Posted on 10/11/2016 11:00 AM By First Bank
October is Financial Planning month and around the nation cities are hosting free Financial Planning Days. The events are a combined effort of four non-profit organizations: Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Financial Planning Association, Foundation for Financial Planning and the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Local CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals volunteer their time to offer free advice in one-on-one sessions or workshops. If you cannot attend your local event or do not have one in your area, it is a good time to do your own financial tune-up.
Know Where You Stand
The first step is to evaluate your current situation. Just like using a navigation system to find the best route to your destination, you need to know your starting point. There are four keystones to a comprehensive financial review.
1. Goals and Concerns: Evaluate where you want to be and any potential road blocks along the way.
2. Net Worth: As the foundation of achieving your financial dreams, get an idea of ...
Posted on 9/15/2016 11:14 AM By Tim Lathe, President, Chief Executive Officer
As I write this, a noticeable change is in the air. The temps aren’t necessarily cold yet, but the days are getting slightly shorter. There’s a crispness to the mornings I’ve always found inviting. There’s definitely a change of seasons coming.
Although we know the seasons will change and time will march on, we don’t always think it will come as quickly as it often does. In other words, it can really sneak up on us. The same can be said of the change of seasons in our own lives.
From our childhood and the progression from grade to grade and on to graduation, jobs, and retirement, the passing of time is inevitable. Planning ahead for them is not.
I’ve encountered many ‘change of season’ moments in my own life. The most recent being the change of seasons in my role with my own parents. I remember the time and coordination it took to find comfortable, supportive care for my parents in a care facility. We were blessed to find such an organization that could ...
Posted on 9/8/2016 11:18 AM By First Bank
How soon is too soon to talk to your kids or grandkids about money?
If they are old enough to ask for a toy or a bike, they are old enough to start learning financial lessons that will last a lifetime.
The best financial lessons are part of everyday experiences. Look for opportunities to talk about money, read books aloud and play games that center around spending money wisely. Be open and honest when you discuss your financial experiences—good or bad.
Here are some examples of teachable moments to help you get started:
At the bank
When you go to the bank, bring your children with you and show them how transactions work. Get the manager to explain how the bank operates, how money generates interest and how an ATM works. Ask the manager for a tour.
Discuss how your pay is budgeted to pay for housing, food and clothing, and how a portion is saved for future expenses, such as college tuition and retirement.
At the market
It’s easy to give clear examples of “need ...
Posted on 8/17/2016 11:29 AM By First Bank
In an increasingly competitive job environment, obtaining a degree after high school has become even more necessary.
The average estimated cost to attend at a public four-year in-state university is $24,061. The tuition is only a fraction of that figure but the total cost more than doubles when you factor in other room and board, books and supplies, transportation and personal expenses. The cost of a bachelor’s degree can vary based on several factors: attending public vs. private university; attending in-state vs. out-of-state university; location; or living at home vs. living on campus.
Who pays the bill?
Based on the most recent study from Sallie Mae, currently contributions from parents have surpassed scholarships and grants.
What are the options to plan ahead?
Save: Investing early and allowing the funds to compound can be an efficient way to pre-pay for higher education. There are different types of accounts that are available such as brokerage, Roth IRA, 529 Plans, Coverdell sa ...
Posted on 8/12/2016 11:35 AM By Tim Lathe, President, Chief Executive Officer
The summer games have begun with the lighting of the torch. It’s such an awe-inspiring moment to see, considering the flame has traveled for months, through countless cities, and carried by over 12,000 torchbearers. The teamwork and collaboration it takes to make this a reality is simply miraculous.
The ideology of the games and bringing that many people, across multiple continents and cultures, into one majestic moment for one common goal is nothing short of phenomenal. These athletes all aspire to a common goal: to achieve greatness, to overcome obstacles, and to compete for the gold. They, along with the help of innumerable people, are making that dream a reality.
And, although medals are made of gold, silver, and recycled electronics (an effort toward sustainability), that’s not really what goes into them. Medals are really made of the young athlete that gets up before dawn to start training; the daily determination to stick with the proper diet plan; and the perseverance to believe he o ...
Posted on 6/24/2016 11:37 AM By Tim Lathe, President, Chief Executive Officer
As you may know, my family and I relocated to St. Louis just a couple of years ago. Putting down roots and making this our beloved home...we couldn’t be happier.
From Forest Park and the world-renowned St. Louis Zoo to the 11-time World Series Champions, the Cardinals, this area is a wonderful place to call home.
What’s more, with St. Louis poised for significant job growth, while still maintaining attractive and reasonable housing prices, is it any wonder it’s predicted to be the second “hottest” top real estate market? In fact, St. Louis is ranking ahead of other top markets, even San Diego and New Orleans. That’s great news for home buyers and sellers. This is the perfect time to consider a move.
However, serious buyers need to be ahead of the game. I’ve heard our mortgage colleagues comment how buyers really need to be prepared in this housing market. Their recommendations? Show up to open houses educated on the property, prepared to make an offer, and wi ...
Posted on 6/9/2016 11:39 AM By Tim Lathe, President, Chief Executive Officer
Our calendar at home is starting to fill with a variety of invitations for summertime activities, particularly graduation celebrations and June weddings. Both are joyous celebrations in young lives.
June is considered the official month of weddings, or so I’ve been told. I always assumed it was due to the warmer weather and sunnier days, but it actually stems from ancient beliefs, when marrying in June was thought to bless young couples with prosperity and good fortune. If only achieving the American Dream was as simple as luck and chance!
Newlyweds and young couples today are faced with many opportunities and choices ahead of them. Life’s bigger questions start to surface–such as the best place to live or raise a family; what are the short and long-term savings goals; who will handle the family’s finances; and what are the shared plans for retirement? Oh, and we can’t forget about determining who will do the nightly dinner dishes.
Seriously, though, making smart decisio ...
Posted on 6/3/2016 11:42 AM By First Bank
You got a great price on your airfare and your accommodations but your battle to save on vacation isn't over. Our tips at First Bank to spend smart on vacation when you are tempted to splurge.
BYOF: Bring your own food
Airports and airlines are notorious for charging high prices. Pack a meal or pick up food ahead if your boarding time is around a meal. Bring snacks or a meal on a flight rather than purchasing the more expensive menu options offered on the flight. You can also pack healthier meal options than what is normally offered at the airport or on the plane.
Busy schedule and didn’t have time to research ahead? Most airports offer free Wi-Fi. While waiting to board your flight is a good time to search for deals before you arrive at your destination. For example, museums may offer a discount for booking ahead or restaurants with happy hour deals can be a great alternative to a formal dinner. Websites like TripAdvisor and Yelp are helpful resources to begin in your research.
Posted on 4/4/2016 11:46 AM By First Bank
In order to help you meet your financial goals, we’d like to take this opportunity to assess and improve your overall savings strategy. Financial Literacy Month is a good time to ask ourselves if we’re doing all we can to meet our savings goals. A few small changes daily, weekly, and monthly can have a big impact on your overall financial future.
To help put you on the path toward savings success, we’re offering the following tips:
• Set a goal. The first step is to establish a realistic savings goal. Consider your expenses, make a budget, and determine how much you can put away each month. First Bank offers online planning tools and calculators to help you set a goal!
• Track your spending. Hold yourself to the budget you’ve set by tracking your expenses. Consider using websites that will segment your spending so you can easily see what areas, if any, you are going over budget. Then, you can adjust accordingly.
• Pay yourself first. Arrange to have a specifi ...