SSB Blog

minus plus

Make Someone’s Day with These Easy Random Acts of Kindness

Posted on February 3rd, 2016 in Being Thankful, Casual for a Cause, Community, General by vgmforbin |

Random Acts Kindness

At Security State Bank, we love the incredible customers that are a part of our every day! Each of our customers bring an added sunshine to our day. Create a little extra light in someone’s day with these easy random acts of kindness. You’ll be glad you did!

1. Pay for the person’s food or beverage behind you in line.

2. Write a letter to a soldier.

3. Donate new and used toys to daycares or children’s hospitals.

4. Cook a meal for a family who may be without.

5. Give a good server the largest tip you can afford.

6. Scoop snow or do other yard work for your neighbor.

7. Pick up trash at an area park.

8. Offer assistance to a charitable organization with your time and skills.

9. Bake treats for your area school’s teachers.

10. Visit a nursing home and spend time with the residents.

11. Next hunting season donate your deer to the Iowa HUSH program to help feed Iowa citizens in need.

With so many opportunities to make a difference, this list will help you get started! Add your own acts of kindness and see what you can do to better the lives of others this year. It may be as simple as opening the door for someone, or as complex as planning a fundraiser for a family in need. No matter what you choose to do, we’re here to help you along the way! We can assist you in remaining anonymous through donations, arrange monthly transfers, dispense cash for personal giving, and more!

For more information call us at (319) 334-7035 or shoot us an email on our website!

 

Shrinking Student Loans

Posted on January 15th, 2016 in Compound Interest, Financial Management by vgmforbin |

StudentLoansWith college costs growing year after year, how do you go about securing the finances to further your education without ending up with a mountain of debt? Security State Bank is here to help guide you on your financial path of greater education! Use these tips and tricks to ensure you don’t bust the bank with your secondary education.

  • Choose your loans wisely: Calculate the cost of the necessities – tuition, room and board, textbooks, and transportation – and sign loans that cover only what you need, even if you qualify for more. A part-time job or summer position can provide funds for added nonessential expenses. Your loan might allow you to defer interest while you’re still in school. However, unless it’s subsidized, it will accrue interest immediately. Unpaid interest can then compound and add to the principal, creating an even larger amount to repay. Paying interest as you go is another great way to decrease your overall costs and keep you debt maintainable.
  • Increase your payments: If you’re on a 10-year installment plan, you’re paying a decade of interest on top of your original loan, adding more debt to your plate. When possible, pay back more than the minimum agreement each month and chop off extra time and interest. If you have multiple loans, direct your additional payments towards the loan with the highest interest rate. The faster you can pare down the principal, the less you accrue in exorbitant interest.
  • Make installments as often as you are able: With less time between payments for interest to accumulate, an accelerated payment plan can decrease your repayment term. By doubling your schedule of installments and making more payments over the same time period, you’re able to lessen the interest and pay your loan off sooner.
  • Track your interest: Motivate yourself with a continually updated track record of your current interest. The longer you have the loan, the more money you spend towards interest. Incentivize yourself by creating a cap for how much you want to pay in interest on a yearly basis. Let that help guide in making those extra payments.

Education is an important accomplishment in life, and we applaud those who take the initiative to obtain their degrees. If you’re a current or prospective student stop by Security State Bank today to learn about our online bill pay and other financial tools to help you maintain successful finances throughout your collegiate career.

Home Buying Do’s and Dont’s

Posted on January 4th, 2016 in Financial Management, Mortgages by vgmforbin |

HomebuyingWinter is the perfect time to purchase your new home! With so many hoops and obstacles to jump through in the home buying adventure, let Security State Bank guide you through it! Before you launch the search for your new abode, consider these do’s and don’ts of first-time home buying to make the process as quick and easy as possible.

Do:

  • Secure a loan before a home: While the hunt for your new home is exciting, your final decision will depend on the mortgage you can secure. Your first step in the home buying search should take place with a loan officer who can assess your mortgage qualifications, and your pre-approved mortgage amount. This provides a framework in guiding the search so you don’t expend time and money on houses outside your budgeted means.
  • Take your time: The average homeowner occupies their house for nine years before relocating. Ensure your choice is the best by conducting extra research and planning any potential projects or remodels along the way. Make sure to track trends in the housing market to discover the most cost-effective season for your area. Weigh personal, important factors beyond price listing, such as neighborhood quality, length of commute, and room to expand as your family continues to grow.
  • Consult the professionals: The listing agent represents the interests of the seller, not the buyer. As a first-time home buyer, you’ll need as much trusted, unbiased advice as you can garner. Ask friends and family to recommend their real estate agents so you receive counsel from a professional with a track-record of success.

Don’t:

  • Look at homes well over your budget: You set a budget for a reason. Stick to it! Paying more than you designated for a home can financially limit you to update and repair as needed. By spending within your originally determined limit, you’ll avoid heftier mortgages and continue to withhold extra funds for any household incidentals.
  • Empty savings into a down payment: Securing your mortgage requires a down payment. Putting down less than 20% requires you to buy mortgage insurance ranging about 0.3% to 1.5% of the original loan amount each year. To avoid this added expense, some home buyers drain their savings to cover the down payment upfront. Liquidating your account, however, leaves you without a safety net in the event of job loss or medical emergency. The expense of mortgage insurance is worth the financial cushion you can leave in your account, and you can always eliminate the added insurance by refinancing your mortgage once you’ve paid off 20% on your principal.
  • Speed through the closing: The end is in sight, but don’t let the glow of the finish line obscure your view of the paperwork. Review documents with a fine-tooth comb, double check that nothing has been altered in your agreement, and ensure that it describes your understanding of the transaction to a “T”. A day or two of extra analyzing can save you years of headaches!

Begin your home-buying process today with our mortgage lenders at Security State Bank, we’d love to help you get started!

Financial horoscopes to guide you through your holiday shopping

Posted on December 16th, 2015 in Holiday Shopping by SSBblogger |

holiday shopping

Horoscopes interpret the influence of the sun and moon through use of astrology and individual zodiacal signs. Each of these signs corresponds to one of twelve consolations on the astrological circle. While not 100% accurate they do offer a unique insight into the possible course of future life triumphs and obstacles. See what your horoscope says about your finances this month courtesy of Security State Bank and the Huffington Post.

Aries – March, 21 to April, 19

“There might be significant financial developments this month connected to money that comes to you from a source other than your direct income. Pay special attention to December 11, 17, and 24 for key information connected to this matter. You may hear favorable news about a more attractive benefits package at work, a bonus, or even receive an extra generous royalty check. Another possibility is that you’ll receive a check owed to you that you’ve been waiting for.”

Taurus – April 20, to May, 20

“At least one key relationship should progress nicely this month whether it be in business or personal. Venus, your ruler, will move into your partnership sector on December 4 and remains in this part of your chart until December 30. Since Venus will make beautiful aspects to other planets in the sky, you can anticipate extra support and harmony. Be sure to use December 11 and 17 to move forward in collaborative endeavors. Save December 24 for you and your sweetheart; it’ll be a very romantic day!”

Gemini – May 21, to June, 20

“Life at the office will run extra smooth this month, much to your delight. Venus will enter your workaday sector on December 4, remaining in this part of your chart until December 30. As a result, you’ll notice how much easier it is to collaborate with your coworkers on any team project…The dates when Venus will be in a favorable position are December 11, 17, and 24. All of these will be great for you in career, finance and family matters.”

Cancer – June, 21 to July, 22

“Romance is on the agenda this month. If you’re single, pay close attention to dating opportunities between December 4 and 30. Venus will move through your true love sector so if you’re looking for love, there’s every chance that it’ll find you. December 11, 17, and 24 are all glittering for you in this regard and will be ideal for date nights. Be out and about so that you put yourself in the best possible position to meet someone special. If you’re looking for new work, polish up your resume and send it out after December 11. A New Moon in your workaday sector will make it easy for you to secure a new job or extra freelance assignment. If you’re a business owner, this will be a great time to hire staff.”

Leo – July, 23 to August, 22

“If you’re looking to make a change at home such as redecorate a room or purchase furniture, now is the time to do so. You’ll love the style of whatever you choose. If you make any renovation, it will likely enhance the value of your home. If single, romance is on the horizon after the New Moon enters into your true love sector on December 11. Be sure to make an effort to socialize more so that you are in the best possible position to meet someone new. If you are already in a relationship, it’s possible that this lunation will prompt you and your sweetheart to talk about having children.”

Virgo – August, 23 to September, 22

“You’ll have the gift of graceful communication and negotiation skills this month, so do what you can to make the most of it. After December 4 and until December 30, Venus will move through your message sector helping your words sparkle. You’ll excel at any writing projects and will notice that other people genuinely enjoy conversations with you more. Spend time talking to your sweetheart about anything you need to discuss this month — conversations about love and money will be quite fulfilling.”

Libra – September, 23 to October, 22

“This month you might notice that your finances are opening up. Between December 4 and December 30, Venus will tour your earned income sector and will make lovely aspects to other planets in the sky the entire time. As a result, if you’re thinking about asking for a raise or starting a side business to earn extra cash now is the month to get cracking. You might also take on a freelance assignment that pays extremely well. Be on the lookout for this opportunity near December 11.”

Scorpio – October, 10 to November, 21

“Financial news near the December 6 might leave you emotionally rattled, since the Full Moon in Gemini lands in your 8th House of Shared Resources. If you’ve invested in anything that was high risk, it’s possible that you’ll be disappointed in the return. Alternatively, you might discover that certain benefits or insurance connected to you or your spouse’s employment will change. Do your best to go with the flow instead of giving in to a reaction of panic. Know that whatever awareness you gain about financial matters this month will ultimately put you in a stronger position, but it will take a certain amount of work to get there.”

Sagittarius – November, 22 to December, 21

“Venus will be in your private 12th House of Escape between December 4 and December 30. As a result, your love life might also become quieter than usual. Perhaps you and your sweetheart crave extra alone time, away from the world’s chaos. Why not schedule a couple’s retreat if possible? Alternatively if you’re single, it’s possible that you are pining away for someone you know you can’t have. Or, that you’re with someone you shouldn’t be with and the relationship has to be clandestine as a result. If this is your situation, you might decide that it’s time to get your love life out of the closet once and for all — even it means letting go of this person or fantasy. This will also be an ideal time to work through any relationship issues in a counseling setting.”

Capricorn – December, 22 to January, 19

“Your social life will be a source of great pleasure this month so be sure to accept as many invitations to attend holiday parties and other gatherings as possible. From December 4 to December 30, you might also enjoy more romantic potential through your friends. A pal may offer to set you up with someone. If so, be sure to accept — it looks promising! Alternatively, if you’re partnered up, you and your mate will enjoy plenty of time out and about together. Wonderful!”

Aquarius – January, 20 to February, 18

“With Venus at the top of your chart this month, you’ll be especially favored in the eyes of your boss or another VIP. From December 4 and December 30, you can use this cosmic edge to help you get ahead professionally. In fact, there might even be a boost in earnings coming your way. Go ahead and ask for a raise on December 11 — there’s a good chance that you’ll get exactly what you dream of!  Also on December 11, a gorgeous New Moon will fall in your friendship sector. This will be an ideal time to expand your social horizons. Why not join a new club or organization? Consider starting that humanitarian project you’ve always talked about…”

Pisces – February, 19 to March, 20

“If you’re in a position to spread your wisdom out into the world, this is a month where that knowledge will be especially well received! Consider teaching a workshop or class. With Venus in your 9th House of Higher Education, if you are the professor, it’ll be easy to gain the admiration of your students. You’ll be incredibly charming as you teach. If you’re in the student chair, this will be a month you really have a love affair with whatever you’re learning.”

Take a chance with your horoscope this season and begin looking into the potential possibilities with your own zodiac readings from the Huffington Post. If financial change is in your future give us a call at Security State Bank, we are always happy to help!

5 Great Gift Ideas for Pets

Posted on December 4th, 2015 in Pet Gifts by SSBblogger |

pet gifts

This holiday season make sure to keep your pets in mind. Enjoying family and friends, your pets can join in the celebrations this year with these fun activities courtesy of Security State Bank.

Salt Dough Puppy Paw Ornament

Together in a bowl, mix 1 cup salt, 1 cup all-purpose flour and ½ cup water and fold together. Once in a consistent state roll the dough out to approximately ¼” thickness. Using a cup, cut individual circles out of the dough. While still soft press your furry friend’s paw into the salt dough, once imprinted use a pen or straw to poke a small hole at the top. When all the ornaments have been paw stamped place them onto a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for 2-3 hours at 200 degrees. After cooling paint as desired and use string or ribbon to create a loop for the ornament to hang.

Milk-Bone Ornaments

For this creation you’ll need Milk-Bone treats, string (or cooked spaghetti,) and a needle.

Thread string onto needle and push through holes in milk bone. Tie loop with the string, leaving adequate room to hang from a branch. Hang bones on the lower branches of your tree and let you dog enjoy their own celebration during the holidays. Bonus points if you are able to use cooked spaghetti instead making this treat 100% edible.

Pet Stockings

Add a stocking for your favorite pet this year and fill it with all the treats and toys the season inspires. When the kids are racing down the stairs, Fido will be just as excited, right behind them!

Winter Fun

When snow arrives, and it’s time to reveal in a winter wonderland bring your pets to join in the festivities. Snowball fights can be just as exciting with your own puppy cheering section or cat mascot. Let your pet be your muse in building the greatest snow sculpture ever! After the fun you and your pet can snuggle up and get warm by the fire together.

Homemade Pet Treats

Grind oats with a food processor until changes to a smooth powdered consistency. Reserve a teaspoon of the powder for later. Beat together with banana and peanut butter until it reaches a smooth texture, (a couple lumps are ok!) Dust your countertop with the reserved oat powder and roll your dough to approximately ¼“ thickness. Using cookie cutters, form the dough into your desired shapes and then place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Bake treats at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until the edges begin to turn brown. Treats are good for your pet to eat as soon as cooled and may be stored in an airtight container for up to one week.

Enjoy everything the holiday has to offer, and allow your pet to join the fun as well! Try some of these festive activities with your favorite canine or feline to share in the joyous season together. Give us a call at Security State Bank if there are some items we can help you save towards for your friends with, or without, fur.

How-to Enjoy Thanksgiving on a Budget in 2015

Posted on November 13th, 2015 in Being Thankful, Holiday Shopping, Savings by SSBblogger |

thanksgiving-budget

When they sit around the table on Turkey Day, all Grandma and Cousin Katie see is a beautiful, bountiful spread. All you can see, however, are dishes layered with a generous dose of your cold, hard cash.

The annual Thanksgiving dinner costs a hefty $50 average each year with prices slowly creeping upwards. At Security State Bank, we want to help you prepare Big Meal flavors without Big Budget prices with these money-saving food hacks:

Spread the wealth: Many hands make light work – and full wallets. If you’re playing Hostess with the Mostest, feel free to supply that centerpiece turkey. However, ask your guests to bring a side dish or dessert. Not only does this free up time that you or loved ones would have spent slaving away in the kitchen, but it lets everyone do one thing really well rather than creating an entire sub-par spread alone. If you have a competitive family, stoke the friendly fire by making members vote on the Dish of the Year, and add the recipe to an on-going family favorites recipe list.

Strategize your spending: Pull out your scissors and start clipping coupons sooner rather than later. The week before Thanksgiving is packed with last-minute sales on smaller items like canned goods and bread, but that draw for smaller sales means big-ticket items have been marked up in price. Pre-order your turkey at the beginning of the month, and load your shopping cart with all the trimmings when they go on sale.

Go generic: With so many sights and aromas filling your table, Aunt Ethel won’t notice if you use store-brand cream of mushroom soup in the green bean casserole. Go easy on yourself (and your wallet) if you don’t buy name brand ingredients for the annual feast. They taste similar to off-brands at a fraction of the cost.

Make from scratch: You pay more for pre-packaged or assembled foods not because of the ingredients, but the convenience. Carve an extra twenty minutes into your cook time by making items like piecrusts, breadcrumbs, and chicken stock from scratch for cheap. If you have little ones running around the event, let them blow off steam and make memories by giving you a hand.

Thanksgiving dinner doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg to make it taste heavenly. As you shop smart, check that your budget is squared away on the run with our Mobile Banking option – and have a Happy Thanksgiving!
Security State Bank, Equal Housing Lender, Member of the FDIC

Cold or Not Too Cold? Farmer’s Almanac Predictions for This Winter

Posted on November 6th, 2015 in Agriculture, Community by SSBblogger |

winter

Sorry, New England. This winter just isn’t your winter… again.

Since 1818, Farmer’s Almanac has provided long-range weather predictions with surprising accuracy, thanks to a secret formula by founder Robert. B. Thomas. Evolving science and technology have helped the trusted weather forecaster increase in accuracy and fan following. This year, Almanac warns that Mother Nature is preparing to unleash her frozen fury across most of the United States, slamming regions and sparring few. Below, a breakdown of what to watch for:

Rockies and Pacific Northwest: Some people have all the luck. Milder than normal temperatures are expected for the Western United States, with moderately wet to dry conditions expected. Start booking your Spring Break getaway to these temperate climates now.

Central United States: After years of braving piercing winds and arctic temperatures, Central-Midwest states finally get a reprieve from odd weather. Western and central Great Lakes, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and most of the Great Plains can expect near-normal weather temperatures and typical snowfall, breathing a sigh of relief as surrounding states feel the frozen burn. (But don’t relax too deeply: “typical Midwest winter” still means snow, subzero temps, and chilly winds. Just maybe not so wild.)

Illinois, Wisconsin, and Ohio Region: Deemed “snow filled & frigid,” be especially kind to the residents of these states. If you enjoy snow, this is the perfect place to be, as it’s predicted to receive quite the blanket of it this winter.

Texas and South Central Region: Now’s a good time to invest in waterproof clothing, as this winter will be a wet one. An increase in rain will meet with the occasional shot of bitter cold temps, showering the Southern states in a handful of sleet storms and slush.

Florida, Tennessee, and the Southeastern U.S.: Pull your scarves a little tighter and your jackets a little closer, residents here are in for an unseasonably chilly season. Though relatively dry, temperatures will dip unexpectedly, mixing with the occasional blast of cold to create a White Christmas in some shape or form.

…and then there’s the east: Poor, poor New England. Last year, the region experienced the number one snowiest season in regional history, with Boston receiving 110 inches alone. 23 eastern states experienced top-ten coldest Februaries they’d ever scene, breaking freezing records left and right. Though snow is predicted to subside a bit this winter, residents are being prepped for a “super cold,” seeing further record-shattering subzero temperatures.

Rain, snow, or shine, Security State Bank is here to help you prepare and protect your financials to weather any of life’s storms. Give us a call to start your plan today!

Stay Warm with These Halloween Costumes

Posted on October 14th, 2015 in Financial Management by SSBblogger |

costumes

For those who are experienced with Halloween, you know there is nothing worse than an awesome Halloween costume that provides no warmth while trick-or-treating. This results in mismatched sweatpants under princess dresses.

The point of Halloween costumes to look scary, funny or downright ridiculous, but that doesn’t have to be sacrificed for staying warm when you and your kids are out trick-or-treating. We’ve assembled a short list of costume ideas that will help you look great while also keeping the late October cold from chilling you too much.

(more…)

Tailgating Tips for Game Day Success

Posted on October 12th, 2015 in Financial Management by SSBblogger |

tailgating

When you hear the “tailgate,” what do you think of? A grill, maybe a couple of coolers, a game of bags if you’re lucky. The fact is, football season is here, and being a fan requires dedication and passion. For game day, that starts with your tailgate, and a successful tailgate depends on planning and preparation.

The worst thing that can happen at a tailgate is for something not to work, or to forget something crucial. To help avoid those situations, it’s crucial to plan and prep the night before. Here are some things to consider doing on the eve of game day:

(more…)

Start Reducing Your Debt Today

Posted on September 22nd, 2015 in Financial Management by SSBblogger |

managing-debt

It’s a word many Americans, perhaps even you, know too well. You may also know the weight debt brings to your life day after day, how it can seep into every part of your life. Living with credit card and loan debt can feel like a never ending spiral.

However, you can change that feeling starting today by creating a debt action plan. This plan will help you identify how much debt you have, how much money you can allocate toward paying it down and which debts to attack first. Give the following a read and start working your way out of debt today.

  1. Know how much you owe. Organize all of your credit card and loan statements – on paper or online – and add up the total amount you owe. Be sure to note interest rates and APRs (annual percentage rates) next to each debt.
  2. Know how much you have. How much income do you receive each month? Tally up all of your income so you know how much money you have to work with.
  3. Know your total monthly household expenses. Add up all of your expenses. Be sure to include a little wiggle room in case of emergency.
  4. Know how much you can afford to pay. Use the following formula to determine how much money you have to put toward debt payments: household income – household expenses = balance. Your balance is what you can use to start paying down your debt.

 

Which debt should you pay first?

Once you know what money you have to work with for debt repayment, you need to determine which debt to attack first. If you have credit card and various loan debts, it can be hard to know for sure. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Which debts have the highest interest rates? Starting with these debts mean you pay less over time in interest.
  • Which accounts are above 50 percent of their credit limit? Lower your credit usage per account can have a positive effect on your credit score.
  • Which debts are close to being paid off? If you need a quick win to give you motivation, attack the debts that are closest to being paid off to get them off your plate.

 

You don’t have to let debt hang over you and your family. By using the above tips to have a plan of attack for your credit card and loan debt, you can begin to take the burden debt carries off of your shoulders.

Don’t forget to reach out Security State Bank to see how we can help as well!

 

Security State Bank, Member FDIC