Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Is Your Retirement Secure?

If you're like most of the U.S. population, you probably hope to retire someday. If you're like 80% of the population, you may also believe that you won't have enough money saved to support yourself in your retirement.

Retirement is the icing on the cake after a long and fulfilling career - the final chapter in the book on the American Dream. While most of us dream about retirement, the unfortunate truth is that many of us are grossly under-prepared. In honor of National Retirement Security Week, your friends at First Bank of the Lake are here to share a few eye-opening statistics about the state of retirement in the U.S.

A Current Look At Retirement In The United States
Source: The Motley Fool
  • If you want to draw $5,000 per month for 30 years of retirement, you'll need to have over 1 million dollars saved.
  • The average 50 year old only has $42,797 saved for retirement.
  • 80% of adults between 30 and 54 years old believe they won't have enough money saved for retirement.
  • 38% of people don't actively save for retirement at all.
  • 45% of Americans don't have anything saved for retirement.
  • 36% of adults ages 65 and over are completely dependent on Social Security.
  • Starting in 2034, Social Security will only be able to cover 77% of the promised benefits.

Tips To Plan For A Secure Retirement

Don't end up as part of the population who can't support itself in retirement. If you want a relaxing retirement, it is critical that you start taking steps to plan for it now (no matter how old you are). In order to better prepare for your future retirement, start incorporating the following habits into your daily life:

1. Set aside something every month. Ideally, you should set up an automatic withdrawal so that you contribute the maximum allowable amount in your retirement accounts every year. Even if that isn't feasible yet, you should still try to set aside something every month - even if you contributions are sometimes as small as $50.

2. Take advantage of employee-sponsored savings. Unfortunately, the majority of employers in the United States don't offer any retirement benefits. If you are lucky enough to work for a company that does, you should absolutely take advantage of it. Even if their contributions are small, they can add up in the long run.

3. Pay off debt. Paying off old debt does not directly contribute to your retirement plan, but eliminating debt will significantly reduce the expenses you have to cover once you retire. This will allow you to use the money you have saved to cover the real-time costs of supporting yourself in retirement.

4. Take advantage of catch-up savings. If you are 50 years of age or older, you should be allowed to contribute more money to your retirement accounts per year. Don't let this opportunity go to waste.

5. Open multiple retirement accounts. Different accounts have maximum allowable contributions per year, but you can contribute more if you have multiple accounts in your name. At a minimum, we recommend having both an IRA and a 401(k).

First Bank Of The Lake Can Help You Meet Your Retirement Goals

If you are planning for retirement at the Lake of the Ozarks, contact First Bank of the Lake about setting up an IRA with us. We offer a variety of Individual Retirement Account options so you can select the one that will best meet your needs. For more information about our retirement savings accounts in Osage Beach MO, give us a call at 573-348-2265.

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 12, 2016

8 Long-Term Financial Planning Tips

I have to wait until I get my next paycheck before I can go shopping.

I'll never have enough money saved up to retire.

My children are going to have to take out student loans if they want to go to college; there is no way I'll ever be able to pay for them to go.

Do any of these statements sound like something you might say? If so, then it's time to take a close look at your financial planning strategies. Successful financial planning requires us to look forward; living paycheck to paycheck won't help you achieve long-term success. Almost anyone can achieve financial success if they really set their minds to it, but it requires careful planning, motivation, and discipline. In honor of National Financial Planning Month, First Bank of the Lake is offering these concrete suggestions for long-term financial planning.

1. Set Up An IRA
An IRA is an "Individual Retirement Account," and it is a key component of building long-term wealth. There are four basic types of IRAs: Traditional, Roth, SEP, and Simple. Each one offers different tax benefits. Our financial advisor at the Lake of the Ozarks can help you identify the advantages each one offers so you can determine which will best help you meet your long-term goals.

2. Make Regular Contributions To Your IRA
Setting up an IRA is only the first step. Once you have an active account, it is important to contribute to it on a regular basis - even if the market is down. By investing while the market is down, you can buy cheaper shares with the potential for a greater return on investment down the road. The value of the market has historically gone up over the years, so as long as you start early and remain consistent, you should be able to to weather the highs and lows.

3. Do The Math
What are your long-term financial goals? Do you want to buy a specific vehicle? Finance your child's college education? Retire early? Once you identify your goals, do the math to determine exactly how much money you will need to save to meet these goals. Having a concrete number to work towards makes it easier to track your progress and stay motivated along the way.

4. Only Use Your Emergency Fund For Emergencies
This tip may seem rather obvious, but it is surprisingly common for people to dip into their emergency funds for non-emergencies. Perhaps they need a few thousand dollars to afford their dream car, or maybe their favorite cruise line is offering a deal they can't pass up. Whatever their reasons, people often misuse their emergency fund. When a legitimate emergency arises and they don't have the funds to cover it, this becomes a significant problem. It's always better to be safe than sorry; hold off on your big purchases until you can make them without having to dip into your emergency fund.

5. Incorporate "Fun Money" Into Your Budget
If you've ever dieted to lose weight, you know that allowing yourself one or two "cheat days" here and there is an important step on your way to success. Without these cheat days, it's harder to keep your morale up and you may be more likely to give up. Similarly, it's important to allow room in your budget for "just for fun" purchases. By allocating funds for these purchases ahead of time, you can allow yourself to have fun without ruining your financial plan.

6. Stay On Top Of Your Spending Habits
Even if you're wildly wealthy, tracking your spending habits is a key component of financial success. No matter what budgeting strategy you choose, it's important to be cognizant of how much you're earning and how much you're spending every month. Identify whether you are "in the black" or "in the red" every month and adjust your spending habits as necessary. Being proactive will help you avoid falling into a bad situation.

7. Don't Assume Any More Debt Than Necessary
A mountain of debt is a death sentence for your financial plan. If a large percentage of your income each month goes towards paying off debts, you may find it difficult setting aside money to save or invest. Avoid falling into this trap by only taking out loans that are absolutely necessary (a vehicle that will accommodate your family's needs, a house for you to live in, etc). Paying your bills in full and on time is also essential.

8. Maximize Your Dollars
Perhaps you invest in CDs. Maybe you use credit cards that offer cash back. No matter what strategies you use for growing your money, you can stretch its value if you think strategically. When your CD matures, for example, you could reinvest your initial principal plus the interest earned in a new CD. When you redeem your cash back, you could apply that money towards the outstanding principal balance on one of your debts. Simple tricks like these can help you stretch your money more than you may realize.

First Bank Of The Lake Is Here For Your Financial Planning Needs
Your financial success is our top priority. If you are looking for a Lake of the Ozarks bank that will keep your best interests in mind as you work towards achieving your financial goals, look no further than First Bank of the Lake! Visit our website for more information about our financial services at the Lake of the Ozarks.

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, October 6, 2016

4 Unbeatable Advantages of Online Banking

The continuous advances in digital technology have revolutionized many industries. Banking is a perfect example of an industry that has become much more streamlined, efficient, and convenient as a result of the new technologies currently available. Online banking is just one of the great services we are proud to offer our customers at First Bank of the Lake. Since National Online Bank Day is coming up on October 10th, we thought it would be fitting to share with you some of the distinct advantages on our online banking services offer.

4 Advantages of Online Banking

1.  You Can Bank From Anywhere.
The days of having to ensure all of your financial tasks were completed before you left town are long gone. Our clients can log into our online banking portal from anywhere in the world, allowing them total flexibility to travel for business, vacation, family obligations, etc. Our clients can access both their personal accounts and their business accounts online, thus ensuring they can meet all of their needs virtually.

2.  You Can Bank On YOUR Time.
When you have to visit a bank's actual brick and mortar structure, you are confined to their business hours and holidays. Depending on your work schedule, getting to the bank during their hours of operation may be easier said than done. Banking online allows you to log in and access your accounts at any time of the day or night, so you can conduct your business when it works for you.

3.  You Can Handle All Of Your Tasks In One Place.
As technology continues to advance, our world becomes increasingly interconnected. This allows you to handle multiple financial tasks from one convenient place - your online bank portal. Many online banks enable you to transfer funds, make deposits, and pay bills electronically. Even better, you can often handle all of these tasks from your smart phone or other mobile device, so you aren't tied to a desk.

4.  You Can Be Totally Involved.
The downside to today's technological advances is that cybercrime is becoming increasingly common. In order to ensure your assets are protected, it's important to check your accounts regularly so you can quickly identify any suspicious activity. Online banking allows you to log in and review your accounts as frequently as you'd like. You are not limited to reviewing your bank statements once a month when they arrive in the mail.

Open An Account With First Bank Of The Lake To Maximize Your Online Banking Possibilities

As the best bank at the Lake of the Ozarks, we are proud to offer superior online banking services to all of our valued customers. If you are looking for a new and improved banking structure with optimum customer service, you need look no further than our local bank in Osage Beach MO. For more information about our banking services at the Lake of the Ozarks, check out our website at You can also call us at 573-348-2265 or stop by our physical location (at the entrance to Osage Beach Premium Outlets). We truly look forward to serving you!

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, September 29, 2016

How To Maintain Your Credit Score

What's your credit score?

If you are preparing to take out a loan for a house, boat, car, or other big purchase, you probably know what your credit score is. If you have not shopped for loans in a while, you may have no idea where your number currently falls. Either way, you are probably well aware of the importance of having a good credit score. Today, First Bank of the Lake is here to examine how you can maintain your credit score.

How Your Credit Score Works

Before discussing how to maintaining a line of credit, here is a quick refresher on how your credit score works. Credit score models vary slightly by credit bureau, but generally your credit score will be a number ranging anywhere from 280 to 850. The higher your number, the more trustworthy or "creditworthy" banks assume you to be, and therefore the more likely you are to secure loans with the best terms and the lowest interest rates. You may also be offered lower insurance premiums and utility costs. You can build a strong credit score by paying all your bills and loan payments in full and on time.

Maintaining Your Credit Score

Think of your credit score like a garden: if you water and weed it regularly, it will continue to grow and flourish. If you leave it to its own devices, it probably won't do as well. Fortunately, maintaining your credit score is simple; all you need to do is keep making the payments on your debts and utilities on time and in full. 

What Happens If You Don't Have Any Debt?

Most people dream of someday living a debt-free lifestyle. While being out of debt is certainly a laudable goal, it may be wise to still keep a line of credit open somewhere, such as utility bills, phone bills, or a credit card.

The reasoning is simple: in order to show potential lenders that you are a trustworthy borrower, you have to have a strong history. Showing that you have repaid debts in full is wonderful, but it can also become problematic if you don't have any other lines of credit open at the time that you begin shopping for a new loan or applying for a new credit card. Lenders and credit card companies are sometimes reluctant to rely on past performance alone; they often want to see something to assure them that you are still a reliable borrower in your current situation.

Remember First Bank Of The Lake For All Your Banking Needs!

At First Bank of the Lake, your financial success is our top priority. If there is anything we can do to help you improve your financial situation, we would be honored to be of service. We are proud to offer a variety of services to meet your personal and business needs, including checking accounts, loans, and money market accounts. For more information about our banking services at the Lake of the Ozarks, call us at 573-348-2265.

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

Monday, September 19, 2016

The Pros & Cons of Cash Vs. Card

Although more and more people are leaning toward plastic in the cash vs. card debate, there are still a number of benefits to using cash. There are positive and negative factors of both payment options. Whether you prefer cash or card, First Bank of the Lake can assist you with your finances and managing your money. Provided below are some pros and cons of both cash and card, to help you decide what is best for your personal money use.

Pros of Cash:

One of the biggest advantages of paying with cash is that there is a limit to the amount you can spend. When you run out of cash, you are done spending. Unlike with a credit card, there are no fees associated with carrying cash in your wallet. No monthly payments are associated when paying with cash either, which helps you minimize costs.

Cons of Cash:

The downside to paying with cash is that you have to keep money near at all times, whether it is in your purse, wallet, or vehicle. This puts you at a greater risk if you were to be robbed or lose your wallet. If your cash money is stolen, it is gone for good.

Pros of Card:

Paying with plastic is convenient. You do not have to worry about making change or having enough money on you. If you choose to use a credit card responsibly, you can actually help establish and build credit. There are also reward programs associated with some credit card companies. If you experience a stolen card or have your credit card compromised, you will likely be able to recoup the charges you did not make.

Cons of Card:

People who pay with a card tend to overspend and have regret about their purchases later. In addition to overspending, a credit card comes with fees and interest that has to be paid, adding to the bills at the end of the month. It can be easy to get overwhelmed with credit card debt if it is not handled properly.

First Bank Has Options For You:

First Free Checking

Only $50 is required to open a free checking account with us. No minimum balance is needed and no interest is paid for our free checking account. Only electronic statements are available through this type of account.

First Basic Checking

$50 is required to open the basic checking account as well. A minimum balance is required and no interest is paid on this type of account. We offer a debit card, free direct deposit, and check safekeeping for our customers who choose the basic checking.

First Preferred Checking

The amount required to open the preferred checking account with us is $100. Interest can be earned anytime the account balance is $750 or above. Provided with this type of account is a debit card and free direct deposit. Statements are issued monthly and include an image of your cancelled checks for your records. A minimum balance does need to be kept in the account to avoid fees.

Now that you know a little more about the upside and downside of using plastic vs paper, you can choose what option is best for your spending needs. To open one of our checking accounts, stop in to our bank in Osage Beach. We would be pleased to help you find the right account type for your wants and needs in a checking account at the Lake of the Ozarks.

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, September 16, 2016

Understanding Money Market Accounts

Not everyone feels comfortable with the volatility of the stock market, and that's why for some people, a money market account might be the best option. These types of account can be a great place to park your cash. It's set aside from the rest of your funds, while still being accessible if needed. Keep reading to learn more about money market accounts and how you can open one at First Bank of the Lake today!

What is a Money Market Account?

A money market account is a type of savings account that typically earns a higher amount of interest than a basic savings account. The interest on a money market account is usually compounded on a daily or monthly basis and paid on a monthly or quarterly basis. Money market accounts offer a wide range of rates, that will vary from bank to bank. That interest is how the bank thanks you for letting them use your money. When you have money in a money market account, the bank takes that money and makes other investments or loans. Money market accounts typically require a minimum balance higher than a basic savings account. These accounts are different from money market funds, which are investments that can lose value if the market falls. Money market accounts are backed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation at banks and the National Credit Union Administration at credit unions, for up to $250,000 per depositor.

Money Market Accounts vs. Savings Accounts 

As the customer, the differences between a money market account and a basic savings account aren't that big. As mentioned above, the main differences are that money market accounts typically have a higher minimum balance and yield a better interest rate than a basic savings account would. Both types of accounts are FDIC insured and have some basic restrictions on how often you can withdraw from them.

Money Market Accounts with First Bank of the Lake

To open a money market account with our Lake of the Ozarks bank, you'll need a minimum of $500. With this account, you will get a monthly statement, an image of your checks and free direct deposit. You will need to keep a minimum balance in your account to avoid fees. If your balance falls below $1000 on any day in the statement cycle, a maintenance fee of $10 will be imposed once during the cycle. In addition, Federal Regulations restrict the number of withdrawals per month. Over 3 checks per cycle will result in a $10 charge each. Over 6 debits per cycle will also result in a $10 charge each.

To learn more about opening a money market account with First Bank of the Lake, give us a call at 573-348-2265 or stop by our bank in Osage Beach to talk to one of our friendly account specialists. First Bank of the Lake is known for offering higher money market rates than other banks in the area.  Our goal is to find the right product or service to meet your financial needs. We're sure we have the perfect account to meet your needs.

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, September 6, 2016

College Savings Month: 5 Quick Tips To Help Finance Your Child's College Education

With the new school year officially underway, many parents are faced with the (somewhat daunting) reality that eventually, their children will most likely be headed off to college. With the average college graduate currently shouldering $37,172 in student loan debt (source:, many parents are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of helping their children fund their college educations without taking out an unnecessary amount of student loans. In honor of College Savings Month, First Bank of the Lake is here to help you make it happen.

5 Tips To Save Money For College:

If you are a parent hoping to assist with your children's college educations (or a student saving money for yourself), here are a few savings tips to help you get started on the right track.

1. Set Goals
Working towards a concrete goal is always more effective (and easier) than working towards an abstract concept. Rather than simply "saving for my children's college educations," determine an exact dollar amount you want to save and start working towards that goal. Remember that you don't have fund the entire education expenses to make a big difference in your children's financial future; anything you can contribute will be enormously helpful.

2. Open A Savings Account
While this may seem like one of the most basic steps you can take, it is also one of the most important. By opening a separate savings account specifically for your college fund, you can make a conscious effort to set money aside and watch your contributions grow over time. Our local bank at the Lake of the Ozarks offers personal savings account options to help you get started.

3. Open A 529 Savings Account
Just as IRAs are investment accounts designed to help you save money for retirement, 529 savings accounts are accounts designed to help you save money for your children's college educations. Most 529 accounts allow you to schedule automatic monthly contributions that pull directly from your bank account, so you can continue to save money without having to think about it on a regular basis.

4. Contribute To Your Savings Accounts Regularly
Of course, having a savings account won't do you any good if you never put any money into it. In order to save money for your future college fund, you have to make a conscious effort to put money aside in the present. Don't let the prospect of having to save thousands of dollars discourage you from saving small amounts here and there. Even if you can only contribute as little as $50-$100 per month for now, setting that small amount aside now will make a difference in the long run.

5. Get The Rest Of The Family Involved
If you know your children are headed to college someday, don't be afraid to ask extended family members (grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc) to help shoulder the cost of helping them achieve this dream. Particularly once your children reach high school age, you may want to ask (or have them ask) extended family members to provide contributions to their college funds in lieu of material birthday or holiday gifts.

Happy Savings!
On behalf of everyone at our Lake of the Ozarks bank, we wish you a very happy College Savings Month and the best of luck as you embark on your college savings journey. If there is any way we can be of assistance, please let us know. We can help you set up a savings account in Osage Beach MO. We also offer CDs as a short-term investment options to help you grow your wealth. Contact us to get started!

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