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: StudentLoanHero.com), 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

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Quick Finance Tips For Millennials

Millennials (people who reached adult age at the turn of the century) are often challenged with financial planning today.  There are many factors that affect millennials when it comes to saving or investing, including massive college debt, an uncertain economy, and a challenging job climate.  First Bank of the Lake would like to offer some quick tips to help millennials plan for their financial future.  Our team of financial professionals at the Lake of the Ozarks can help you with many products to allow you to reach your financial goals, from personal savings accounts and Certificates of Deposit, to IRAs and more!


Tips to Help Millennials with their Financial Planning


Curb your spending.


The best way to put aside money for your future is to limit your spending to essential items like rent, utilities, food, and other basic needs.  Try to refrain from impulse spending whenever possible.  Use simple ideas like not shopping for groceries when you are hungry, eating in more often, and putting off your luxury items like a brand new car until you have some savings in the bank.  Use direct deposit to a savings account and use your checking account for essential purchases and payments.

Have an emergency fund.


The importance of having an emergency fund in a bank account other than that coffee can is paramount. When the time comes to cover unexpected expenses, and it will, we don't want you reaching for the credit card. We offer a range of account options and one will certainly fit your needs. Once you've fully filled your emergency fund, you can start a personal savings account and save for anything you like, and in the style of many millennials, do what you do best - have fun!

Start investing now.


Save more, spend less is a quick fix and certainly an important rung on the ladder of financial planning. Start investing now, no matter how old you are. If you want a nest egg, start small and start now. Preparation is the key. A professional can review the various financial management choices you have and find the perfect fit for you and your budget.

Get into a retirement plan.


Despite feeling young, retirement will be here in the blink of an eye. If you're a millennial who has avoided setting up a retirement plan because you feel overwhelmed by the process, sign up for your employer sponsored retirement plan if one is available. If one is not available, there are other options to save for the future. Talk to a financial planner at your local bank. Don't feel intimidated by the process or the amount of money you think is needed. Have someone set up an individual retirement account (IRA) for you.

Mind your money.


Only you have control over how your money is used. Be mindful of your finances and never get passive. If you're not taking responsibility for your financial future, your friends aren't going to do it for you. From changing the location of a "girls night out" to a venue that doesn't charge a cover to having to pass on the, "guys golf trip," now is the time to think about small sacrifices that add up to big money.

Financial planning is often on the mind of a millennial and these tips are designed to aid in the process. Once a comfortable level of saving and budgeting efforts are achieved, set financial goals and push yourself to contribute to them with more focus, time and dollars. Ask questions and find the right professionals to help. First Bank of the Lake can educate and encourage you as you begin the journey of financial planning 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

Monday, August 22, 2016

Saving For Retirement In 5 Easy Steps

Almost every working American hopes to retire someday. After decades of working hard to support themselves and their families, retirees get to relax and dedicate more time to the things they truly care about. Of course, a successful retirement can only happen if you've properly prepared for it. If you are in the process of (or about to start) saving for retirement at the Lake of the Ozarks, we're here to help you help you plan for a financially comfortable retirement.


Step 1: Start Today
It doesn't matter whether you are a college graduate in your early twenties or an established executive in your late forties; if you have not already started, the best time to start saving for retirement is always right now. Even if you can only dedicate $50 or $100 per month to your retirement account for now, it can add up and make a big difference in the long run. You can always increase your monthly contributions when your budget allows.

Step 2: Set Up An Automatic Deposit
Simply having a retirement account won't do you much good if you don't ever contribute to it. Most retirement accounts offer a direct-deposit option that pulls a predetermined contribution from your bank account to your IRA on a set day every month. Most people appreciate this option, because it allows them to contribute to their IRA without having to think about it. If they have to consciously contribute to their IRA, they may try to justify putting the money elsewhere.

Step 3: Take Advantage Of Your Company's Retirement Plan
If you work for a company that offers a retiring savings benefit, we strongly encourage you to take advantage of it - especially if your company will match your contributions up to a certain amount. This contribution match is essentially free money. You may not get to use the money now, but it will make a big difference in your overall retirement portfolio.

Step 4: Guesstimate Your Retirement Needs
Working on a project is almost easier when you can work towards a specific goal rather than an abstract concept. Obviously, it's impossible to predict exactly how much you will need to save to support yourself in retirement, but you can get close by choosing what age you would like to retire and how long you hope to live, and then multiplying your total annual expenses by the approximate number of years you plan to be retired.

Step 5: Stick With Your Plan
Devising a savings plan is one thing - sticking to it is often a different matter entirely. Life is unpredictable, and unexpected circumstances may arise that make it difficult to put money aside for retirement. When it comes to saving for retirement, one of the most important things you can do is to continue setting money aside no matter what obstacles life presents. Remember, even if you have to decrease the amount you set aside for a little while, something is always better than nothing!

Ask Us About Our IRA Options
First Bank of the Lake is here to help you meet your retirement savings goals. We offer a variety of tax-advantaged IRA (Individual Retirement Account) options that can help yourself up for a successful retirement. Visit our website to learn more about our Traditional IRAs, Roth IRAs, SEP IRAs, and SIMPLE IRA options 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

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

5 Tips To Achieve A Debt-Free Lifestyle

Do you feel buried under a mountain of debt? While some types of debt can be beneficial for building up a strong credit rating, too much debt can become overwhelming very quickly. Don't resign yourself to a life filled with debt - First Bank of the Lake is here to help you get on top of things with these tried-and-true tips for achieving a debt-free lifestyle.



1. Be Honest About Your Credit Card Habits
Many debt relief experts encourage people to use cash exclusively in order to avoid racking up credit card debt. However, credit cards aren't necessarily a bad thing; it just depends on how you use them. If you pay off your balance in full every month (or pay off individual transactions immediately), you can enjoy the convenience credit cards offer without building any unnecessary debt. If you do not trust yourself to manage your cards in this manner, however, you may be better off sticking with cash.

2. Apply For Scholarships
Many recent graduates are struggling to catch their breath under the weight of their student loans. According to Time.com, more than two-thirds of this year's college graduates have approximately $35,000 in student loan debt. Shouldering this type of debt can make it challenging for them to make important investments, such as buying a car or providing the down payment for a home. Before taking out student loans to cover your college education, research your scholarship options in depth. Even if you do not qualify for many scholarships from your school directly, you may be able to find some funded by independent third parties.


3. Focus On One Debt At A Time
Department store debt, credit card debt, student loan debt, car loans, mortgage loans... many people in our society are facing multiple types of debt at once, and getting out from underneath them can seem like a daunting prospect. By focusing on paying off one at a time, you can make the process more manageable. Some people choose to focus on the debt with the highest interest rate first, whereas others like to begin with the one with the smallest principal. Choose the strategy that most appeals to you, and stick with it. Put extra money towards the principal on your chosen debt, and only make required payments on your others. Once you have the first one paid off, take the money that was going towards it and add to the payments on your next chosen debt. By tackling them in this fashion, you can slowly but steadily make progress.

4. Avoid Temptation
What are your spending weaknesses? If you know you're prone to extravagant shopping sprees, unsubscribe from any mailings that advertise coupons or other special offers so you won't have to face the temptation appearing in your mail/inbox. If you know that you like to treat yourself to lunch at various restaurants on your lunch break, make it a point to bring food to the office so you don't have to leave. There really is no right or wrong way to approach this strategy; the important thing is to know your own spending habits and make adjustments accordingly so that you won't have to face unnecessary temptation.

5. Build A Large Savings
If you are struggling to get your feet underneath you, this particular tip may seem less than helpful. However, a solid savings account is your best defense against a debt-filled lifestyle. By having a strong emergency savings account, you are more likely to be able to cover the unexpected expenses that life may throw at you without going into additional debt. You can build your savings account by setting aside 20% of every paycheck. It may mean having fewer dinners out or fewer bottles of wine from the grocery store, but it's a small price to pay for financial security.

Set Up Your Savings Account At First Bank of the Lake!
As you begin to build your savings so you can work towards a debt-free lifestyle, you may want to consider establishing a separate savings account. Keeping your savings in a separate account allows your savings to be more "out of sight, out of mind," which can make it easier to resist the temptation to use your savings for non-emergencies. If you are looking for a place to set up a savings account at the Lake of the Ozarks, consider First Bank of the Lake. Our banking professionals would be more than happy to help 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