5 Important Questions When Choosing Your First Home

Moving into your own place can be exciting and frightening at the same time. Stock Yards Bank & Trust suggests considering the following questions when choosing your own home.

1. How much money do you have saved up?

Start with an evaluation of your financial health. Figure out how much money you have for a down payment or deposit on a rental. Down payments are typically 5 to 20 percent of the price of the home. Security deposits on rentals are usually about one month of rent and more if you have a pet. But be sure to keep enough in savings for an emergency fund. It’s a good idea to have three to six months of living expenses to cover unexpected costs.

2. How much debt do you have?

Consider all of your current and expected financial obligations like your car payment and insurance, credit card debt and student loans. Make sure you will be able to make all the payments in addition to the cost of your new home. Aim to keep total rent or mortgage payments plus utilities to less than 25 to 30 percent of your gross monthly income. Recent regulatory changes limit debt to income (DTI) ratio on most loans to 43 percent.

 3. What is your credit score?

A high credit score indicates strong creditworthiness. Both renters and homebuyers can expect to have their credit history examined. A low credit score can keep you from qualifying for the rental you want or a low interest rate on your mortgage loan. If your credit score is low, you may want to delay moving into a new home and take steps to raise your score. For tips on improving your credit score, visit aba.com/consumers.

4. Have you factored in all the costs? Create a hypothetical budget for your new home.

Find the average cost of utilities in your area, factor in gas, electricity, water and cable. Find out if you will have to pay for parking or trash pickup. Consider the cost of yard maintenance and other basic maintenance costs like replacing the air filter every three months. If you are planning to buy a home, factor in real estate taxes, mortgage insurance and possibly a home owner association fee. Renters should consider the cost of rental insurance.

 5. How long will you stay?

Generally, the longer you plan to live someplace, the more it makes sense to buy. Over time, you can build equity in your home. On the other hand, renters have greater flexibility to move and fewer maintenance costs. Carefully consider your current life and work situation and think about how long you want to stay in your new home.

Stock Yards Bank & Trust offers a wide variety of mortgage services for new and repeat home buyers. Visit our website for more information or contact us at (502) 582-2571. 

 

Resource Information Provided by the American Bankers Association

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4 Tips to Avoid the Grandparent Scam

The next time you receive a frantic call from someone saying they are your grandchild and asking for money, make sure it’s actually your grandchild who’s calling.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, in 2016, impersonation scams ranked second as the most common consumer complaint, with more than 400,000 reported. The “grandparent scam,” is a form of financial abuse that deliberately targets older Americans using impersonation tactics.

To commit this crime, fraudsters call claiming to be a family member in serious trouble and in need of money immediately. The scammer might say he’s stranded or has been mugged, and call in the middle of the night to add to the urgency and confusion. Once the money is wired, the victim later finds out that it wasn’t their grandchild they were helping, it was a criminal.

In recognition of May as Older Americans Month, Stock Yards Bank & Trust offers older Americans these tips to help them prevent impersonation fraud:

  • Confirm the caller. Fraudsters are using social networking sites to gain the personal information of friends and relatives to carry out their crimes. Verify the caller by calling them back on a known number or consult a trusted family member before acting on any request.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Fraudsters want to execute their crimes quickly. The more questions you ask the more inclined they will be to ditch the scam if they suspect you’re on to them.
  • Never give personal information to anyone over the phone unless you initiated the call and the other party is trusted.
  • Never rush into a financial decision and trust your instincts. Don’t be fooled – if something doesn’t feel right, it may not be right. Feel free to say no and get more information before you send money to someone.

Resource Information Provided by the American Bankers Association

Betting, Hoping and Planning

by Neil Byrne, JD, LLM, CPA Stock Yards Bank Wealth Management & Trust


It is almost Derby time. So what better topic to discuss than betting?

According to the dictionary, a bet is defined as “an act of risking a sum of money on the outcome of a future event.” Hope is defined as “a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.” Finally, a plan is defined as “a detailed proposal for doing or achieving something.”

All of these concepts are wonderful in their own right, and can bring joy to individuals in the right context. It is fun to bet on the Derby, or to hope your tournament bracket wins your office pool. Unfortunately, too many people are unnecessarily making a bet on retirement security by simply hoping their savings, Social Security, and other resources will be enough.

Most people choose their career, their college major, and their home, not to mention their spouse, among various other important items in their life. What about retirement? How many people are hoping to be able to retire “one day” but haven’t put together a detailed plan for actually retiring? If you have not put together a plan, then you likely are not planning for retirement, but rather, are betting on retiring – one day.

Below are a couple of items to consider when putting together a retirement plan. While things like investment returns, basis, and tax rates are unquestionably important, for a moment, we suggest that you think “bigger picture,” and ponder how some more basic considerations can affect your successful retirement plan.

Your Needs and Wants
Even the age at which you retire is up for consideration. After all, setting a uniform retirement age is said to have been started in Germany by Chancellor Otto Von Bismarck, at least partially as a way for him to force troublesome government employees into retirement. Germany initially set it at 70, and then lowered it to 65*. Of course, whether that is true or not, neither Chancellor Von Bismarck, nor anyone else should really dictate when you retire. Naturally, taking retirement benefits that are only available at certain ages into account is an important part of the plan. But, with a little foresight, you can retire when it is appropriate for you.

After all, retirement is about you. To ensure that you are making the best decisions, you will want to have a good handle on your family dynamics, as well as your budget, assets, and liabilities. Do you have robust savings that can withstand unforeseen expenses? Have you considered what your wants and needs truly are? It may be appropriate to “bet” or “hope” for a dream item down the road, but we want you to plan for your true needs and wants in retirement.

Your Biases
Personal biases can have long-term consequences, and so, many people have a critical need for objective retirement advice. A 2008 book by Professor Dan Ariely, Predictably Irrational, explains many of our biases and how they affect several facets of modern life. Two sections of the book, however, are especially relevant here.

First, people like to procrastinate – big surprise. But, it is true, and it can harm your retirement readiness.

Second, people like to keep all their options open for as long as possible, even when inaction produces a negative outcome. Undoubtedly, financial planning can be complicated. Moreover, retirement planning forces you to make an avalanche of choices – when should I draw Social Security? When should I stop working? Is Long Term Care Insurance for me? And on and on . . .

These two biases can work together to turn a plan into a bet before you even realize it. Betting may be fun on the first Saturday in May, but leave the betting for the track, and the hoping for your tournament bracket. Let’s plan for your retirement.

*See: https://www.ssa.gov/history/age65.html AND http://mentalfloss.com/article/31014/why-retirement-age-65

6 Tips For Saving Success

As the summer months quickly approach, there’s no better time to evaluate savings strategies. Whether it be for that dream summer vacation or a down payment on a home, a few small changes can have a big impact on your financial future.

Stock Yards Bank offers the following tips to put you on the path towards saving success:

  • Set a goal. The first step is to establish a realistic savings goal. Consider your expenses, make a budget and determine how much you can put away each month.
  • Track your spending. Hold yourself to the budget you’ve set by tracking your expenses. Consider using websites that segment your spending so you can easily see what areas, if any, you are going over budget then adjust accordingly.
  • Pay yourself first. Arrange to have a specific amount transferred to your savings account every pay period. If you wait till the end of the month to see what’s left over, you are less likely to save.
  • Consult a banker. Stop in to Stock Yards and speak with a banker about which package of products and services would best suit your saving needs.
  • Consider investments.For long-term goals, such as saving for a home or retirement, look into bonds, mutual funds, real estate and stocks.
  • Set up automatic bill pay.Although 97 percent of Americans pay their bills on time, some consumers find themselves paying late fees. Set up automatic bill pay so you’re never paying more than you have to.

Resource information provided by the American Bankers Association

7 Things You Didn’t Know About ITMs

Next time you are in a hurry and there is a line in the lobby, why not give one of Stock Yards’ ITMs a try? Interactive Teller Machines are located in several of our offices throughout Louisville, Cincinnati, and Indianapolis. Convenient and easy to use, ITMs can take care of your banking needs with a few simple steps. Here are 7 things you may not know about ITMs:

  1. Stock Yards’ first ITM opened in Louisville in the fall of 2014.
  2. Our three Virtual Service Associates are located out of a branch in Louisville.
  3. You can cash a check and receive exact change back – right down to the penny.
  4. You do not need a deposit ticket when using the ITM to make a deposit. There are several options to choose from, such as typing in an account or simply inserting a debit card.
  5. Stock Yards has ITMs at the following office locations:
    • 5th Street
    • Poplar Level
    • Highland Heights
    • Francis
    • Florence
    • St. Matthews
  6. All of the drive in ITM’s have dual functionality and are available to customers 24/7 as an ATM.
  7. Our virtual staff has over 25 years of combined experience at Stock Yards!

5 Tips to Spring Clean Your Finances

For many Americans, spring is a time to clean, sort and tidy up around the house.  As you dust your shelves and rid your home of clutter, consider setting aside some time to organize your finances.

“The arrival of spring motivates people to renew their surroundings, and what better way to focus that momentum than to check off everything on your financial to-do list?” asked Corey Carlisle, executive director of the ABA Foundation. “Taking stock of your finances and planting the seeds of new saving habits today will go a long way toward alleviating pressures on your pocket throughout the year.”

The American Bankers Association recommends these five tips to help you refresh your finances:

  • 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 existing debt, whether that’s by chipping away at loans with the highest interest rates or eliminating smaller debt first.
  • Review your budget. A lot can change in a year. If you’ve been promoted, had a child, or become a new homeowner or renter, be sure to update your budget. 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 are guaranteed 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.
  • Sign up for e-statements, paperless billing and text alerts. Converting to paperless billing will help keep your house—physical and financial—more clean and organized, and will help protect you from fraud.
  • Set up automatic bill pay. By signing up for automatic bill pay, you’ll never have to worry about a missed payment impacting your credit score. You can set it so that money is withdrawn from your checking account on the same day each month.

 

Resource information provided by the American Bankers Association 

6 Financial Traps New College Graduates Should Avoid

This spring, college seniors across the nation will graduate and start their careers. Financial lifestyle should be top of mind, says the American Bankers Association. ABA has highlighted six traps new college graduates should avoid to fortify their finances as they transition from the dorm to the office.

“Now is the time for college grads to get their financial life started on the right foot,” said Corey Carlisle, executive director of the ABA Foundation. “When it comes to managing your finances in the real world, pulling an all-nighter isn’t the best strategy.  Forming positive financial habits today will set you up for lifelong success.”

According to ABA, new college graduates should avoid the following financial traps:

Not having a budget.  Don’t spend more than you make. Calculate the amount of money you’re taking home after taxes, then figure out how much money you can afford to spend each month while contributing to your savings. Be sure to factor in recurring expenses such as student loans, monthly rent, utilities, groceries, transportation expenses and car loans.

Forgoing an emergency fund.  Make it a priority to set aside the equivalent of three to six months’ worth of living expenses. Start putting some money away immediately, no matter how small the amount. A bank savings account is a smart place to stash your cash for a rainy day. Use your tax refund for this instead of an impulse buy.

Paying bills late – or not at all. Each missed payment can hurt your credit history for up to seven years, and can affect your ability to get loans, the interest rates you pay and your ability to get a job or rent an apartment. Consider setting up automatic payments for regular expenses like student loans, car payments and phone bills.

Racking up debt. Understand the responsibilities and benefits of credit.  Shop around for a card that best suits your needs, and spend only what you can afford to pay back. Credit is a great tool, but only if you use it responsibly.

Not thinking about the future.  It may seem odd since you’re just beginning your career, but now is the best time to start planning for your retirement. Contribute to your employer’s 401(k) or similar account, especially if there is a company match. Invest enough to qualify for your company’s full match – it’s free money that adds up to a significant chunk of change over the years.

Ignoring help from your bank. Most banks offer online, mobile and text banking tools to manage your account night and day.  Use these tools to check balances, pay bills, deposit checks, monitor transaction history and track budgets. To learn about the tools Stock Yards has to offer, visit our website at www.syb.com.

Resource information provided by the American Bankers Association