What Your Teen Needs to Know About Money Management

TeenMoneyMangement

Throughout their teenage years, your children will begin to grow their personal money management style. Offer them some assistance by offering these four financial lessons from Bank of Blue Valley.

Securing Their First Job

No matter if it’s babysitting, lifeguarding, or bagging groceries, there are plenty of employment options for eager high school students. These opportunities typically start at minimum wage with zero benefits, but offer a foundation of experience and learning. Talk with your son or daughter, and help them select positions to apply for that resonate with them. Resources such as the Chamber of Commerce often list local job openings, and are a good place to comb for recent availabilities.

Managing Money

The younger you begin various habits, the better they stick with you. Teach your children the positive effect proper money management can have on their pocketbook. Start by opening both a savings and a checking account for your teen. Each pay period, help them figure ten percent of their earnings to put into their savings. You can also work with them one-on-one each month to help balance their checkbook and plan for any large expenditures.

Saving for College

Secondary education isn’t cheap. If your son or daughter plans on attending a college or trade school, the time to start saving is now! Work with your future student to determine an educational budget, providing an estimate of upcoming expenses. Once you know the amount needed you can set savings goals for both you and your teen to start tucking money away. The sooner you begin your savings journey the smoother the road will be to your target amount.

Making Payments

Whether it’s purchasing their first car or simply covering the cost of meals at school, learning how to maintain a payment plan is an important life lesson. Explain your personal bill paying system to your teen and see how they can tailor it to their needs. Once they have a grasp on the system itself, gradually add payments to your child’s list of responsibilities, even if you add the money to their account. This will help them learn to keep an updated payment calendar before they graduate high school.

Money management is a continual learning process. There are always new techniques or tricks to better arrange your finances. Don’t stop honing your teen’s money management after these four lessons – stop by Bank of Blue Valley and see how you can keep growing your family’s financial skills today!

The True Cost of Owning a Pet

TrueCostPet

Seasoned pet owners know Fido and Fluffy add a special element to your family as only a pet can. However, adding another member to your household does come with its costs. From daily kibble, to late night vet calls, be sure you’re financially prepared before purchasing your next pet. Try these five financial tips to keep both your pet and your wallet happy.

Consider Adopting

A purebred pet can easily run over $1,000, while also requiring a hefty deposit in addition to registration fees. Try visiting your local humane society or animal shelter to meet some love-deprived friends that could use your attention. With most adoption costs under $300 total, you can save some green while helping a loving animal in need.

Determine Appropriate Size and Breed

Both your residence and your budget factor into this one! With many apartments posing weight and breed restrictions, there may be additional external factors to consider. When it comes to your budget, be sure to make note of your designated pet spending. If you’re trying to feed a big dog on a little budget, you may be fighting an uphill battle.

Buy Generic

Food is food, and pets don’t care whether their daily dinner is from brand A or B. Choose food that maximizes your pet’s energy without minimizing your savings. Treats can be another tricky topic – find one type of treat to reward your pet with for a job well done. There are several pet stores where you can purchase treats in bulk, and as long as you store them properly, you can save plenty of dollars, without running out of prizes for your pet.

Avoid Frill Expenses

Items such as decorative bowls, pet clothes, and squeaky toys are all fun splurges, but unneeded purchases on a continual basis. Choose a timeline for additional pet items on either a quarterly or biannual basis. You can keep your pet happy and entertained by offering household items such as empty water bottles or old stuffed animals instead of dropping $15 for a new toy each month.

Groom Smart

Every pet is different, some shed, others molt, but no matter what type of animal you have grooming may be involved. Various pets can groom themselves, or require little maintenance, but for the majority of our furry friends, assistance may be required. If you’re up to the challenge, see if grooming is something you can do yourself. Activities such as bathing or brushing can be done at home – just be sure to stock up on towels! If your pet requires frequent haircuts, or other monthly grooming, find a local groomer instead of your veterinarian for a more affordable rate.

Give your pet all the love and affection you can while keeping your budget on a leash. If you want to learn more about managing your monthly budget give us a call at (800) 872-5630 or drop by the bank today. We’d love to help you and your furry family make the most of your spending!

How to Hit a Homerun in Retirement

HomerunRetirement

Winning in a baseball game or in your retirement savings is no easy feat! It takes dedication and determination to seal the win. As you begin to reexamine your retirement plan try these key pointers from Bank of Blue Valley to coach you along the way!

Load the Bases

If you have available resources, make sure you’re using them! Just as a batter is primed to score with his bases covered in players, so are you by capitalizing on your 401(k), IRA, personal savings, and structured investing plan. Score extra points by taking advantage of your company’s 401(k) which matches your monthly contributions up to a certain percentage of your salary. Those are free dollars to aim towards your retirement!

Pitch a No Hitter

Don’t let the opposing team get ahead; work to pitch a no hitter by setting up your emergency savings fund. Instead of walking any unexpected expenses, such as auto repairs or medical bills, send those players back to the dugout with an added savings curve ball. You’ll be protecting your savings and racking up points, while staking your claim to your space in the hall of fame.

Build a Winning Team

Just as you would compile your fantasy team around leading scorers and left handed pitchers, the same applies to your financial team! At Bank of Blue Valley we have a well-rounded lineup of personal bankers, wealth advisers, and lenders to help you make it to the big leagues.

Play Extra Innings

Even in retirement, there’s no rule against a little over time! Take up a part or full-time job you enjoy to cover living expenses before you have to dip into your savings account. You and your spouse could land a home run in the bottom of the 10th with some additional income at the start of your retirement.

No matter if you’re swinging for the fences or just trying to get on base, our experienced team at Bank of Blue Valley can help craft a game plan for your retirement! Give us a call at (913) 338-1000 or stop by the bank today!

Summer Safety 101

Seasonal

Between backyard barbecues, lakeside swimming, and late night fireworks, this sunny season is full of exciting outdoor activities. With all those hours spent outside, be sure you’re staying safe and healthy throughout the summer months with these helpful tips courtesy of Bank of Blue Valley!

  1. Sunshine and Heat

When it comes to summer nothing says July like a warm sunny day. After an extended time in the sun, your body can be at risk for some serious health concerns. You can work to avoid issues like dehydration, heat exhaustion, and sunburns by drinking water regularly throughout the day and liberally applying sunscreen. Another way to avoid this painful issue is to steer clear of the sun between the hours of 10:00am and 2:00pm. This is the peak of heat during the day, and while it still remains bright both before and after, these four hours may cause the most damage.

  1. Water and Pools

With common summer activities such as playing in sprinklers, boating, and river floating, your children could be facing more obstacles than you think. If your children have yet to learn to swim, floatation devices are a must! Investing in some local swimming lessons can not only give your child a fun weekday class, but also potentially save their life. It’s great to introduce your children to swimming and getting comfortable in the water at a young age. There are classes available for parent and child, teaching little ones as young as six months!

  1. Fireworks

The fourth of July would not be complete without fireworks. Unfortunately they aren’t always used up after this festive holiday. If you’re near a group or family launching their own firework display, be sure to stay back at least 100ft. Never point a firework at someone, or allow them to point one at you. Fireworks can be dangerous and we at Bank of Blue Valley recommend watching the beautiful displays by professionals, rather than launching them yourselves.

  1. Lawn Mower

This weekly task is something that is best reserved for parents and children over thirteen years of age. With more than 80,000 mowing related accidents in the United States each year, it may be best to let the little ones stay inside while this outdoor chore is being completed.

Enjoy your summer adventures, and stay safe this season! You’ll always have a shady spot to stop by at Bank of Blue Valley.

The Most Common Phishing Scams and How to Avoid Them

Cyber Security

Phishing is a common term for the unfortunate schemes hackers and online criminals use to lure users into giving their personal information. Typically disguised as familiar online activity, these scam artists have cleverly found several distinctive ways to attempt to trick YOU into handing over your private details. Be on the lookout for these common phishing scams next time you’re roaming the web!

  1.   Foreign Lottery Scam

With this tactic you generally receive an email informing you that you have just won the lottery of some far-away land! To obtain these exorbitant funds you simply have to send a small fee to cover the transfer cost. A simple online search will show that this thrilling lottery is no more than phony website with a long distance phone number. Typically if the sending address doesn’t look familiar, or if you have not applied to any foreign lotteries, it will be a dead giveaway that this email is just an attempt to get your information and your money.

  1.   Survey Scam

Do you like supporting the humane society or other animal organizations? This scam takes advantage of your online history and sends you a survey to submit your opinion on issues that matter to you. Instead of using your responses on animal treatment, this system discovers your email address, and other relative personal information, to hack your account and send out further spam emails.

  1.   Online Banking Scam

Most phishing schemes disguise themselves as something familiar, often as PayPal or even your personal bank. This particular scam typically indicates that some type of immediate action is needed, and your financial account is at risk. Before sending any type of reply communication, check the source of the email, and call your personal contact at the organization to see if the email is legitimate. If you question the validity of any portion of the email, delete it and call the company this con artist is attempting to masquerade as ASAP.

  1.   Clickbait

Social media has a hacking arena all its own. With links scattered across newsfeeds, it’s often hard to determine what is genuine and what is clickbait. Clickbait is a link generated using common controversial issues to get you to click on it. Once clicked, the link may switch to a Facebook login, where you login again. Unfortunately this false login page is a common maneuver by cyber criminals to get your social media login. Having this information, online criminals can now access your account and spam the people you are connected with.
If you think you’ve been a victim of an online phishing scam and your personal banking information has been compromised, call Bank of Blue Valley. We’ll help you watch for signs of identity theft within your personal bank accounts.

What’s Your Spending Style?

Personal Finance

Everyone spends and saves differently. There are spending personalities on all ends of the spectrum that range from extreme spenders to tireless penny pinchers. Discover what type of spender you are with this helpful quiz courtesy of Bank of Blue Valley.

What’s your typical lunch during the workweek?

A: A packed lunch, typically leftovers from the night before.

B: A variety of prepared lunches from home and a handful of takeout meals throughout the month.

C: I usually grab something from one of the local restaurants during my lunch break, occasionally I’ll bring something from home if it was really good.

D: I can’t get through the day without my latte in the morning, and a solid lunch out of the office in the afternoon.

How important is your credit score to you personally?

A: I live and breathe by this number, it influences almost all of my buying decisions.

B: I check my credit every month, it’s important to know where you stand.

C: I have a general idea where I’m at, but it’s not the first thing on my mind.

D: What’s a credit score?

If you want a something that is $3,000 but you only have $1,500 available funds in your account what would you do?

A: Wait until I can save the additional $1,500 I need before purchasing it.

B: Compromise on a similar item that only costs the $1,500 I currently have.

C: Purchase the $3,000 item, paying $1,500 up front, and putting the rest on credit.

D: Purchase the $3,000 item and put it all on credit.

What does retirement savings mean to you?

A: Roth IRA, 401(k), stocks, bonds, and personal savings.

B: Using my work benefits along with personal savings.

C: I think I get something for retirement through my place of employment.

D: Something I don’t have to worry about until I’m older.

When you see an exciting impulse buy, how do you manage the situation?

A: I remind myself I’m here for these 5 items and nothing else.

B: I remember I already bought a small impulse buy yesterday, so this one could potentially harm my budget.

C: I made it through the work day today, I deserve this.

D: I already have 4 other things I wasn’t expecting to buy, what’s one more?

If most of your answers were [A] then you are a Penny Pincher: For you, finances are the key to your existence. All aspects of your financials are crafted into a strategic plan to make the most out of your various savings accounts. You’re the first to suggest a restaurant based on cost, and the last to splurge on a large purchase. Typically you’re also the person other family members typically ask for well-rounded financial advice.

If most of your answers were [B] then you are a Balanced Budgeter: In your world, the life of a budget doesn’t have to centered around a hunker down mentality. A budget is a fluid medium that is meant to be customizable to you and your needs. Occasionally an added expenses or unforeseen purchase is needed or warranted, but overall, you ensure you and your family stay on track with a well thought out financial plan.

If most of your answers were [C] then you are a Cautious Creditor: Although much of your financial expertise is based on credit card rewards, and other point benefits, you do care about your money management. While not all your choices are made to help boost your savings, there are certain measures you take on a continual basis to help push your financial goals forward.

If most of your answers were [D] then you are a Debt Developer: Often times you spend more than you intend. Between check-out line snacks, and lunch time splurges, your bank account just tries to keep up. Understanding your financials isn’t necessarily first on your list of priorities, but there are certainly some things you know you could improve. You appreciate the things you purchase and genuinely enjoy the experience of shopping.

 

No matter what type of spender you are, Bank of Blue Valley is here to help you succeed. For everything from setting up savings accounts, to consulting on wealth management, we have everything you need to continue your financial success. Give us a call at (913) 338-1000 or stop by today to get started!

Money Lessons at Every Age

Personal Finances

No matter what your age, there are always exciting new aspects to understand in the realm of money management. This year help your children get a head start on their financial education with these key lessons courtesy of Bank of Blue Valley.

2-5 Years Old: The Three Jars Activity

In your child’s youngest years it is important to give them a basic financial understanding. You can help your little ones comprehend savings, spending, and donating through three simple jars. Each week give your child 50 cents or a dollar, all in quarters. It is then their decision whether they want to save it for a bigger toy or purchase, spend it on something smaller, or donate it to help others in need. This activity works to help create a general thought process of the three common ways to spend or accumulate funds.

5-13 Years Old: Budgeting Basics

For everything from buying groceries to new clothes for school, you can help your child learn how to budget by setting a spending limit for your various shopping trips. By allowing your little ones to participate in the purchase process, you can help educate them in the importance of staying on or under budget. Let them help you find bargain deals or clip coupons to reduce cost. When the expenditures come in under the budget, reward their efforts with a small treat.

14-18 Years Old: How to Build Your Financial Reputation

Correctly making payments is a pinnacle point in proper money management. Whether it’s purchasing your first car, home, or other personal purchase, learning how to correctly pay off your loan, can be the difference between good and bad credit. Get started on this important lesson with a quick tutorial on how you pay any monthly bills or debts. Show your child your system to give them an introduction into how the process will take place. Once they choose to purchase a car or other item through a personal loan, you can walk them through the payment process online, and help them make a calendar of when installments are due.

Whether your little one is two or twenty-two, there is always something new to learn. Stop by Bank of Blue Valley and see how you and your family can improve your money management skills today!

How to Save $1,000,000 by Retirement

Saving for Retirement

Retirement may seem an eternity away; however, even if it’s a dream 20 years down the road, saving for retirement shouldn’t wait until the goal is in sight. Rule of thumb says you’ll need $1,000,000 in savings to retire comfortably. Our experts at Bank of Blue Valley recommend taking the following steps to save with the future in mind:

  • Determine when you want your $1 million. The typical age of retirement is 65, but you may be shooting for a few years earlier or later. Whatever the age affects how much you need to save each month, so calculate years left to save based on current age and breakdown monthly savings requirements thereafter.
  • Start saving ASAP. Compound interest rewards those that begin saving earlier rather than later. A $10,000 investment at age 25 could yield tens of thousands of dollars more by 65 than if that same $10,000 were invested at 35.
  • Spend less than you save. It’s basic math. You’ll have money left to save only if income exceeds expenses. Buying a home within your range, purchasing cars secondhand, and paying for vacations out of savings and not on credit protects you from dipping into debt.
  • Opt for automatic. Research your employer’s 401k or retirement-based plans and determine what percent you’d like funneled from your paycheck and into your savings. If your employer matches contributions up to a limit, work to reach their maximum to make the most out of your savings.
  • Set-Up an Emergency Fund. Expect the unexpected. A flooded basement or dying car engine can send you spiraling out of your savings plan if you haven’t budgeted for rainy days. Set up a $1,000 emergency fund as soon as possible, and work to expand it to anywhere from 6-12 months of income to protect you from larger surprises, like medical issues or unemployment.

The road to a million takes time and discipline, but it’s exceedingly possible. For further savings strategies, make an appointment today to meet with one of our trained financial experts today.

7 Tips to Decrease Your Gardening Costs This Season

Saving Money

Gardening season is upon us! Whether you’ve been gardening for decades or are flexing your green thumbs for the first time, save some green as you grow this spring with these helpful tips from Bank of Blue Valley:

  1. Study the sun. You can burn hundreds of dollars by accidentally placing plants in areas that receive too much or too little sunlight. Take time before planting to make notes on the sun’s path across your yard, scoping out key sunny and shady spots along the way.
  2. Invest in mulch. A layer of fresh mulch aids in protecting against soil erosion while cutting the costs of weed killer.
  3. Reuse newspapers. Before you lay down protective mulch, spread layers of old newspapers directly onto the soil to block weeds and lock in moisture. Eventually the newspaper decomposes while saving on water costs in the long-run.
  4. Try natural bug protection. Instead of buying pricey pesticides and bug zappers, place fabric softener sheets next to outdoor light fixtures to deter flying insects.
  5. Make your own weed killer. Eco-friendly and inexpensive, you can create your own weed killer by mixing 1 gallon of white vinegar with 1 ounce of liquid dish soap. Put this mixture in a spray bottle and directly apply to weeds for the maximum effect.
  6. Start composting. Create nature’s best fertilizer in your own backyard by forming a small compost pile of kitchen and yard waste. Not only do you reduce your footprint by saving space in a landfill, but your homemade compost saves you money and increases the yield of your plants.
  7. Plant the pricier edibles. To save money, time, and precious garden real estate, invest in planting herbs and vegetables that would normally cost you a bundle at the grocery store. Grow pricier crops such as raspberries, shallots, and basil yourself and buy cheaper produce like lettuce, carrots, and parsley at your local farmers markets.

At Bank of Blue Valley, it’s always growing season when it comes to building your wealth. If you’re looking to prosper your financial gains stop by and give us a call at 913-338-1000 today!

Budgeting 101 for Young Adults

Creating a Budget

You’ve taken all the tests, memorized all the vocabulary, and made your way across the stage. But what comes next? After graduation there are many questions that come with your diploma. Things like, how am I going to pay for rent? Or, how much should I budget each month for food? Not everything in life is as simple as A, B, C, or D. That’s why Bank of Blue Valley is excited to help young adults with the complex questions of budgeting and personal finance. Find the answers to your financial curiosities with our handy Budgeting 101 study guide!

  1. Identify money coming in. Look past the salary or hourly rate on your contract and focus on take-home pay. How much will you bring in after taxes? When do you see this pay-off – weekly, biweekly, or monthly? Factor in other sources of cash flow too, like earned interest or paychecks from a part-time job. Understanding what you own dictates how you spend.
  2. Establish money going out. Divide monthly expenses into three major categories: fixed costs, savings, and discretionary. Rent, utilities, food, gas, and debt comprise the fixed costs and determine funds for the remaining categories. Savings should include an emergency fund as well as allocation for retirement or down payments on vehicles or homes. Discretionary – the Fun Fund – is the most flexible and can ebb and flow with changes in income and expenses.
  3. Balance steps 1 & 2. The purpose of budgeting is to provide control over your financials. That means ensuring that money going out doesn’t exceed money coming in to keep your head above the debt line. If you find your listed expenses exceed your income, pick one of two options: seek ways to boost income or scale back expenses.
  4. Pick a management system. Armed with a financial plan, equip yourself with tools to help you stick to it. Traditional but trusted, the envelope method helps you keep funds in physically separated expense categories. Once money runs out from that month’s envelope, it’s gone unless funds can shift from other envelopes. A number of free or low-priced mobile apps can give you even tighter control of your budgeting, providing real-time updates of spending and handy visuals of your progress.
  5. Track progress. A long-term financial plan is simply a series of short-term goals. Monthly check-ups help you gauge success from the month, making sure you stayed on target. You can adjust funds as income or expenses fluctuate and spot ways to economize your budget.

Want to take your budgeting up a notch? Meet with one of our financial experts, who will work with you to plan a secure financial future. Give us a call to set up your appointment today!