Monthly Archives: March 2016

The Do’s and Don’t of Home Buying

Home Buying

Begin the journey of purchasing your new home with Heartland Bank! We’ll help guide you through the process of securing a new residence for you and your family. Stick with these easy do’s and don’ts and you’ll be on the path to success.


  • Secure a loan before a home: While the hunt for the first house is exciting, your final decision will depend on the mortgage you can secure. Your first step in the home buying search should take place with a loan officer who can assess whether you qualify for a mortgage, and if so, at what price. This provides a framework guiding the search so you don’t expend time and money on houses outside your means.
  • Take your time: The average homeowner occupies their house for nine years before relocating, so additional time spent thoroughly searching for homes can reap a decade of benefit. Track trends in the housing market to buy during the most cost-effective season. Weigh personal, important factors beyond price listing, such as neighborhood quality, length of commute, and potential for expansion and home improvement.
  • Consult the professionals: The listing agent represents the interests of the seller, not the buyer. As a first-time home buyer, you’ll need as much trusted, unbiased advice as you can garner. Ask friends and family to recommend their real estate agents so you receive counsel from a professional with a track-record of success.


  • Look at homes well over your budget: You set a budget for a reason. Stick to it! Paying more than you designated for a home can financially limit you to update and repair as needed. By spending within your originally determined limit, you’ll avoid heftier mortgages and continue to withhold extra funds for any household incidentals.
  • Empty savings into a down payment: Securing your mortgage requires a down payment. Putting down less than 20% requires you to buy mortgage insurance. To avoid this added expense, some home buyers drain their savings to cover the down payment upfront. Liquidating your account, however, leaves you without a safety net in the event of job loss or medical emergency. The expense of mortgage insurance is worth the financial cushion you can leave in your account, and you can always eliminate the insurance once you’ve paid off 20% and opt to refinance your mortgage.
  • Speed through the closing: The end is in sight, but don’t let the glow of the finish line obscure your view of the paperwork. Review documents with a fine-tooth comb, double check that nothing has been altered in your agreement, and ensure that it describes your understanding of the transaction to a “T”. A day or two of extra analyzing can save you years of headaches!

At Heartland Bank, we offer a number of mortgage options to make securing your home as feasible as possible. To schedule your first meeting with one of our knowledgeable mortgage bankers, give us a call at (515) 352-3181.

Saying “I Do” to Post-Honeymoon Finances

Post Honeymoon Finances

After tying the knot, finances can be a tricky subject, but they are an absolutely necessary discussion. As Dave Ramsey says, “If you can talk about money, you can talk about anything.” Getting your finances put together takes some decision making, but here are some basic guidelines to get you started courtesy of Heartland Bank.

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.

By utilizing these simple tips you will begin the path to financial security and grow in your monetary capabilities. As Ramsey says, “Marriage is a partnership, and couples can’t win with money unless they’re doing the budget as a team.

Spring Into Spring

Spring Into Spring

Shake off colder temps, for spring has sprung! Squeeze the most out of this blooming season with these warmer weather activities to help you unthaw:

  1. Declutter your closet. To make it more open and airy, purge your wardrobe of all the clothes you didn’t wear over the winter. Donate the castoffs and make room for summer essentials.
  2. Try your hand at Frisbee golf. Running around on a grassy course soaking up the fresh air. Frisbee golf is the perfect cure to your winter blues. Grab some friends and some discs and you’re in business!
  3. Road trip to a bizarre local attraction. If famous landmarks like the World’s Largest Cheeto or Ice Cream Capital of the World are just an hour or two away, why not seize the day? Hop in your car, roll down your windows, and take a mini road trip to visit a nearby town’s pride and joy.
  4. Visit a greenhouse. Waiting until the summer to start your garden limits your options. Stretch your growing season by visiting a greenhouse, where you’ll find new plants, flowers, and produce seedlings to add to your bounty.
  5. Go mushroom hunting. Morel mushrooms grow all across the United States and sprout in the spring, making them a seasonal delicacy. Never gone hunting before? It’s easy!
  6. Get together for a grill fest. Dust off and light up your grill to celebrate warmer temperatures with friends and family. Challenge each guest to bring a dish designed for the grill so that every part of the meal – meat, veg, fruit, and dessert – is prepared outdoors.
  7. Catch a sunrise. With coffee and cocoa in tow, head to a nearby park or nature reserve to catch the sun as it rises over budding trees and new wildlife. Go all-out cooking up a delicious breakfast spread after the main event.
  8. Hit up flea markets and garage sales. One man’s trash is another man’s weekend discovery. As your neighbors spring clean, snap up items from the ridiculous to the sublime.
  9. Wash the cars. There’s something innately satisfying about watching months-worth of dust and sludge slide off a now-sparkling vehicle. Involve the whole family in the scrubbing and splashing, and reward them with ice cream at a local parlor afterwards.
  10. Get dirty. Whether it’s planting flowers, embarking on a DIY landscaping project, or simply sinking your hands and feet into gooey mud, nothing screams spring quite like dirt-streaked clothes. Embrace the mess!

Adventure is out there – go grab it! Be sure to share your favorite spring activity on our Facebook page and show us your favorite spring activity!

How-To Purchase Your Next Vehicle

Auto Financing

Purchasing a new vehicle is always an exciting venture. At Heartland Bank we want to help you maximize your buying experience with a trusted and affordable auto loan. Before you start roaming the car lots, glance at our easy auto check list to see what type of vehicle both you and your budget are searching for.

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 option 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 in the ideal vehicle for you and your family.

Save your down payment.

Speak with one of our experienced lenders to discuss your auto financing needs. It’s great to start saving now, to help secure some money down for your new purchase. When estimating the total cost of your new vehicle be sure to include any maintenance work, tires, or other repairs a car may need.

Talk to us!

If you have any questions or want to begin the process of auto financing, call Heartland Bank at (515) 352-3181 or stop by today. We’re happy to help, and look forward to making your next auto buying dream a reality.

3 Steps to a Successful Retirement


A successful retirement plan involves extensive planning and lots of patience. Once accomplished however, you gain the benefit of watching your finances work for you! The average age of retirement is climbing. Currently averaging at age 62, reports speculate that the average retirement age may increase to 75 for recent graduates facing mountains of student debt. As in any successful game plan, the key is to have an effective and feasible strategy, here’s how to begin.

Start Saving Now

Even if it’s just a little at a time, saving 6% of your earnings annually can begin to set you up for a lofty retirement. Did you know if you save even 10% of your annual income you could save $1,555,000 and retire at age 70? (Based off of median salary of $45,478 and $35,051 in student loan debt.) Dig a little deeper and see what savings potential you have!

Hop on that 401k ASAP

Tucking away pre-tax money is like being asked if you want a puppy as a child, the answer is always yes! By using this valuable system you are able to put a percentage of your annual salary away without having to pay taxes on it that year. Generally employers may match a percentage of your contribution, so if you put 6% of a $45,000 salary ($2,700) into a 401(k), and your company contributes 3% additionally ($1,350), you would yield a yearly contribution of $4050 towards your retirement! Another perk of utilizing a 401(k) is the change in your taxable income. The amount that you invest in your 401(k) is deducted from your taxable income reducing the final amount you pay on your yearly income tax. (Example: $45,000 – $4050 = $40,950)

Grow a Diverse Portfolio

Ensuring your finances’ diversity is a large component to a successful retirement. The saying “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket,” is the epitome of investing. By creating an investment plan that entails stocks, bonds, equities and more you are able to gain the benefits and financial buffers that each individual product provides. Additionally this allows you optimize your savings, ensuring the gain and profit generated from each asset goes towards to your growing retirement fund.

Use these simple tips from Heartland Bank to help bolster your retirement nest egg! Stop in or give us a call at (515) 352-3181 to learn more today!