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

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Next 4 Things You Can Do For Financial Success

At First Bank of the Lake, we are dedicated to helping our clients achieve financial success in their personal and business lives. We make it a point to share relevant, interesting content designed to help people navigate the various situations they may face in their day-to-day lives. This week, we're continuing that tradition by offering some helpful suggestions for achieving financial success in all stages of life.

Whether you are a young adult just beginning your professional career, a middle-aged adult preparing for retirement, a single working professional, or a stay-at-home parent, there are certain things you should be doing to better position yourself financially. Here are a few steps you should take to improve your financial situation.

1. Build A Budget
First and foremost, you should put together a budget to keep track of your monthly expenses. There are countless different budgeting strategies you can use:
  • You can build a spreadsheet and plug all of your income/expenses in at the end of the month.
  • You can use a free budgeting app to track your income/expenses on your smartphone as you go.
  • You can make a cash withdrawal after every paycheck and divide the cash up into envelopes, each with a specific purpose.

No one strategy is better than the other; it's up to you to choose which one fits your needs and lifestyle best. What's important is that you stick with the budgeting strategy you choose so that you can continue to track your finances month after month.

2. Save For Retirement
Practically every working professional hopes to retire someday. The age at which people retire varies greatly from person to person, but the ultimate requirement is the same. In order for people to retire, they have to have enough money saved up to support them for the rest of their lives. The younger you are when you retire, then, the more money you will have to have saved up. No matter what stage of your career you are currently in, we strongly encourage you to begin saving for retirement at the Lake of the Ozarks. The sooner you start, the more you can save in the long run.

3. Set Aside An Emergency Fund
Life is impossible to predict, and even our best laid plans can (and often do) go awry. If unforeseen undesirable circumstances arise, it is important that you have the funds set aside to weather the storms. Most financial experts recommend having enough money in your savings account to cover at least 3-6 months of your living expenses without any additional money coming in. If you do not have the funds sitting around to currently designate as an emergency fund, build up to it by setting aside one hundred dollars every month.

4. Spend Less Than You Earn
This principle sounds obvious, but you might be surprised how many individuals often have trouble following this simple maxim. Spending more than you earn in any given month may not be terribly detrimental to your overall financial situation, but if it becomes a consistent pattern, it can become a major problem very quickly. It is important that you become brutally honest with yourself regarding how much you earn on a monthly basis and how much you can afford to spend. (Maintaining a budget can help you keep track of this.)

Let Us Know If We Can Help!
If there is any way we can help you on your road to financial success, don't be afraid to reach out! We offer retirement accounts, savings accounts, and personal checking accounts at the Lake of the Ozarks. If you are interested in setting up a new bank account, we would love to talk to you. Visit our website to learn more about our financial services: www.FirstBankLake.com

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 3, 2016

Proud To Sponsor The Great Dam Duck Drop 2016

Ask any local, and they'll tell you that one of the best parts about living at the Lake of the Ozarks (besides getting year-round access to all of the great attractions our area has to offer) is being a part of such a generous, conscientious community. There are countless events held all year long designed to help locals in need, and community members go above and beyond to support these great events. This year, First Bank of the Lake is proud to be a sponsor of one of these awesome events: The Great Dam Duck Drop.

Photo Credit: GreatDamDuckDrop.com
Great Dam Duck Drop 2016

The Great Dam Duck Drop is a two-part annual event held every year on the first Friday and Saturday of August. Friday's primary activity is a golf tournament featuring a wide variety of special contests and prizes designed to engage players with a wide range of skill levels. Saturday's activities include a Family Fun Zone perfect for families with children of all ages and, of course, the famous "Duck Drop" itself.

Proceeds from the Great Dam Duck Drop benefit a wide variety of local charity organizations that, in turn, help local kids in need. Specifically, proceeds will benefit:
  • Lake Area Big Brothers Big Sisters
  • Ozark Coast Kiwanis
  • Kids Harbor
  • Citizens Against Domestic Violence
  • The Food Pantry
  • Wonderland Camp
  • And More
Photo Credit: GreatDamDuckDrop.com
Golf Tournament Event Details
  • Date: Friday, August 5th, 2016
  • Time: 1:30 PM Shotgun Start
  • Location: The Ridge Golf Course
  • Registration and lunch begin at noon
  • 4 person scramble with ladies' flight
  • Tournament contests / prizes:
    • Hole-in-one contests
    • $5,000 putting contest
    • 3 flights with top 3 teams in each flight receiving prizes + ladies' flight
    • Long drive contests
    • Closest to the pin contests
    • Other on-course contests and special events

Family Fun Zone Event Details
  • Date: Saturday, August 6th, 2016
  • Time: 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM
  • Location: Dam Bait Shop & Campground
  • Fun zone wristbands are free and include all of the games, events, and prizes
  • Duck drop tickets available for purchase until 11:00 AM ($5 each)
  • Ducks fly at noon - first 11 ducks to cross the finish line will receive prizes (you do not need to be present to win)!
  • Family fun zone activities:
    • Petting zoo
    • Martial arts demonstrations
    • Facial decorating
    • Games
    • Prizes
    • Dance demonstrations
    • Live DJ
    • Shaved ice
    • Dunk tank
    • Great food
    • Bounce houses

First Bank Is Proud To Sponsor This Event!

The Great Dam Duck Drop is an outstanding event for an even better cause, and our local bank in Osage Beach MO is honored to be a Gold Sponsor for this event. Specifically, we're helping to sponsor the Putting Contest on Friday - a chance for players to win $5,000! 

Whether you plan to attend the event or provide a cash donation in support of the cause, we hope you'll make Duck Drop 2016 a part of your plans for this weekend. We are proud to be a part of such a fantastic area, and are thrilled to have this opportunity to give back to our local community. We hope to see you there!

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