest rates make this an especially good time for small business owners to consider applying for a loan to grow or expand their business.

Before you do, take a moment to ask yourself these questions:

1. Have you developed and maintained an ongoing business relationship with your banker? To effectively serve customers, bankers need to . . . → Read More: Small Business Loan Tips