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5 Way to Make a Difference with Your Dollars

Because the economy continues to give us challenges, it’s important to make sure you’re being proactive to keep yourself in the best financial shape possible. It’s time for you to get back to sound financial basics! Here are 5 tips to do just that.

5 Ways to Make Dollars of Difference:

  1. Learn from our country’s debt crisis. Don’t spend what you don’t have. Borrow sparingly, and only for those things that have lasting value, such as a home or an education. Use credit cards only for expenses that you can pay off every month. Here’s why: A $2,000 balance at 18% interest would take nearly 10 years to pay off if you made the minimum 4% payment each month, and would cost you an extra $1,116 in interest. That’s just throwing money away.
  2. Have something taken out of every paycheck and put into savings. In no time, you’ll learn to live without that $25 or $100, and the power of time will help you build an emergency fund, vacation fund or new home down payment.
  3. Use Online Banking with Bill Payer from Iowa State Bank (it’s free) to manage your money and simplify bill paying. Set up automatic payments to stay on top of your bills even when you’re busy with other things. This will help to avoid mistakes that could result in late fees, greater interest payments and a blemish on your credit score.
  4. Make a plan to pay off your debt. We all have debt. But many of us don’t manage it as well as we create it. As soon as you create it, sit down and pencil out how – and when – you’ll have it repaid. This exercise turns worry and frustration into a positive and productive plan of action!
  5. Find a retirement account. Who knows what the future will bring. Take the initiative to build a nest egg – and some peace of mind – now. Most people don’t start planning for long-term goals until they’ve reached their forties, and then they react in a panic. Take advantage of time. Even if you can afford to put away only a small amount each month, slow and steady can pay in the long run.

Ideally, you’ll want to save about 10% of your income for retirement, but you don’t need to start that high. Work up to it over time. The best place to build your retirement account may be in a 401(k) or a Roth IRA. Both vehicles offer appealing tax advantages, but the employer-sponsored 401(k) may also score you free money if your boss makes a contribution too.

Your friends at Iowa State Bank can help you put any or all of these ideas to work. But don’t wait. Make a difference before 2012 starts. Stop in and visit today!

Source: Kiplinger.com

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