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Protect Yourself from Identity Theft

With news of the recent Equifax data breach, it is a good time to review what you can do to protect yourself from identity theft. While some things are out of your control, here are tips for things you can do to help keep your information secure.

Ensure your computer is protected. Install anti-virus and anti-spyware software as well as firewall software to protect against malicious programs that may be planted in emails, documents or websites. It is important to keep this computer software current. Manufacturers offer patches, which are small pieces of software to fix flaws in software, and…


Tips For Effectively Managing Debt

What is considered good debt? What is considered bad debt? Perhaps one of the biggest financial quandaries facing consumers today is the effective management of their debt and making sure they’re being smart about the types of debt they utilize for purchases. Here are a few tips to help you as you make future purchasing decisions.

      • Create a detailed annual budget – Sit down each year and estimate all of your expenses. Be sure to include line items for saving money and future purchases. Don’t forget any trailing expenses. For instance, when you purchase a new vehicle, be sure…

Parents: Tips to Prepare Your Grad for the Financial “Real World”

It’s graduation season which means that many young adults are getting ready to enter the “real world.” This is an exciting time, however, recently it’s become apparent that this younger generation can be unrealistic about how much life really costs. While many of us were forced to jump in and figure it out, there has been a cultural shift and we are seeing many of today’s parents continue to take care of their children financially even as they enter adulthood.

While none of us wants to watch our children suffer, prolonged financial support is NOT helping them in the long…


Tips for Choosing a Credit Card

All credit cards are not created equal. With so many options out there, how do you find the right card for your needs? Here are a few things to consider before making a decision.

Check your credit score – This is a great place to start when searching for a credit card as your score will impact the interest rates and offers available to you. There are options for many levels of credit scores so even if your credit score is not where you would like it to be, there are still options for you. Want to improve your credit…


6 Tips to Smartly Spend Your Tax Refund

According to the IRS, 111 million taxpayers received tax refunds last year, averaging around $2,860. While a refund that size might be a welcome surprise, it would be a financial mistake to spend it frivolously. Instead of squandering a refund, consider these suggestions that can help to maximize your money and advance your financial future.

Reassess withholdings for next tax season: Sure, getting a sizeable check from the IRS may seem nice, but if a refund is unusually large, you should consider withholding less income from your paycheck. Think about it, if you receive a big refund once a…


Home Equity Financing 101

Thinking of consolidating debt? Need to fund a college education? Entertaining a home improvement project? Looking to finance a “bucket list” vacation? If you are a homeowner, the financial resource may literally be all around you – home equity financing allows the applicant to borrow against the equity of their home by using the house as collateral to obtain a home equity loan or line of credit.

What’s the Difference? HELOAN vs. HELOC

Both a home equity loan and line of credit are useful, but are also very different. A home equity loan (HELOAN) is a fixed rate product with a…


How March Madness Can Guide Your Investment Strategy

Picking the right investment strategy to meet your financial goals may seem as challenging as predicting which team will win the annual NCAA tournament. However, there are a few ways that picking an accurate March Madness bracket parallels a successful investing strategy. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

Look for a solid coach. A good way to successfully create a bracket is by selecting teams that have a coach with a solid track record. This is also true for your investment strategy – set yourself up for success by working with a qualified, experienced investment advisor.

Think about…


Prepped For Tax Time?

The annual, looming deadline to file your taxes is two months away. April 15 falls on a Saturday this year so the deadline to file has been pushed to April 18, but the prep should start now to prevent stress later. You’ve likely received your tax information in the mail, so it is key to organize all of these documents to properly file your returns.

The first part of the year is a great time to get fiscally organized, and, if you prepare now, filing your taxes can be less of a burden. Here is a quick list of things…


Love & Money: Tips to Avoid Financial Conflict

This Valentine’s Day, couples might be wise to forego the extravagant presents and take the opportunity to get on the same financial page. According to a recent survey by the American Psychological Association, 31 percent of adults with a partner said money is a major source of conflict in the relationship. Most people know that money is a common area for couples to disagree, but few couples take the necessary steps to prevent money conflicts or right the financial ship once it’s blown off course.

Communication is key in any relationship, and it’s particularly important when it comes to money…


Should You Shop for a New Bank in 2017?

As the New Year is upon us, many are making New Year’s resolutions. Should shopping for a new bank be on your list for 2017? With lots of recent mergers and acquisitions among banks, many people are faced with new procedures and products. Do you have a banker who can help navigate through the process?

When meeting with clients and prospects, I always stress the importance of building a relationship. This approach, known as relationship banking, offers personalized service to customers and provides a broad array of financial products and services that go beyond simple checking and savings accounts. For…

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