Monday, April 10, 2017

Financial Spring Cleaning

Spring has sprung! As the snow melts, the sun returns, and the temperatures rise you see them… salt stains in the mud room, an intimidating colony of dust bunnies in the hallway, and something nearly unidentifiable just under the fridge. You put on your rubber gloves, blast some music, and grab your arsenal of cleaning products. It’s time to spring clean. Certain things need to be tidied up each spring but might not be so obvious. There’s no dust, dog hair, or debris gathered on your finances; but that doesn’t mean they couldn’t use a good clean-up. Here are 5 ways that the American Bankers Association (ABA)  encourages consumers to get organized with their finances.
Evaluate Your Debt
Reevaluate your payment plan and increase payment size if possible to reduce the amount of interest paid over time.
Review/ Update Your Budget
Did you get a new job this year? Did you have a child? These are all life changes that impact your family budget. Develop a spending/saving strategy and stick to it. Come next spring, you’ll be happy you did.
Check Your Credit Report
You are eligible for one free credit report from each of the 3 credit bureaus. Screen these reports for any mistakes that could jeopardize your credit score or ability to receive a loan.
Download Your Bank’s Mobile App
Most banks have some form of mobile application. By having your finances in the palm of your hand, you can quickly and easily transfer funds, deposit a check, or check your balance. You may also opt to go paperless by receiving an e-Statement each month as opposed to a paper copy. This will keep you informed while keeping more paper clutter from entering your home.
Pay Your Bills Automatically
There’s no sense in jeopardizing your credit score over a forgotten bill payment. Set up autopay for recurring expenses like car payments, insurance payments, and bills. The money will be automatically deducted from your checking or savings account on the same day each month.
Need help cleaning up your finances? McHenry Savings Bank is a full-service financial institution with personal, commercial, and investment services. Visit our website, or call us at (815) 385-3000 for more information. “We are local people making local decisions.”

Monday, March 6, 2017

What You Need to Know About Preventing Tax Fraud

As we enter into the 2017 tax season, it is imperative to take extra precaution when filing your return to prevent exposure to tax fraud. People who commit tax fraud use clever tactics to obtain personal information from their unsuspecting victims and submit false tax claims. It’s is important to know what to do and what not to do during tax time in order to keep your personal information private and prevent tax fraud.

  1. File Early: Give criminals less time to use your information to falsify tax claims. Generally, false claims are filed earlier in the year and victims are unaware until they file their actual return and learn one has already been filed in their name.

  1. Find a Tax Preparer You Trust: When handing over personal information, be sure to use a reputable service. Do your homework ahead of time so you are not scrambling at the last minute.

  1. Use a Secure Mailbox: If you are doing your taxes by mail, do not mail your tax return from home. Criminals have been known to look for prepared tax forms in home mailboxes during tax season. Instead, use a mailbox at the post office.

  1. Use protected WiFi: Many people file electronically, and that’s great, as long as you’re  connected to a password-protected personal network. Avoid using public networks whenever there is personal information involved, especially tax preparation.

  1. Don’t Fall for Phishing Scams: Know that the IRS will not contact you by phone, email, text, or social media. The IRS will contact you by mail first if they need any information.
  1. File or Shred: Keep any sensitive documents that you need in a secure location. Be sure to shred anything you don’t need containing personal information.

  1. Keep Track of Mail: If anything seems to be missing or tampered with, such as W-2’s, your tax refund, or other mail containing financial information, contact the IRS right away.

If you have been a victim of tax identity theft or if the IRS denies your tax return because one has already been filed in your name, alert the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 1-800-908-4490. You should also:  

  • Respond immediately to any IRS notice and complete IRS Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit.
  • Contact your bank to see if any accounts were opened without your permission or tampered with.
  • Place a fraud alert on your credit records through the three major credit bureaus:

Learn more about how to keep your money safe and secure by visiting McHenry Savings Bank website or calling (815) 385-3000 .

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Friday, February 3, 2017

Short Term Savings Tools in the Midst of Political Uncertainty

No matter what side of the political equation you were on during this election year, there is one thing we can be certain of – uncertainty. While the stock market has seen some very good numbers recently, it is safe to say that many Americans have guarded optimism when investing their hard-earned dollars. With that in mind, now might be an ideal time to examine short-term investment opportunities.

Certificate of Deposit
Because of historically low interest rates over the past several years, CD’s have been one of the most overlooked investment choices. With the recent rate hike, and predictions of more to come in 2017, short-term CD’s are gaining more popularity. At McHenry Savings Bank, our 7-month CD option is the perfect place to put your money for a short amount of time as the markets adjust to the new administration. Additionally, because they are FDIC insured, if the markets fluctuate, your money is safe. And, the short maturity term means that your money is not tied up for a long period of time.
money saving toolSavings Account
While it might seem a bit old-fashioned, a traditional savings account is an ideal saving tool if you are unsure of the current market conditions. It keeps your funds in a savings vehicle that is separate from your checking account yet it can be connected to your account in case extra funds are needed to be transferred. Additionally, many savings accounts have earning potential similar to a CD. And, like a CD, the money in your savings account will be FDIC insured.
McHenry Savings Bank has been serving residents of McHenry County, Illinois and surrounding areas since 1955. We offer our customers a wide range of financial tools to help them make the most of their money. We are not a big corporate entity, which means that you get personalized service from people who are also a part of the community. We offer a wide range of savings products including CD’s with terms from 91 days to 4 years.  Contact our team for information on our savings and investing tools.  

Although, not FDIC insured, our wholly owned subsidiary, McHenry County Investment Services Inc., provides our customers with personalized investment and insurance products including retirement planning, college planning, asset allocation and much more.*

*Not FDIC Insured. Not insured by any federal government agency. Not a deposit. Not guaranteed by the bank. Funds invested may go down in value. 

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Is an IRA Certificate of Deposit ("CD") the Right Investment Tool for You?

investment toolStocks and bonds are the typical investment tools for all qualified savers as they seek to create a diversified portfolio. This approach might be beneficial at the outset of your investment planning as it is a more conservative approach, which might be a safer alternative especially in uncertain times. Low-risk options, like an Individual Retirement Account CD, are something to consider as you continue to build your nest egg. Here are six factors to consider 
when you are thinking about adding an 
IRA CD to your investment mix.

1. Portfolio impact – The benefit of CD’s is that they are a very low risk investment tool. This is perfect for individuals who are looking for a more stable portfolio.
2. Contribution tradeoffs – Opening an IRA CD through a bank will count as an IRA contribution. Because the annual amount you can contribute to an IRA is limited, opening an IRA CD will reduce how much you are able to contribute in other IRA investment vehicles. 
3. Penalties for early withdrawal – If you choose to withdrawal money from your IRA CD prior to the maturity date you will be subject to penalties. However, some financial institutions may waive this fee if you are age 70 or older and have begun to collect your IRA distributions from other investment vehicles. 
4. Higher rates – While IRA CD’s are similar to a traditional CD, McHenry Savings Bank typically offers a higher rate for this type of investment vehicle. 
5. Security – Because this is an IRA, your entire principal up to $250,000 is protected by FDIC insurance. 
6. Predictable – An IRA CD offers you the peace-of-mind in knowing how much you will earn. This can provide you greater confidence in knowing that you will not be impacted by a major market downturn. 


Contact the banking professionals at McHenry Savings Bank  ("MSB") if you have questions about IRA CD’s. MSB Customer Service Representative will provide personal attention to help you determine the best tools for your retirement or investment portfolio.  MSB is currently offering a 12 Month IRA CD right now with a great rate and only $250 to open. Speak to a Representative today about specific terms and rates or  visit www.mchenrysavings.com for more information. Why not open YOUR IRA CD today? 

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Chip Cards Offer Additional Security for Holiday Shopping Season

chip card reader for added security
In the wake of several highly-publicized cases of retailer breaches over the past few years, consumers have a layer of added security this holiday season: the chip card. By now, most credit and debit cards come with a small square chip in the front. You may have received a new card in the mail with chip technology, and been asked to use the chip reader recently at your favorite store. But what exactly does the chip card do?
 
What makes the chip card different?
 
Chip cards are different than the old magnetic strip cards because they assign a unique code to each transaction. This makes it harder to commit fraud by stealing your card data or using fake cards. Even if your card data and individual transaction code were stolen, it could not be used again for a new transaction. Chip cards still come with a magnetic strip, so if a merchant doesn’t have a working chip reader, you can still use the swipe method for a transaction.
 
Keep in mind that chip cards only offer this extra layer of security when used in-person, with a chip reader. When using the magnetic strip method, or making a purchase over the phone or online, the chip feature is not engaged in the transaction.
 
How do you use the chip card?
 
At first, using the chip card may take a bit longer than using the magnetic strip, as shoppers get used to it. But as it becomes automatic, the time to process a chip card is only slightly longer than the swipe method.
 
The chip card is inserted into the chip reader at the bottom of a checkout keypad. Shoppers need to remember to remove their chip cards after the transaction has been processed. Some chip readers sound an alarm when it’s time to remove the card. This is so you don’t forget your card by leaving it in the chip reader.
 
If your credit or debit card has a chip, rest assured that your in-store purchases are more secure than ever this year, as long as you use the merchant’s chip reader, and remember to take your card after the transaction is complete.
 
McHenry Savings Bank has been serving the banking needs of the people of McHenry County, Illinois, for over 60 years. With branches in McHenry, Richmond, and Johnsburg, we are a full-service financial institution with personal, commercial, and investment services. Please visit our website, or call us at (815) 385-3000 for more information. “We are local people making local decisions.”

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Tips for Older Adults to Keep Your Money Safe

Tips for Older Adults to Keep Your Money Safe
Older Americans are an attractive target for scammers. Many have built a considerable nest egg from a lifetime of saving, home equity and savvy retirement planning. Add to this naivety regarding the tactics of a scammer, and you have the perfect recipe for criminals to bilk you out of hundreds or even thousands of dollars.  Here are seven tips to protect older adults from the illicit practices of scammers and keep their money safe.
  1. Financial Trustee – Choose a trusted advisor to make financial decisions on your behalf. This is a great way to keep all financial considerations under a professional’s watchful eye.
  2. Know who is in your home – Caregivers, cleaning professionals and other contractors may have access to many private areas of your home. Conduct background checks and ask for references for anyone you employ within your home.
  3. Delay signing papers – If you are unsure what a financial paper means, consult your attorney or financial advisor before you sign anything. If you are being pressured to sign, this might be an indication that something is not right.
  4. Know what a Power of Attorney (POA) means – Giving a family member the power to make decisions on your behalf also means they have access to your financial accounts. Get professional 3rd party help when setting up a POA and do not just go by what your family member recommends.
  5. Trust your gut – If something just doesn’t seem right, don’t do it, no matter how convincing the scammer might be.
  6. Don’t leave a paper trail – Shred old documents and even junk mail to ensure you are not giving scammers an easy way to access personal information. Store important documents in a safe deposit box.
  7. Lock ‘em up – Store checkbooks, credit card and other financial information in a safe place. Consider purchasing a small home safe for these valuable items.
At McHenry Savings Bank, we believe our job is to partner with our customers to keep their money safe. We provide a variety of saving and checking account options and we take security of those accounts very seriously. We also offer our valued customers financial and retirement planning services through our wholly owned subsidiary, McHenry County Investment Services Inc. If you have questions or concerns about your financial decisions, please feel free to contact one of our trusted experts.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Importance of Cyber Security

As the Internet continues to grow, online accounts and transactions are becoming more and more popular.  The ever-growing use of the Internet brings the need for tighter security measures.  Cyber security, also known as information technology security, is the protection of information from theft or damage.  Cyber security protects computers, networks, programs and data from unauthorized access.  At McHenry Savings Bank, we handle online banking and security with the highest importance.  In an effort to prevent identity theft and Internet fraud, follow these tips:

Protect Your Identity – Identity theft is a problem for millions of people in the US.  The best way to prevent identity theft is protecting your online presence.  Never give out your social security number, passwords or pins.  Also, changing your passwords periodically ensures even more safety.  At McHenry Savings Bank, we recommend you sign up for text or email alerts within our Personal and Business eBanking modules in case there is unusual activity.

Online Security – While the Internet has many advantages, it is also vulnerable to identity theft and fraud.  To keep your personal information private, protect your computer with virus protection software that is up-to-date.  It is also a good idea to set strong passwords and security questions for logins.  Before you buy something online, make sure the website uses secure technology.  

Mobile Security – Your mobile device is a convenient way to access the Internet.  Unfortunately, it is a device that offers convenient access for criminals.  Use caution when using your phone for personal information by setting a passcode, logging out completely from mobile banking sessions, making sure you are downloading only secure apps, and using public Wi-Fi with caution.  Most importantly, avoid storing sensitive information on your mobile device.

Safe banking involves making good choices and decisions that will help you avoid costly surprises and scams.  At McHenry Savings Bank, we are dedicated to the safety of our customers’ personal information.  

To learn more about McHenry Savings Bank, browse our website at https://mchenrysavings.com/Security/securitycenter.html or call 815-385-3000.  

Your Bank, Your Kind of People who are Committed to Customer & Community.