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How NOT to Get Hacked

Posted on September 19th, 2017 in Security by SSBblogger |

Every day you hear tips and tricks to ensuring the safety behind your personal information. While many of these offers and promotions are advertising a safety service, at Security State Bank, we believe you can handle the majority of these precautions yourself! See what steps you’ll need to take in order to best prepare for your financial future. We’ll be there to help you every step of the way.

DO: Store your passwords in a secure app like LastPass.

DON’T: Write your passwords on post-its which you keep around your desk.

Remembering your passwords is important, but leaving them unattended for hackers could be dangerous. Ensure you keep your details out of plain site by utilizing secure password storage apps such as LastPass or Dashlane. Not only will this help you forget your passwords less often, but it helps you create more complicated passwords to help keep unwanted hackers at bay.

DO: Use social media to connect with friends and family.

DON’T: Connect with people you don’t know or share personal account information.

Even though social media can be a great way to interact with people you know, many users become choose to become connected with individuals they’ve never met. If you find yourself with a friend request from someone you don’t recognize, always decline it, to keep you and your contact safe. If for some reason you’re unsure if you know the individual or not, you can always message them to see how you’re connected instead.

DO: Shop online and find great deals.

DON’T: Use your debit card when shopping online.

Both your debit and credit card can be used online, however, only your credit card offers a zero fraud liability with no strings attached. Should your debit card become compromised you will need to act more swiftly, and you may even have to wait weeks or months before you see any stolen funds returned to your checking or savings account. Always be proactive and use your credit card if you plan to purchase online!

While these three strategies will help to keep your personal information safe, there are always new tips and tricks to learn! Check back on our blog each month to see how you can continue to improve your personal cyber security, courtesy of Security State Bank.

5 Strategies to Shrink Debt

Posted on September 14th, 2017 in Budgeting, Financial Management, Savings by SSBblogger |

Minimizing your debt can always seem like a mountain of to-do lists. With various recurring payments, differing interest rates, and due dates that never seem to end, if you feel overwhelmed, you’re not alone.

While having credit card, or other outstanding debt, isn’t a situation anyone wants to find themselves in, a surprising 38.1% of American households carry credit card debt.Couple that with a total household debt average of $134,643.00 and the idea of debt starts to seem more common than you’d think!

While we know that having debt isn’t always the best solution, but Security State Bank is here to help you conquer it. We’ve found five proven ways to reduce your debt, and stop your spending process from adding more! Take a look at the five tools below, and see if they help you become debt free!

Whether it’s reducing your grocery bill, finding more affordable clothing options, or simply turning to the cash-only budget. There are numerous ways you can save. In fact, we recommend blogs such as The Simple Dollar, Making Sense of Cents, and Penny Hoarder to continue bolstering your savings knowledge.

This is by far our favorite way to reduce your overall debts. While you may need to start with finding some new ways to save, once you can allocate some extra dollars, you can put this effective method in action, eliminating your debts. Simply pay the minimum amounts on all outstanding balances, and then using the surplus funds, add to your smallest payment to help pay it off sooner. Once your smallest debt is completely paid, you can rollover the funds being used for that into your next largest debt and so on. Repeat this process until all the debts have been paid off.

The snowball method will help you erase debts one by one, however, using this other strategy you can see about reducing those payments in one quick action. Speak with one of our dedicated lenders to see if your home mortgage or personal loan can be refinanced at a lower rate to save on monthly payments. This may make a small dent, but every little bit counts!

In order to proactively prevent yourself from overspending, freeze all credit cards you currently have in your possession. This step helps you to force yourself to spend only what you have. If you decide to use cash only, the envelope system may help you save even further!

This one simple trick can save you hundreds each and every year! By using your online banking as a resource, you can create an automation to ensure you are never tempted to spend those extra dollars. Instead of of waiting for them to be spend, allocate them in your savings plan, and tuck them away for paying down debt or building your emergency fund to eliminate emergency debts.

However you and your family decide to decrease your household’s debt, Security State Bank is behind you! We’d love to talk about your family’s financial goals and help you identify the best tools to help you get there. Give us a call, or stop by your nearest branch to get started today.

How to Create Better Habits

Posted on August 31st, 2017 in Budgeting, General, Savings by SSBblogger |

If you’re like us, starting a new diet, or working to exercise more often is more difficult than we initially planned. The same is true with many financial goals you may have. Saving for retirement, eliminating credit card debt, increasing your credit score; these are all things that take time and dedication to complete, but sometimes it’s hard to stay on track.

Luckily, Business Insider recently released an article that showcases just how it takes for your brain to form a habit. Surprisingly, it’s less than you’d think! It takes approximately 66 days for a consistent behavior to be added to your brain’s list of automatic actions. Thankfully, those 66 days do allow for some error. We’re all human, so there’s no need to be perfect during your trial practice. However, by committing to your new habit for 66 days or more, you can ensure that this new beneficial behavior sticks with you well into the future.

This new habit can be as simple as remembering to take the trash out, or as complex as maintaining a specified number of calories in a day. At Security State Bank we want to inspire you with some important financial habits to help you progress down the path of financial success. Take a look at these three examples, and don’t hesitate to ask our dedicated team members for help if you’re ready to begin your next 66-day practice round!

  1. Use the Envelope System: To help train your brain to only spend what you budget for, withdraw your total flex spending budget for the month. Then, divvy it up amongst your budget categories like food, entertainment, transportation, etc. After it’s been segmented, stick to your dollars, and only spend what you have in the envelope. No credit or debit cards to spend extra. If you can successfully make this a habit, you could see a large amount of extra savings which can then be used for vacations, retirement, or other savings ventures.
  2. Pay All the Bills Before They’re Due: Many habits appear easier than they truly are. In order to process this behavior into a habit, there are several steps you’ll need to repeat each month. To get started, make a calendar at the beginning of every month to mark the dates bills are due and for how much. Then, as the bills arrive, structure your payments to pay one at a time, leaving anextra cushion in your account, should an unexpected expense arise. Using this recurring schedule, you can help yourself to get each expense paid before the designated due date. As an added bonus, an ongoing history of on-time payments may benefit your credit score too!
  3. Save for Retirement: This one is often a habit that takes longer than 66 days because there is no immediate reward for the effort you put forward. Later in life, your future self will thank you, for putting the time and savings away early on. The first step in this process to research your options. If your company offers a 401(k) and a match, that may be the first place you want to start. By automating payments from your paycheck, you can use pre or post-tax dollars to bolster your savings without the temptation of spending. Then, when you save extra money with your envelope system, remember to add those surplus funds into your retirement savings account to give it an added boost.

We love the three goals listed above, but that doesn’t mean you can’t create your own unique financial habits! If you’d like to get started on a new financial behavior, stop into your nearest branch today and speak with one our personal bankers. Our team at Security State Bank would love to help kick off your next 66-day habit!

7 Absolutely FREE Activities for the Kids

Posted on August 29th, 2017 in Budgeting, Community by SSBblogger |

Whether it’s during the summer or after school, keeping your children occupied takes a truly creative mind! This season, Security State Bank is excited to share some of our favorite and affordable activities for all of your little ones to enjoy!

We love getting children involved in personal finance at an early age. If you’re searching for more affordable activities for your little one to enjoy, consider some of these fun-filled games to help them understand the basics of personal finance! Everything from mobile apps to hands-on activities can help them grow their own financial education.

What’s the Best Money Lesson Your Parents Taught You?

Posted on July 19th, 2017 in Being Thankful, Budgeting, Community, Savings by vgmforbin |

Helping your little one understand the intricacies of personal finance can often seem like an uphill battle. Luckily, our team at Security State Bank has a wealth of knowledge from the lessons our parents instilled in us! We’re excited to share our family’s words of wisdom in today’s blog, and implore you to try their key points when working with your children.

 

Jan Scott: My parents always told me that in our household, money doesn’t grow on trees; if you don’t have the money, then you can’t buy it until you save money for it. 

Help your kiddo understand why they need cash to purchase that new toy or trinket. Simple lessons such as this can add a consistent support to their ongoing financial education as they age. Once they’re old enough to have an allowance help them take this concept one step further by making a rule that they must save 20 percent of their allowance; ten percent for college or other education and ten percent for personal savings.

 

Brian Meyer:  1. It’s not what you make, it’s what you spend that determines how much you save. 2. A day of work is better for your health than a day of play. 3. Family is more important than your bank account and lessons are learned and money is earned.

The main point these sayings drive home is that if you’re smart with your money you can use it as a tool to help build the best life for you and your family. Whether it’s finding better ways to work, learning from your mistakes, or always ensuring your family is a priority; each of these messages showcases what it means to have money enable your personal aspirations instead of burdening your or your loved ones with debt.

 

Craig Coffman:  This may not be a money lesson; however, leads to this in the end.  My parents taught me to never ‘Burn my Bridges’ and never leave a job unless you have another job to go to.

Sometimes the lessons our parents teach us at a young age can continue to help us later in life. This simple saying shows how you can help your children prepare for their eventual work life, and ensure they never go without employment, income, or healthcare for that matter too!

 

Zach Boss: Save everything you can:  Every year when I sold my fair animals at the 4-H livestock auction, my parents encouraged me that this money needs to go into my savings account for college! I’m glad I did because college was expensive and I wouldn’t be where I was today if I disregarded that advice! I think I owe a big thank you for all the buyers of my fair animals over the years for helping me fund my college education! If the former buyers of my livestock over the years saw this, I would hope they would think they got a great return on their investment as I continue to work hard professionally and give back to the local community. Last week was the first time where I was able to bid on some of our local 4-H/FFA exhibitor’s livestock project and give back just like those buyers did for me several years prior!

The lessons we learn don’t always come from our parents, but other community members too! We love this example of paying it forward, and would encourage you to help your child determine where their 4-H winnings should be saved! Who knows, if a scholarship can help with school, perhaps the funds can also be used to help them start a small side business instead.

 

We’d love to hear how you and your family educate on personal finance! Be sure to post your tips, tricks, and words of wisdom on our Facebook page today! After all, raising a child takes a village, and we couldn’t be happier to help!

Fourth of July Statistics from Security State Bank

Posted on July 3rd, 2017 in General by SSBblogger |

Happy 242nd birthday, America!

As you celebrate the birth of our nation, Security State Bank breaks down eight Independence Day stats to give you a little more background into how much is spent, consumed, watched, and driven during this spectacular American holiday.  Enjoy and stay safe, friends!

2017 Fourth of July Statistics Infographic

Posted on June 23rd, 2017 in Being Thankful, General, Savings by vgmforbin |

Family

 

After saying “Yes!” your world may have been turned upside down! With your days now filled with countless decisions, a never-ending to-do list, and a number of ongoing requests, you can’t help but become overwhelmed. To help you and your sweetheart relax during this rollercoaster of a ride, our team at Security State Bank offers these simple words of humor and advice.

 

Goodness gracious you’re engaged! Congratulations!

 

 

 

Grandmothers, friends, ex-roommates, be sure to tell the world!

 

 

 

Ideas galore, Pinterest has officially become your new BFF.

 

 

 

After researching the cost of all those great ideas, you may be a tad surprised at the estimated bill!

 

 

 

The thought crosses your mind, “Maybe we should just elope.”

 

 

 

Making a budget is key – but it’s often easier said than done.

 

 

 

DIY decorations and helpful family members may become a helpful lifeline.

 

 

 

But then comes the guest list…

 

 

 

How do you cut the guest list for the most important event of your life?!

 

 

 

We suggest you look at the estimated savings and.. Snip. Snip.

 

 

 

Next up is choosing formal wear – it’s typically either a hit or a miss.

 

 

 

But in the end, your big day is all about what you and your sweetheart like best.

 

 

 

Because it really is all about you and your family.

 

 

 

So, just remember to breathe, and enjoy the ride!

 

 

 

Cheers, and good luck!

 

Three Things to Look for in a Starter Home

Posted on June 14th, 2017 in Home Improvement, Mortgages by vgmforbin |

Home Buying

If you’re in the market for your first home, congratulations! Becoming a homeowner is an exciting step on your financial journey. At Security State Bank, our dedicated mortgage lenders are here to help you find the best financing option for your new home. Remember to stop in and secure a pre-approval letter before you start your home search.

 

After speaking with a mortgage lender to help determine your family’s ideal price point, it’s time to start viewing potential homes. During this process you’re bound to find a home you’ll fall in love with, and others that may send you running for the hills. As you ride this rollercoaster of an experience, we recommend searching for the following three things in your family’s ideal new house:

 

  1. Good Bones. Starter homes are a great option to find a great house within an affordable budget. To ensure your investment lasts for the long-term, we recommend taking a hard look at any foundational cracks, leans, or other structural ailments. While the rest of the house could look fantastic, these three issues should be instant red flags signaling you to continue looking at other homes.
  2. Cohesive Neighborhood. The people you surround yourself could be the individuals you see at 6:00 AM taking the trash out, or the partiers you have to ask to turn down the music at 11:00 PM. As you tour properties, don’t be afraid to chat with any potential neighbors and see if there is any information they can give on families you’ll be living alongside.
  3. Suitable Layout. While some renovations are certainly possible when purchasing a starter home, obstacles such as load-bearing walls could limit your expectations. Consider the overall layout of the home at the showing, and see if you could picture yourself the way it is. If the answer is no, then you may want to find a few backup options should the renovations not be available within your budget.

 

The perfect home will look different to everyone. If you’re ready to start searching for your family’s new house, our experienced mortgage lenders are here to help. We work with many successful local realtors, and we would be happy to refer you to the one that fits your needs best. Give us a call or stop by to begin the search for your home today.

 

The Basics Behind New Business

Posted on May 31st, 2017 in Business Banking, Community, Financial Management by vgmforbin |

The Basics of New Business

A mouthwatering dish your grandmother made you, a leaf falling across the park, or one of the endless questions your preschooler has begun to ask you; the truth is great ideas can come from anywhere. If you have a concept you are itching to turn into a reality, there are some key components you’ll need to make it happen. At Security State Bank, we were founded upon our commitment to small and medium sized business, and we are thrilled to help you transform your inspiration into a live entity.

 

To complete the process from conceptualization to implementation, there are ten key components to ensure your business has all the legal qualifications necessary. Simply follow these helpful prompts, and if there are any components you’d like further clarification on, never hesitate to reach out! Our experienced team of commercial lenders is here to answer any questions or inquiries you or your business partners may have.

 

  1. Write a business plan. Your company’s business plan should detail the purpose and differentiators associated with your business. gov is an informative resource to help you determine all the required components for your proposed document.
  2. Register as an LLC or Corporation. An LLC is the most common choice for new business because the Corporation classification does mandate a $10,000,000 revenue requirement.
  3. Finance your new business. There are a variety of ways to finance your business. Whether debt or equity based, our dedicated team can help you determine which route is best suited for your business.
  4. Determine your business location.  Keeping your budget in mind, purchase or lease the space you’ll be using for your location. If you’ll be working from home be sure to take advantage of the associated tax benefits.
  5. Register for EIN and determine payroll structure. Before you hire any employees,  you’ll need to register for your Employer Identification Number for federal taxation purposes.
  6. Register your business name. You can choose to register your business as a DBA, or Doing Business As, or you can choose to register your company name and/or logo as a trademark. Both options will allow you to operate under your desired business name.
  7. Open a designated banking and credit card account. Separating your personal finances from your business is imperative in keeping accurate accounting records. Additional tools such as Quickbooks Self Employed can help you manage all aspects of your finances at home or on the go.
  8. Complete registration for state and local taxes. Business taxes are set up differently than your personal taxes. Be sure you’re accounting for all the variables before you open the doors.
  9. Receive business licenses and applicable permits. If you plan to sell alcohol or firearms, you may need federal licenses in addition to the various state requirements.
  10. Structure and start a marketing campaign. Marketing is an ongoing effort, but to get customers in the door, they’ll need to know you’re an option. Get the word out with a strategic marketing initiative, and make a yearly plan on to keep new clients coming in.

How to Read a Plant Tag

Posted on May 19th, 2017 in Budgeting, Community, General, Seasonal by vgmforbin |

How to Read Plant Tags

At Security State Bank we love to get to know our customers and the passions they enjoy. This month it’s our turn to share some helpful information and tips on one of our favorite passions – gardening!

Whether you’ve been gardening for 20 years or two weeks, it never hurts to learn more about the plants in your landscape. One of the most valuable tools to gain insight about your developing flowers and shrubs is the plant tag that comes with them. While they each come in different shapes and sizes there are some key points to take note of!

SOURCE: www.provenwinners.com/learn/planting/how-to-read-a-plant-tag

Proven Winners Tag Description

Proven Winners Tag Description

 

Proven Winners provides in-depth tags to give you the most information possible, however, we’d love to showcase the top five areas you’ll want to be sure to take a look at!

Amount of Sun (LIGHT): This section typically indicates one of three options; full sun, part shade, shade. For plants requiring full sun, this generally means they need 8 hours of sun each day. For plants needing part shade, this indicates the plant does best when exposed to 4-6 hours of  sun per day. For the select few shade plants, 4 hours of sun is their maximum, and any additional sun could potentially harm the plant.

Size (HEIGHT/SPACING): When planting shrubs or a growing garden, it’s important to know the approximate size each plant will reach. Shrubs that climb over 6 feet have the potential to block windows of your home, and herbs such as mint may stay low but could spread across the entire garden if you let it. As you can see, understanding the growth potential of your varieties can make a big impact on where you place them.

Time (ZONE): This area does require some slight research, but it well worth the effort. Here in Iowa, we are between zones 4b and 6a. These zones span across the U.S.A. and indicate where plants can thrive year-round, and where/when they give way to the cold for hardy and tender annuals. The information on the plant tag will typically state whether it is an annual or perennial and if it’s an annual which zones it can thrive in year round. For colder climates like us, it also states what temperature the plant can withstand, so you know when you clear out your landscapes come winter.

Season (BLOOM TIME): While structuring your landscape, you’ll want to choose shrubs and other perennials which showcase their colors throughout the year. Some may bloom in early spring, others in late summer, and still more that reach their prime at the start of fall. By taking advantage of a plant’s best season, you can ensure your garden catch the eye of passersby all year long.

Care Tips (FERTILIZE/WATER/FEATURES/USES/CARE): Each of these sections can provide helpful insight into the best practices when caring for a particular plant. For everything from water requirements, fertilizing frequency, and drought tolerance, these simple tips can help turn an average plant into some extraordinary!

We can’t wait to get our garden growing, but we’re even more enthused to see all of yours! If you have a landscape or flower patch worth sharing, be sure to post it on our Facebook page and share the tip or trick that helped you achieve it! We’d love to see our newsfeed full of colorful annuals and perennials!

If you’re still looking for additional information for your 2017 garden, Garden Answer is a great resource to peruse! Their video on plant tags can fill in any gaps we missed, and the videos throughout her channel offer great additional insight for the inspiring garden amateur or professional.

Well what are you waiting for – it’s time to get gardening!