News for YOU!
News for YOU! is a free, monthly newsletter provided by KS StateBank that offers tips and other information to help you make wise financial choices. Please feel free to sign up now to receive new editions of our newsletters each month, as well as other updates. You can also subscribe to our business newsletter, News for YOU! Business Edition.
With summer over and the end of the year quickly approaching, fall is a great time for a cleanup. But that cleanup doesn't just have to involve your yard; it's also a great time to get your financial affairs in order before the busy holiday season starts and tax season is upon you.
Here are 5 steps you can take to get your finances in order this fall:
- Review your budget. One of the keys to managing money successfully is creating and sticking to a budget. If you have a budget, revisit your expenses and income to see what has changed. If your expenses are higher than you can afford, think about ways to cut them.
- Evaluate your savings. How much have you saved for the year? Think about ways you can save more — even if it's just a few extra dollars. One way to make saving easier is to have money automatically deducted from your bank account into a savings account each month.
- Set a holiday budget. The holiday season is an expensive time for many people. Try to determine how much money you'll need for holiday purchases and set a budget for it. By planning ahead and budgeting, you will avoid one of the most common mistakes people make — running up credit card debt
- Review your interest rates. If you have credit card balances, look at the interest rate you are paying. If it's too high, shop around and consider transferring your balance to a card with a lower interest rate. Take a closer look at your mortgage, too. If your mortgage rate is higher than current rates and you plan to remain in your home, consider refinancing.
- Check your credit report. One of the best ways to protect yourself from identity theft is to periodically check your credit report. Federal law requires that you can obtain one free copy of your credit report annually from each of the three credit bureaus: TransUnion®, Equifax®,and Experian®.
Make the time to get your finances in order this fall. It will help you sow the seeds for a more affordable holiday season and a great financial start to the new year.
Successfully managing money takes hard work, discipline, and of course, knowledge. To help build your financial literacy, we've put together these definitions of some common personal finance terms you should know.
- Annual Percentage Rate (APR). Annual percentage rate, commonly referred to as APR, represents the cost of borrowing on a yearly basis, expressed as a percentage. It helps you compare interest rates between lenders when shopping for a loan.
- Asset. Often discussed with liabilities (see definition below), assets are items that can be converted into value or money. They may include your savings, 401(k), real estate, securities, and art to name a few.
- Beneficiary. If you have assets or insurance, you can name a beneficiary, which is the person or entity (such as a trust or charity) that will receive the proceeds or benefits of your asset.
- Budget. A budget is one of the most important terms in personal finance. It's essentially a spending plan that outlines how you allocate your income to pay for expenses and meet your financial goals, such as saving money.
- Compound interest. In the world of saving, compound interest is the interest that's earned and calculated on the original amount of your savings plus the interest paid. As a result, it helps your savings grow faster.
- Credit. If you have a credit card or loan, you have credit, which is money a lender provides that you are obligated to pay back. In banking, credit also refers to a transaction that comes into your account, such as a deposit or interest you earn on deposits.
- Credit report. A credit report summarizes your credit activity and history to help lenders determine whether to extend credit to you and what interest rate to offer. Credit reports may also be used by other entities, such as insurance companies, landlords, and utility companies to help them render decisions. Also, some companies may use credit reports to determine whether to hire you, provided you grant them permission to access your report.
- Credit score. Your credit score is basically a numerical calculation that helps lenders determine how likely you are to pay back money you borrow. The higher your credit score, the greater the likelihood of you being offered credit.
- Debt. Debt is the amount of money you owe to a lender or person.
- Debit. In contrast to a credit, which reflects money coming into your account, a debit is a transaction that goes out of your account. Debits include withdrawals, transfers out of your account, and bill payments.
- Debt consolidation. If you have multiple types of debt, such as credit cards and personal loans, lenders may offer you credit to help you consolidate multiple loans into one loan with one payment. Consolidating debt can help simplify your finances and maybe even lower the amount of interest you have to pay. For example, you could consolidate higher-interest credit card debt into a lower rate loan. Debt consolidation can help you save on interest, but it won't cancel your debt; you still have to pay back the money you owe.
- Home equity. Home equity is the actual amount of your home that you own. It's the difference between the value of your home (what it's worth) and the amount you owe to a lender (your mortgage amount). For example, if your home is worth $400,000 and you owe $250,000 on your mortgage, the equity you have in your home is $150,000. A home equity loan or line of credit, lets you borrow from that equity.
- Interest. This is the fee that financial institutions charge to lend you money. With savings, it refers to the money banks pay you when you deposit money.
- Liability. A liability is a debt or obligation you owe, such as the amount you owe on your mortgage or car loan.
- Net worth. Your net worth is the difference between your assets and liabilities.
- Principal. In borrowing, principal is the amount of money a lender grants you that you agree to pay back. In saving or investing, principal is the amount of money you contribute.
- Repayment. This is the timeframe that you have to pay back money you borrow. For example, if you have a 30-year mortgage, your payments will be structured so that your loan is paid back in 30 years.
- Revolving line of credit. This is a type of credit that lets you borrow money when you need it and pay interest only on the amount you use. A credit card is an example of a revolving line of credit.
- Return. If you save or invest money, return is the amount of money you either gain or lose.
- Stock. Stock is a type of security that allows you to buy a share of ownership in a company.
2023 Cornerstone Award
The Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce has chosen KS StateBank as the 2023 Cornerstone Award winner. We were honored to be presented with the award at the Chamber's annual Business Awards event on September 12 where the Bank and the Howe family were recognized for a lifetime of achievement and contribution in the community.
The Cornerstone Award is given to Manhattan area businesses that demonstrate growth in sales, employees and/or services. It should be an active participant in the business community and have a local community impact with association involvement and volunteering.
We are grateful to have received the Cornerstone Award and appreciate our employees and clients who made it possible. Thank you for choosing KS StateBank!
Thinking about going on a vacation, paying for a wedding, buying gifts for birthdays and holidays, or perhaps you have another short-term money goal? We often think of savings for long-term purposes like retirement or buying a house, but they are great for short-term objectives too. Money in an account that is low-risk (less likely to lose money), allows for easy access, and provides opportunity for growth, is a great alternative to a piggy bank. Let’s look at some options to help you better meet your goals and keep your money safe.
A traditional bank savings account is a great place to put money aside for special occasions, as they allow you to withdraw funds easily and earn some interest. These accounts do not come with checks and usually limit the number of withdrawals you can make, which helps you avoid the temptation to spend your savings before you’re ready. You can even set up automatic transfers from your checking account to keep your special savings separate. This separation really helps avoid spending your money frivolously.
Money Market Deposit Accounts (MMDAs) are an attractive option for saving. They offer higher interest rates than traditional checking accounts and more options for accessing your money than traditional savings accounts. You can withdraw money more than from CDs, but there are some restrictions on the number of withdrawals you can make on a monthly basis. MMDAs generally require a higher initial deposit and minimum balance than other savings accounts.
Certificates of Deposit (CDs) are savings certificates where the money you put into them are invested by a bank for a set period of time – you can typically choose between one month and five years (At KS StateBank, we offer CD terms from 6 months to 7 years) – and the bank gives you the money back with interest. Traditionally, the longer the term the more interest you earn. CDs have higher interest rates than traditional savings accounts, but you cannot withdraw the funds until the end of the specified term. If you need to withdraw the money before that time, you will have to pay a penalty fee.
If you have deposit accounts that exceed the $250,000 FDIC limit, many financial institutions, including KS StateBank, can help you access full FDIC insurance protection for high-balance deposit. Contact us to learn more information.
Before putting your money into one of these accounts, be sure to compare current interest rates offered, as rates vary by bank and change constantly. The Truth in Savings Act requires financial institutions to provide a common method of disclosing rates of interest earned, known as the Annual Percentage Yield (APY), to allow consumers to effectively compare accounts between banks. You can compare APYs of different products to determine which one offers the best outcome for you (but note that the APY does not compare early withdrawal penalties where those penalties apply). Also make sure that you understand all restrictions associated with the account. For more information, go to FDIC Consumer Assistance Savings Related Resources.
In addition to saving money for short-term goals, setting money aside on a regular basis into any type of account and watching the savings accumulate can give you a real sense of financial empowerment. No matter what amount or account type, the earlier you start saving the better.
Information for this article was provided by FDIC Consumer News.
If someone asked you to mail them $200 in cash, would you do it? Probably not. Wiring money is just like sending cash in the mail. Once it’s gone, you probably won’t get it back — which explains why scammers tell you to pay that way. You’d think twice before mailing your hard-earned money — do the same thing before you wire money. Here’s what to know.
Scammers want your attention (and your trust) so they can ask you to wire money through a company like Western Union or MoneyGram. Some scammers weave a complex web of lies to get you to wire them money. They might find you on a dating app, earn your trust, and then say they have an emergency. That’s when they ask you to wire them money right away. And that’s a scam. Or a scammer might be lurking in a resale website where you posted an item for sale. They’ll “accidentally” overpay you — and “helpfully” suggest that you wire back the extra money. But that’s a scam. Always.
No matter what reason they give, never wire money to someone you haven’t met in person, who pressures you to pay immediately, or who says a wire transfer is the only way to pay. Only scammers ask you to do those things.
Already wired money to a scammer? You might feel embarrassed for losing money and for trusting them, but if you act fast, you might be able to get your money back:
Contact the wire transfer company or bank that you used to send the money right away. Tell them it was a fraudulent transfer and work with them to see if the transaction can be reversed. Then report it to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.
This article was provided by the Federal Trade Commission.
Join our team!
At KS StateBank, we’re always on the lookout for people that can embrace the ever-changing world of banking in a dynamic, collaborative, and innovative way. If you’ve considered a career in banking, we have positions available with our Retail and Government Finance departments including entry level positions.
Whether you are ready to begin a banking career or you’re a seasoned banker looking for a new opportunity, KS StateBank could be what you’re looking for. Learn more about our open positions and apply by visiting our Careers page.
You, or someone you know, could become the victim of a growing crime in America — financial abuse of older Americans. Seniors are increasingly becoming targets for financial abuse. As people over 50 years old control over 70 percent of the nation's wealth, fraudsters are using new tactics to take advantage of retiring baby boomers and the growing number of older Americans. Senior financial abuse is estimated to have cost victims at least $2.9 billion last year alone.
What Is Elder Financial Abuse?
It’s a crime that deprives older adults of their resources and ultimately their independence. Anyone who sees signs of theft, fraud, misuse of a person’s assets or credit, or use of undue influence to gain control of an older person’s money or property should be on the alert. Those are signs of possible exploitation. Older Americans that may have disabilities or rely on others for help can be susceptible to scams and other fraud. Advances in technology can also make it difficult for seniors to know who to trust and what's safe.
Despite these threats, taking simple steps to safeguard personal information and being aware of warning signs can protect aging men and women from financial abuse.
Tips for Seniors
What should you do to protect yourself?
- Plan ahead to protect your assets and to ensure your wishes are followed. Talk to someone at your financial institution, an attorney, or financial advisor about the best options for you.
- Shred receipts, bank statements and unused credit card offers before throwing them away.
- Carefully choose a trustworthy person to act as your agent in all estate-planning matters.
- Lock up your checkbook, account statements and other sensitive information when others will be in your home.
- Order copies of your credit report once a year to ensure accuracy.
- Never give personal information, including Social Security Number, account number or other financial information to anyone over the phone unless you initiated the call and the other party is trusted.
- Never pay a fee or taxes to collect sweepstakes or lottery “winnings.”
- Never rush into a financial decision. Ask for details in writing and get a second opinion.
- Consult with a financial advisor or attorney before signing any document you don’t understand.
- Get to know your banker and build a relationship with the people who handle your finances. They can look out for any suspicious activity related to your account.
- Check references and credentials before hiring anyone. Don’t allow workers to have access to information about your finances.
- Pay with checks and credit cards instead of cash to keep a paper trail.
- Feel free to say “no.” After all, it’s your money.
- You have the right not to be threatened or intimidated. If you think someone close to you is trying to take control of your finances, call your local Adult Protective Services or tell someone at your bank.
- Trust your instincts. Exploiters and abusers often are very skilled. They can be charming and forceful in their effort to convince you to give up control of your finances. Don’t be fooled—if something doesn’t feel right, it may not be right. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
What should you do if you are a victim of financial abuse?
- Talk to a trusted family member who has your best interests at heart, or to your clergy.
- Talk to your attorney, doctor or an officer at your bank.
- Contact Adult Protective Services in your state or your local police for help.
Tips for Family and Friends
What are the warning signs of financial abuse?
The key to spotting financial abuse is a change in a person’s established financial patterns. Watch out for these “red flags”:
- Unusual activity in an older person’s bank accounts, including large, frequent or unexplained withdrawals.
- ATM withdrawals by an older person who has never used a debit or ATM card.
- Changing from a basic account to one that offers more complicated services the customer does not fully understand or need.
- Withdrawals from bank accounts or transfers between accounts the customer cannot explain.
- New “best friends” accompanying an older person to the bank.
- Sudden non-sufficient fund activity or unpaid bills.
- Closing CDs or accounts without regard to penalties.
- Uncharacteristic attempts to wire large sums of money.
- Suspicious signatures on checks, or outright forgery.
- Confusion, fear or lack of awareness on the part of an older customer.
- Refusal to make eye contact, shame or reluctance to talk about the problem.
- Checks written as “loans” or “gifts.”
- Bank statements that no longer go to the customer’s home.
- New powers of attorney the older person does not understand.
- A caretaker, relative or friend who suddenly begins conducting financial transactions on behalf of an older person without proper documentation.
- Altered wills and trusts.
- Loss of property.
What should you do if you suspect financial abuse?
- Talk to elderly friends or loved ones if you see any of the signs mentioned here. Try to determine what specifically is happening with their financial situation, such as a new person “helping” them with money management, or a relative using cards or credit without their permission.
- Report the elder financial abuse to their bank, and enlist their banker’s help to stop it and prevent its recurrence.
- Contact Adult Protective Services in your town or state for help.
- Report all instances of elder financial abuse to your local police—if fraud is involved, they should investigate.
Never give your Social Security number, account numbers or other personal financial information over the phone unless you initiated the call.
For more information, check out the FBI's elder fraud tips.
This article was provided by American Bankers Association.
Finding money to put into savings can seem difficult, but there are some strategies that can make it easier. Start by asking yourself these questions.
Do I have savings goals? Knowing how much you want to save and why can help you stick to a plan.
For example, if you have a young child, ask yourself if you plan to help pay for college. Research indicates that children who have a college savings fund are more likely to go to college than those who don't. Start by looking at "529 plans" sponsored by your state (typically with cost and tax benefits for residents) and compare them to other 529 plan options. Learn more about college planning at www.studentaid.ed.gov/prepare-for-college.
How can I spend less? Review how much you spent in the last month and consider ways to cut back. Start by reviewing recurring expenses — even small ones — and determine what you might be able to cut out, downgrade, or find a better deal on elsewhere. Our free online financial management tool, My Money, can help you track your everyday expenses and maintain your finances. Find it in your KS StateBank Online Banking account.
Also try to pay less in interest. For example, if you have multiple loans, pay off the ones with the highest interest rates first. And, regularly reviewing your credit report and correcting errors can result in considerable savings on loans and insurance policies.
Do I have an emergency savings fund? Financial experts generally recommend that you have at least six months of living expenses in a federally insured product, such as a savings account or a certificate of deposit (CD). The idea is to help you withstand a major reduction in income, such as from a job loss, or to pay for a major, unexpected home or car repair. To build your "rainy day fund," consider a combination of regular, automated deposits and any "windfalls" you receive, perhaps from a tax refund or a bonus at work.
Am I saving money on a regular basis? Setting up automatic transfers into a savings account on regular schedule can help you save money before you spend it.
How much investment risk am I willing to take? Investments such as stocks, bonds and mutual funds can produce higher returns than bank deposits over many years, but you could also lose some or all of that money. (Remember, nondeposit investments are not insured by the FDIC against loss.)
In general, the longer you plan to keep money invested and the greater your tolerance for volatility, the more likely these investments can help you reach your targets.
Am I saving enough for retirement? For many, the answer is "no" even when they think it is "yes." Options to save include workplace retirement plans and Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) offered by many banks and investment companies.
Many working people can save considerably on their taxes through qualified retirement savings. And, if your employer offers a retirement savings program of any kind, find out whether it will match your investment contributions, and then don't lose out on any matches.
This article was provided by FDIC Consumer News.
When you want something in life, it's best to have a plan for how you will get it. Everyone wants a life of financial security—the ability to save and invest so that your money is working for you in a way that enables you to fulfill your life's goals. To achieve financial security, you need to create a financial plan.
Financial literacy (education on the management of personal finances) is an essential part of planning and paying for postsecondary education. Everyone needs to understand the options with respect to the vast array of financial products, services, and providers to make sound financial decisions.
A financial plan is simply a roadmap for how you will manage your money on an ongoing basis. At its most basic, a financial plan involves defining your money goals, identifying the steps it will take to reach those goals, and then following through with those steps.
Practice good credit habits. Even if you don't need loans to pay for college, sooner or later you will probably need to borrow money. Your borrowing and repayment history is tracked by the financial industry to create your credit score, which helps lenders gauge whether you are a good credit risk. The better your credit score, the easier it will be for you to borrow money and the better terms you will be offered. A good credit score can save you thousands of dollars over your lifetime. Here are some ways to build and maintain a good credit score (typically a score of 700 or higher) and avoid financial headaches:
Always pay your bills and loan installments on time. To avoid late fees, note the due dates for bills and installments as soon as you receive them. Keep a copy of all bills and loan payments you make.
Don’t overdraw your account. Whether it’s from writing a checking, using your debit card or from a payment app, don’t spend more than what you have available in your account. Aside from hurting your credit score, banks usually charge you a fee for overdrawing your account. The fees are automatically charged to your account, which can cause your account to be further overdrawn, leading to more fees. Overdrawing your account can lead to real money problems and even get you into legal trouble. The good news is that with a little caution and diligence, you can prevent this issue altogether by being aware of the amount of money in your bank account and spending only what you can afford.
Use credit card sense. In college, you'll get tons of credit card offers. Your best move? Shred them. Don't sign up for a credit card just to get something for free. As attractive as easy credit might seem, credit card interest can put you in a very deep financial hole that can take years to dig out of. If you feel you need a credit card or you want to start building your credit history, apply for one credit card with a competitive interest rate, then charge only what you can afford to repay. Also, try to pay the balance in full each month to prevent interest charges from piling up.
Don't ignore credit problems, get help ASAP. In spite of your best intentions, you may get in over your head. Credit problems include missed payments, bounced checks, and credit card debt; these problems lead to a lower credit score and a more difficult time when borrowing money in the future. Sometimes, people mistakenly believe that if they ignore their credit problems, these problems will go away. Instead, their credit problems will only get worse. If it happens to you, don't feel foolish or ashamed, because you will be in good company; many well-intentioned people get into credit trouble. So get help immediately, nip credit problems in the bud and save yourself lots of stress. Your local financial institution or college financial aid office may be valuable free resources to help you get back on track.
Consumers often wonder about whether or how to add someone else, usually a relative, to a bank account. These decisions are not to be taken lightly. We can't advise you on how to share your money or your accounts, but we can give you guidance about the implications of adding names onto deposit accounts, safe deposit boxes and loans.
Adding co-owners to a deposit account vs. alternative arrangements. Under FDIC rules, a joint account is a deposit account owned by two or more people who have equal rights to withdraw 100 percent of the deposits and to close the account. For a couple wishing to share common funds, the upside is that each person can write checks and pay bills from the account, which is certainly a convenience in managing a household or as someone needs assistance.
In addition, each co-owner is insured for up to $250,000 for his or her share in all joint accounts at an insured bank. If you want to add co-owners primarily for convenience purposes or accessing funds in an emergency, carefully consider how limits on withdrawal rights could affect your insurance coverage.
For example, if a single mother adds two children as co-owners but specifies that they must act together to withdraw any funds, the three individuals do not have equal withdrawal rights and the account would not necessarily be FDIC-insured up to $750,000 ($250,000 for each person named). In this situation, the FDIC would have to look to state law to determine the ownership interest of each person and would provide deposit insurance coverage accordingly.
There is another way to give someone limited access to a deposit account on an as-needed basis without granting ownership rights. That is to obtain a power of attorney — the written authorization for one or more people to represent or act on another's behalf in financial affairs or other personal matters. Powers of attorney can be broad, allowing unlimited access, or narrow, limiting access to accounts.
Allowing others to access your safe deposit box. The rules and procedures for safe deposit boxes can vary by state and by bank, so ask your bank about the options for granting someone access and what you would have to do if you later change your mind. Keep in mind that this person could go to the box and take anything out, without your approval.
Adding co-owners vs. "authorized users" to a credit card account. A co-owner is financially responsible for all debt incurred, including any charges by an authorized user. Depending on the cardholder agreement, authorized users may or may not be financially responsible for any debt on the card. A card owner also may be able to place restrictions on authorized users, such as limits on amounts that can be charged.
Think carefully before you co-sign a loan. If the other co-signer does not pay the debt, you will have. You may also have to pay late fees and collection costs, which increase the debt amount. Additionally, your credit rating could be affected if this person fails to pay or pays late.
Want more guidance about adding names to accounts? Consider consulting an attorney, your banker or another advisor.
Information for this article was provided by FDIC Consumer News.
Upcoming Federal Holidays
KS StateBank will be closed on Monday, June 19 in honor of Juneteenth. We will reopen during regular hours on Tuesday, June 20.
We will also be closed on Tuesday, July 4 in observance of Independence Day. We'll reopen on Wednesday, July 5 during regular hours.
Spring is a great time for a fresh start and cleanup but not just for your home or yard. It's also a great time to clean up something very important in your financial house – your credit.
Whether you're looking to establish credit, give some TLC to one that could use some improvement, or already have great credit, there are some important steps you can take to ensure your credit is the best it can be. Because let's face it, a strong credit score will not only help you qualify for credit but also help you get the best rate to save money.
Here are six ways to spring clean your credit:
Pay your bills on time. The biggest determinant of your credit score is your history of paying your bills. Late or missed payments will negatively impact your score. To ensure that doesn't happen, set bill payment reminders or arrange to have payments made automatically. And remember, just because you may not have seen a bill in the mail or via email doesn't mean you don't have to make a payment.
Don't use all the credit available to you. Another factor in your credit score is your credit utilization, which is the amount of your available credit limits that you actually use. In general, lenders like to see that you only use about 30% of the credit available to you. If you use more than that, you can negatively impact your score. One way to lower your credit utilization and raise your score is to pay down revolving debt, which frees up available credit. There's an even simpler way to lower your utilization: use less credit.
Leave old accounts open. In the world of credit scoring, age matters. Lenders like to see that you have a long and established history with creditors. So, even if you don't use a credit card or other revolving debt available to you, it might make sense to keep those accounts open. In fact, it's not a bad idea to make a purchase now and again to keep them active. Just make sure you make your payments on time.
Only use credit when you need it. It seems like wherever you go today someone wants to entice you with a special offer to open a credit card to earn some special bonus – like free airline miles or a big discount on your purchase. Before you sign up for those cards, make sure you understand the impact they can have on your credit. Every time you apply for credit, a hard inquiry is done on your credit report, which can negatively impact your credit score. That's why experts advise that you don't apply for multiple credit cards at the same time or apply when you need a larger loan, like a mortgage.
Monitor your credit. One of the most important steps you can take in managing your credit score is to monitor it regularly. Keeping track of your credit score can help you see the impact of your credit usage and guide your financial decisions. It can also help you prepare if you need to borrow later on down the road, say to get a mortgage.
Get a copy of your credit report. Another great way to monitor your credit is to get a copy of your credit report. You can get a free copy from the three credit bureaus – Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian – at annualcreditreport.com. Viewing your credit report will help you see your credit lines and balances as well as help you identify and correct mistakes, such as incorrect addresses or accounts that don't belong to you. It could also help you determine if you're a victim of identity theft.
Get growing – tend to your credit today!
In many families, talking about money can be uncomfortable, and in some cases, almost taboo. When children request something that costs more than the family is comfortable spending, children of different ages react differently. Young children may not have an understanding of the item's cost relative to the family's finances. And a teenager's "need" may be viewed as an "extravagance" by the parents. These simple ideas can help foster two-way conversations between parents and children, as well as a basic understanding about the value of money.
It is never too early to help your child develop a healthy respect for money and to develop some good financial habits. The practice of using an allowance can be worthwhile if it does the right things. If your objective is to teach the basics, consider the following:
- Set a weekly allowance to match the age of the child; perhaps a five year old receives $5.00 weekly.
- Tie the allowance to some required chores like setting the table for dinner. If the chores aren't done, withhold allowance for that week.
- Divide the allowance into three spending categories — 1/3 for immediate spending, 1/3 saved for some specific near-term purchase (like a small new toy) and 1/3 for a longer-term goal (like a major new toy).
This is often the most difficult time for children to deal with financial issues. Peer pressure, a desire to keep up with what their friends have, and the growing realization that they can't have everything they want can add tension to any conversation about finances. However, it is also the time when children can begin to understand more complex financial issues, and when financial habits are formed.
The allowance approach gets more complicated in the teenage years as the costs of desirable items increases, and they are drawn to more activities that cost money. This may be a good opportunity to discuss how a job could help them afford the things they want. After-school and summer jobs are an ideal way for teenagers to learn that money is earned, and not something that mom or dad will always provide. A job will also teach young adults about responsibility, since the employer will be relying on them to be present and punctual. If an outside job is not possible, consider paying your teenager an hourly rate for additional chores, and insist they treat the chores as a job.
Helping teenagers establish a checking account, or even preparing their own tax returns, will go a long way to helping them understand that money is a serious matter, and that someday they will need to be self-sufficient and make their own financial decisions. If they get a checking account, be sure you teach them how it works and how to reconcile the account every month.
Keep the conversation going
Be open to discussing finances with your children. Kids are naturally curious about what they see their parents doing and that curiosity can be easily turned into teaching opportunities. When your child sees you writing checks that is an ideal time to start talking about the importance of paying bills and balancing your budget. A question about what it means when the TV news reports on stock market activities can lead to a more serious discussion about money and long-term financial goals. And a conversation about choosing a college can be an eye-opening experience when your child learns what it costs.
Take advantage of these opportunities and by the time your child is ready to leave home, they will have a foundation to better prepare themselves for their financial future.
Our offices will be closed on Monday, May 29 in observance of Memorial Day as we honor and remember the men and women who sacrificed their lives while serving our country.
Life is unpredictable. Our financial lives can be, too. From soaring inflation to rising interest rates to volatile markets, it can sometimes feel like we don't have control of our money, especially your hard-earned savings. Rest assured, though, there are some steps you can take to safeguard it.
Understand deposit insurance. With the rise of Internet banks, you now have more savings and checking account options than ever before. But before you open an account or send money, make sure your money is protected by deposit insurance. With FDIC insurance, you're protected up to $250,000 per depositor, per insured bank, for each account ownership category.
Take some time to understand how deposit insurance works to know how to protect your accounts. The FDIC EDIE calculator is a good resource to help you determine your coverage. If you have higher deposits you may want to consider choosing a financial institution that offers additional insurance protection. KS StateBank can assist you to obtain full FDIC protection. We are a member of the IntraFi network and offer ICS® (insured Cash Sweep) and CDARS® (Certificate of Deposit Registry Service) for business and personal deposit accounts that exceed the $250,000 FDIC limit.
Keep track of your accounts. It's always a good idea to monitor your accounts and balances to see where your money is going and to identify fraud. You should also keep track of and document all your assets, including your checking, savings, CDs, and retirement accounts. You can monitor your bank accounts online and even set account alerts to notify you about specific transactions or when your balance reaches a certain level.
Review your credit report. In addition to monitoring your savings, you should safeguard your credit. Reviewing your credit report regularly can help you detect and correct any errors or misinformation that could impact your credit score. It can also help you detect fraudulent activity.
Check in on your investments. Though volatile market conditions can change the value of your portfolio, it's a good idea to regularly review your investments to view your activity and balances. If you work with a professional, schedule a meeting to evaluate your goals, changing market conditions, and tolerance for risk.
Don't be reactive. When financial conditions change, such as market drop or a bank closure, it's easy to become reactive and make impulse decisions. Before you consider withdrawing your money or selling securities, always do your research to ensure you know all the advantages and disadvantages and understand the short- and long-term implications.
You've worked hard to build your savings. Take the time to protect it.
Over time, Certificates of Deposit (CDs) have provided a safe and secure way to build savings. However, in today's current rising interest rate environment, they've become even more attractive, allowing savers to lock in higher rates of interest over fixed period of times – and get the assurance of deposit protection. But before you invest in a CD, there are some questions you need to answer.
What is a CD?
Before you invest in a CD, it's important to know what it is. A CD is a savings vehicle that offers a fixed rate of interest over a fixed period of time. Unlike savings accounts that allow you to withdraw money as you choose, CDs typically provide higher rates of return when you deposit money for a specific term – often from 3 months to 5 years. In general, the longer the term of the CD, the higher the interest rate you will receive.
What are the reasons you need to save and when will you need the money?
The decision on whether to invest in a CD depends on the reason you need to save and when you need your funds. For example, if you are saving for a down payment on a home, and you plan to buy the home in a few months, a CD wouldn't make sense. However, if you plan to buy the home in a year, a CD may be a great choice.
In general, CDs don't make sense if you think you'll need to access the money before the term expires.
What is the interest rate?
Interest rates vary per lender and CD term. When investing in CDs, you need to think about what may happen with rates. If rates are rising (as they currently are), you may want to invest in a shorter-term CD because you may get a higher return later. Similarly, if rates are falling, you may want to invest in a longer-term CD to lock in higher rates. CD rates vary by lender so you'll want to shop around.
What are the fees?
Most lenders do not offer fees to open CDs. Most charge pre-payment penalties, which means if you need to access the money before the term of the CD expires, you will have to pay a fee. The amount of that fee will vary by lender.
When does interest on your money compound?
CDs offer another advantage to help borrowers – compounding interest. Compounding means that interest earned is added to the balance in your CD. CDs may be compounded either daily or monthly.
How can you take advantage of the higher rates CDs offer without sacrificing liquidity?
One strategy savvy CD investors use is called laddering. Laddering involves opening multiple certificates of deposit (CDs) with different maturity dates. Then when a CD matures, you have the option to take the money or invest in another CD.
In short, investing in CDs can be a smart way to reach your savings goals.
What's not to love about receiving money? It's why millions and millions of people play the lottery each year. And while most won't be lucky enough to win the jackpot, they may very well receive money in a far more common way — getting a tax refund.
For some Americans, tax time is a time of excitement as they wait for a check in the mail or an electronic bank account deposit from Uncle Sam due to overpayment of their taxes. Because this money is often considered extra money, many people will use the funds to splurge — maybe take a vacation or install a big screen TV. But while those may be considered fun purchases, the excitement of having them often wears off pretty quickly.
If, however, you use your refund wisely, you can take advantage of long-lasting benefits. Here are some great suggestions for putting your tax refund to work for you all year long:
- Build an emergency fund. In these challenging economic times, many people live paycheck to paycheck. That makes managing unexpected expenses, such as car or home repairs difficult to manage. One way to protect yourself from unexpected expenses or losses in income is to have an emergency fund in a liquid savings account.
- Reduce debt. Do you have higher-interest credit card, auto loan, or other debt? Consider using your tax return to pay down your debt. It's always wise to pay off the highest-interest debt first.
- Make home improvements. Does your home need new windows or a new roof? Consider using your tax return money to finance these important home improvements, which can add value to your home.
- Make an energy-efficient purchase. Use your refund to purchase energy-efficient appliances, such as a dishwasher, dryer, or refrigerator, which can save you money all year long.
- Start a college savings plan. If you have children, consider using the funds to open an Education IRA or 529 college savings plan. Once you open the plan, arrange to invest in the fund on an ongoing a basis. Even a small amount of money each month will add up over time.
- Save for retirement. If you don't have a retirement plan through your employer, consider opening an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) with your refund check. Be sure to check with your tax advisor first.
- Pre-pay your mortgage. If you want to reduce the term of your loan and the amount of interest you will pay over the life of the loan, consider putting the funds from your tax return down on the principal of your mortgage.
The decision on how to best use your tax return depends on your unique financial situation. However, if you choose any of the options above, you're sure to win.
Say you’re looking for a job. You’ve found some you’re qualified for on a well-known employment website and you apply to a bunch of them. If you get a message saying “You’re hired! We just want some more info from you,” what’s your next move?
If you said, “Check out the company and the job by doing my own research before giving them any personal information,” that’s a great answer and a good first step.
It’s easier than ever to apply to lots of jobs with just a few clicks. It’s also incredibly easy for scammers to pose as legitimate employers. While there’s no sure-fire way to detect a job scam, there are important steps to take before giving anyone your money or personal information.
- Do your own research. Search the company and job name with the words “scam,” “complaint,” or “fraud.” You might find they’ve scammed other people. Scammers pretend to be both well-known and smaller companies, posting jobs on employment websites. So, reach out to the company directly using contact information you know is legit.
- Don’t pay to get a job. If someone says you’ve got the job, but you have to pay them for something — or if they say you have to deposit a check and send money back, those are scams. Period. No legitimate job will make you pay for expenses or fees to get the job.
- Never give personal info up front. Some scammers will try to get your bank account, routing, or Social Security number as soon as you’re in contact. They might say, “to set up your direct deposit.” Stop. That’s a scam.
- Talk to someone you trust before you take a job offer or business opportunity. Ask them what they think. Then listen to what they say.
If you think you’ve spotted a job scam, or if you’ve lost money to one, report it to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.
Information for this article was provided by the Federal Trade Commission.
Your valentine isn't the only one who should be receiving love this February. Your finances deserve some tender love and care as well. Here are four ways to show your money it matters.
Be money aware
One of the best things you can do for your finances is to know where your money is actually going. Reviewing your bank and credit card statements regularly will allow you to not only know your spending each month, but also see where you're prioritizing your spending. For example, you may not realize you're spending $600 per month on dining out or that you're paying for subscriptions you no longer use. Awareness is key to saving money and making sure you're spending the way you'd like. Our free online financial management tool, My Money, makes it easy to keep track of your money maintain your finances. Look for the My Money tab in your KS StateBank Online Banking account.
Review your credit score
Credit scores have a significant impact on your finances, affecting whether you are approved for loans, credit cards, and even housing. Your score is a reflection of how reliable you are when it comes to paying back your bills. It also affects how much you pay for services. To improve your credit score, always pay your bills on time, fix past due balances, and keep your balances on your credit cards low in comparison to your limit.
Pay your bills on time
Bills are an inevitable part of life. Avoid late fees, damage to your credit score, disruptions in your service, evictions, and a whole host of other issues by paying your bills on time. If you've had trouble paying your bills in a timely manner before, getting organized can help ensure you don't miss another payment. Write down what bills you have and when they're due, and set reminders so you don't forget. You can also set up automatic payments to ensure you pay on time, every time.
Pay more than the minimum
If possible, pay more than the minimum payments on credit cards and loans to reduce the overall amount of money you owe. For example, if your minimum student loan payment is $300 per month and you are able to pay $350 per month instead, you're paying $600 more per year, the equivalent of two additional payments. This will reduce the number of payments and the amount you pay in interest over the course of your loan.
Though Valentine's Day only comes once a year, you can show love to your money all year long by making it a priority. Check your progress and stay the course. You and your money are worth it!
Lots of us have profiles on online dating sites, apps or social media to find “the one.” But that interesting person who just messaged you could be a sweet-talking romance scammer trying to trick you into sending money.
Reports of romance scams continue to grow, and costing people a lot of money. According to Federal Trade Commission (FTC) data, reported lost money losses increased from $87 million in 2017 to $547 million in 2021.
In a sea of online profiles, romance scammers can be hard to detect. But, there are signs you can look out for. Scammers start by using someone else’s identity to create fake profiles. They’ll send you flattering messages to make a special connection, say all the right things, and gain your trust. They might claim to be a doctor, a servicemember, or an oil rig worker living overseas. They want to make future plans with you. But then, something comes up and they ask you for money to help them out. Which nearly always means asking you to buy gift cards (and give them the PIN, so they get the cash), or wiring them money.
Here’s the thing: Never send money or gifts to a love interest you haven’t actually met. It’s a romance scam.
- Stop communicating with the person immediately.
- Search online for the type of job the person says they have. See if other people have heard similar stories. For example, you could do a search for “oil rig scammer” or “US Army scammer.”
- Do a reverse image search of the person’s profile picture. If it’s associated with another name or with details that don’t match up, it’s a scam.
- Never wire money to a stranger, or pay anyone with gift cards. If someone asks you to wire money or pay with gift cards, report it to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.
Information for this article was provided by the Federal Trade Commission.
All KS StateBank locations will be closed on Monday, February 20 in observance of Presidents Day. We will reopen during regular hours on Tuesday, February 21.
It's a holiday leftover many of us carry around for months. It's not Aunt Edna's fruitcake or even those few extra pounds amassed from all the holiday treats. It's the excess credit card debt that comes from spending more than you can afford during the holiday season. Unfortunately, for many Americans, a few festive days of the year can result in mounds of depressing debt that can take months to shed.
If you find yourself with leftover holiday debt, here are some steps you can take:
- Stop the credit storm. If you can't purchase something with cash or your debit card, don't buy it. While it's important to have credit cards for emergencies, it's a good idea to put them on ice until you pay down your debt.
- Start digging out. On your credit card statement is the minimum payment amount you must make each month to cover finance charges. Always pay more than that amount. The more you pay, the faster you will pay down your balance. If you have multiple credit card accounts, focus on paying off the ones with the highest interest rates first.
- Consolidate higher-interest debt. Many credit card companies offer attractive balance transfer offers that come with low teaser rates, allowing you to transfer higher-interest balances to save on interest. Be sure to read the fine print so you know when the introductory rate expires and what the prevailing rate will be. It's also critical to close the accounts from which you transferred the debt. Many people make the mistake of keeping those cards and running up new balances, creating even more debt.
- Minimize your other spending. Take a close look at your monthly budget and see if you can cut your spending in other areas in order to pay more on your credit card debt. If you have the opportunity to make more money, either by picking up more hours at work or getting a second job, consider putting excess funds on your credit card debt.
- Stay the course. While it can be overwhelming to look at the debt you owe, the most important thing you can do is keep making payments. If you keep digging, you're sure to see a clear path toward credit card debt freedom.
The cost of going to college is on the rise and many students are in search of scholarships and federal student loans to help them pay for their education. 84% of first-year students receive financial aid and 66% apply using Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA).
Unfortunately, the high volume of scholarship and student loan applications also creates an opportunity for scam artists. More than $100 million is lost in scholarship scams every year and more than half of all students who applied for a private loan reported receiving a fraudulent loan, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
It’s important to stay vigilant and informed so you can avoid these scams. Here are a few thing you can do to protect yourself:
- Be wary of the information you share and where. Never share your FAFSA information
- Only solicit federal student loans from companies identified by the Department of Education
- Never pay to apply for college scholarships
If you or your family encounter suspected scholarship scams, report them immediately to the following government agencies:
- Federal Trade Commission
- U.S. Department of Education
- Federal Student Aid Information Center (FAFSA)
Information for this article was provided by the American Bankers Association.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
Our offices will be closed on Monday, January 16 in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. We will reopen during regular hours on Tuesday, January 17.
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