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Iowa State Bank Blog

Basketball Budgeting: How-To Score with Your Finances

Budgeting

Basketball season is in full swing and there are many comparisons to the sport that can apply to building your own personal budget. From knowing when to pass an expense, to hitting a three with an unexpected bonus, budgeting is a lot like basketball. Learn how to win at structuring your finances with this helpful game plan from Iowa State Bank.

Brush up on your coaching.

Every team is built around the choices of its coach, just as your budget is. The coach selects the players based off merit, potential, and cohesiveness to create a well-rounded team structure. This coach represents you, you decide what direction your budget will take you, and if one piece isn’t working the way you desire it is your responsibility to make the change.

Recruit your team.

Every team has three key player types, centers, forwards, and guards. The center is going to be your all-around player, in the middle of all the action, just like your income. In your budget, this income is going to be after both taxes and your designated savings, this is your center player. Now those savings, giving you a financial buffer, are acting as your guard. Whether it’s a retirement savings, emergency fund, or personal investments, your guard player covers it all. Something additionally has to be driving your budget to financial success, and that is where your forward comes in. Spending is the determining factor to the successfulness of your budget. Just as in basketball, if no one takes the ball up the court there is no potential to score. By managing your spending, you create momentum through your forward player to move your money in a positive direction.

Keep your elbows in.

Every game comes with rules to keep the players safe, staying within these guidelines helps to protect you from receiving any unwanted fouls in the realms of finances.

Foul 1: Spending more than you earn.       Penalty: Paying Interest and losing savings capabilities.

Foul 2: Not having a savings plan.              Penalty: No structure for emergencies or retirement.

Foul 3: Carrying bad credit.                          Penalty: Added obstacles in gaining financial freedom.

Just as in basketball, practicing the fundamentals will push you to better your skills. If you work to create a successful budget based on what you can afford, your consistent monthly expenses, moderated spending, and a sound investment plan, you will be a winning coach in no time.

If you have in questions in how to begin a savings or checking account to help get the ball going, give your local branch a call today!

 

Maximize Your Bank Experience with Our Online Toolkit!

Online Banking

At Iowa State Bank we work to provide the best products and services to our valued customers. With our user-friendly online tools, we make banking easier than ever before. Signup to use our online banking today and see what benefits it can bring you and your finances!

Online Banking: Conveniently access all your banking accounts through our secure online portal. Not only does this give you a quick and easy way to manage your finances but it’s also where you can view a complete account history, re-order checks, transfer funds, and more!

Mobile Banking: Enjoy all the perks of online banking from the comfort of your mobile device. This easy mobile tool allows you to keep up on your finances while you’re away or during your busy day.

Text Banking: Utilize our quick and easy text messaging service to receive account balances and recent history. Any phone with texting (SMS) capabilities can be used with our Text Banking.

Online Bill Pay: Tired of writing checks for your monthly expenses? With our Online Bill Pay you can schedule reoccurring payments and take the hassle out of paying your monthly expenses. Go through our easy setup process and you can start paying bills directly from your Online Banking account!

E-Statements: Make a difference and go green with our E-statements at Iowa State Bank. Not only are you helping the environment, but our E-Statements offer a quicker, simpler process to obtain your monthly statements. Simply log-in to your Online Banking page, and go to your User Settings and select Account Statements to sign up!

With a products that encompass all your financial needs, Iowa State Bank is here to help you make the most out of your funds. Check out our online information or call your local branch today to see how to get started!

5 Ways to Protect Yourself from Holiday Identity Theft

identity theft

Cyber Monday kicked off the season of holiday spending, racking up over $3 billion for retailers. Online shopping helps you avoid the madhouse of in-store purchasing and saves you a trip out into the cold, but it also puts you at heightened risk for identity theft. Iowa State Bank wants you to stay alert as you spend online with these tips to track your digital finances:

  • Make transactions privately: Public W-Fi networks are hotbeds of fraudulent activity just waiting to happen. Shared networks are at the hands of the service provider, who may not have firewalls and other safety measures up and running. Save your purchases for home or risk entering personal information into public domain.
  • Keep your ears open: Hackers know the holidays are prime time for theft, and it’s not uncommon for attacks on large databases from retailers and big companies. Pay attention to stores that have been breached through announcements via e-mails and news releases, and take action if information has been compromised by freezing your credit until the coast is clear.
  • Choose credit, not debit: Debit cards are direct gateways into your account, making short work for thieves who’ve gained access to your card. Opt for credit cards this month instead. They’ll leave a paper trail of purchases, and you can set a credit limit that’ll raise alarms if you go over. Plus, credit cards companies often provide full protection from charges made through fraud, helping make sure you don’t take a crisis-level hit to your accounts.
  • Pick one card and stick with it: When possible, dedicate a single card to holiday spending. It’ll lessen the headache of tracking activity across multiple accounts and increase the reaction time to fraudulent activity. It’s also a wiser move when you shop in stores, as it minimizes the risks should you misplace your wallet.
  • Make a list (of bills) & check it twice: As paperwork comes trickling in early January, pay attention to warning signs that something’s amiss. Bills that arrive later than normal, collection notices from products you never purchased, or being turned down for a job or loan unexpectedly are all clues pointing to identity fraud. If you keep a running list of purchases you make throughout the month, you’ll be able to more quickly spot charges that came from foreign sources.

Still a little wary of online activity? Check out more tips to protect your identity – and what to do if it’s stolen – from Iowa State Bank.

5 Money-Savvy Lessons for Millennials

financial lessons

For those graduating in 2016, lessons have only just begun. 7 out of 10 Millennials face nearly $30,000 of debt before they’ve even stepped off campus, making the need for a financial education critical. Iowa State Bank suggests you pass on these five money-savvy lessons to a help secure a financial future for everyone:

  1. Spend like a student until you’re not paying like one. Some classmates may get a lucky break from the get-go, landing jobs with salaries that help them pay off their debt fast. Others hop into the workforce with a clean slate thanks to scholarships and grants that prevented debt. If you’re not in either camp, don’t spend like you are. When they’re buying new cars or moving to expensive cities, continue spending as frugally as you did in college until you can afford otherwise.
  2. Harness the power of compounding. Start saving ASAP. For a car, for a house, for retirement, it’s never too early to start setting aside a portion of your income for later. When faced with bracing against a monsoon of student debt, a consistent, small addition to savings can rack up big interest in the long-term.
  3. Take advantage of employer-sponsored plans. If your company offers a 401(k) or similar retirement plan, jump on it. Small, regular paycheck deductions create a consistent boost in your savings without the temptation of spending. Also, deductions reduce your taxable income, meaning less income tax is lifted from your paycheck.
  4. Cash isn’t always better than credit. Cash may help you limit splurge purchases and stick to a budget, but it can’t build your credit score. When it affects your ability to secure a loan, the interest rate you’ll pay on it, and at what credit limit, your score can’t be taken lightly. 35% of your rating is simply based on making your payment on time, so make monthly online purchases and grocery charges with your credit card so you can easily pay off your balance in full each month.
  5. You can’t learn everything online. Yes, the Internet gives access to tutorials and FAQs and budgeting programs that can help you manage your financials. However, it can’t fully replace the expert opinion of someone trained to diagnose and treat your unique financial ailments. Maintaining a relationship with a financial advisor is invaluable, as they walk with you through the peaks and valleys of your monetary journey and can guide you in the right direction.

Today is as good as any to learn how to manage your money. Give us a call at (319) 753-2265 to meet with one of our advisors and kick start your successful financial future.

Thankful for HELOC: Pros and Cons of Home Equity Lines of Credit TODAY

home equity lines of credit

To recap last week’s blog in a nutshell: home equity loans provide one-time lump sums that are satisfied with a fixed interest rate over a set amount of time. Got that?

Welcome to part two of our lesson on equity finance: Home Equity Lines of Credit (HELOC). Home equity is to mortgages as HELOCS are to credit cards. Rather than paying back the loan in equal payments each month, you withdraw money on an as-needed basis. Though different in function, both types of equity loans carry serious pros and cons, which Iowa State Bank would love to lay out for you.

Consider a HELOC if…

  • “Flexibility” is the name of your game: If you’re interested in periodic cash withdrawals over time for an on-going need rather than covering a one-time expense, a HELOC can do just that. Projects like a house remodel with a payment to contractors as it progresses would call for adjustable payments you could access when needed, which is exactly what this loan could do.
  • A big one-time expense is on the horizon: Because it’s backed by collateral, these rates would be lower than you’d otherwise expect as you look to finance a major event, such as college tuition or an unexpected medical bill.
  • Set monthly payments aren’t your thing: Because this type of loan lets you access funds on an as-needed basis, you only pay interest when a withdrawal is made. This cuts down on reoccurring dues during periods where you’re not touching your funds.

Avoid a HELOC it if…

  • Upfront costs are out of your reach: Just like the first fees you paid for your mortgage, a HELOC requires similar expenses, making it costly to get on its feet. Hundreds of dollars will be needed for application fee, appraisal, and title search, amongst other associated costs.
  • You’re not borrowing that much: If your bathroom remodel requires just a couple thousand dollars, it may not be the most cost-efficient to take on a front-heavy HELOC. Opt instead for a low interest credit card for 18 months of interest-free use.
  • Your income isn’t predictable: Missing a monthly payment on your HELOC could result in home foreclosure. Additionally, a drastic loss of home value or a reasonable belief that you won’t be able to repay the loan will freeze your HELOC, only to be opened when home value is restored or income is steady once more.
  • A spike in interest rate would topple you: Unlike an Equity Loan, HELOCs operate on variable- rather than fixed-rate interest. Inflation and unforeseen factors could send your interest rate creeping upwards for the duration of your loan. If your budget can’t accommodate wiggle room, reconsider if this is the right option.

Just like a home equity loan, a HELOC shouldn’t be taken lightly. For help deciding if either are in your best interest, please get in touch with one of our experts today.

Thankful for Equity: The Pros & Cons of Home Equity Loans TODAY

home equity

The recession of ’08 knocked the housing market flat on its face. Thankfully, the past few years have showed a steady comeback with home prices rebounding every day. With housing secured, the option for accessing home equity loans for extra cash seems more and more viable.

But just because you can, does this mean you should? If you’re looking to nip credit card debt with high interest in the bud by paying it off in full, or if you’ve got your eye on a home improvement project that increases equity in your house, a loan of this kind may make financial sense. Consider the benefits and drawbacks of undertaking a home equity loan, courtesy of Iowa State Bank:

Pros:

  • Tax-deductible benefits abound: No matter how, when, or if it’s used, interest is tax-deductible for the first $100,000, and business expenses and other approved purposes might qualify for tax-deductibility. Make sure to double check with your tax advisor to see if you qualify.
  • Interest rates are slashed: Because your home as collateral creates lower risk for lenders, interest rates on Home Equity loans are often lower than you’d receive on unsecured loans for the same expense.
  • Fixed-rate interest is a safety blanket: Unlike a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC), a home equity loan operates with a fixed rather than variable interest rate. Like a mortgage, the rate is locked when the loan is secured, assuring that you’ll pay it back in predictable, stable monthly installments. If you have a steady source of income and a financial plan to accommodate, routine payments for this loan should come at no additional stress.

Cons

  • Assume greater risk: A lender assumes risk with an unsecured line of credit, but your house and all payments you’ve made toward it become collateral when you secure a Home Equity loan, placing a brunt of the risk on you. You could face foreclosure and the loss of your home if you’re delinquent on a home equity loan. Pay the same attention and respect to it as any other mortgage.
  • Face temptation to spend outside your budget: With your house as a bartering tool, it’s easy to view it as a bottomless piggy bank for quick access to cash to fund projects you can’t really afford. Rather than saving for a home improvement or saying no to a vacation that wasn’t in your budget, a home equity loan can masquerade as financial security that’s actually well outside your means. You still owe the money you borrow; make sure you have the resources to return it.

A home equity loan can be a benefit for some and a burden for others. Receive a personalized quote by answering just a few easy answers and find out what it’ll be for you!

 

Iowa State Bank, Equal Housing Lender, Member FDIC

Protect Yourself from Cyber Hacks

 

Protect Yourself from Cyber Hacks

Ghosts and goblins are spooky, but know what really sends chills down the spine? Cyberattacks. Last year, nearly one million computer viruses and malicious software pieces were unleashed each day. October is Cyber Security Month, and Iowa State Bank is giving you a couple of treats to avoid sneaky hackers’ tricks.

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Taking the Terror Out of Halloween Expenses

Taking the Terror out of Halloween Expenses

Between costumes, jack-o-lanterns, décor, and mountains of candy, the cost of Halloween may be the most terrifying part of the holiday. According to the National Retail Federation, the average American spends about $77 on decorations, candy and costumes each year.

Treat your monthly budget by sticking to these cash-saving tips from Iowa State Bank:

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Home Improvement Projects: Tidy Up Before Fall Comes

blog-home-improvements

The fall season is a popular time of year for many folks as it brings cooler weather, cozy sweaters, football and, of course, the beautiful colors of fall foliage. But as the temperature continues to drop, now is a great time to make those final improvements to your home before the winter comes.

 

We not only want to provide ways to save you money, but also make sure you can live comfortably. Here are a few fall home improvement ideas that you can make to save energy, save money and live comfortably for the rest of the fall and into the winter.

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EMV Cards: A More Secure Way to Make Purchases

EMV Credit and Debit Cards

There’s a change coming to the credit cards millions of Americans carry around with them every day. To be clear, this is a positive change that will hopefully prevent credit card fraud from continuing to be a menace and monthly news story.

 

EMV credit cards are a safer, more secure alternative to the credit cards we currently use. Here are some of the most common questions about EMV cards to help learn more about this new financial tool.

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