Wednesday, November 25, 2015

5 Financially Savvy Black Friday Shopping Tips

Thanksgiving is almost here! As we flock to the grocery stores to grab the last few items needed to prepare our Thanksgiving feasts, many of us are also gearing up for another exciting seasonal event: Black Friday.

Black Friday is quite possibly the largest shopping event of the year. With the hundreds of outstanding deals and incredible bargains offered by retailers of all sizes, consumers get the chance to save potentially hundreds of dollars on their holiday shopping lists. Of course, as with all shopping excursions, consumers also have the chance to spend far more than they were originally planning to. This week, our local bank at the Lake of the Ozarks is here to help you keep your Black Friday spending on track with these helpful hints.

Financially Savvy Black Friday Shopping Tips

1. Plan Your Shopping List Ahead Of Time
Impulse shopping is the quickest way to spend more money than you were originally intending to. You can protect yourself from impulse shopping by sitting down and writing out a list of the items you want to purchase before you even begin looking at the sale options. Use this list to keep yourself on track when it's time to shop.

2. Do Your Black Friday Shopping With Cash
Shopping with cash is one of the most effective ways to guarantee you won't spend more than you originally budgeted. Once you're out of cash, you will be forced to quit spending. If you charge everything to a credit card, you may be dangerously tempted to buy that flashy new flat screen - and could end up paying even more for it if you are unable to pay off your credit card bill when the time comes. Shopping with cash may be your smartest option.

3. Use The Buddy System
Most people plan to bring a friend or two with them when they go Black Friday Shopping, but it's important to be strategic about who you bring. If your shopping buddy is a big-spender, it may be hard for you to keep your own spending in check. Find a friend who will help you resist the urge to spend money on items you don't need.

4. Check For Online Deals Before You Buy
Before hitting the stores on Friday morning, visit the websites for all the stores you're planning to visit. Many retailers offer the same deals online that they do in-store - and by the time you factor in the cost of gas and the amount of time you'll spend standing in line, the online deals might be the better option.

5. Follow-Through With Your Rebates
Many Black Friday deals offer mail-in rebates; you have to pay full price in the store, but they will send you money back after you mail in the rebate. Unfortunately, many consumers forget to send in the rebates afterwards, which means they ended up paying full-price for the Black Friday "deal" they were so excited about. Don't leave money on the table!

Happy Thanksgiving From First Bank!

On behalf of everyone at the best bank in Osage Beach, we hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday weekend and a successful Black Friday shopping spree. If you ever find yourself in need of financial services at the Lake of the Ozarks, we hope you'll keep us in mind. First Bank of the Lake would be honored to help you in any way we can!

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 19, 2015

First Bank of the Lake Raises Money for Segs4Vets to Support Injured Veterans

Exciting announcement! Our trusted bank at the Lake of the Ozarks has partnered with the Missouri Bankers Association (MBA) to provide Segways for men and women injured in Iraq and Afghanistan. Here's a sneak peek at the press release to help you learn more about our involvement.

First Bank of the Lake - Press Release

This year, First Bank of the Lake is sponsoring an in-house campaign to raise money for Segs4Vets, making a fun approach to fundraising.

“It is an honor for First Bank of the Lake to recognize the sacrifices that our Veterans make to keep our nation safe,” said Michael Anderson, First Bank of the Lake President. “Participating in Segs4Vets gives our bank the opportunity to thank our soldiers for their bravery.” 

MBA chose Segs4Vets as its designated charity in 2009. Since then, banks in Missouri, their employees, and community members have raised more than $254,790 to support this noble cause.

“Like our banks and their communities, we are proud of the men and women serving our country,” said Max Cook, MBA president and CEO. “We appreciate our members’ efforts, their hard work, and their enthusiasm for making donations and organizing events to support Segs4Vets.” 

Launched in 2005, Segs4Vets is a grassroots program administered by volunteers. The cost for each Segs4Vets award is expected to average $9,750 in 2015. For every $1 donated, 98 cents supports Segs4Vets’ mission — helping severely injured men and women returning from Iraq and Afghanistan to choose the path of independence and to remain productive members of society.

“When men and women serving our nation suffer serious injury and permanent disability, they must have resources and tools that help them live independently and contribute to society,” said Jerry Kerr, president and co-founder of Segs4Vets. “Segs4Vets empowers these men and women, giving them a new outlook on life.” 

Meet First Bank of the Lake
First Bank of the Lake is well known for their community mindedness, and takes pleasure in reaching out to organizations such as the Segs4Vets to help make a difference both locally and nationally. First Bank of the Lake was also recognized recently as a top-producing local lender by ICBA with a letter stating “You and your team serve your customers every day and help your local community flourish. It is because of local community banks like yours that our industry continues to thrive.” For more information, visit

Meet The Missouri Bankers Association
The Missouri Bankers Association is a statewide trade and professional organization in Jefferson City that represents the interests of 293 banks and savings and loans in Missouri. Its members have more than 30,000 employees who work in more than 2,000 locations throughout the state. For more information, visit

Meet Segs4Vets
Segs4Vets is a nonprofit organization gifting Segways to combat injured Veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, helping Veterans choose the path of independence to once again become productive members of society and their families as they continue to serve our nation. Designated one of the Best Independent charities in America, Segs4Vets has been awarded the Independent Charities Seal of Excellence. For more information, visit or contact Lori Hampel, Segs4Vets program administrator, at 314-965-4938.

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 11, 2015

End Of Year Giving ~ 7 Important Considerations

The holidays are fast approaching. With Thanksgiving and then Christmas only a few weeks away, many of us are looking for ways to celebrate the holiday season by giving gifts or donations to the people or organizations we care about the most. In addition to the warm feeling that comes from helping others, donating to charitable organizations offers its own financial rewards when tax season comes around. If you follow the Internal Revenue Service's rules on tax deductions, you may be able to deduct the money you donate to charities from your annual taxes. This week, the team at First Bank of the Lake is here to help you as you prepare to give.

3 Tips To Help Turn Your Donations Into Tax Savings:

#1. Itemizing Is Required
If you claim the standard deduction amount on your tax return, it won't matter how many charitable gifts you give. If you want to deduct your charitable donations, you must itemize your expenses on Schedule A. In most cases, however, there is no limit to how much you can deduct.

#2. Know The Tax Status
Before donating, research the charity of your choice to ensure that it is a tax-exempt organization. Only contributions to IRS-qualified charities (that is, those with 501(c)(3) status) are deductible. Any reputable organization will be happy to provide you with proof of their 501(c)(3) status, so don't be afraid to ask your chosen charity about their tax status. 

#3. Timing Is Everything
Donations must be made by the end of the tax year for which you want to claim the deduction. For example, if you date and mail a check to a charity on December 31st, 2015, it will be counted towards your 2015 taxes. Regardless of when they are received, mailed donations must be postmarked before the end of the year in order to count for that year. The same applies to donations made via credit card; as long as the transaction is dated before the end of the year, it does not matter that you might not pay your credit card bill until the following month.

4 Tips To Help You Select Your Charity:

#1. Give To Reputable Groups You Know
Donating to an organization you have volunteered for is almost always a safe bet. If you are familiar with the organization (and especially if you are passionate about their cause), you will be able to donate to them with confidence. Being reluctant to give to strangers is natural; you should never feel obligated to give to groups without carefully researching them first.

#2. Let The Internet Help
There are a handful of websites that provide in-depth information about charities to help donors research how their money will be spent. Here are a few sites you may wish to explore:
While religious organizations are typically not required to disclose how they spend donated money, many of them still choose to reveal this information. Check if you want to find this type of information.

#3. Narrow Your Focus
Rather than spreading your donation around between ten or more different charities, many experts advise donating what you can to one or two organizations, as this will have a greater impact. Choose a cause that is important to you personally and research related charities. Keep in mind that you can switch it up ever year, or every few months, depending on what your budget allows.

#4. Protect Yourself
Unfortunately, there are many scam artists who will take advantage of this season of giving by trying to steal your money or (even worse) your identity. Often times, fake organizations will have names that are very similar to those of reputable organizations, so you'll want to make sure you're donating to the correct organization. Also, we strongly recommend that you never give money or credit card information in response to a phone call, email, or door-to-door solicitation. Being proactive about where your money goes can help ensure that it will end up in the right place.

Happy Giving From First Bank!

On behalf of everyone at our local bank at the Lake of the Ozarks, we hope you and your families enjoy a truly wonderful season of giving and spending time with the people who mean the most to you. If you are in need of banking services in Osage Beach or any of the surrounding areas, we hope you'll keep us in mind! We would be honored to help you protect your capital and increase your financial success.

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 4, 2015

SBA Loans ~ A Complete Overview

"You have to spend money to make money." 

This famous adage has guided aspiring entrepreneurs for decades. Depending on your industry, starting a business at the Lake of the Ozarks can require a sizable initial investment. You may not have the funds you need immediately available to get your business up and running. What can you do?

If you're like most entrepreneurs, you'll probably take out a loan so you can have the funds you need to get your company off the ground. Luckily for you, there is a certain type of loan that is specifically geared towards your unique situation: small business loans.

Why Small Business Loans?

SBA 7(a) loans are guaranteed in part by the Small Business Administration, an agency dedicating to supporting small businesses across the United States. The SBA guarantees the loan, but First Bank of the Lake provides the funding for the loan. Because they are specifically geared towards funding small businesses, SBA loans offer several unique benefits designed to give entrepreneurs a competitive edge.

3 Benefits Of SBA Loans

Here's a quick look at some of the unique benefits that SBA loans can offer.

1.  Long Term Financing
SBA loans offer long-term financing, which helps improve cash flow. In most cases, the loan is for a fixed term and will not have a balloon.

2.  Low Down Payments
One of the uses of an SBA loan is to provide much-needed funding to businesses who are trying to get off the ground. Consequently, SBA loans often offer loan down payment options to make them affordable to their target market.

3.  Several Different Loan Options
SBA loans are not "one-size-fits-all." In fact, there are several different types of these loans you can choose from. Your SBA lender at the Lake of the Ozarks will be able to help you determine which is best for your situation.

Get Your SBA Loan At First Bank Of The Lake!

First Bank of the Lake is proud to announce that we have a dedicated SBA lending officer on staff. With his addition to our team, we are able to offer SBA loans at the Lake of the Ozarks for many local up-and-coming business owners. If you would like more information about how our trusted Lake of the Ozarks bank may be able to help you get your business off the ground, give us a call at 573-348-2265. We look forward to hearing from 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