Wednesday, October 26, 2016

8 Money-Saving Tips For Halloween

How are you planning to celebrate Halloween? Maybe you're taking your kids trick-or-treating, maybe you're attending a Halloween party, or maybe you're planning to pass out candy to the excited trick-or-treaters who come to your door. Regardless of how you plan to celebrate, the holiday could probably end up costing you a pretty penny if you aren't careful! First Bank of the Lake is here to help you plan a fun Halloween that won't break the bank.

8 Tips To Save Money This Halloween

1. Hit Up The Thrift Stores
Costumes tend to be expensive, and they can add up quickly if you're having to outfit multiple people. Save money by shopping for costumes at thrift stores. Purchasing gently used clothing items and building your costume from scratch will likely be much less expensive in the long run. Thrift stores often also sell pre-owned Halloween decorations. Yard sales and garage sales are also a great way to find Halloween paraphernalia throughout the year.

2. Make Your Own Halloween Decorations
Does your household tend to go all-out on the Halloween decorations? Decorating for Halloween is grand fun, especially if you have young children to help you. You can save money and make great memories with your family by getting crafty and making your Halloween decorations instead of buying them.

3. Trade Costumes With Friends
If you have friends with children who are roughly the same age as yours, you may be able to trade costumes with them. This allows both kids to get some variety in their costumes without requiring you to pay double.

4. Maximize Coupons/Sales
Don't pay full price if you don't have to! Watch for coupon codes, discounts, and sales as you make your Halloween preparations. It doesn't have to be a huge deal to be worthwhile - every little bit counts.

5. Stock Up At The End Of The Season
After Halloween night, most stores will offer significant discounts on their Halloween supplies. While this may not help you with your costumes (after all, it can be hard to judge next year's size for your growing children), it can be a great way to stock up on other Halloween supplies (decorations, spooky makeup, etc).

6. Shop In Bulk
If you are buying Halloween candy to pass out to trick-or-treaters on Halloween night, bulk stores will be your new best friend. They offer great prices that other stores with smaller quantities often cannot match. Shopping at bulk stores can also be helpful if you need to supply Halloween snacks for multiple people.

7. Get Creative
There is no rule that says kids have to carry plastic jack o'lanterns when they go trick-or-treating. Save a few bucks by encouraging your children to use alternatives such as old pillow cases, baskets, or even sand buckets. Your kids could also get creative and decorate paper bags.

8. Think Outside The Box (Store)
After Christmas, Halloween is the highest grossing commercial holiday. According to the National Retail Federation, total Halloween spending for 2016 is expected to reach $8.4 billion, with the average American spending $82.93 apiece. You don't have to be a part of this statistic! With a little creativity, you and your family can celebrate Halloween for far less than that. As an added benefit, making your own decorations and piecing your costumes together from scratch are great ways to make memories with your family. Saving money AND spending quality time with your children - sounds like a win-win to us!

Happy Halloween from your friends at the best bank 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, 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