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Iowa State Bank Blog

Senior Financial Self-Defense

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May is Older Americans Month and Iowa State Bank wants the older citizens in our community to be aware of the scams that are out there and how to be financially aware. Your best weapon against financial fraud is educating yourself about common scams. We want to help you learn about how to protect yourself from financial fraud and scams during Older Americans Month.

Scams and fraud targeted at senior citizens to be aware of:

Reverse Mortgages- Reverse mortgage scams are becoming more common in the United States each year. The aim of most reverse mortgage scams is to take the equity from the homes of senior citizens because they are more likely to own the home. Fraudsters also target senior citizens to unwillingly aid in the stealing of equity in a renovated property. If you are contacted about a reverse mortgage, be cautious of the “deal” being offered by the company or person.

Investment Schemes- Whether you are at retirement age or beyond, investment schemes are common for senior citizens. Senior citizens are targeted for attack because fraudsters know you have saved up money for retirement. Be cautious of phone calls, telemarketers and people knocking at your door inquiring about your retirement funds and investment opportunities. Be aware that all “opportunities” may not be as great as they are made out to be.

Lunch & Learn Programs- Keep the phrase “there’s no such thing as a free lunch” in mind. A sales pitch will follow the meal, so be ready. Don’t give out any personal information, and don’t put too much stock in what is being said. The presenter knows his product and the wealth demographics associated with your zip code, not your unique financial situation.

Iowa State Bank cares about our customers of all ages, so it is best for everyone to watch for these frauds and scams. If you have questions about our services, contact us today to learn more.

Financial Tips for Graduates

Paid education. Graduate cap on a pile of money

May brings an exciting time with spring in full bloom and graduation season at hand. High school and college graduations mark a significant step in a young person’s life, whether they are leaving high school behind or getting ready to join the real world.


Financial responsibility is an important skill for new graduates because it will help them budget throughout their entire life. Your graduate will face unique monetary challenges in college or in adjusting to the world outside of school, so Iowa State Bank is here to help. We’ve put together this “gift basket” of financial wisdom to help the graduate in your life stay financially responsible and live a little easier as they transition in life.


A Few Financial Tips for our Graduates

  • Student and other loans- sure, an extra little bit of money couldn’t hurt. Or can it? Borrow only what you need, whether it’s for tuition or replacing a totaled vehicle. Anything extra is just more interest you will have to pay out of your pocket.
  • Be smart during your grace period- if you’ve just graduated from college, you will most likely have a six-month grace period before you have to start loan payments. Be sure you are taking this time to save money and create a smart budget to incorporate loan payments.
  • Save for emergencies- cars need repairs, you can get sick or injured or you can even lose your job. Having money stashed away for these emergencies will help you keep your head above water.
  • Easy on the credit cards- you’ll be targeted by credit card companies with offers that seem too good to be true, because they are. Credit cards should be used almost exclusively for emergencies, and only if you know you will be able to pay the balance off quickly.


We’re not saying you will never face financial difficulties if you follow these rules. Life happens, and new costs can pop up at inconvenient times. However, if you have a solid financial foundation established, you can make it through just about anything.


Iowa State Bank would be glad to help our high school and college graduates any way we can. Don’t hesitate to call or come by any of our locations today for help!


Working Towards Owning the Home of Your Dreams

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Everyone’s idea of a perfect home is different. For some it may mean a nice two-story home surrounded by neighbors, while others prefer something outside the city limits with more room and bigger outdoor space. No matter what your definition is, there is a common factor in the home you want to purchase: the need for a mortgage from Iowa State Bank.


At Iowa State Bank, we are in the business of helping people just like you be able to afford your ideal dream home.


Some banks use one-size-fits all mortgages or have standard options that you have to fit into to qualify for a home loan. Iowa State Bank is different. When you call us for help with your mortgage, we take the time to learn about your unique situation, and then make the best recommendations based on what will work for you and your financial needs.


From our Rate Watch to our Mortgage Calculators, we want to bring you the latest technology to make mortgage lending easier at Iowa State Bank. The loan officers at Iowa State Bank are here to help you find the mortgage you need for the home you want.


For a lot of people, mortgages can be confusing.


  • Fixed-rate,
  • Adjustable rate,
  • 15, 20 and 30-year mortgages


Our friendly and experienced loan officers can help clear the confusion and help you feel more confident about your home buying decision.


After searching and finally finding a home that fits your family perfectly, getting the ideal mortgage shouldn’t be a difficult process. Not only is owning your own home a huge step in life, it is part of the American Dream! You and your family deserve to live a home that perfectly fits your needs.


Call or come by any of our branches in Burlington, Wapello, Morning Sun or Mount Union to speak with our home lenders today. Iowa State Bank specializes in mortgage lending, so set up an appointment with a loan officer today, just in time for home buying season.


Home Buying Mistakes You Can’t Afford to Make

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There are some things in life that don’t require much thought or preparation to purchase: soap, a gallon of milk or paper towels. You buy these things because you need them; they’re cheap and readily available.


On the other hand, a large purchase, like a new home, requires research and preparation. Here are some common mistakes from the home lending experts at Iowa State Bank.


Falling in love with a house- it’s easy to get caught up in all the great things a house has to offer. Stick to your budget and prioritize your needs to keep from straying off course.


Making a down payment that is less than 20 percent- do this, and you’re looking at the additional cost of private mortgage insurance.


Forgetting about all the costs- this is especially true if you are buying your first home. When purchasing, there’s your down payment, principal with interest, property taxes, homeowners insurance, utilities, appraisal fee, credit report fees, escrow fee up front and then any maintenance costs once the home is yours. Plan wisely.


Buying a home you can’t afford- a no brainer, right? Then why do so many people do it? Take time to crunch the numbers, and don’t forget those additional costs we talked about!


Buying if you aren’t staying put- renting is great for those that move around a lot; purchasing a home is not. If you’re buying a home, make sure you’re ready to put down some roots.


Buying a home is a big deal, as are the consequences that go along with not preparing in a realistic manner. If your family is ready to purchase a home, contact the home lenders at Iowa State Bank today to set up an appointment. We specialize in helping you find the home of your dreams with affordable home lending options.

Prep Your Finances for Home Buying Season

House with twenty dollar bills background and calculator

Whether you are buying your first home or it’s your third time around, there are always several points you need to keep in mind before you say “yes” to the dream home. Prepping your finances for home buying season is the most important thing you can do before you buy a home.

Iowa State Bank wants to help make your home buying experience easy with our mortgage and rate watch options. Now, we have a few tips for you to prep your finances for home buying season.

Tips for Prepping your Finances:

  1. Think before you begin the search. Thinking ahead to home buying season can be exciting and overwhelming. Before you get to the initial search for a house and a loan, crunch the numbers. Consider the following:
  • How much are you able to afford for a down payment?
  • What can you put into home repairs?
  • What are monthly utilities at the property?
  • What percent of your monthly income will go towards the home loan?
  • What are the yearly property taxes?
  1. Analyze your credit score. There is nothing worse than getting excited to start the home buying process to realize your credit score isn’t up to par with the loan you need. Be proactive and check your credit score now. There are many ways to start rebuilding your credit score in time for home buying season.
  2. Plan for unknown expenses. With all home buying experiences, there will be surprises. Always figure in the cost of closing on the house and moving expenses. You don’t want to be stuck with the burden of extra costs that were not planned for.

Iowa State Bank will be keeping you informed throughout the home buying season with tips to make the process easier for you. Talk to one of our loan officers today about our mortgage rates and offers.

Last Minute Spring Break Ideas that Won’t Break the Bank

Rear View Of Family Taking Dog For Walk In Countryside

Spring break is a week that the kids won’t have school and the whole family is itching to get away, even if it’s only for a few days. Some spring break trips can cost upwards of $1,100 per person for an entire week because many hotels and tourist locations hike prices up for the season.

If this price seems ridiculous to you, Iowa State Bank has some last minute spring break ideas that won’t break the bank.

Last minute spring break ideas:

Explore Burlington- from Snake Alley to the Mississippi River, Burlington is filled with exciting activities for all ages. You can take the family for a day of fun in town and end at your favorite local restaurant. Immerse your family in the deep history of Burlington and the state of Iowa at the Des Moines County Heritage Center and the Hawkeye Log Cabin.

Take an overnight trip to Chicago- the city of Chicago always has plenty of fun to offer for families. From the aquarium to art museums, the family will enjoy what Chicago has to offer. Taking a trip to Chicago doesn’t take much planning as we are within hours of the Windy City.

Head up to the Amana Colonies- the Amanas offer a great day filled with history, great food, and culture. You’d be surprised that you are still in Iowa and not a small country. It’s only a short drive and would make for a great day trip during spring break.

Stay in town and explore the community- whether you’re in Wapello, Morning Sun, Burlington, or Mount Union, the surrounding areas are filled with endless opportunities!

Iowa State Bank wishes you a fun and relaxing spring break that doesn’t break the bank. Contact us today if you are traveling out of state for the break, so we can assure your accounts are only being used by you.

The Lowdown on Tax Season: 3 Tips to a Better Tax Return

tax or taxes concept with word on business folder index

Although the tax deadline is in April, Iowa State Bank wants to bring you the basics of tax season because it’s never too early to get your own money back. Many people think of tax season as a stressful time and scramble to get their finances and forms in order to make the process go smoothly. We want to help you understand tax season basics so when the time comes for you to file taxes, you feel confident in your return.

Basics of tax season-

  1. E-filing can save time, money, and paper. Depending on your tax needs, e-filing is a great option for a quick and simple filing method. Typically, e-filing forms and websites have the form built in so you just plug your numbers and information in. Be careful before filing an e-return because your taxes may require paper filing. In that case, it is best to work with a Certified Public Accountant.
  2. Exemptions are a great way to lower your tax bill. Exemptions can save you tons of money each year on your taxes if you just take a little bit of time to find out what you qualify for. Exemptions will give you a tax discount for many reasons including: having children, being married, and just being a contributing member to society. Exemptions are worth looking into if you want to save money on taxes.
  3. Being audited is not the end of the world. Because the IRS has to process so many tax forms each year, their system flags items that may seem odd. Even if you get audited, it may be something simple, like accidently checking the wrong box or typing the wrong numbers. To avoid being audited, make sure you are clear and concise with tax forms. Pay close attention now to save you stress later.

Iowa State Bank hopes your tax season is simple and easy to deal with. Also, remember that if you contribute to an IRA through Iowa State Bank, there are tax perks to doing so!

Fall in Love with your Personal Finances: 4 Tips to Saving More in February


small red hearts with heart shaped gift box on white background

February is a month filled with love and relationships, so why not fall in love with your personal finances again this month? From savings to budgeting and spending, you can love every aspect of your personal finances again with Iowa State Bank’s tips for the month of February. It is easy to fall in love with your personal finances when you follow these simple tips.

How to fall in love with your personal finances:

Make a budget- Making a budget may seem like a waste of time because they can be seemingly hard to stick to. But making a budget can be one of the most important things you can do if you have future goals of traveling, buying a house, or purchasing a new car. A budget can help you better understand where your money is going and how you could possibly be wasting it.

Shop smarter- From the grocery store to shopping at the mall, use everything you have until you go back to the store for more. Pinterest and other websites are great for finding recipes to make with the food you already have. You will not only get to be creative, but you will also save money by not throwing away wasted food and ingredients.

Cancel email subscriptions- Getting a Monday morning email for 25% off at your favorite store is tempting and it can be hard to resist the urge to run out and shop, but you can easily avoid these money wasters by unsubscribing from the daily or weekly emails. Out of sight, out of mind is the key to saving money on unneeded shopping.

Treat yourself- You can fall in love with your personal finances when you treat yourself too! You can indulge every so often on a good pedicure or a trip to the movies. When you spend money on yourself every once in a while, you will feel less stress and truly appreciate your money.

Iowa State Bank wants to help you fall in love with your personal finances. Contact us today to learn all about our personal checking and savings services.

Little Money Wasters that Add Up

When you come home from a dinner at the local restaurant, you set your leftovers in the refrigerator. You haven’t eaten them within three days so you toss the rest. If you did that twice a month, you could be throwing away hundreds of dollars each year. Iowa State Bank is always looking for ways for you to save money, so in today’s blog we are going to point out little money wasters that could be adding up. Purse with denominations of dollar on a white background.

  1. Paying interest on credit cards. We understand that sometimes, it is inevitable to pay a little interest on your credit card if it is carrying a balance. The best way to avoid high interest rates is to pay your credit card balance frequently to avoid the waste of money.
  2. Buying name brand. More often than not, the generic brand of food items and cleaning products are just as good as name brand. Name brand items can cost upwards of 50 cents more per product, which will add up in the long run.
  3. Buying pops and food items at the convenient store. When you shop at the convenient store, you are paying the price for the convenience. With a little planning, you can avoid the cost by buying in bulk and bringing snacks and drinks with you.
  4. Bottled water. Bottled water is not only harmful to the environment, the cost will also add up quickly. A filter for your faucet can save you plenty of money over the year because a package of bottled water costs about $4 per 24 pack.
  5. Eating out too often. Not only is wasting leftovers bad, but going out to eat too often is worse. With meals averaging $10, you could be spending upwards of $150 per month on eating out. You are better off taking a little time to prepare a meal at home.

Iowa State Bank wants you to strive for financial wellness in 2015! Stop into one of our locations today to talk about our savings plans.

Quick Financial Organization Tips for the New Year


Financial Planning and Review of Year End Reports

At the beginning of each year, 45% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions. Yet only 8% of these people can stick to their resolutions according to Statistic Brain. Iowa State Bank wants to help you keep your resolution for 2015, so we have quick financial organization tips to keep you in check.

Quick Financial Organization Tips:

Personal Finances- It is important to frequently check up on your personal finances. Iowa State Bank makes it easy with our online banking services. By checking in on your finances, you can be sure that your account is in good standing and you are able to keep an eye on fraudulent charges.

Meet with your financial advisor- Set up an appointment late this month or early next month to see where you stand with retirement, mortgage payoff, and other financial obligations. Your financial advisor can give you the advice you need when deciding what to do next with your finances.

Make a list of goals- Take 10 minutes out of your day to make a list of 10 financial goals you have for the upcoming year. Have you always wanted to take the family to Disney World or to the beach? Make a goal to do so in 2015. By writing it down, you will be more accountable.

Stay organized with a calendar- A calendar can keep all of your appointments and other commitments organized. You can mark two days each month on the calendar where you check all of your loans, bank statements, bills, and mortgage. The calendar will keep you on top of due dates so you don’t get charged unsightly late payment fees.

Iowa State Bank wants financial organization to be easy for you this year. Contact us today about our personal finances options and loan services. You are sure to get organized this year with these tips!

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