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Auto Financing Tips

Posted on January 21st, 2016 in Automotive Tips, Best Financial Advice by NSBblogger |

auto loansAre you dreaming of a nicer newer ride? Get your start with Northeast Security Bank and secure your auto loan! There are many decisions to make when purchasing a new vehicle. Let us help guide you to your ideal ride with these helpful tips.

Determine if you want a new or used vehicle.

Many auto dealers today offer both new and used. While new can offer updated technology and the assurance of no prior owners, choosing a used vehicle can drastically diminish cost and offers a comparable quality with moderate mileage.

Decide on a budget and a timeline.

When choosing the right vehicle to purchase, there are many questions to help you research which may be best on your pocket book in the long run.

-How long do you want to drive this vehicle?

-What does your budget allow you to spend for the down payment and installments?

-When do you need your vehicle by?

-What type of MPG do you need to keep gas costs within your overall budget?

-How long do you want to be paying the loan off? (0-5 years)

With these questions in mind you can better view the credentials needed for the ideal vehicle for you and your family.

Save your down payment.

Speak with one of our lenders to confirm your auto financing needs and decide on an appropriate down payment amount. As a general rule 20% of the final cost of the vehicle is ideal, however depending on your personal finances a lower percentage may be available to you.  Be sure to include any maintenance work, tires, or other repairs a car may need in the overall cost.

Talk to us!

If you have any questions or want to begin the process of auto financing call or stop by today. We’re happy to help, and look forward to making you auto buying dreams a reality.

Practice good car maintenance.

After purchasing your new vehicle you’ll want to keep it prepped and ready for the winter! Try some of these quick tips to keep your car safe and warm this season.

  1. Warm up your care before you go to work to make scraping ice easier.
  2. Rotate your tires to ensure a stronger tread on tires.
  3. Keep a winter emergency kit in your vehicle, just in case!
  4. Maintain a full gas tank when possible to avoid freezing gas lines.

 

Preparing for Post-Honeymoon Finances

Posted on January 6th, 2016 in Financial Tips by NSBblogger |

Married FinancesFinances are a big part of marriage. Determining where your family will live, when you will go on vacation, and what spending is possible are all decisions you and your spouse now discuss. Money can be a tricky topic, so here are some easy tips to make the most out of your financial one-on-one’s.

Be transparent with one and other.

Begin the conversation with sharing each of your individual financial states, and the goals you have for where you want to be in the coming years. Once everything is out on the table you are able to dissect the differences between your finances and discover any areas that perhaps you differ on. If say one of you has debt and the other does not, then you are able to build a plan to first eliminate your now joint debt. By being open with one and other you can communicate more efficiently and work toward the goals you each share.

Evaluate your account setup.

In today’s world the words “joint checking” don’t always apply. While most common among married spouses with children, a joint checking account can provide a larger sum for paying expenses and saving toward goals. Additionally spouses today are also utilizing a combination of joint and separate accounts to maintain relative independence and have access to personal spending funds. Some couples choose to select separate accounts for all their financial means, paying bills fifty-fifty or perhaps every other. Whichever account scenario you choose, ensure that you and your spouse are on the same page, establishing ground rules acceptable spending habits.

Make a plan and stick to it.

At least once a month set aside time in your day to discuss finances with your spouse. This helps alleviate any financial tension should any money situations arise. By openly discussing successes and failures in your household finances on a regular basis you maintain a level of security in seeing where you finances stand in conjuncture with your goals each and every month. To be successful your finances your spouse and you must create and maintain a household budget. When creating your monthly budget remember to factor in costs for any loan installments, debt repayment, monthly expenses, and joint or separate savings. By evaluating your budget during your monthly finance discussions you can track you progress and adjust the budget if needed to better reach your joint financial goals.

These are some great basics to get you started. If you’d like to learn more about finances or get a joint account setup for you and your spouse, pop by the bank today. We’d love to meet with you!

Looking ahead to 2016 – what does your financial future express?

Posted on December 23rd, 2015 in Best Financial Advice, Financial Tips by NSBblogger |

financial future

New year, new financial game plan. Renew your financial knowledge with fast facts of three financial topics that’ll set you up for a successful 2016, courtesy of Northeast Security Bank.

Creating a Monthly Budget: How-To

  1. Categorize your expenses: Break up what you spend into relative categories, such as housing, food, auto, and personal. Then distinguish your essential spending from extras, notating the things you can’t live without and the one or two extras that add meaning to your life.
  2. Identify what’s earned, and calculate your spending: You can’t budget if you don’t know what your cash flow is. Nail down exactly what you bring in each month with income after taxes and other side sources of cash flow. Subtract that value from it an estimate of what you typically spend in 30 days. This allows you to see if you’re saving, breaking even, or coming up negative.
  3. Know where you’re going: If you have nothing you’re working towards, what’s the point of a budget? Pick a goal – paying off debt, buying a car – and rework your numbers from steps 1 & 2 to create a way to achieve it.

Understanding the Top 3 Bank Account Options

  1. Savings: Use this account to save money first and foremost. Checks are not typically used with savings as their primary function is accumulating funds and interest. Putting a little each month into your savings will ensure a steady value for years to come.
  2. Basic Checking: Draw money for checks from this account. Typically a checking account acts as the primary account for a person or family. Checking is what is most often associated with paying bills and monthly expenses.
  3. Certificates of Deposit (CDs): Also called, time deposits, due to the holder’s agreement to keep money in the account for a specified time (three months, six years, etc.). Money here can’t be touched during that time, but it’s rewarded with a higher interest rate.

Launching a Retirement Plan

  1. Know Your Needs: Your current age, expected age of retirement, amount currently in savings, and other factors are needed to determine how much you need to set aside. Check out a handy retirement calculator for a rough estimate.
  2. Check Your Employer’s Plan: If your employer offers a 401(k) or similar plan, hop on it. Lowered taxes, matched contributions, and automatic monthly deductions make savings a breeze.
  3. Start saving ASAP: Compound interest is a beautiful thing. Saving smaller for a longer length of time often yields more benefits than if you start saving big late in the game.

If you’d like to strategize a game plan for your financial future, our financial advisors are here to help! Call Northeast Security Bank to get started today!

 

Thoughtful Gifts for the Holidays

Posted on December 9th, 2015 in Holiday Shopping by NSBblogger |

holiday gifts

The holidays grow closer and closer every day! Still looking for the perfect gift for someone among your family and friends? Try one of these unique and creative ideas courtesy of Northeast Security Bank.

  1. Tap the App store: If your gift recipient is app-happy, gift them a few new apps from the Apple store. Sent directly from your personal device, choose the “Gift This App” option to deliver it to another’s iPad, iPhone, or iPod in a matter of moments.
  2. Compile a memory bucket: For $5-$10, you can stuff a creative container (think lanterns, shower caddies, etc.) with snacks and trinkets that commemorate your relationship. Dollar stores, bargain bins, and thrift stores are perfect for padding this gift, as the goal is quantity and not quality of materials (although the memories they represent are top notch!).
  3. Personalize a mug: Most dollar stores carry mugs that can easily be customized with the help of a Sharpie. Draw on a favorite quote, a lesser-known nickname, or an inside joke they wouldn’t be able to find anywhere online. Stick it in the oven to bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees to seal it on. Bonus points if you stuff the mug with packets of their favorite hot drink!
  4. Whet Their Appetite for a Dinner Date: Rather than a gift card to a restaurant, gift a symbolic item promising they can redeem it for the real thing with you later. Do they love barbecue joints? Wrap up a bottle of their favorite sauce! Are they a fan of that Thai place down the street? Gift a jar of gourmet peanuts! They’ll love the excitement of a two-part present.
  5. Where you met: For friends and significant others, commemorate the first time you met with an inexpensive memento of that location. If it’s a coffee thermos from the café, or a homemade pendant of the city where your paths collided, they’ll remember the launch to your relationship every time they use it.

You don’t need to break the bank to make your gifts matter. For an extra hand allocating your cash wisely, give our financial advisors at Northeast Security Bank a call!

The BEST Black Friday Battle Plan

Posted on November 18th, 2015 in Holiday Shopping, Online Shopping by NSBblogger |

black friday battle plan

Before the turkey’s had time to settle, will you be preparing for battle Black-Friday style?

Black Friday – the US holiday retail affair held the day after Thanksgiving – saw 140 million Americans push through store doors in 2014 in hopes of snagging spectacularly discounted goods. Bargain-hunting becomes a sport of Olympic proportions, one that you can conquer with money-saving strategies from Northeast Security Bank and its customers:

Start planning yesterday: You’ll need a rock-solid game plan to secure these deals, and strategy takes time. Request time off work as soon as possible to guarantee a spot on the frontlines of customers. If you’ve been toying with the idea of a new TV or other big-ticket item for a while, check out Consumer Digest to find the top three options for each product. Then, start researching which stores carry and if they plan to discount them on Black Friday. Plenty of time for plenty of research can save you plenty of money in the long haul.

Scour the ad section: Make like Santa – create a list of promotions, and check it twice. Then do it again. Businesses know the big potential for big money Black Friday fords, so they’ll run ads in weekly papers, newsletters, handouts, and online circulations a week or two before the big day. Scope out the best deals, and keep track of them by item name, brand, and price on a running sheet that you take with you when the doors open.

Map your route: If you plan to wander the aisles aimlessly searching for that dream-item, just stay home. The savviest of shoppers look up a map of the store ahead of time either in person or through a quick Google search to pinpoint the location of their prize.

Divide and conquer: There’s power in numbers – so use it. Go with a team and pick roles ahead of time: one person can wait in line for checkout early in the game while others charge into the search and rescue operation. Another person can control the cart to connect the hunters with the line waiters for maximum efficiency. A 6-man team works best for an operation of this scale.

Have your victor’s chariot on standby: The worst possible way to celebrate your morning’s conquest is discovering in the cold parking lot that your car isn’t big enough to hold your treasures. Before you head out, compare vehicle measurements with the sizes of your expected buys, and double check you have adequate supplies to restrain items if necessary.

With great deals comes great responsibility. Plan smarter with Credit and Debit card options  from Northeast Security Bank, and charge into the crowds with confidence and security!

Psychology and Shopping: This is Your Brain on Buying

Posted on November 5th, 2015 in Holiday Shopping, Online Shopping by NSBblogger |

brain-buying

Retailers look forward to this time of year all year long. It’s not because of the twinkling lights or the feel-good music or the sparkles coating every surface, but because they know you’ll be shelling out big bucks with wild abandon. It’s not your fault: your brain’s to blame. It’s hardwired to feel pleasure post-purchase, and you’ll be positively surrounded with opportunities for it to surge with feel-good chemicals as you walk into a retail wonderland this season. Northeast Security Bank wants to help you reign in your brain with these insights to your cranium and its love of buying.

The role of advertising

Advertisers and marketers sabotage your brain by playing up its ability to channel in on baser desires and fears like:

  • Health and well-being
  • Physical harm
  • Seeking (or avoiding) love
  • Financial loss
  • Recognition
  • Looking the best

Our brain is warped into thinking we need have our desires and fears satisfied like the people in the ads we consume. Our quest for perfection fuels a mad case of “Keep up with the Joneses” syndrome.

Immediate gratification and impulse shopping

This compulsive need to seek and attain the cream of the crop in any field is a need for immediate gratification, which can lead to impulse shopping, or shopping without thinking of future repercussions. When you purchase a $300 TV because your friend just got one, you no longer have that $300 to spend on important things like food, gas or rent. This can lead to higher credit card use and rampant credit card debt.

How to outsmart your pesky, irresponsible brain

Here are a few ways you can overcome the overpowering chemical reactions in your brain that make you want to go out and blow your budget on things you don’t truly need:

  • Never go shopping in a foul mood (sad, angry, depressed, etc.)
  • Ask the following questions:
    • Will I really use what I’m buying?
    • Can I get this product or service for less somewhere else?
    • Why am I making this purchase?
    • Can I actually afford this product or service?
    • Was this need real before I saw it on the shelf, in a commercial, or on the airwaves?

Avoid the post-purchase panic with a little self-restraint, responsibility, and smart financial planning. Northeast Security Bank can help you create a financial strategy so strong, not even your brain’s impulses could overcome it. Call or stop by for planning and product advisory today!

 

Downsides of Credit Unions

Posted on October 21st, 2015 in General by NSBblogger |

credit-unions

Like most good things in life, credit unions have their catches. Yes, they often have lower loan rates, higher rates on deposit accounts and many of the same banking technology like Online Banking, Mobile Banking and Online Bill Pay.

 

But there are several downsides to credit unions as well. As the credit union industry continues to grow and earn HUGE profits, now is a great time to examine just how they do that.

 

  1. They don’t pay income taxes– as they are classified as non-profit organizations, credit unions are exempt from paying taxes. This exemption means the government loses out on almost $10 BILLION in the next five years at a time when state and federal governments need every cent of funding they can get to provide vital services.
  2. They have outgrown their original mission– credit unions were established to help members with common affiliations (employers, churches, etc.) conduct banking-type activities. Membership was very selective. Today, membership has opened up to include a much larger field of applicants, at times including anyone who lives in the state the credit union serves (this has occurred in Washington, Vermont and New Hampshire). They were also meant to serve low- and medium-income households, but have instead focused on marketing to higher-income individuals and business customers.
  3. Mergers have increased the size of credit unions- even though there are about half as many credit unions now as there were two decades ago, their total assets have quadrupled. In many cases, the credit unions formed from mergers not only were much larger than community banks in their area, but held the double advantage of also paying no taxes.
  4. Credit unions do make a profit- despite their “non-profit” status, credit unions have substantial earnings; they have to for their balance sheets.  In 2012, federally insure credit unions earned $8.5 billion in net income, on which they paid $0 in taxes.
  5. Credit unions try to resemble banks as much as possible– from their buildings and ATMs to the products and services they provide, the strategy for credit unions is to appear as much like a bank to the average consumer as possible. And since they do not pay income taxes, credit unions can provide lower interest rates on loans and higher interest rates on deposit accounts.

 

In short, credit unions have abused their original mission in an effort to stay competitive with community banks like Northeast Security Bank and others in our communities. They have opened up their membership to practically anyone, and their products and services mirror those of community banks.

 

While they offer better rates on loans and deposit products, they can only do this because they don’t pay income taxes. This is akin to your neighbors purchasing new cars and building additions to their home because they don’t have to pay taxes while you pinch and save every penny you can.

 

Before you consider a credit union, be sure to examine the facts first. Check out all the information the American Bankers Association provides to see how credit unions – as beneficial as they seem – are actually hurting our economy, not helping it.

 

Northeast Security Bank

Equal Housing Lender

Member FDIC

 

*All facts and figures above from the American Bankers Association

Easy Meals for Harvest Time

Posted on October 14th, 2015 in Financial Tips by NSBblogger |

harvest-meals

Harvest time is here, meaning long days for many of our family members. All the hard work in the fields can create a serious appetite. However, the type of food our fathers, mothers, husbands and daughters can eat can be limited by the number of hands they have available.

 

For most farm equipment, only one hand is free most of the time. That’s why we thought it would be a great idea to offer up some “One-Handed Meals for Your Favorite Farm Hand!” Not only are all of the items below delicious, but they’re also very cost efficient.

 

Check out these recipes and give them a try this harvest season!

 

  1. Calzones– these offer a little more flexibility than sandwiches since you can fill them with sauces and other items that would fall off a slice of bread. You can also fill your calzones with pretty much anything, so get creative! Recipe here.
  2. Meat and Cheese Pinwheels- perfect for baking ahead of time and tasty at any temperature, meat and cheese pinwheels are a tasty treat than can be used for a full meal or a mid-afternoon snack. You can also go with an unbaked version so you can add some lettuce, tomatoes or other veggies before leaving the house. Recipe here.
  3. Chicken Pot Pie Cupcakes– forget actual cake and frosting, these cupcakes contain all the taste of a chicken pot pie in handheld form. The best part is that they don’t have to necessarily be served hot to be delicious. Recipe here.
  4. King’s Hawaiian Roll Ham Sandwiches- not only do these rolls offer a change of taste with the Dijon mustard, but the King’s Hawaiian Rolls stay soft and make this recipe complete. Recipe here.
  5. Buffalo Chicken Taquitos- if the farmer in your life enjoys Buffalo wings or Buffalo chicken dip, these are right up his alley. The only difference is that the deliciousness is wrapped up in a tortilla and baked. Recipe here.
  6. Stuffed Desert Crescent Rolls- who could forget about a delicious dessert? These stuffed rolls are so simple it’s ridiculous, and you can fill them whatever you want, from Nutella to apple pie filling. The recipe: take crescent rolls, add your filling, press down the edges, coat in cinnamon and sugar and bake according to the directions on the can.

 

What other one-handed meals do you prepare? Be sure to post your ideas to our Facebook to share them with everyone else.

 

Whichever of these options you go with, you can bet your hardworking family members will thank you, and so will your wallet. Go forth and cook!

 

Northeast Security Bank

Equal Housing Lender

Member FDIC

Fall 101: Bonfire Essentials

Posted on September 30th, 2015 in Financial Tips by NSBblogger |

bonfire-essentials

As we discussed in our last blog post, fall provides a number of experiences that are distinct to the season and to being an Iowan. One of the items on our Fall Bucket List was a bonfire night.

Living outside of major cities affords us and those in our community more freedom to have a bonfire. Whether you’re looking to have a huge, raging bonfire or smaller fire, there are some essentials you should bring along aside from what you’ll need for the fire.

Take a look through our list and see what all you would add.

Background music– wherever you hold your bonfire night, you’ll definitely want some tunes to set the atmosphere, whether you want something more mellow for a relaxed night or more upbeat music for more of a party feel.

S’mores supplies- when the fire begins to die down, break out the marshmallows to make s’mores. Be sure to bring straightened out hangers, graham crackers and chocolate too.

A cooler for beverages– a true bonfire last for awhile, so be sure to have a cooler or two full of beverages to keep your thirst quenched as the sun sets.

Lanterns and flashlights– because sometimes the light from the fire isn’t enough.

A lawn chair or two– just in case there aren’t enough logs or benches for everyone to sit on.

A few cozy blankets– for sitting on the ground or wrapping around you on a particularly cold night.

A first aid kit- while bonfires are meant to be fun or relaxing, there are also a lot of ways people can get hurt. Be prepared with a first aid kit.

Corn Hole (Bags) boards- c’mon, it’s Iowa in the fall. It’s practically a sin to have four or more people together without having Corn Hole available to play.

What would you add to the list?

If you’re planning a bonfire night of your own, be sure the above items make your list of essentials. Above all else, be sure to stay safe and have a great time!

 

Northeast Security Bank, member FDIC

What’s on Your Fall Bucket List?

Posted on September 16th, 2015 in Financial Tips by NSBblogger |

fall-bucket-list

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” -Anne of Green Gables

 

Even though we aren’t quite to October, we can’t help but feel the start of autumn creeping up on us. Maybe you’ve felt it to: the distinct smell in the morning, the crisp bite of the cooler air.

Fall is an amazing time in Iowa, and we want you to experience it to the fullest. With that in mind, we’ve created a Fall Bucket List, a list of items that are essentials to experience from late September through November in Iowa.

Give it a read and start planning out your own bucket list for the fall!

Visit an apple orchard– there are two great options for this very close by. East View Orchard in Fredericksburg, and Apples on the Avenue in Nashua.

Bonfire– add that classic fall smell to your sweatshirt or jacket by having a bonfire with your neighbors and friends.

Tailgating– regardless of your athletic allegiance, tailgating is distinctly a fall activity. Get a group of friends together and have everyone bring something to help split up the cost.

Pumpkin patch– not only are pumpkins an essential for Halloween, but the make great decorations the whole season. You can also toast the pumpkin seeds for a delicious and nutritious snack. In Decorah, check out Pinter’s Gardens & Pumpkins; for those who live in and around Sumner, Fredericksburg and Fairbank there are more than enough family farms who grow and sell pumpkins, so just ask around!

Jump in a pile of leaves– you used to love doing this as a kid, but just because you’re grown up doesn’t mean you can’t join in the fun. Get the family together to rake the yard and take a break in the leaves.

Make apple cider– use the apples you got at the orchard to brew your own batch of homemade apple cider. This simple and cost-efficient apple cider recipe is easy to follow and will make you look like Martha Stewart in the eyes of your family.

Eat pumpkin pie– whether you decide to go homemade or buy a ready-made pie from the store, pumpkin pie is a fall essential that you don’t have to wait until Thanksgiving to eat.

Friday night lights– Friday night high school football is as fall and American as you can get. Be sure to get out there this fall to cheer on your local high school team!

Corn maze– get lost in the stalks at Pinter’s Gardens & Pumpkins in Decorah for a day or evening of fun.

Make chili– as the temperatures begin to drop, a hearty, hot dinner of chili is totally satisfying. Here are a bunch of different varieties to try depending on your taste preferences.

What other things would you add to the list? There are tons of fun things to do around our communities during the fall that won’t have you breaking your budget. Try some of the above ideas to experience fall in Iowa while having a ton of fun at the same time!

 

Northeast Security Bank, Member FDIC