What Your Teen Needs to Know About Money Management

FSSB_Blog_WhatDoesYourTeenNeedToKnow

Throughout their teenage years, your children will begin to grow their personal money management style. Offer them some assistance by offering these four financial lessons from First Security State Bank.

Securing Their First Job

No matter if it’s babysitting, lifeguarding, or bagging groceries, there are plenty of employment options for eager high school students. These opportunities typically start at minimum wage with zero benefits, but offer a foundation of experience and learning. Talk with your son or daughter, and help them select positions to apply for that resonate with them. Resources such as the Chamber of Commerce often list local job openings, and are a good place to comb for recent availabilities.

Managing Money

The younger you begin various habits, the better they stick with you. Teach your children the positive effect proper money management can have on their pocketbook. Start by opening both a savings and a checking account for your teen. Each pay period, help them figure ten percent of their earnings to put into their savings. You can also work with them one-on-one each month to help balance their checkbook and plan for any large expenditures.

Saving for College

Secondary education isn’t cheap. If your son or daughter plans on attending a college or trade school, the time to start saving is now! Work with your future student to determine an educational budget, providing an estimate of upcoming expenses. Once you know the amount needed you can set savings goals for both you and your teen to start tucking money away. The sooner you begin your savings journey the smoother the road will be to your target amount.

Making Payments

Whether it’s purchasing their first car or simply covering the cost of meals at school, learning how to maintain a payment plan is an important life lesson. Explain your personal bill paying system to your teen and see how they can tailor it to their needs. Once they have a grasp on the system itself, gradually add payments to your child’s list of responsibilities, even if you add the money to their account. This will help them learn to keep an updated payment calendar before they graduate high school.

Money management is a continual learning process. There are always new techniques or tricks to better arrange your finances. Don’t stop honing your teen’s money management after these four lessons – stop by First Security State Bank and see how you can keep growing your family’s financial skills today!

The True Cost of Owning a Pet

FSSB_Blog_TrueCostOfOwningAPet

Seasoned pet owners know Fido and Fluffy add a special element to your family as only a pet can. However, adding another member to your household does come with its costs. From daily kibble, to late night vet calls, be sure you’re financially prepared before purchasing your next pet. Try these five financial tips to keep both your pet and your wallet happy.

Consider Adopting

A purebred pet can easily run over $1,000, while also requiring a hefty deposit in addition to registration fees. Try visiting your local humane society or animal shelter to meet some love-deprived friends that could use your attention. With most adoption costs under $300 total, you can save some green while helping a loving animal in need.

Determine Appropriate Size and Breed

Both your residence and your budget factor into this one! With many apartments posing weight and breed restrictions, there may be additional external factors to consider. When it comes to your budget, be sure to make note of your designated pet spending. If you’re trying to feed a big dog on a little budget, you may be fighting an uphill battle.

Buy Generic

Food is food, and pets don’t care whether their daily dinner is from brand A or B. Choose food that maximizes your pet’s energy without minimizing your savings. Treats can be another tricky topic – find one type of treat to reward your pet with for a job well done. There are several pet stores where you can purchase treats in bulk, and as long as you store them properly, you can save plenty of dollars, without running out of prizes for your pet.

Avoid Frill Expenses

Items such as decorative bowls, pet clothes, and squeaky toys are all fun splurges, but unneeded purchases on a continual basis. Choose a timeline for additional pet items on either a quarterly or biannual basis. You can keep your pet happy and entertained by offering household items such as empty water bottles or old stuffed animals instead of dropping $15 for a new toy each month.

Groom Smart

Every pet is different, some shed, others molt, but no matter what type of animal you have grooming may be involved. Various pets can groom themselves, or require little maintenance, but for the majority of our furry friends, assistance may be required. If you’re up to the challenge, see if grooming is something you can do yourself. Activities such as bathing or brushing can be done at home – just be sure to stock up on towels! If your pet requires frequent haircuts, or other monthly grooming, find a local groomer instead of your veterinarian for a more affordable rate.

Give your pet all the love and affection you can while keeping your budget on a leash. If you want to learn more about managing your monthly budget give us a call at (319) 266-0474 or drop by the bank today. We’d love to help you and your furry family make the most of your spending!

10 Things Successful People Do

FSSB_Blog_10ThingsSuccessfulPeopleDo

Ever wonder how Mark Zuckerberg or Richard Branson got where they are today? Success doesn’t come easy, but it grows where it is watered. At First Security State Bank, we want to help you climb into success with these simple tactics! Learn how to begin your journey to the top with these 10 key actions:

  1. Have maker time. No matter how many meetings there are in a day, schedule time each and every day to create, produce, and whittle down your to-do list. Not only will you get more done, but you’ll get more completed within your structured time!
  2. Prioritize your tasks. Sometimes that to-do list can be a mile long. Start your day with one main priority, and three sub tasks. Once these core items have been completed you can move on to the other smaller agendas you have for the day.
  3. Keep your values. Whether it’s making it home for dinner, or keeping on top of an evening health regiment, realize there are other values outside of work that need your attention too. Designate your time at work to do the most you can, so once the clock hits five, you know you’re scheduled to be somewhere else.
  4. Strategize your meetings. Do you need to be in every one of your meetings? Perhaps not! Speak with meeting organizers to determine if your input is truly needed and if so, could that be communicated through email instead? Time is precious, so make the most of yours!
  5. Say no. No is a powerful word. While you may not be able to say “no” to a supervisor’s request, when being asked to participate in additional projects, be selective and only join the workload you can handle appropriately
  6. Know when to delegate. You can’t do everything yourself. Invest time in your peers and ensure that if you need a task completed, they are up to the challenge. A great leader utilizers their team’s strengths and weaknesses, so be sure you’re putting the best person on each task.
  7. Create a daily routine. Everything from your morning breakfast choices, the various times you check your emails, to your scheduled breaks, you need to have a routine, and stick to it!
  8. Treat failure as a lesson. There’s a learning experience in every failure. By taking this simple mindset to heart, you can embrace the good that comes with every thwarted attempt. This insight helps not only grow your current project, but also broadens your mind to potential possibilities for future endeavors.
  9. Choose a mentor. The day you stop learning is the day you stop growing. One of the most effective things successful people do is to continue to learn. By never boasting a full cup, you can continue to add valuable knowledge to your repertoire and learn from someone who’s navigated many experiences you’ll soon face.  
  10. Wake up early. The early bird gets the worm! Whether you start work at 4:00am, 8:00am, or 8:00pm arrive early to collect your thoughts before your co-workers swarm in. During rush hour you’ll also notice an easier drive if you leave an extra half hour or hour early.

What Your Birth Order Says About Your Money Management

FSSB_Blog_WhatYourBirthOrderSays

Every family knows there’s a difference between the various siblings, but why is that? Many psychologists agree, birth order plays a large role! Each member of your family is generally rooted in one of four personality types which help define their core behaviors and beliefs. Discover how these traits can translate to your money management style at First Security State Bank.

First Born: Typically the leader of the family, first borns are strong minded and organized with a heavy protective tendency. Many of those born first err on the side of caution, creating savings accounts for emergencies and unexpected situations. This sibling tends to enjoy being in charge and knowing all the variables. Any expenses, debts, or other monthly bills will be allocated and prepared accordingly. First borns tend to work towards their dreams, and may have the downfall of taking a financial risk to do so.

Middle Child: Always the people pleaser, middle children are most known for helping others. If you need an extra buck or two for lunch, this sibling will be the first to lend a hand. Often on the rebellious side, the middle child may be more apt to invest in some riskier stocks, but depending if they pan out, it could make financial sense in the long run. Typically talkative and social, many middle children challenge the norm and create new versions of savings schemes. This sibling will be the first to try the next and best retirement plan before storing away long term savings.

Last Born: Optimism, attention, and organization generally drive the youngest of the siblings. After learning from the mistakes of the older members of the family, this child typically has most financial questions answered before ever needing to ask. This sibling will be the guru of rewards points, always finding the best perks and benefits for various programs. Always looking on the bright side, the last born is compelled to live the best of their life now, assured the future will work itself out later.

Only Child: Frequently told they’re mature for their age, the only child is known for their leadership, sophistication, and drive towards perfection. The typical only child will have a detailed account record with meticulous payment upkeep. These individuals strive to be the best, and are determined to achieve their goals. Expect them to have a strategic savings plan, retirement investing, and a well-rounded home improvement fund. Always up for a challenge, only children can often be great investors seeking out the best stock options for their needs.

No matter your place within the family tree, you’ll always have a financial partner with First Security State Bank. Whichever goal you’re aiming to tackle next, we’ll help you achieve it!

The DO’s and DON’TS of Debit and Credit Cards

Payment Options

This week we are excited to dive into the Do’s and Don’ts of Credit and Debit cards! Offering two very similar, but uniquely different services for your financial needs, these cards can help you to reign in your finances and grow your credit score when used properly. Learn all about these tips and tricks courtesy of First Security State Bank.

Debit Card: A card issued by the bank, that is tied directly to a checking or savings account, which allows money to be electronically transferred from one bank account to another when making a purchase.

DO

  1. Use for daily transactions. It’s always great to have a paper trail reminding you of your purchases.
  2. Use for repeated expenses such as gas, groceries, and other costs you can plan for.
  3. Balance your check book. Sometimes charges such as gas or dining can take several days to run through so be sure to keep track of your spending by balancing your checkbook weekly.

DON’T

  1. Use your debit card online unless you absolutely have to. Having your credit card information stolen is one thing, having your bank information stolen is another.
  2. Spend more than you have in your account. Overdraft fees are no fun for anyone!
  3. Give out your PIN # or other banking information.

Credit Card: A small plastic card that is offered by the bank or other financial institution, allowing the card owner to purchase goods and services on credit.

DO

  1. Use for online expenses through secured vendors. Many discounts may be offered online only and can save you and your family a bundle.
  2. Pay your bill in full each and every month. You can avoid hefty interest rates and other timely fees, by not extending your balance over to the next month.
  3. Utilize points to help you earn while you spend. These points are great for supplementing costs of family trips or other extra activities.

DON’T

  1. Spend more than you have allocated for the month. Paying more for interest and other fees is money wasted.
  2. Open too many credit card accounts. Keep one or two cards that you use and payoff each month to help boost your score.
  3. Max out your balance, even if you pay it off each month this can potentially damage your credit score and serve as a red flag to potential lenders.

Get started on your finances today with a secure credit or debit card from First Security State Bank! We’ll help you understand the ups and downs of each and find the best solution for you and your needs.

How to Create your Emergency Fund and When to Use It

Savings

Creating a structured savings plan is one thing that can set apart the financial dreamers from the financial doers! By setting strict guidelines to your goal, and ensuring the correct follow through with a backed up savings plan, you can be certain of your success in accomplishing your future achievement! One of the biggest obstacles in these plans is the unforeseen, and there is a way to manage even that. Using a well-rounded emergency fund can ensure that you don’t dip into saved funds for unexpected costs such as auto repairs, or medical emergencies. Want to get started setting up your emergency fund today? Follow these simple steps and you’ll be on your way to financial success!

  1. Open a dedicated savings account.
  2. Deposit Funds each month without withdrawing anything.
  3. Start by saving $1000.

– Next save 3 months’ worth of income and expenses.

– Finally maintain 6 months’ worth of income and expenses.

The reason you have this fund is simple, to prepare for the unprepareable. Whether it’s an unanticipated job loss, a costly home repair, or other unplanned expenses, your emergency fund can help you stay afloat when the waters get rough.

The main objective of this account is to have it work for you and your needs! By specifically determining what you define as an emergency (job loss, vet bills, auto repairs) and what doesn’t (last minute birthday gift, broken TV, new clothes) you can generate a structured list to know when you feel safe using those funds, and when perhaps its best to leave them untouched. The idea of the emergency fund is to have it when you need it. By gaining access easily via checkbook or debit card, you can make use of the account more quickly when the unexpected strikes.

By generating your own emergency fund you can continue to save for milestones and pay bills, without worrying about the what if’s that lie along the road to the future. Get started with your emergency account today at First Security State Bank, we’ll help you get to your next savings goal!

How to Save $1,000,000 by Retirement

How to Save $1,000,000 By Retirement

Retirement may seem an eternity away; however, even if it’s a dream 20 years down the road, saving for retirement shouldn’t wait until the goal is in sight. Rule of thumb says you’ll need $1,000,000 in savings to retire comfortably. Our experts at First Security State Bank recommend taking the following steps to save with the future in mind:

  • Determine when you want your $1 million. The typical age of retirement is 65, but you may be shooting for a few years earlier or later. Whatever the age affects how much you need to save each month, so calculate years left to save based on current age and breakdown monthly savings requirements thereafter.
  • Start saving ASAP. Compound interest rewards those that begin saving earlier rather than later. A $10,000 investment at age 25 could yield tens of thousands of dollars more by 65 than if that same $10,000 were invested at 35.
  • Spend less than you save. It’s basic math. You’ll have money left over only if income exceeds expenses. Buying a home within your range, purchasing cars secondhand, and paying for vacations out of savings and not on credit protects you from dipping into debt.
  • Opt for automatic. Research your employer’s 401k or retirement-based plans and determine what percent you’d like funneled from your paycheck and into your savings. If your employer matches contributions up to a limit, work to reach their maximum to maximize your savings.
  • Save beyond your 401k. Expect the unexpected. A flooded basement or dying car engine can send you spiraling out of your financial plan if you haven’t budgeted for rainy days. Set up a $1,000 emergency fund as soon as possible, and work to expand it to anywhere from 6-12 months of income to protect you from larger surprises, like medical issues or unemployment.

The road to a million takes time and discipline, but it’s exceedingly possible. For further savings strategies and investment options, make an appointment today to meet with one of our trained financial advisers.

7 Tips to Decrease Your Gardening Costs

Gardening Costs

Gardening season is upon us! Whether you’ve been gardening for decades or are flexing your green thumbs for the first time, save some green as you grow it this spring with these helpful tips from First Security State Bank:

  1. Study the sun. You can burn hundreds of dollars by accidentally placing plants in areas that receive too much or too little sunlight. Take time before planting to make notes on the sun’s path across your yard, scoping out key sunny and shady spots along the way.
  2. Invest in mulch. A layer of fresh mulch aids in protecting against soil erosion while cutting the costs of weed killer.
  3. Reuse newspapers. Before you lay down protective mulch, spread layers of old newspapers directly onto the soil to block weeds and lock in moisture. Eventually the newspaper decomposes while saving on water costs in the long-run.
  4. Try natural bug protection. Instead of buying pricey pesticides and bug zappers, place fabric softener sheets next to outdoor light fixtures to deter flying insects.
  5. Make your own weed killer. Eco-friendly and inexpensive, you can create your own weed killer by mixing 1 gallon of white vinegar with 1 ounce of liquid dish soap. Put this mixture in a spray bottle and directly apply to weeds for the maximum effect.
  6. Start composting. Create nature’s best fertilizer in your own backyard by forming a small compost pile of kitchen and yard waste. Not only do you reduce your footprint by saving space in a landfill, but your homemade compost saves you money and increases the yield of your plants.
  7. Plant the pricier edibles. To save money, time, and precious garden real estate, invest in planting herbs and vegetables that would normally cost you a bundle at the grocery store. Grow pricier crops such as raspberries, shallots, and basil yourself and buy cheaper produce like lettuce, carrots, and parsley at your local farmers markets.

At First Security State Bank, it’s always growing season when it comes to building your wealth. If you’re looking to prosper you financial gains stop by and give us a call at 319-266-0474 today!

How-To Give Your Children a Financial Education with Their Allowance

Financial Literacy

Throughout the month of April, the United State of America celebrates Financial Literacy Month. In efforts to catapult our nation’s level of financial knowledge, April has become the catalyst to help children and adults alike, learn the ins and outs of the finances. With topics ranging from budgeting, lending, saving, and beyond, this month offers an incredible opportunity to better understand the potential your money holds.

An allowance, when treated as an educational opportunity, gives your child hands-on experience in budgeting, saving, spending, investing, earning, negotiating, and tracking their money. With these tactics, you and your child can make the most of their allowance while growing their financial literacy.

  • Shy away from weekly allowance. A bi-weekly or monthly allowance better reflects a real-world payment schedule than a weekly handout. Additionally, staggered money instead of a steady cash flow opens opportunities to practice budgeting for both spending and savings goals.
  • Pay financial, not household, chores. Paying your children for completing basic household duties can shift their helpfulness from intrinsic to monetary. Instead, link their allowance to financial chores, or spending responsibilities that they take off your hands. While you cover school lunch and back-to-school clothes, vacation souvenirs or sporting event concessions are up to their discretion, allowing them to make financial decisions from a young age.
  • Open a savings account. It’s never too early to start saving. Open a saving’s account with your child and explain the power of compound interest. Establish that they pull 10% of their total monthly allowance to funnel into savings, enabling them to budget the remaining 90% while teaching the discipline and value of saving.
  • Show them the options for their funds. Teach your children the potential their money has by creating four labeled jars for spending, saving, giving, investing. Each time your kids are given money via chores or other revenue sources, have them choose which jar to put the funds in. The spending jar can be used on small purchases like candy bars or little toys, and the saving jar can be put towards larger items that take more time to save.

With each dollar your children learn to save, they will continue to propel their education forward. If you’d like to get your little one’s financial education off to the right start stop by First Security State Bank today and enroll them in their very own checking or savings account.

Spring Home Renovations with a Home Equity Line of Credit

Home Equity

With warm weather approaching spring is the ideal time to shake off the dust and get your house back into shape! Get started on your next home renovation with a strategic Home Equity Line of Credit from First Security State Bank. Our custom financing allows you to withdraw only the funds you need along the course of your future project. Inspiration can be found everywhere when updating common areas such as the kitchen, bathrooms, basement, or outdoor living area. See what these average home renovations cost with this handy guide courtesy of First Security State Bank.

Kitchen Remodel: Creating your ideal culinary environment is more than just choosing cabinets and granite. With all the updates and finishing work, a typical Midwestern kitchen remodel can cost around $15,000 to complete. Carefully crafting the heart of your home takes concentrated decision making and long term planning. Consider updating your kitchen appliances to save you time and energy while preparing future meals. You may want to refinish or replace worn out flooring to match the new feel of your fresh remodel.

Bathroom Remodel: Giving your common space a much needed facelift can help you add value to your home. With updates as simple as new hardware and a tasteful backsplash you can bring some timeless style to a functional space. When undertaking a full renovation, features like a walk-in shower or a double vanity can bring a bold statement to the room. The average bathroom remodel in Iowa typically runs under $10,000 for a completely revamped space.

New Deck: Building a fun outdoor patio or deck can open up the area for countless fun family activities. Costing around $6000 for the average Midwestern deck, you can complete this exciting renovation in time and under budget. Spice up your new construction with added rails to hold beverages or food during grill outs and get-togethers.

Finishing a Basement: Depending on your foundation and other structural issues, most basement renovations center on adding dry wall, placing new flooring, and waterproofing the entirety of the room. Typically costing under $25,000, a finished basement can serve as additional space for an office or play room, increasing the livable square footage of your home.

There are endless projects to begin your spring to-do list this season. Let First Security State Bank help you get started on your next home renovation with a tailored Home Equity Line of Credit. Speak with one of our helpful lenders to get started today!