Wednesday, August 24, 2016

What Every Millennial Should Know About Banking

Millennials can be described as the generation born between the mid-1980’s and the early 2000’s. Millennials are currently the largest generational segment in the United States, reaching nearly 80 million people. While the millennial generation is thought to value experiences over monetary gain, it is extremely important to start planning for a financially sound future sooner rather than later.  

Just because technology is constantly at our fingertips doesn’t mean it’s easy to make the right financial decisions. Here is what every Millennial should know when it comes to banking.

Browse Banking Options
Every bank offers something different. Make a list of what banking services are most important to you and browse account details online. You will be able to find the best prices, closest locations and lowest fees bank accounts.

Utilize Mobile and Online Banking
As a tech-savvy millennial, you will want to use a bank account that offers mobile and online banking. This makes it easy for you to manage finances with the click of a button.

Get Email or Text-Alerts
Utilizing email and text-alerts can help you take control of your finances. You can set up custom alerts that will inform you if your credit card reaches a certain limit or if there was a fraudulent charge.

Manage Personal Finances
Some banks, including McHenry Savings Bank, will help you manage your finances through one-on-one financial advisement and budgeting tools including savings calculators, insurance calculators, mortgage calculators, etc.

Set Aside Savings
Open a “rainy day” fund that will serve as emergency financing for unexpected expenses including car repairs, broken utilities, medical emergencies and injuries.

Plan Ahead
Are you planning on buying a house, car or other large expense? You can “plan ahead of a major purchase” by exploring your loan options or creating a specific savings fund account for that major purchase. Christmas Club accounts are an excellent example of saving and planning ahead. Also, if you bank online and have savings account, you can transfer money regularly to your savings accounts to build your funds faster. And if you do use credit cards, pay your credit card bill on time and in full as much as possible.

At McHenry Savings Bank, we are dedicated to helping customers of all generations with their banking needs. If you are a millennial in need of financial assistance and banking service, we can help. McHenry Savings Bank utilizes the latest and greatest financial technology including mobile and online banking. To learn more about what you can gain at McHenry Savings Bank, visit our website today!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Six Tips to Spruce up Your Finances This Summer

Summer is in full swing here in the Midwest. With it comes a flurry of activities that can take up your time and eat up your finances.  Don’t let the busyness of summer take a bite out of your financial plans. Take some time to implement some (or all) of these tips to help keep your finances healthy.
    Finances
  • Pay off debts – Lingering debt can wreak havoc on your financial outlook. Summer is the perfect time to create a debt reduction plan so that your finances are in good shape for the end of the year. Additionally, consider contacting your creditors to inquire about lowering your interest rate. 
  • Examine and update your budget – Your financial outlook is not a stagnant thing, and your budget should not be either. Review your budget and determine where updates should be made to meet your current financial situation.
  • Go mobile – Mobile banking has revolutionized the way we interact with financial institutions. McHenry Savings Bank offers customers an easy to use mobile banking app that puts your finances right at your fingertips. Download the app to your Smartphone here or contact us for more information.
  • Set-up direct deposit – Many employers offer their employees the convenience of direct check deposits. This eliminates trips to the bank or even lost or stolen checks.
  •  Review your credit report – With the onslaught of data breaches and credit scams, now, more than ever, it is imperative to review your credit annually (at least).  You are allowed one free report each year from each of the three credit reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian, TransUnion). Review your reports carefully and follow-up on any errors or inconsistencies. These could have a detrimental impact on your credit score and make it difficult to obtain a loan.
  • Go electronic – McHenry Savings Bank offers its customers the simplicity of e-statements as well as automatic bill paying services. E-statements eliminate the clutter and mess of paper statements and keep your financial information right at the tip of your fingers. Automatic bill-paying services ensure that you are never late on a payment. Set-up amount and date of withdrawal and rest easy knowing that your payments will be on time every month.



Are you looking for more ways to get your finances in order this summer? Contact a personal banker at McHenry Savings Bank for more great ideas. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Secure Your Mobile Device With These 7 Tips

7 TipsAccording to Digital Trends, the average American uses their mobile device 4.7 hours over the course of a day and checks their social media accounts (often via smartphone) upwards to 17 times a day.  With the increasing use of smartphones, it’s no wonder why cyber criminals are targeting the devices that know so much about us.

Luckily, securing your smartphone is an easy and efficient way to keep your information safe. Here are 7 essential tips for protecting your mobile device:

Secure Your Phone
Most of you probably already use a password, code or fingerprint scan to screen lock your phone.  The best way to secure your phone from strangers if it is ever lost or stolen is to choose a discreet password.

Don’t Forget To Log Out
If you are logged onto mobile banking sessions or other websites that hold your private information, log out after you finish.  Better safe than sorry!

Update Your Device
Keeping your phone up-to-date with the latest security software and app updates can help prevent malicious software or malware.

Only Download From Secure Sources
When you download apps and files online, make sure they are from a trusted source.  If not, you might be downloading malware and viruses with the capability to steal your personal information.

Do Not Store Personal Information
Do NOT use your smartphone to store important information like passwords and pin numbers.  If your phone does get stolen, you won’t want sensitive information in the wrong hands.

Be Weary of Public Networks
While everyone loves free Wi-Fi, it’s important to be weary of what wireless networks you are connecting to.  If you are on a public network, try to avoid banking transactions.

Wipe Your Mobile Device
If you are trading, selling or donating your phone, don’t forget to wipe your device completely.  A simple factory reset still has the opportunity to recover personal information.

If you believe your private banking information might be at risk, contact your bank right away.  At McHenry Savings Bank, we take the personal information of our customers very seriously.  Our mobile banking app is a safe and easy way to securely check your banking when you need to.  Any questions?  Give us a call at 815-385-3000.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Four Ways to Use Your Tax Refund


They say there are only two things for sure in life – death and taxes. If you count yourself among those lucky enough to get a refund, the taxes part might actually be something that you look forward to each year.  But what should you do once you get your tax return?  Here are some ideas:
  1. Prepare for an emergency - According to a survey conducted by Bankrate.com, 29% of Americans do not have adequate emergency savings. The recommended amount is roughly the equivalent of 6 months worth of expenses. While it might seem like a luxury to some, it can provide the needed resources should an unexpected situation keep you from collecting an income for an extended period of time.   
  2. Pay off debt – A study conducted by Nerdwallet.com found that in Q4 of 2015, the average American had a revolving credit card debt of $15,762 and an overall household debt of $130,922. This staggering figure suggests that paying down debt with a tax return is a very good idea. Pay the highest interest debts first and then continue to chip away at the rest. This simple step is a great way to gain some much needed breathing room and peace-of-mind.
  3. Save it – Retirement age comes quicker that most people want to admit. In an article published by The Guardian, it was reported that over half (55%) of American are unprepared for retirement.  Putting your tax return money into an investment tool, will help you create the nest egg you need to retire comfortable. It is recommended to seek the help of a qualified financial planner to ensure that you are putting your money into the best possible investment solutions for your needs.
  4. Plan for your kid’s future – Like retirement age, a child’s high school graduation will also come sooner that you can imagine as well. This means helping them realize the next steps in their lives is not far behind.  The current US student debt load is nearly $1.3 trillion with the average debt of the college graduating class of 2016 at $37,172. These frightening statistics make putting a little bit of that tax return money into a college savings plan an excellent option.
Looking for additional ways to utilize your tax return money? Talk to the banking experts at McHenry Savings Bank!  We offer a number of services including investment tips, financial tools and fiscal advice that you can trust.
 
Tax Refund













Tuesday, May 3, 2016

“Spring Cleaning” Your Finances


The deadline for filing your taxes was April 18th, so there’s a good chance that by now you’ve received your state and federal tax returns. If you read our last blog, hopefully you were able to get a bigger tax return. So how can you make that money go further now that you’ve got it? Here are our tips on how to make the most of your tax refund:

  • Save for emergencies. Open or add to a high-yield savings account that serves as an emergency or “rainy day” fund.
  • Pay off debt. Pay down existing balances either by applying your refund to your higher-interest loans or using it to pay off smaller debts.
  • Put it toward a down payment. It’s hard to save up for a down payment on a house or vehicle. Save your tax refund to use as or put toward a needed down payment.
  • Invest in your home. Put your tax refund toward home improvements. This is considered an investment that will pay you back down the line by increasing the value of your home.

In addition to stretching your tax refund, spring is a great time to refresh your finances. Reevaluating your expenses and budget now can help you manage your money for the rest of the year. Here are three great financial “spring cleaning” tips from the American Bankers Association:

  • Evaluate and pay down debt. Take a look at how much you owe and what you are paying in interest. If there are better rates available now, consider requesting a lower credit card interest rate or refinancing your mortgage. Begin paying off your existing debt, either by chipping away at larger, higher interest loans or by eliminating smaller debt first.
  • Review your budget. Update your budget to reflect any changes in your financial situation that may have come up over the past year. Determine what expenses demand the most money and identify areas where you can realistically cut back. Develop a strategy for spending and saving and stick to it.
  • Check your credit report. Every year, you get one free credit report from each of the three bureaus. Take advantage of these free reports and check them for any possible errors. Mistakes can drag down your score and prevent you from getting a loan, or cause you to pay a higher than necessary interest rate.

Being smart with your tax refund money and refreshing your finances now will alleviate potential headaches when it comes to managing your money for the remainder of the year. At McHenry Savings Bank, we’re pleased to provide mobile banking and funds management tools to make it even easier on you! With our mobile app, you can check your balances, establish alerts, and transfer funds - all on the go! For more information or to see what else McHenry Savings Bank can do for you, don’t hesitate to give us a call or drop by one of our locations. 

spring cleaning your finances















Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Tax Refund Tips for 2016

According to the Internal Revenue Services, the nation's taxpayers received an average tax refund of nearly $3,000 in 2015. So what's the secret to getting a hefty tax refund? Read on for tips for a bigger tax refund in 2016.

  • Claim all deductions: In our rush to complete our taxes, we sometimes overlook the deductions that could greatly boost our refunds. If you've relocated in the past twelve months for work, include moving costs in your deduction. Student loan interest? Also counts as a deduction. Keep track of your charitable contributions, like Goodwill donations, too. They are all deductible!
  • Claim tax credits: It is possible to get energy credits on windows, doors, roofs, air conditioning and heating. There are also education credits for college costs for yourself, your partner, or a dependent. You could also be eligible for a childcare tax credit if your kids are under the age of 13 and need childcare.
  • Revisit your filing status: It's important to choose the filing status that best suits your needs, since your filing status determines your standard deduction, the credits you're eligible to receive, and the amount of tax you pay.
  • Timing is important: Savvy taxpayers mind the calendar to boost their refund. If possible, pay your property taxes and January's mortgage payment before December 31st for a bigger refund. Schedule any medical exams in the last quarter of the year to increase your medical expense deductions as well.
Following the above tips will help you get the most out of your tax refund. Once you receive your refund, it is just as important - if not more important - to use that money wisely. At McHenry Savings Bank, we suggest the following to make the most out of your money.

  • Save for emergencies: Open or add to a statement savings account that serves as an emergency or "rainy day" fund.
  • Pay off debt: Pay down existing balances either by applying your refund to your higher-interest loans or using it to pay off smaller debts.
  • Put it toward a down payment: It's hard to save up for a down payment on a house or vehicle. Save your tax refund to use as or put toward a needed down payment.
  • Invest in your home: Put your tax refund toward home improvements. This is considered an investment that will pay you back down the line by increasing the value of your home.  
If you have any further questions about making the most of your tax return money, stop by any of our McHenry Savings Bank branches or give us a call at 815-385-3000. Member FDIC.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

How to Avoid Identity Theft Tax Fraud


We are amidst the age of technology!  People are using their mobile phones, laptops, and smart devices for everything from social media to banking.  While it is convenient for users to have everything in the palm of their hands, it also makes identity theft extremely convenient for cyber criminals.  Tax-related identity theft has risen in recent years as a top scam.  In order to avoid tax refund theft, review the following information:

What Is It?
Identity theft tax fraud is a scam where criminals file fake tax returns under the stolen information of an unsuspecting taxpayer.  The criminal then claims the refund from the IRS before the legitimate taxpayer files his or her actual return.

How Does It Work?
A criminal obtains personal information on a taxpayer including their name, address, contact information, and Social Security number.  This personal information is used to file a fraudulent tax return.  Often times, the criminal will claim the refund via direct deposit in a new account.

How To Detect It?
Do you know the warning signs of tax return fraud?  If you are doing your taxes this season, make sure only one tax return was filed using your Social Security number.  You should also check with the IRS to make sure you do not owe additional taxes, or have documented “wages” or “income” from an employer you did not work for.

How To Reduce Your Risk?
The best way to prevent tax return fraud from happening is taking precautions.  Use security software, firewall, and anti-virus protection on your devices.  You should also have a strong password for all of your online accounts.  If you receive a suspicious email, do not open any links or download any attachments.  The measures you take to protect your personal data now can save your tax records in the future.

At McHenry Savings Bank, we take identity security very serious.  Our online and mobile banking is safe and convenient for our customers.  With the latest technology in e-banking, you can trust our team will do everything to secure your accounts and transactions.  To learn more about banking security, please visit our website at https://www.mchenrysavings.com/Security/securitycenter.html or call 815-385-3000.











Sources:
https://www.irs.gov/uac/Taxpayer-Guide-to-Identity-Theft
http://www.guardiananalytics.com/researchandresources/fraudupdates_resources/FraudUpdate-TaxFraud.pdf