Thursday, December 7, 2017

Get to Know Gwen Sullens, the Newest Member of our Lending Team

It’s an exciting time here at First Bank of the Lake with the expansion of our loan services and the addition of a well-known and highly respected lender at the Lake, Gwen Sullens, to our team. Gwen has been in the banking business at Lake of the Ozarks for over 29 years and specializes in all areas of lending.  She is a lifelong resident of Lake of the Ozarks and this is where Gwen and her husband Greg have raised their two daughters, Jennifer and Jada. Keep reading to learn more about Gwen Sullens joining our bank at the Lake of the Ozarks.




“I’m happy to be a part of the First Bank of the Lake family.  I believe in spoiling the customer, which builds strong and lasting relationships” said Gwen.  These are the basic aspects that build strong relationships and trust, which is essential to helping residents, businesses and other aspects of our community to strive.  “I’m so proud to bring another well respected professional to our First Bank of the Lake team, Gwen came highly recommended and her name and reputation precede her!” said President, Mike Anderson. 

Gwen will be joining another well-known name in Lake Area lending, Linda Allen.  Linda said, “I am so excited to have Gwen join our family.  Her knowledge and experience in the lending business will add greatly to our team.”  With Gwen and Linda heading the Lake area lending team, backed with the full support of a SBA division, the bank is well positioned to make small business loans as well.  First Bank of the Lake can assist from homes and condos, residential loans, all types of consumer loans, to commercial and business loans and lines of credit. Covering our community with quality programs to meet all needs and then backed with simply some of the best known lenders in our community is our way of showing that First Bank of the Lake continues to put our community first.

Gwen has been a huge supporter of the local community over the years.  She has been active in the Lake of the Ozarks Arts Council, Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, a volunteer in Eldon School activities, and held a position on the Eldon PTA. She has also volunteered in many areas within the community and her church and is currently a member of the Lake Area Blues Society.




Come by and see Gwen, Linda and the rest of the First Bank of the Lake family. We are ready to help you with your financial needs on a first name basis with all the programs that larger banks have to offer and more. Experience that is always there, First Bank of the Lake, your bank that cares.

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First Bank of the Lake - Striving For Excellence
Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.


Located at the entrance to the Osage Beach Premium Outlets!

4558 Osage Beach Parkway

Suite 100
Osage Beach, MO 65065






(573) 348-2265

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Make Financial New Year's Resolutions for 2018: Part 2

Last week we unveiled some possible example of financial new year's resolutions you can make for 2018. This week, First Bank of the Lake has a few more to share with you. Our bank at the Lake of the Ozarks couldn't be more excited for 2018 and we know how ambitious people can be around the holidays. Here are a few goals you may want to set for yourself in the new year.




Financial New Year's Resolutions for 2018


I will not eat out for an entire month.

Why would you want to write a new year's resolution like this?

Eating out on a regular basis adds up quick. Save money and cook in more. Buying groceries and enjoying a nice home cooked meal, may be just the thing for you in 2018! You may even be motivated to eat healthier this way. 


Develop a more organized way to pay my bills.

Why would you want to write a new year's resolution like this?

2017 has been very hard on you, when it comes to paying your bills. You've noticed that you end up waiting to the last possible minute to pay your bills and the stress and anxiety of not paying right away has gotten to you. Don't do this to yourself. Have you considered setting up an online bill pay system? This could fix the "waiting to the last minute" issue. Pick the date you want your bills to be paid and let the automatic withdrawal do what it was meant to. 





Pay off my student loans.

Why would you want to write a new year's resolution like this?

According to debt.org, the total U.S. student debt in 2017 is $1.4 trillion. College tuition continues to rise and having a college degree is still a substantial asset to have in the job market today, but it costs. Do your best to work that debt down in 2018. Take the money you are saving from eating out less and cut back anywhere else you can and pay this debt off sooner rather than later. Develop a plan and determine how much you have to pay and when you want to pay that loan off. If you can spare it, don't just pay the minimum monthly payment because that loan will most likely continue to accrue interest and weigh on you. 


Need a Bank You Can Trust to Help You Stick to Your New Year's Resolutions?

First Bank of the Lake is here for you! We don't try to sell you a loan or service you don't need. We make all of our decisions right here at home - we use judgment and compassion when evaluating customer requests. For a bank at the Lake of the Ozarks you can trust, call 573-348-2265.


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First Bank of the Lake - Striving For Excellence
Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.


Located at the entrance to the Osage Beach Premium Outlets!

4558 Osage Beach Parkway

Suite 100
Osage Beach, MO 65065






(573) 348-2265




Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Make Financial New Year's Resolutions for 2018!

2017 has been a fantastic year, but 2018 will be here before you know it. You may have made resolutions in the past and never stuck to them, but 2018 is the year! Surprise yourself and write some financial new year's resolutions you can stick to this upcoming year. Why should you want to do this? Writing financial resolutions and sticking to them can improve your life and overall stress level. Start the year off right. Our bank at the Lake of the Ozarks is here to give you some sample new year's resolutions you may implement that can make your life better and your bills easier to pay.





Sample Financial New Year's Resolutions for 2018


Find a better job that pays me more.


Why would you want to write a new year's resolution like this?

You've been struggling for years to be happy in a job you just hate. You've recently realized that you now have the experience you need, under your belt, to qualify for a better job that would pay you more and possibly offer a better work environment that suits you better. Life is too short to be unhappy and underappreciated at your job. Make 2018 the year you find your dream job! 


Focus my savings strategy.


Why would you want to write a new year's resolution like this?

You told yourself that 2017 would be the year you'd save enough money to have that emergency fund. You never know when something could break down that could be a costly fix, such as plumbing issues or needing a new roof. Having an emergency fund would make you feel so much better and comfortable in your own home. Determine what you want your goal amount to be and determine how much you must save per month to get there by the end of 2018. Set up automatic withdrawal where money is transferred to your savings every month. Cut back where you need in order to save the money you want to save. Here are some examples where you could possibly cut back:


  • Buy less coffee every month
  • Cancel your gym membership if you never go and work out at home
  • Buy the generic groceries vs. the brand name groceries (You probably won't even notice much difference.)
  • Cut back on impulse buys such as "that pair of shoes you just had to have" or "that piece of home decor that you just knew would light up the room"




Pay off my credit card bill.


Why would you want to write a new year's resolution like this?

That credit card balance has just been driving you crazy and you're tired of being in credit card debt. Create a plan to pay that credit card off once and for all in 2018. Take your total debt and divide it up by 12 months. If it is realistic you can pay this debt off by the end of 2018, GREAT, if not, then start your plan for 2 years or more. The point here is the put this plan into action and consistently work your debt down one month at a time. Don't put this off. Make 2018 the year that your credit card debt no longer takes a toll on your stress level. Make a plan to pay it off and stick to it.


Need a Bank You Can Trust to Help You Stick to Your New Year's Resolutions?


Stay tuned next week for when First Bank of the Lake continues this blog series and gives you more sample financial new year's resolutions you can make and stick to. If you are in need of a bank in Osage Beach to help you stick to these new year's resolutions, stop by First Bank of the Lake. We are ready to help you with your banking needs.



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First Bank of the Lake - Striving For Excellence
Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.


Located at the entrance to the Osage Beach Premium Outlets!

4558 Osage Beach Parkway

Suite 100
Osage Beach, MO 65065






(573) 348-2265

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Holiday Budgeting Advice You Won't Want to Miss

First Bank of the Lake is extremely excited about the upcoming holidays. Thanksgiving and Christmas truly bring people together and that is quite a sight to see. While the holidays are such an exciting time of year, there can be a lot to prepare, between buying presents, ingredients for those holiday recipe favorites, outfits for the occasion, etc. This got us thinking about holiday budgeting. Our bank at the Lake of the Ozarks came across this great article that we think could really help you financially prepare for the holidays.




Holiday Budgeting


Source: Missouri Independent Bankers Association

It’s hard to believe the holiday season is upon us but the time is here. As soon as the last piece of Halloween candy is handed out, thoughts turn to St. Nicholas with a little bit of turkey and stuffing in the mix. While budgeting is always important, it’s even more so from now through the end of the year when presents abound and sales seem endless. Below are tips for holiday budgeting to ensure you enjoy this wonderful time of year but are also responsible in your spending. 


Make a List and Check It Twice


Instead of blindly buying gifts as you see things that catch your eye, take 20 minutes to write down every person for whom you'll need to get a gift. Don't forget important people like teachers, dog walker, cleaning team, plus the office gift exchange. A gift, whether store bought or home made, is a meaningful expression of appreciation for those in your life you wish to thank.


It’s Not Only Gifts


Holiday spending is not just about buying gifts, although that is most likely a large chunk of it. Your budget also needs to account for Thanksgiving and/or Christmas travel, the cost of groceries for large family meals you host or other gatherings where you bring food or drinks, decorations, end-of-year charitable giving, greeting cards, wrapping supplies, holiday-related apparel and other non-gift expenses. 


Allot Your Spending


Each person should be allocated a “no-more-than” amount for a gift. While it’s helpful if you have an idea what to get each person, the more important part is that you don’t overspend. There will be sales—and therefore temptation—galore so it’s key to have some parameters for each person. Don’t buy something you wouldn’t otherwise just because it’s on sale. 




Always Price Check


The internet is a great resource during holiday shopping. Stores are especially competitive during the holidays so it’s always smart to ask if they’ll price match other stores, even online prices, which are often less than in-store prices. When you find something you plan to buy, do a quick Google search to see if it’s less elsewhere. It’s also a good idea to be on the mailing list for stores you frequent as they’ll usually send special holiday coupons. Don’t forget to search the internet for coupon codes if you’re buying online.   


Make Your Own Gifts


Homemade presents are a perfect way to save money while creating something memorable. While these gifts might not work for everyone on your list, they’re certainly good options for some. Delicious cookies and a homemade card for your kids’ teachers or a framed family photo for grandparents are much more valuable than a shirt someone likes but doesn’t need. 


Gift Cards


Although they are less personal, gift cards can be a good solution for the hard-to-shop-for people in your life. These include in-store cards, as well as debit cards that you can obtain from your local bank. Be sure to check the fees. Most in-store cards have no fees (to encourage use) while bank cards may have issuance fees, depending on the benefits of your checking account product.


Ship Early or Pay the Price


If you have presents to send out-of-town family members or need to ship gifts because you’re unable to pack them, do this as soon as possible. Be it the United States Post Office, UPS or FedEx, rates go up drastically once December hits. While it might seem like several weeks before Christmas will be plenty of time, you can easily spend hundreds more on shipping if you delay. And that will easily break the most carefully planned budget. If you buy online, consider having items wrapped and shipped directly to the recipient by the vendor.


Keep Track of Spending


You won’t know how much you’ve spent unless you meticulously track it. Keep receipts and enter them in your budget as you go, plus reconcile credit card payments each week. Experts recommend trying “the envelope trick,” which means you use cash as much as possible to ensure you stay on budget. When the envelope is empty, you’re done buying presents. If you use credit cards for convenience, make sure to pay them in total at the end of the month so you’re not stuck with interest payments that didn’t factor into your budget.




Holidays Aren’t About Things


At the end of the day, remember that the holidays are about spending time with family, friends and other loved ones. While presents are fun, this time of year is about making memories and not collecting material possessions. 

The holidays can—and should—be one of the most joyous times of the year. Don’t let over-spending and the resulting debt create unnecessary stress. You want to start the New Year on a clean slate, not struggling to pay your holiday bills that start pouring in.


Happy Holidays from First Bank of the Lake!


We hope you enjoyed this article from the Missouri Independent Bankers Association. If you are in need of a bank in Osage Beach you can trust with your money spent for holiday spending, call 573-348-2265.



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First Bank of the Lake - Striving For Excellence
Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.


Located at the entrance to the Osage Beach Premium Outlets!

4558 Osage Beach Parkway

Suite 100
Osage Beach, MO 65065






(573) 348-2265

Friday, November 10, 2017

5 Helpful Tips on How to Save for Your First Home

You've gotten to that point in your life where you are tired of renting, so you are beginning to think about buying your first home! Between your student loan payments, rent, and other monthly bills, you're just not quite sure how to go about saving for a home. Don't worry, believe it or not, it can be done. Our bank at the Lake of the Ozarks is here to give you 5 helpful tips on how to save for your first home.





5 Helpful Tips on How to Save for Your First Home


Determine how much money you need to save 


How much money is needed for a down payment? You may not have your dream home picked out yet, but you can browse through real estate listings and see on average what the down payment looks like on the homes you are interested in. You'll also want to save for the unexpected, such as a plumbing issues or maintenance issues that may arise.


Budget, budget, budget


Know your budget and stick to it. When saving for a home, don't waste your money on frivolous things such as impulse buys or things you don't absolutely need. Focus on your main goal, saving for your dream home.


Better your credit score


Try to lower your debt as much as possible. For example, make regular payments on credit cards and student loans or any other personal loans you may have. Making regular monthly payments on your credit cards or personal loans can help improve your credit score and hopefully better your chances of getting a lower interest rate on your mortgage loan.


Analyze your spending


Take a look at how much money you are spending every month and record it. Look for things you are spending money on that you don't actually need or you can find for a cheaper price somewhere else. For example, do you absolutely have to get your coffee every morning at that fancy coffee shop? Do you have to go shopping for new clothes as much as you do? Do you really have to eat out at restaurants every week? Analyzing your spending this way can help you cut back and possibly save more money to put toward your dream home.






Open a separate savings account


Organize your savings. Open a savings account that is strictly for money that you are saving for your first home. Opening a separate savings account can help you to focus on your main goal, saving for your first home. Once you put that money into your savings account meant for your dream home, you can train yourself not to touch it or use it for other things.


Looking for a Bank You Can Trust with Your Savings?


If you are looking for the best bank at the Lake of the Ozarks, search no further. First Bank of the Lake can assist you with opening up your savings account for that first home. Come in and visit with our friendly bank staff, we can't wait to meet you.

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First Bank of the Lake - Striving For Excellence
Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.


Located at the entrance to the Osage Beach Premium Outlets!

4558 Osage Beach Parkway

Suite 100
Osage Beach, MO 65065






(573) 348-2265

Thursday, November 2, 2017

5 Ways to Save Money On Thanksgiving Day

Halloween has come and gone and now the next holiday up is ... Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving is a time for family and friends to get together, share stories of what they are thankful for, and of course, Thanksgiving is also a time for FOOD. While it can be really rewarding preparing a delicious, home-cooked meal for your loved ones, it can also be quite costly at times. However, there may be a few things you haven't thought of that can actually save you some money when preparing for Turkey Day. Your bank at the Lake of the Ozarks is here to give you some enlightening tips on how to save money on Thanksgiving day.



5 Ways to Save Money On Thanksgiving Day


1. Use smaller plates.



Many people believe that they need to use larger plates on Thanksgiving because more food is served than on a normal basis. How much of that food ends up going to waste? Wasted food is wasted money. In an attempt to prevent wasting food, try using smaller plates. Your guests may be less inclined to put a ton of food on their plates that they won't even end up eating, if there is less room on that plate to place the food.


2. Serve what your family and friends want.



With a holiday like Thanksgiving, comes traditions. Some of those traditions may involve serving a certain dish every year. What if year after year, that particular dish goes unfinished? If you have noticed that there are certain dishes that are served each year but don't seem to be touched, don't serve them. Serve what you know your family will eat. This can save you money by not purchasing items to make dishes that go unfinished.



3. Lower the temperature on your thermostat.



Your oven will most likely be open a lot the day of Thanksgiving. Between your oven being open a lot and the large amount of people you will have in your home, it will most likely be pretty warm in your home. Lower your thermostat and save some money on your heating bill.


4. Potlucks can be a very COST FRIENDLY option.



Do you love playing host on Thanksgiving, but need to be more be more money conscious this year? If that is the case, consider making your Thanksgiving this year a potluck. Everyone can bring their own food item, whether it be a side dish, dessert, etc. You still get to play host, but with less cost. Just be sure to coordinate the dishes so no one brings duplicates by mistake.


5. Don't waste food, plan ahead for your leftovers.



Trying to figure out what to do with all of the food leftovers from Thanksgiving can be exhausting. Have a plan. For example, if you have turkey leftover, know what you are going to make with it. Research recipes ahead of time.


Save Money With First Bank of the Lake



Your friends here at your trusted bank at the Lake of the Ozarks hope that these tips help you to save some of your hard-earned cash when preparing for Thanksgiving Day. We are so thankful to be able to provide the right products and services that fit our particular customer's needs. If you are looking for a safe place to store your money or simply have other banking questions, call our friendly banking staff today. They can be reached at 573-348-2265.


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First Bank of the Lake - Striving For Excellence
Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.


Located at the entrance to the Osage Beach Premium Outlets!

4558 Osage Beach Parkway

Suite 100
Osage Beach, MO 65065






(573) 348-2265

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

4 Key End-of-Year Tax Prepping Tips

Did you know that smart tax planning through the end of the year can actually help reduce the taxes that you'll owe? April 15 may be far away, but First Bank of the Lake wants you to know there are things you can start thinking about now in order to prepare for Tax Day 2018. Your bank at the Lake of the Ozarks is here to give you 4 tips to consider, that you may not have thought of yet, to help increase your tax breaks and hopefully save you money.


4 End of Year Tax Prepping Tips


1. Make your annual exclusion gifts.

For those of you who may not know, an annual exclusion gift is defined as a gift that qualifies for annual exclusion from taxes. For example, at the end of the year, people may want to make their "end of year estate planning" gifts to their loved ones. This may include cash gifts, stocks, bonds, portions of real estate, etc. You may make an annual exclusion gift of up to $14,000 per spouse, per person to reduce the value of your estate. This can help reduce the taxes you pay and be something your family members can appreciate around the holidays.

2. Give donations back to the community.

While you don’t need a reason to engage in charitable giving, a benefit is that you receive a tax write-off for donations. If you donate clothes, a used car or other things, you are required to itemize your deductions. However, if you send cash by December 31, all you need is to hang on to your canceled check or credit card receipt as proof of your donation. Many organizations also provide tax receipts. 

3. Consider converting your IRA to a Roth IRA.

An IRA is typically funded with pre-tax dollars and grows tax-deferred. When the account holder withdraws money from the account, those withdrawals are fully taxed as regular income. However, a Roth IRA is funded with after-tax dollars so withdrawals are tax-free. If you have many years left before retirement and think your income tax bracket will be the same or higher when you retire than it is today, then converting to a Roth IRA makes sense. 




4. Maximize out your retirement plan contributions.

There is no better investment than tax-deferred retirement accounts. They can grow to a substantial sum because they compound over time free of taxes. Company-sponsored 401(k) plans are an especially good deal if your employer matches contributions. Try to increase your 401(k) contribution so that you are putting in the maximum amount of money allowed or at least ensure that you are maximizing the amount matched by employer contributions. This is basically free money. By maximizing your retirement plan contributions as much as possible by year-end, you not only help get better prepared for retirement but you will help reduce your tax bill.  


First Bank of the Lake Cares About Your Financial Planning


Waiting to the last minute to prepare your taxes can create a lot of unneeded stress on yourself. Don't put yourself through that and plan early. We hope these tips help you to save money and get your taxes in order ahead of time. At First Bank of the Lake, our goal is to find you the right product or service to meet your financial needs. If you are in need of a bank you can trust, give us a call today.


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First Bank of the Lake - Striving For Excellence
Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.


Located at the entrance to the Osage Beach Premium Outlets!

4558 Osage Beach Parkway

Suite 100
Osage Beach, MO 65065






(573) 348-2265