Grandfather holding grandchild outdoors.

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.



June 2024

What You Need to Know About Financial Caregivers
What is a financial caregiver?
A financial caregiver is someone you enlist to help manage your finances. For example, if you become ill, a caregiver can make sure you pay your bills on time, monitor your bank accounts, manage your investments, or file your taxes. Plan ahead and choose someone you trust before the need arises because life circumstances change as you get older.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that 2 out of every 5 older adults have a disability, while the Alzheimer’s Association reports that 1 in 3 seniors dies of Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. 

A financial caregiver can help you protect your finances when you’re unable to handle your own affairs because of declining health or if you just need some extra support.

What can my financial caregiver do?
A financial caregiver can:

  • Help you with day-to-day finances
  • Organize your financial records
  • Monitor your accounts to prevent financial exploitation, fraud, and identity theft
  • Identify benefits you are eligible to access
  • Plan for future financial needs
  • The relationship you have with your caregiver will likely evolve over time, but always remember: you are in control of your finances. Your money should always be kept separate from your caregiver’s money.
Who should be your financial caregiver?
A financial caregiver should be someone you trust to carry out your wishes. Many people often rely on a family member or close friend; others rely on professional money managers. No matter who you choose, consider someone who is comfortable handling a lot of details and is efficient in meeting deadlines. You’ll want to identify someone who can communicate well with various groups of people, including both financial professionals and other family members. It’s best to have someone who is in good health, reliable, and can attend to your needs.

Enlisting a person who doesn’t know how to handle money, is in trouble with the law, or suffers from declining mental or physical health would not be an optimal choice.

Where can I learn more?
Check out the following resources:
This article was provided by the American Bankers Association.


Banking With Third-Party Apps
What to know about fintech, banking relationships, and deposit insurance
Technology has continued to transform the business of banking in recent years. Traditionally, consumers opened deposit accounts directly with banks (whether in-person, on the bank’s website, or through the bank’s mobile app). The easiest way for most consumers to have confidence that their money is safe continues to be opening an account directly with insured depository institutions, like FDIC-insured banks and savings associations.

Increasingly, some consumers are choosing to open accounts through nonbank companies (typically online or through mobile apps), such as technology companies providing financial services (often referred to as fintech companies), that may or may not have business relationships with banks. If and how a bank is involved is key to understanding whether or not your money is protected by deposit insurance. However, in some cases, it is not always clear to consumers if they are dealing directly with an FDIC-insured bank or with a nonbank company.

FDIC deposit insurance coverage
If you open a deposit account directly with an FDIC-insured bank, you are insured for up to at least $250,000 by the FDIC, which is backed by the full faith and credit of the United States government.

Most banks offer online and mobile banking options, in addition to having branches, giving you the ability to conduct your banking at a branch or while you are at home or on the go. Online or in person, bank customers with deposits at FDIC-insured banks benefit from deposit insurance coverage.

Nonbank companies
But what if you open an account with a nonbank company that says it will deposit your money in an FDIC-insured bank? Will you be eligible for FDIC deposit insurance coverage? The short answer is: it depends.

It is important to be aware that nonbank companies themselves are never FDIC-insured. Even if they claim to work with FDIC-insured banks, funds you send to a nonbank company are not eligible for FDIC insurance until the company deposits them in an FDIC-insured bank and after other conditions are met. If the nonbank company deposited your funds in a bank, then, in the unlikely event of the bank’s failure, you may be eligible for what is referred to as “pass-through” FDIC-deposit insurance coverage. However, the nonbank company must take certain actions for your funds to be eligible for FDIC insurance.

For example, after the nonbank places your funds on deposit at a bank, records must be kept to identify who owns the money and the specific amount that each person owns. Ownership of the money is important and is typically determined by the applicable deposit account agreements and state law. There are other requirements as well. It is important to make sure you read the disclosures and terms of service carefully to understand if the account may be eligible for FDIC insurance.

However, FDIC deposit insurance does not protect against the insolvency or bankruptcy of a nonbank company. In such cases, while consumers may be able to recover some or all of their funds through an insolvency or bankruptcy proceeding, often handled by a court, such recovery may take some time. As a result, you may want to be particularly careful about where you place your funds, especially money that you rely on to meet your regular day-to-day living expenses.

Nonbank companies, including fintechs, may offer a variety of financial products and services. They may or may not offer access to deposit products at banks that are FDIC-insured. If a nonbank company claims to offer access to products that it states are FDIC-insured, you should identify the specific FDIC-insured bank or banks where they say they will deposit your funds. You can confirm that the bank they claim to be working with is FDIC-insured using BankFind. If technology glitches happen with the services provided by a nonbank company, such as at its app or website, you may experience error messages, slow response times, or site crashes that temporarily impede access to your accounts or other mobile banking services. Be sure to contact the nonbank company’s customer service as soon as possible to help resolve the issue.

How can I avoid fake banks and apps?
You should be aware of the potential for scams and be vigilant about protecting your money. Scammers often create fake websites that are so similar to bank websites, they can easily trick consumers into providing personal information or money. Scammers have also developed fake apps that contain malware. When you download the app, the malware steals personal information from your device or locks it, holding it for ransom until you pay the scammers. Be careful of apps or websites that ask for suspicious permissions, such as granting access to your contacts, text messages, stored passwords, or credit card information.

To determine whether you are dealing with an FDIC-insured bank and check whether the URL is in the FDIC’s records, you can use our BankFind tool. Because many FDIC-insured banks have provided URLs for their websites, if a website is listed in the FDIC’s records then you can be more confident that it is run by a bank. You can also contact the FDIC at 877-ASK-FDIC (877-275-3342) from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, or 8:00 am to 1:00 pm ET Saturday, to report a suspected scam.

In addition, you can call an FDIC deposit insurance expert at 1-877-ASK-FDIC or email the FDIC through their website, ask.fdic.gov. FDIC deposit insurance experts are happy to help confirm whether or not you are dealing with an FDIC-insured bank and assist you with any deposit insurance-related questions.

It is important to understand who you are dealing with before turning your money over or sharing personal information. If you send money to a scammer or fraudster, it may be difficult or impossible to recover your money. Knowing the characteristics of impostor scams and fake bank websites and apps can help you avoid becoming a victim.

This article was provided by FDIC Consumer News.


Upcoming Federal Holidays

Juneteenth
KS StateBank branches and offices will be closed on Wednesday, June 19 in honor of Juneteenth. We will reopen during regular hours on Thursday, June 20. 

Independence Day
Our branches and offices will also be closed on Thursday, July 4 for Independence Day. We'll reopen on Friday, July 5 during regular hours.

  



May 2024

Important Things to Know About Home Equity Lines of Credit Before You Borrow
There are so many benefits of owning a home, like having control over where you live and the opportunity to build equity in a valuable asset. That equity also offers another benefit – the ability to borrow to finance life’s expenses with a home equity line of credit or HELOC for short. HELOCs can be a smart way to finance life’s expenses. But before you apply for one, make sure you understand how they work. Let’s take a look:

What is a home equity line of credit? A home equity line of credit essentially is a second mortgage on your home secured by the equity in your home, which is the value of your home minus the amount you owe on your mortgage. It’s a revolving line that allows you to borrow and repay funds over and again.

How do HELOCs work? With a HELOC, you have a 10-year draw period to borrow funds. During that time, you’ll only have to make minimum, payments of interest. After the draw period, your line will enter repayment when you must make fixed monthly payments of principal and interest. After the 10 years are up, you can choose to continue with the HELOC by refinancing it for another 10 years or pay it off.

How is interest charged? When you get a home equity line of credit, you’ll have a maximum line amount, the total amount you can borrow. You will only pay interest on the amount of your line that you use.

Avoid a job change while applying for a mortgage. During the approval process, lenders will look at your employment history. Changing jobs during the mortgage process could impact your ability to qualify, so try to wait until after you close on the home.

HELOCs offer variable rates tied to an index, such as the Prime rate. When that index changes, your interest rate will change as well.

What types of expenses are ideal for HELOCs? HELOCs are ideal if you want to borrow over time to meet ongoing expenses. For example, you may want to use a HELOC to make home improvements or as a safety net to help you prepare for unexpected expenses.

What’s the difference between a home equity line of credit and a home equity loan? A home equity loan also lets you borrow with your home’s equity. However, unlike a HELOC, a home equity loan disburses funds in a lump sum. In addition, while HELOCs offer a variable interest rate, home equity loans offer a fixed interest rate for a fixed term. That means you’ll have to make fixed monthly payments of principal and interest for the duration of your loan. Please note that KS StateBank does not currently offer home equity loans.

Wondering if a HELOC is right for you? We’re here to help you decide. Call us or stop by your nearest branch.


Let’s Talk About Spam Texts and Emails
Another day, another round of spam texts and emails trying to sell you things. At best, spam is annoying. At worst, it’s pushing scams or trying to install malware on your device. If you’re tired of getting spam, there are some ways to help.

When scammers send spammy messages that seem legit (but aren’t), they’re often trying to trick you into clicking links and giving them personal or financial information. Things like your passwords or bank account and Social Security numbers are valuable to scammers. With that access to your accounts, scammers could try to steal your money or your identity. Or both.


To help you cut down on spam and avoid scams:

  • Use filters. Your mobile phone probably has options to filter and block texts from unknown senders. Some wireless providers and call blocking apps can also help block unwanted messages. Many popular email providers (like Gmail) have strong spam filters turned on by default. But if any spam gets into your inbox, mark it as spam or junk.
  • Protect your personal information. Before you enter personal information on a website, email, or text chain, stop. Ask yourself: Why do they need this information? And what’s going to happen to it? Remember, too: never share your Social Security number with someone who reaches out to you.
  • Unsubscribe from unwanted emails. Getting fewer unwanted emails helps you avoid clicking on links that can lead to a phishing attack.
  • Report unwanted messages. Unwanted messages often lead to scams. Report them. Use your phone’s “report junk” option or forward unwanted texts to 7726 (SPAM) and unwanted emails to your email provider.

Learn more about how to get fewer spam texts and emails. If you spot a scam, report it to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

This article was provided by the Federal Trade Commission.


Memorial Day
We will be closed on Monday, May 27 in honor of Memorial Day and in remembrance of those who gave their lives serving in the United States Armed Forces.




April 2024

Travel Tips: Bon Voyage
Safe travels with your money
Considering a vacation soon? In the rush of preparing for travel, it is easy to forget the steps you should take to protect your finances while you are away. Here are some ways to avoid money-related travel issues, save money on fees, and greatly improve your chances for a safe, pleasant journey. 

Decide on the amount of cash or credit you may need on the trip
For your own security, it is not a good idea to take large sums of cash anywhere. If lost or stolen, you cannot replace it. Only carry enough cash for local transit, tips, and other small expenses. Use credit cards when you can, because they are readily accepted by merchants worldwide and can easily be replaced if lost or stolen. If you need cash fast, even in a foreign country, you can usually get it from an automated teller machine (ATM) using most of the same cards you use back home. Before you travel, ask your bank about any fees, such as an ATM or foreign transaction fees, they may charge for using your debit or credit card at your destination. Read more about Overdraft and Account Fees here. Some suggestions to consider:

  • If you plan to get cash using a credit card at an ATM, you can incur hefty fees. Using your debit card to get cash from an ATM may cost you less.
  • If you’re traveling out of the country, when you pay for purchases, you are likely to fare better on the exchange rate (how much your U.S. dollars will be worth in a foreign country) if you use a credit card or a debit card (and choose the “credit” option) instead of converting your cash to local currency.
    • If you do convert currency, the fee is usually the same whether you exchange $10 or $100, so convert larger, rather than smaller, amounts.
    • Always exchange money in a safe place and put it away in your wallet or purse immediately. Divide and store your cash in multiple safe locations when you can. This can reduce the likelihood of losing all your cash in the event of theft.
  • In addition to your bank (debit/ATM) card, take at least two major credit cards with available credit that should meet your foreseeable needs. If you are traveling internationally, make sure the cards you bring are widely accepted where you are going. Some cards are more widely accepted internationally than others. Leave unnecessary credit cards secured at home.
  • If your card does not have foreign transaction and/or currency conversion fees when making purchases or taking money out of an ATM, choose the local currency during the process. Let your financial institution do the currency exchange, which will be more in your favor than if you convert the currency at the time of checkout.
Stash your valuables
Before leaving, consider putting jewelry and other valuable items in a safe deposit box at your financial institution. Other options may include a secured safe in your home or trusted relative or friends.

Copy important documents and make a list of important numbers
Make two copies of your passport identification page, driver’s license, vehicle registration, airline, or other tickets, and your itinerary. Leave one copy at home with a relative or friend, and carry the other one with you separately from the items themselves. Do the same with your list of important numbers, which might include phone numbers for your credit cards, bank, property insurance, and health insurance companies.

It is not a good idea to include credit card numbers or your Social Security number on this list, because the information could fall into the wrong hands, and be sure to carry the list with you; do not pack it.

Understand what credit card blocking is about
Credit card blocking most often occurs when you rent a car or check into a hotel and present your credit card. The clerk can electronically ask the bank that issued the card to “block” (reserve) part of your line of credit to cover the expected cost before you use it for other vacation purchases. If it is a hotel, what is usually blocked on arrival is the cost of your room for the length of stay, plus incidental expenses you may incur, like meals and phone calls. In the case of rental cars, it could be the cost of the rental plus fuel charges. There is nothing sinister or illegal about it, as long as the amount blocked is not out of line with what the customer is likely to pay at the end of the transaction.

If you leave on vacation with your credit card near the limit or if you are a business traveler who spends long periods on the road, you should be aware of credit blocking. Any additional transactions you attempt after you hit your credit limit could be rejected.

To learn more about credit card blocking, visit the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) webpage, When a Company Declines Your Credit or Debit Card.

Pay bills before you leave, if possible
You do not want essential services to be cut off while you are away on a long trip. Check the due dates on all bills, especially utilities and auto insurance, to see if payments will come due in your absence. If so, make those payments before you leave or pay them online from wherever you are (set a reminder and be mindful of time differences). Placing bills on auto pay may be an option too.

An upcoming trip is also a good reason to consider signing up for direct deposit, if you have not already done so. With direct deposit, you do not have to worry about possible theft of the checks by mail and you know the funds will be in your account on a certain date, a comforting thought whether you are away or at home.

Protect yourself from thieves and scammers who target travelers
Here are some precautions:
  • Do not flaunt your cash, charge cards, fancy clothes or expensive jewelry (even expensive-looking jewelry). Robbers or thieves could be among the people you may be impressing. Avoid pickpockets by making sure your bag or purse is closed, and try to have it in front of you in your view whenever possible.
  • Call your credit card companies to place a travel alert, so they know you will be out of town and can expect to see certain charges. If you're traveling with your debit card, you should also contact your bank.
  • Always take your credit and debit/ATM card receipts with you, and never give anyone your personal identification number (PIN). All contain information about your account that a thief can use to get cash or make purchases. If your cards are lost or stolen in the U.S. or abroad, immediately report this to your bank or card issuer. In general, federal law limits your liability for unauthorized charges on a credit or debit card if your card is lost or stolen, but you must notify the bank or card issuer within certain timeframes.
  • At hotels, keeping your extra cash, jewelry, passport and other valuables in the hotel safe might add an additional level of security compared to leaving it out. However, some hotel safes may have a master key or a special override code to open the door. When a hotel safe has a way for someone other than you to get in, your stored items are not completely safe. Make sure you remember to take the valuables out of the safe when you leave.
  • While you may not enjoy hanging out at airports, thieves do. They know airports are full of tired, hurried, or confused travelers carrying cash, credit cards and other valuables. This kind of theft usually occurs near ticket counters, X-ray machines, baggage check and claim areas, rest rooms or vending areas. The basic advice: stay alert.
Banks, card companies, express delivery services and other businesses are there to help
If the unexpected occurs, there are many ways to get emergency cash or arrange for payments practically anywhere in the world. A nearby bank can arrange for a cash advance using a major credit card; however, it is important to understand the fees and interest charges associated with the transaction. You also can ask the bank to have money transferred electronically from your bank or brokerage account back home. Alternatively, see if the bank can safely deliver traveler’s checks and money orders or wire funds to your hotel or other location. If your wallet is lost or stolen, call your bank or credit card issuers immediately to report any lost or stolen cards.

Keeping these tips in mind will help you avoid money-related issues during travel, save on fees, and reduce your stress, so you can enjoy a pleasant journey.

This article was provided by FDIC Consumer News.


Check Washing and Check Theft Scams
The United States Postal Inspection Service recovers more than $1 BILLION in fraudulent checks and money orders each year. If you mailed a check that was paid, but the recipient never received it, criminals may have stolen it.

Fraudsters are targeting paper checks sent through the mail. Once they have a check that you mailed, they use chemicals to “wash” the check allowing them to change the amount or make themselves the payee. Then, they deposit or cash your check and steal your money.

Postal Inspectors across the country work hard to protect your mail. Help Postal Inspectors keep the mail safe by following these tips.

How to Protect Your Mail
  • Get your mail promptly after delivery. Don’t leave it in your mailbox overnight.
  • If you’re heading out of town, ask the post office to hold your mail until you return.
  • Sign up for informed delivery at USPS.com. It sends you daily email notifications of incoming mail and packages.
  • Contact the sender if you don’t receive mail that you’re expecting.
  • Consider buying security envelopes to conceal the contents of your mail.
  • Use the letter slots inside your Post Office to send mail.
How to Protect Your Checks
  • Use pens with indelible black ink so it is more difficult for a criminal to wash your checks.
  • Don’t leave blank spaces in the payee or amount lines.
  • Don’t write personal details, such as your Social Security number, credit card information, driver's license number or phone number on checks.
  • Use mobile or online banking to access copies of your checks and ensure they are not altered. While logged in, review your bank activity and statements for errors.
  • If your bank provides an image of a paid check, review the back of the check to ensure the indorsement information is correct and matches the intended payee, since criminals will sometimes deposit your check unaltered.
  • Consider using e-check, ACH automatic payments and other electronic and/or mobile payments.
  • Follow up with payees to make sure that they received your check.
What to do if You’re a Victim
File a report immediately with:
  • Your bank and request copies of all fraudulent checks
  • Your local police department
  • The United States Postal Inspection Service at uspis.gov/report or call 1-877-876-2455
This article was provided by the American Bankers Association.




March 2024

Take Charge of Your Money
Your relationship with money can get very complicated, especially when you feel like you don’t have enough. Things can get even more complicated if you are not mindful about your behaviors, like spending money impulsively, living beyond your means, and racking up costly debt.

Rest assured, though, your relationship with money doesn’t have to be complicated if you take control of it. Here are some quick tips to help you accomplish that:  

  1. Face your money challenges head on. If you’re struggling with managing money, it could be that you’ve avoided dealing with your finances. Take an honest assessment of your financial life to see where you’re struggling. Do you have any savings? Or are you living paycheck to paycheck? Do you have debt that’s straining your budget?
  1. Start budgeting to take charge of your spending. To create your budget, record all your monthly expenses, such as your rent/mortgage, car payments, and living expenses. Then, deduct the total amount of those expenses from your monthly income. If your expenses exceed your income, cut them. Start by categorizing expenses by “needs” (like food, utilities, housing) and “wants” (like subscription services and dining out) and start eliminating/reducing those wants.
  1. Avoid debt. With soaring interest rates, credit card debt can be a budget killer. Take stock of your debt and the interest rates charged, and pay off the balances with the highest rates first. Use your credit cards only for things you can afford and pay the full balance each cycle to avoid costly interest fees.
  1. Save, save, save. If you were given a piggy bank at some point in your youth, it was for a good reason: to teach you the importance of saving. Saving is easy if you make it a habit. You can do that by setting aside money each month to save and putting it in a separate account that you only access for emergencies or planned goals.
  1. Set short-and long-term goals. Think about what you want in your financial life. It may be to buy a home, retire early, or to get rid of student loan debt. Once you know your goals, determine the steps you can take to make them happen. For example, if you want to buy a home, plan to save so much money a month or to use tax return money to help boost your down payment savings.
With a little focus and effort, you can achieve the financial success and independence you deserve. Any way you look at it, that’s a big win.


The Couple That Invests Together...
How to achieve financial compromise in your relationship
Making investment decisions is challenging for anyone. However, when you're part of a couple, the challenge is even greater. Though you and your partner may share the same dreams and goals for your life, you may not share the same investment approach to meeting them. For example, one of you may be an aggressive investor while the other may prefer a more conservative approach. One of you may be actively involved in managing finances, while the other may prefer not to be involved.
 
The challenge lies in finding a way to compromise. Here are some strategies that could help:

  • Talk about it. Open communication is key to the health and long-term success of a relationship. It's also helpful when it comes to your joint finances. Carve out some quiet time to talk about your individual financial goals and dreams for the future.
  • Find a middle ground. It's likely that you and your spouse will share a lot of the same goals. There may, however, be differences in how you approach them. For example, one of you may dream about early retirement, while the other may want to continue working for as long as they can. Try to find a middle ground.
  • Prioritize and budget for your goals. Once you have a list of goals, determine which are the most important to you both. Then, think about how much you will need to achieve those goals. If you each want to save for college for a child, estimate tuition costs in the future. If you're planning for retirement, you'll have to really think about what kind of retirement you each want and make an estimate of what you need.
  • Understand your current investments. It's not uncommon for one partner to take a more active role in financial management. While that may work well for your relationship, it's still important that the financially passive partner have a basic understanding of your finances, accounts, holdings, insurance policies, providers, and contact information. This will ease the burden if something were to happen to the financial manager.
  • Understand each other's risk tolerance. Though one partner may be more actively involved in money management, you should be aware of the other's feelings about risk — and work to compromise on how investment decisions are made. If, for example, you're an aggressive investor and your partner is more conservative, you need to work out your differences before investing. You could compromise by investing in mutual funds or exchange-traded funds or by investing smaller amounts.
  • Consult with a neutral third-party. In some circumstances, it may benefit you and your partner to sit down with a neutral financial professional who can help you make decisions to manage your individual preferences.
By taking these steps and making your finances a priority, you and your partner can get to where you want to be...together.




February 2024

Starting Small Can Lead to Big Savings
Do you have accumulated debt, perhaps from student loans, credit cards or car loans? Do you want to set aside savings for future needs? There are simple strategies for gradually building small savings into large sums. Here are some ways to help you begin to save or build up your savings.
 
Save for specific goals
You should have a savings plan for future expenses that you anticipate — perhaps education costs, a home or car purchase, starting a small business, or preparing for retirement (whether that may be a few years or several decades away).
 
Also, consider setting a goal to build up an “emergency” fund that would cover at least six months of living expenses to help get through a difficult time, such as a job loss, major car repairs, or unexpected medical expenses not covered by insurance.
 
Commit to saving money regularly
If specific goals seems out of reach for you, any amount you can put in savings will help provide a cushion against future financial hard times or big purchases. This is important for everyone, but especially if you are supporting yourself financially. Even if you do not make a big salary or have a steady source of income, the combination of consistently adding to savings and the compounding of interest can bring dramatic results over time.
 
Aim to save a minimum percentage of your paycheck and over time, try to increase the amount you put aside as you pay down other debts. Putting aside a set amount on an ongoing basis is known as “paying yourself first,” because you are saving before you are tempted to spend. If you cannot afford to save a specific percent of your earnings, begin with any amount you can afford, no matter how small. Once you see that you can manage your expenses while also saving, try to increase the amount you contribute to your savings at every opportunity.
 
Put your savings on autopilot
Make saving money quick and easy by having your employer direct-deposit part or all of your paycheck into an FDIC-insured savings account. Your employer or your financial institution may be able to set this up for you. As you pay off debt, switch to making those monthly “payments” to yourself.
 
Make use of tax-advantaged retirement accounts and matching funds
Look into your retirement savings options at work, which may come with matching contributions from your employer. It is possible that allocating part of your paycheck to your retirement account will not reduce your take-home pay significantly, particularly when you consider what you may save in income taxes. In addition, the sooner you start saving money in a retirement account, the more you can take advantage of compound interest. If you have contributed the maximum at work or if your employer does not have a retirement savings program, consider establishing your own IRA (Individual Retirement Account) with a financial institution and make regular transfers into it. Remember that you can set up an automatic transfer from a checking account into a regular savings account or an IRA savings account (or both).
 
Separating savings for certain purposes
Consider keeping emergency savings in a separate FDIC-insured savings account instead of a checking account, so that you can better resist the urge to raid the funds for everyday expenses. Be sure to develop a plan to replenish any withdrawals from your emergency fund. For large purchases that you hope to make years from now, consider certificates of deposit or U.S. Savings Bonds. These generally earn more interest than a basic savings account, because you agree to keep the funds untouched for a period of time.
 
For future college expenses, look into 529 plans, which provide an easy way to save for college expenses and may offer tax benefits.
 
For healthcare expenses, find out whether you are eligible for a “health savings account,” a tax-advantaged way for people enrolled in high-deductible health insurance plans to save for medical expenses.
 
Think about ways to cut your expenses
For your financial services, research lower-cost checking accounts at your bank and some competitors. More broadly, look at your monthly expenses for everything from food to phones and think about ways to save. If you are spending more than your means, read an earlier FDIC Consumer News article “Time to Take a New Look at Your Money Habits.”
 
Even if you find yourself with very little savings for immediate needs, starting small can move you toward your savings goals. These simple strategies can help you gradually build your savings into large sums.
 
This article was provided by FDIC Consumer News.
 
 
The IRS Doesn't Send Tax Refunds by Email or Text
The Federal Trade Commission is warning consumers about tax refund scams. Read more from their recent consumer alert.

Got an email or text message about a tax refund? It’s a scam.

IRS impersonators are at it again. This time, the scammers are sending messages about your “tax refund” or “tax refund e-statement.” It might look legit, but it’s an email or text fake, trying to trick you into clicking on links so they can steal from you. How? They tell you to click a link — supposedly to check on your “tax refund e-statement” or “fill out a form to get your refund.” But it’s a scam and if you click that link, the scammer might steal your identity or put malware on your phone or computer.

If someone contacts you unexpectedly about a tax refund, the most important thing to know is that the real IRS won’t contact you by email, text message, or social media to get your personal or financial information. Only scammers will.
 
If someone does reach out, here’s what to do:

  • Never click on any links, which can put malware on your computer or phone, letting scammers steal from you.
  • Check the status of any pending refund on the IRS official website. Visit Where’s My Refund to see if you’re really getting a refund.
  • Share what you know. By telling your friends and family members about the scam, you can help protect your community.
If you clicked on a link in one of these messages, or you shared personal or financial information, report it at IdentityTheft.gov to get a free, customized recovery plan.

If you see this or any other a scam, even if you didn’t lose money, report it to the FTC at ReportFraud@ftc.gov.
 
This article was provided by the Federal Trade Commission.
 
 
Presidents Day
All KS StateBank locations will be closed on Monday, February 19 in observance of Presidents Day. We will reopen during regular hours on Tuesday, February 20.
 
 

 

January 2024

Celebrate Financial Wellness Month
It's the start of a fresh and promising new year; the time to take a breath, think about your goals, and focus on your health and well-being, especially after the stress, bustle, and expense of the holiday season. That's the reason the month of January is home to an important event – Financial Wellness Month.   

The annual awareness initiative serves as a helpful reminder about the vital role finances play in our lives and the "healthy" financial habits we can build to manage money today and achieve our goals for the future.  

Here are some ways you can celebrate Financial Wellness Month in 2024 and beyond:  
 
Track/Manage your expenses. Did you create a budget during the year? And if so, did you stay within it? If you didn’t create one, make budgeting part of your plans for the new year. It’s pretty easy. Simply review all your expenses and your income. Then, look for ways to cut costs and save more. Once you build your budget, track it each month and make adjustments as needed.

Create a budget.
After you review your expenses, look at your income and determine how much money you have left over for the things you want to do. If it’s not enough money, go back and cut your expenses or look for ways to increase your income like a part-time job or side hustle.

Make saving part of your monthly budget. You never know the importance of having savings until you get surprised by an unexpected bill or event (such as a job loss). Make saving money a habit every month, even if you can only save a little. To help you save, have the funds direct deposited or automatically transferred to your savings account.

Assess your short- and long-term goals. What are your financial goals for the new year and over the next few years? For example, if you want to buy a home, you’ll need to create a savings plan to help with the down payment. Also, consider your long-term plans like retirement. Are you contributing to your company’s retirement plan? Are you taking advantage of matching contributions if your company offers them?
 
Stay on top of your credit. Credit is essential to helping you reach your financial goals. A good credit score will make it easier for you to qualify for a car loan or mortgage and can help you earn lower rates. To maintain a good credit score, always pay your bills on time, keep your balances to a minimum, and don’t open too many credit accounts.
 
Get rid of high-interest credit card debt. With soaring inflation, it’s very easy to use credit to pay for things you need. Remember that credit cards carry extraordinarily high interest rates on revolving balances. As part of your financial wellness, look closely at your debt and focus on paying it down. You could even consolidate your debt with a lower-interest credit card.
 
Build your financial literacy. The more you know about money, the easier it will be to save, borrow, and plan for the future. Take advantage of the wealth of blogs and financial tools available today to boost your financial literacy.

It’s never too late to improve your financial wellness. Get off to a great start in the new year by making your finances a priority.


What's in Your Wallet?
5 Things to Carry in Your Wallet
It's always by your side; one of those rare and precious things in life that you hold close. Yet, most of us never really know how much we need and appreciate it until it's gone.

It's your wallet.

And if you've ever had the unfortunate experience of losing it, having it stolen, or even temporarily misplacing it, you know how scary that can be, especially if your wallet ended up in the wrong hands.

One of the best ways to protect yourself is to know exactly what you have in your wallet and include only what you need. There are only a few things you actually do need, including:

  1. Driver's License. You need a driver's license to operate a motor vehicle, board a flight, or simply to provide identification, so make sure you have it with you at all times.
  2. Cash. Although it seems like we are moving toward a cashless society, it's important to always have cash with you in case you can't find an ATM or need to purchase something from an establishment that does not accept credit cards.
  3. Debit card. Your debit card allows you to get cash at the ATM, but also can be used to make purchases. Plus, when you carry your debit card, you won't need to carry large amounts of cash in your wallet, which can make you more vulnerable to theft.
  4. Credit card. You may also need a credit card in the event of an emergency or unexpected expense, such as car repairs when you are away from home.
  5. Insurance card. If you experience a medical emergency or even have to go to the doctor, you'll need to present your insurance card.
There are some things you should NEVER carry in your wallet, including:

  1. Social Security card. In the wrong hands, your Social Security number could allow an identity thief to open accounts in your name.
  2. A house key. A thief will not only be able to figure out where your home is, but also get into it.
  3. Blank checks. A thief could forge your signature and steal money from your bank account.
  4. Your debit card PIN or other security passwords. If you have to write this information down, leave it at home in a secure place where others can't see it.
  5. Multiple department store cards. If you have department store credit cards that allow you to save, don't carry them all with you. Bring only the card you need to shop.
Greater security is in your hands.
See what's in your wallet today. It might save you a whole lot of money and aggravation down the road.


Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
All KS StateBank locations be closed on Monday, January 15 in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. We will reopen during regular hours on Tuesday, January 16.





















Couple meeting with finance banker.
High-Balance Deposits

Have peace of mind knowing we can assist you to obtain access to multi-million-dollar FDIC protection.