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Financial New Year’s Resolutions

Posted on December 17th, 2014 in General by NSBblogger |

resolutions

With the New Year only a few short weeks away, have you thought about what your New Year’s resolution is going to be? The beginning of a new year is a great time to take a fresh approach to something you want to improve in your life, such as your finances.

Northeast Security Bank suggests making a commitment to a financial resolution in 2015. Consider saving more towards retirement, your mortgage, or even a family vacation. Today we are going to discuss some financial New Year’s resolutions to consider.

Financial New Year’s Resolutions:

  • Set a debt reduction goal. Whether you are looking to pay off your car loan or your mortgage, setting a goal to reduce it can help you pay it off sooner. Not only will you be done with payments sooner, you will be spending considerably less on interest.
  • Consider putting more into your retirement account. It doesn’t matter if you have 20 years left until retirement or five, saving more is always helpful. An IRA can help you save a little bit more each year until you meet retirement.
  • Eliminate wasteful spending. There’s no need to go out to eat several times per week and you don’t always need that new pair of shoes that are on sale. By eliminating wasteful spending, you can save more money in the long run.
  • Stick to a budget. This task is easier said than done, but a budget can save you a tremendous amount of money. There are many great safe and secure tools on the internet for budgeting, like com.
  • Build an emergency fund. Accidents and health issues usually come on without warning. You want to be prepared if anything happens, so it is good to have a chunk of money saved away for emergencies out of our control.

The biggest obstacle most of us run into with resolutions is sticking to them, especially when things get difficult. You have to commit to a change not just on paper, but in your attitude and your behavior when it comes to your money. Northeast Security Bank is ready to help in any way we can, so come see us today!

White Elephant Etiquette

Posted on December 11th, 2014 in Financial Tips by NSBblogger |

white-elephant

The holiday season has hit and we all know what that means: White Elephant parties. Nasty Christmas. Ye ol’ Yankee Swap. Whatever you call it, most of us have participated in some kind of humorous gift exchange. While this kind of party is more about the socialization than getting an actual gift, there are certain unspoken rules that participants are expected to follow.

While a White Elephant party draws people of all kinds, there are three types of party-goers that you do not want to be:

  1. THE ONE-TRICK PONY

Every joke runs its course. There are only so many years that it is funny to wrap up the same thing that got a laugh the year before.  Unless it is a bag of prunes. For some reason, prunes are always funny. But when you continue to wrap up some unreasonable Sam’s Club size box of an obscure food year after year, it is time to get a bit more creative.

  1. THE CHEAPSKATE

While White Elephant gifts are not usually pricey, it is always a good rule of thumb to never wrap up any promotional item that you got for free at work. Nobody wants a paperweight with the company’s logo on it. We all have enough coffee mugs taking up cupboard space. If you are going to bring a gift that nobody wants, it at least needs to be funny.

  1. THE RECYCLER

If you are set on recycling a past gift or gifting your work promotional items, at least have the decency to include a $5 gift card. Everybody else has paid a little bit for their gift.  A gift card is always a safe (yet boring) bet. People will fight for it, but it isn’t overly entertaining.

People often stress about what gift to put in a White Elephant gift exchange. If you only get a couple scattered chuckles in the room, don’t worry about it! The point of White Elephant parties is to have fun. Not every gift can be a knee-slapper! When choosing your gift, use your best judgment and your sense of humor. Dig out the cheetah print Snuggie your Uncle Jerry gave you. Bag up those prunes.  As long as you bring a gift that matches your awesome sense of humor, you have done a good job!

Northeast Security Bank wants to wish you a joyful holiday season! We hope to see you soon!

Be Good for Santa: Quitting Bad Habits

Posted on December 3rd, 2014 in General by NSBblogger |

be-good-for-santa

The holiday season can mean your budget is a bit tighter because you are spending more money on presents and food than usual. If you are looking for a few ways to save this month and beyond, read on for great tips to save money.

It may be hard to admit, but you can save a lot of money by cutting back on your bad habits or even eliminating them completely. Plus, Santa is always watching, so kicking a bad habit or two is a good way to get on his “Nice List.” Northeast Security Bank is going to show you the average costs spent on bad habits by one person in a year.

The cost of bad habits:

Smoking Cigarettes- The average pack of cigarettes runs $5 and up. If you smoke a pack a day, that’s $35 per week and upwards of $140 per month. If you quit smoking, you could save almost $2,000 a year.

Morning Coffee- Have you ever thought about how much your morning coffee costs? Whether you get it at the local gas station or the coffee shop, the daily cup adds up quickly. If you average buying coffee at least 5 days per week, the annual cost is over $1,000 for the basic cup of coffee. That figure doesn’t even include the expensive specialty drinks.

Eating Fast Food- If you eat out once per day five days of the week for one meal at an average of $6, you will be spending $30 per week on fast food alone. The annual cost is over $1,500 for only one meal per day during the week. Your health could also suffer from eating out too much, meaning a possible increased in medical costs.

Excessive Shopping- With so many stores having deals every weekend to lure you in, it can be a hard temptation to resist. If you were to spend $200 per month on unneeded shopping, you will be spending around $2,400 per year.

Imagine what you could do with the money you save if you knocked some of your bad habits? Kicking certain habits could also lead to an improvement in your health. Northeast Security Bank can help you save money if you open a savings account today, so come see us today!

Give Thanks for What we Have

Posted on November 19th, 2014 in Communities by NSBblogger |

give thanks

 

November is here, meaning Thanksgiving isn’t far away. As we all learned in elementary school, the first Thanksgiving was a celebration of a good harvest by the Pilgrims in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Over time, this celebration went from a celebration prompted by church leaders to becoming a national holiday celebrated on the fourth Thursday of every November in the United States.

While the holiday itself has changed over time, its central meaning has not: to be thankful for what we have. But what does it mean to be truly thankful? In the dictionary, the word “thankful” has three meanings:

  1. To be conscious of a benefit received (“For what we are about to receive, make us truly thankful.”)
  2. Expressive of thanks (“Thankful service”)
  3. Well pleased or glad (“I was thankful it didn’t rain”)

For our purposes, let’s focus on the first meaning, “to be conscious of a benefit received.”

As good Iowans, we all know that fall is harvest time across the state. In this way, we’re not so different from the Pilgrims, who, after coming here to start a new life, were also finishing up a harvest in the fall. And just like the Pilgrims, when we are finally finished with the harvest, we can step back and be thankful for the harvest that helps support our families and communities.

But we have much more to be thankful for than the fall harvest. There are many blessings in our everyday life that we may forget about or take for granted:

  • The blessing of waking up in the morning and being able to pursue our own goals and dreams.
  • The blessing of having family and friends nearby or far away that we can celebrate with, as well as turn to in difficult times.
  • The blessing of living in the state of Iowa and taking advantage of everything it has to offer.
  • The blessing of being able to help others through business, or donating our time, money or other resources to help those less fortunate than ourselves.

There’s no doubt that life isn’t perfect. But it is as good as we make it, and that starts with being thankful for what we have. We’re going to leave you with a quote we love that embodies the spirit of this time of year:  “Gratitude turns what we have into enough.”

We hope everyone finds a way to be thankful for the many blessing we have. Happy Thanksgiving, and we hope to see you soon!

-Northeast Security Bank

Small Business Saturday: Shopping Local for the Holidays

Posted on November 5th, 2014 in Communities by NSBblogger |

shop local

Have you seen the decorations yet? Large retailers have had them up for weeks already in preparation for the shopping season that is about to begin. We are of course talking about holiday decorations, the earliest sign that the holidays are once again upon us.

And as we head out to make our purchases this year, we have a fundamental decision to make: do we shop the big regional or nationwide retail stores, or do we shop local? Let’s discuss this important question a little more in depth.

Why You Should Shop Local

Put simply: it helps stimulate the local economy. How? Here’s an example:

  • A cycling enthusiast opens up a bike shop
  • The owner hires locals to help run the shop, giving these people an income and money to spend
  • As business grows, the owner must hire more help
  • More sales could mean more in local taxes, which go to help fund things like better roads, parks and trails…
  • Which creates a larger community of cyclists, meaning more people visit the shop

Granted, this is a perfect scenario. However, the principle is the same; the more shopping done at local businesses, the more cash is pumped into the local economy. When local businesses do better, they have to hire more staff from the community, meaning more people have jobs and income to spend.

How You can Shop Local

You can start by heading out on Small Business Saturday, the day after Black Friday, to shops and stores that are in your community that aren’t part of regional or national chain. Small Business Saturday was started in 2010 as a way to bring the focus to shopping at local businesses in your community, and many of our area chambers of commerce have started to participate.

But don’t just shop there on Small Business Saturday. While there may be exclusive sales just for that day, we should all continue visiting our local businesses throughout the holiday season to do our shopping.

We are all in this together, individuals, families and small businesses. It takes all of us to create a better community, one that is successful, thriving and attractive to those looking to make a move to Northeast Iowa.

We look forward to seeing everyone out and about on Small Business Saturday and throughout the holiday season!

-Northeast Security Bank

The Great Pork Quiz

Posted on October 29th, 2014 in Agriculture finances by NSBblogger |

Test your knowledge with NSB's Great Pork Quiz

These two are ready for the Great Pork Quiz, are you?


As we talked about in our first blog post of the month, October is National Pork Month, and when it comes to producing this salty, protein-filled meat, no state does it better than Iowa. In honor of this great month and the hard work of the over 40,000 Iowans employed in the hog farming industry, we thought a pork quiz would be a great way to test how much the average Iowan knows about all aspects of pigs.
 
Take the quiz, then check your answers below (no cheating!) to see how well you know pigs, pork and bacon!

  1. Where does the U.S. rank in the world in pork consumption? A. 1st B. 2nd C. 12th D. 15th
  2. Which company patented the first packed, sliced bacon? A. Oscar Meyer B. Hillshire Farms C. Hormel D. Farmland
  3. What percentage of an average pig’s weight is bacon? A. 5 B. 7 C. 9 D. 11
  4. How much bacon (in pounds) does the average American eat per year? A. 10 B. 18 C. 13.5 D. 20
  5. Which substance found in bacon helps with fetal brain development (meaning bacon is particularly good for pregnant women)? A. Choline B. Potassium C. Magnesium D. Sodium
  6. Which two pig breeds are bred specifically for bacon? A. Wilbur B. Yorkshire C. Tamworth D. Whatever breed Babe was
  7. How many teeth does a mature pig have? A. 11 B. 22 C. 33 D. 44
  8. When your _____ is damaged, it can be surgically replaced with the same part from a pig. A. Ear lobe B. Knee ligament C. Heart valve D. Spleen
  9. In the United States, which part of the pig is used for bacon? A. The shoulder B. The loin C. The cheek D. The belly
  10. What percentage of bacon is eaten at breakfast in the U.S.? A. 50 B. 75 C.65 D. 85

How well did you do? If you got 8-10 questions right, you’re a pork aficionado; 4-7 right makes you an average pork expert; 3 or less correct and you are pork newbie. Now that you’ve taken the quiz and are no doubt craving some bacon, head to your local grocer or pork producer if you know one and grab a slab of delicious bacon!
 
Answers: 1. C, 2. A, 3. D, 4. B, 5. A, 6. B & C, 7. D, 8. C, 9. D, 10. B.

National Pork Month: Iowa’s Third “Cash Crop”

Posted on October 15th, 2014 in Agriculture finances by NSBblogger |

Hog farms in northeast Iowa and across the state pump billions of dollars into Iowa's economy
When most non-Iowans drive through our state most of what they see are corn and soybean fields stretching out across the “Land of Opportunity.” Yes, our state is proud to be the number one corn and soybean producing state. However, beyond the cornstalks and soybean fields lies another reason to be proud of our state’s agricultural roots: pork. As part of National Pork Month, we’re taking a look at how hog farming impacts the economy of Iowa and how Northeast Security Bank helps area hog farms.
 
The Great Pork State
Iowa is the number one pork-producing state in the U.S., as well as the top state for pork exports. Here are some numbers to put it in perspective:

  • At the end of 2012, Iowa had over 6,200 hog operations
  • Nearly one-third of all the hogs in America are raised in Iowa
  • Iowa is home to about 20 million pigs at any time throughout the year

 
Raising hogs is a huge part of Iowa’s economy and is a large source of employment, too. Hog farming represents $7.5 BILLION in total economic activity for Iowa annually, and over 40,000 Iowans are employed in hog farming.  But hog farmers and farmers raising corn and soybean aren’t at odds with each other; they depend on each other.
 
A Mutually Beneficial Relationship
With all the corn and soybeans that are grown in Iowa every year, you can imagine the massive need for fertilizer. That’s where those millions of hogs throughout the state can help:

  • About 10 finishing pigs, from weaning to market, provide the nutrient needs of an acre of cropland on a semi-annual basis.
  • Nutrients from one 2,400-head hog barn benefits 240 acres of land (also known as a half-section).
  • In order to grow to a healthy weight for market, one hog eats about nine to 10 bushels of corn from its birth to when it is sold at market.

 
So, hog farmers depend on good feed for their pigs to grow, and corn and soybean farmers can use the nutrients from the pigs to fertilize their crops.
 
How Northeast Security Bank Helps
Raising 2,400 hogs isn’t easy or cheap. Hog farmers need to have the facilities to house the pigs, the right feed, heating lamps and variety of other equipment to ensure the pigs grow up healthy and strong.  Northeast Security Bank provides the financing options hog farmers need to start or expand their operation. The financing we provide not only matches each hog farmer’s individual needs, but also integrates with their season cash flow.
 
October is a time to not only be proud of the corn and soybean harvests, but also to recognize the importance hog farmers in the state’s economy. Thank you to all of our local hog farmers, and don’t hesitate to get in touch with us for any of your financing needs!

Harvest Season in Iowa: Why It Is Important and How We Can Help

Posted on September 24th, 2014 in Agriculture finances by NSBblogger |

Northeast Security Bank wants to assist farmers financially to have the best harvest seasons yet.

Enjoy the beautiful fall season and bountiful harvest.


You can tell by the changing leaves, cooling air, and Friday night football games that fall is near. The first official day of fall is September 23rd, but up until that day the world around us is changing. One of the most significant events that occur during the fall season is harvest time.
All across Iowa, harvest season is upon us. Agriculture is the centerpiece of our local economy in northeast Iowa, and harvesting seasons means big things for not only farmers, but others who call Iowa home (especially with year’s expected record crop). Northeast Security Bank understands the importance of agricultural in our community.
Our communities are largely rural communities, which means as farming goes, so goes our local economies. Because agriculture is such an important substance for so many different reasons, Northeast Security Bank hopes to help in the production in the following ways:

  • Ag loans can be obtained to help with operational costs, livestock, machinery, real estate, FSA guarantees, and Beginning Farmer program. To apply for an ag loan, fill out our Agriculture Financial Statement and bring it in to Northeast Security Bank. Our team will work with you to find a plan to meet your unique needs.
  • With interest checking, farmers can be better prepared for any additional farming costs as well. Even when you are not making depots directly into your account, your funds will grow.

As you can see, the crops produced in our little slice of Iowa are huge for financial to the success of our local economies. People and animals all over the world are dependent upon a successful harvest season in Iowa. Northeast Security Bank hopes to be a part of that success. We encourage you to reach out for any financial advice and assistance.
Be sure to swing by any farmers markets as well to grab some locally grown produce and other homemade goods. It’s a great way to support local producers, and many farmers markets are open through November!

Find Your Way Back Home to Northeast Iowa

Posted on August 20th, 2014 in Bank Services, Communities, General, Home Buying, Savings by vgmforbin |

Our find your way program can bring you home!

Our find your way program can bring you home!


Northeast Iowa is filled with great places to live and work. You can raise your children here and know they are receiving a great education and hometown values. Northeast Security Bank is a big supporter of buying local and staying local, which is why we created the Find Your Way Home Program.
This program was created to encourage graduates from the local schools to come back to our community and buy a home in the area. We have set aside $1,000,000 to finance low rate mortgages to encourage graduates from local schools who have moved away or are currently renting a place to stay to purchase a home in our communities.
We want to provide people with manageable mortgages so your future family can have the upbringing you did. Whether you are looking to move back to Fredericksburg, Fairbank, Decorah, or Sumner we want to help. So if you graduated from any area high schools, we encourage you to look around the area to find your dream home. It is more affordable than you think.
We have many reasons why staying in Northeast Iowa is the best thing you can do and we hope you make the decision to buy here and stay here:

  • The rich history and culture. From Decorah’s Nordic ties to the fun of Sumner Days, you get the small town feel with big city touches.
  • The great area schools. From kindergarten to senior year, you can be assured the educational system is top notch. You will enjoy Friday night football to Saturday game days at Luther.
  • The food is delightful. How could anyone not like small town favorites from Fredericksburg to Fairbanks and everywhere in between.
  • Strong community ties. We are proud to be located in communities with tight knit families and organizations.

Northeast Iowa is a place to call home. Northeast Security Bank can make your dream of moving back or buying your first home in the community a reality with our Find Your Way Home program.  Simply contact any Northeast Security Bank location today to see how to get started.