Monthly Archives: September 2017

Money Advice Gone Wrong

Sometimes the best intentions can lend themselves to producing the worst results. While many friends and family members may offer quick solutions to your financial anguish, often times, the best education, is understanding those lessons first hand. At Heartland Bank we’d like to showcase several of the most common pieces of advice we hear, and what you can do to remedy these particular miscommunications.

Bad Advice #1: You have to go to college to get a decent job.

While a college degree does open additional doors, it is not required for many well-paying jobs available around the nation. Social figures like Mike Rowe, have made it their personal mission to spread the message that you can earn a living without having to sink into debt. Whether you’re interested in IT, manufacturing, grocery management, or other skilled work, you can find numerous positions through technical training or management programs, and avoid the majority of debt most four-year college students incur.

Bad Advice #2: Having debt is okay if you pay your minimum payments.

While it is important to make installments on your loans or debts, eliminating them all together should be the desired end goal. Did you know that when credit reporting companies review your credit score, there are five factors considered? The two most important factors are your payment history and your debt to income ratio. If your monthly debt payments require more than 43 percent of your income, that may raise a flag to any future potential lenders.

Bad Advice #3: To build your credit score you need to purchase everything on your credit card.

While it certainly helps to have a long and healthy track record associated with your credit card usage; having an on time payment history is far more important. This payment history represents the largest factor of your credit score, which the reporting bureaus track. By never spending more than you have, you can make certain you are able to pay your bill in full each and every month. This action may have the potential to help foster growth for your credit score.

Bad Advice #4: Retirement savings can wait.

Contrary to what many young adults think, right now is the most important time to start saving for retirement. While later in life you might have more disposable income to save, you’ll also have less time before you need those funds. Once compound interest enters any equation, time becomes the most valuable commodity for growing your wealth. For instance, if you saved the Roth IRA maximum of $5,500/year starting at age 25, you’d have $1.17 Million by the time you’re 65. Who wouldn’t want to capitalize on those kinds of savings?

We think you can tackle any piece of advice with a few grains of salt. If you’re curious what your next financial move should be, stop by Heartland Bank and speak to one of our dedicated personal bankers. Our team of financial experts is here to help you and your family succeed; get started today!

How NOT to Get Hacked

Every day you hear tips and tricks to ensuring the safety behind your personal information. While many of these offers and promotions are advertising a safety service, at Heartland Bank, we believe you can handle the majority of these precautions yourself! See what steps you’ll need to take in order to best prepare for your financial future. We’ll be there to help you every step of the way.

DO: Store your passwords in a secure app like LastPass.

DON’T: Write your passwords on post-it’s which you keep around your desk.

Remembering your passwords is important, but leaving them unattended for hackers could be dangerous. Ensure you keep your details out of plain site by utilizing secure password storage apps such as LastPass or Dashlane. Not only will this help you forget your passwords less often, but it helps you create more complicated passwords to help keep unwanted hackers at bay.

DO: Use social media to connect with friends and family.

DON’T: Connect with people you don’t know or share personal account information.

Even though social media can be a great way to interact with people you know, many users become choose to become connected with individuals they’ve never met. If you find yourself with a friend request from someone you don’t recognize, always decline it, to keep you and your contact safe. If for some reason you’re unsure if you know the individual or not, you can always message them to see how you’re connected instead.

While these three strategies will help to keep your personal information safe, there are always new tips and tricks to learn! Check back on our blog each month to see how you can continue to improve your personal cyber security, courtesy of Heartland Bank.

The 10 Best Things to Buy at the Farmers Market

One of the things we enjoy most during produce season is the delicious and money-saving weekend Farmer’s Market. Just about every community has their own local growers, and no matter where you are there’s sure to be some delicious baked goods as well. This season, our team at Heartland Bank would like to share our favorite finds which brighten up our kitchen and keep a few extra dollars in our pockets.

The first thing you’ll want to do before shopping at any Farmers Market is to find a good reusable tote, (or wagon if you plan on purchasing a lot,) along with a predetermined amount of cash to help budget how much you spend with the various vendors. Once at the market, it’s a good idea to do a quick lap around to see what items are being offered from each vendor. Then, you can go through and decide which produce you want to buy and where.

Here are the top 10 items we look for while shopping at our local Farmers Market:

  1. Honey: Did you know honey is one of the very limited products of nature that does not spoil? Its eternal shelf life not only gives you an endless amount of time to use it, but it’s delicious too! Find a local honey provider who can ensure you’re getting the best product your area can offer, and add it as a sweetener to numerous recipes.
  2. Heirloom Tomatoes: These delicious beauties aren’t commonly found in your home improvement stores while out shopping for plants or seeds. When you find them at the market, they may be a bit pricier than the traditional varieties, however, their complexities and flavors will make your dishes come to life!
  3. Cucumbers: Did you know that it is cheaper to make your own pickles compared to buying them at the store? Grab up four or five decent sized cukes, an onion, and some dill the next time you’re at the Farmer’s Market, and give it a try!
  4. Hot and Sweet Peppers: When these guys are in season, we love trying as many varieties as we can! Not only are they cheaper than their grocery store counterparts, but they taste significantly hotter and sweeter as well!
  5. Onions: Have you ever seen a green onion with a bulb bigger than a quarter? You’ll enjoy these and other delicious delicacies, which give you a better bang for your buck! Be sure to take a look at all the varieties of onions available, as you may just find a new favorite. So long as they’re stored in a dry cool place, you can keep fresh onions for several months!
  6. Rhubarb: There’s something about this especially sour vegetable. Sweet and crunchy, it offers a fun twist to many fruit dishes, but grocery stores rarely seem to carry it. Be sure to stock up this season, as this delicious vegetable can be frozen or canned easily.
  7. Lettuce: Cut and go varieties will be seen year round at Farmer’s Markets. With many varieties available, now is an affordable time to taste and tweak your favorite salad recipes.
  8. Berries: You name it! Strawberries, blueberries, huckleberries, whatever delicious morsels you can find are at your nearby Farmers Market are well worth the cost. These tasty treats are some of the region’s favorite sweet staples and are perfect for snacking.
  9. Baked Bread & Jams: Be sure to sample home baked treats throughout the season, and enjoy the different flavors the market has to offer. Great products, such as buttermilk bread, offer mouth-watering twists on a many timeless classics.
  10. Flowers: Compared to your area grocery store or box brand, these Farmers Market flowers are sure to stop you in your tracks. Not only do they last longer, because they’re picked locally, but they tend to cost less, and offer a more regional variety.

We wish you luck on your next Farmers Market outing, just be sure to stick to that budget, and enjoy all the tastes and smells the market offers. Happy shopping!