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 You can set it so that money is withdrawn from your checking account on the same day each month.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
As millennials juggle a multitude of responsibilities – from school, to work, to planning for major life events – the American Bankers Association is highlighting eight banking tips to help them secure a financially sound future.
“Millennials are digital natives who understand the importance of staying connected socially, but staying connected to their bank can help their finances as they encounter life’s many milestones,” said Rob Nichols, ABA president and CEO. “From enhanced mobile resources to free budgeting tools, banks offer a variety of products and services to complement millennials’ unique lifestyles and ease their worries as they prepare to make some of life’s biggest financial decisions.”
With a recent report finding that more than 4 in 10 U.S. millennials say they are “chronically stressed” about money, ABA recommends these six tips to help them secure a strong financial footing:
- Use bank tech to save without thinking about it. Consider automatic payroll deductions or automatic transfer from checking to savings. Arrange to have a specific amount transferred to your savings account every pay period. For more information on Stock Yard’s savings options, visit https://www.syb.com/personal/banking/savings.
- Download your bank’s mobile app and make some smooth moves. Manage your finances from the palm of your hand. With the click of a button, you can easily make a deposit or access a record of all your recent transactions. Be sure to download the latest updates when they are available.
- Use the personal finance tools your bank may offer. Banks offer an array of budgeting tools and resources to help you keep your finances in check. Access these via your bank’s mobile app and website. Check out Stock Yard’s calculator tools to help you organize financial goals.
- Expect the unexpected – set up a rainy day fund. The last thing you want to be is stressed when life’s unexpected expenditures come knocking on your door. Set up a secondary checking or savings account for emergencies or link an existing account to your main account as an added layer of protection.
- Get a head start. Banks play a major role in helping customers prepare for major life events such as buying a house and planning for retirement. Ask your banker how you can get a head start on your first major purchase by establishing credit or about starting a retirement account with a 401(k) from a previous employer.
- Stay connected with social media. Interact with your bank via social media to get the latest news on products and services, ask bank-related questions and find links to exclusive bank content and resources. Visit Stock Yards on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
For more information on millennial bank customers, including ABA’s recent infographic on millennials compiling information from various sources, visit aba.com/Millennials.
Information provided by the American Bankers Association.
As more and more consumers rely on their mobile devices to bank, browse and shop on the internet, it is extremely important that they exercise certain measures to protect their devices from online threats. The American Bankers Association is recommending 12 tips to help consumers safeguard their data and protect their mobile devices from fraudsters.
Mobile usage has grown tremendously in recent years and consumers are using their phones to access and transmit very sensitive information,” said Doug Johnson, ABA’s senior vice president of payments and cyber-security policy. “It’s extremely important that consumers avoid doing their banking and shopping on unsecure networks to limit their exposure to online threats.”
ABA recommends that consumers take extra precaution to protect the data on their mobile device by doing the following:
• Use the passcode lock on your smartphone and other devices. This will make it more difficult for thieves to access your information if your device is lost or stolen.
• Log out completely when you finish a mobile banking session.
• Protect your phone from viruses and malicious software, or malware, just like you do for your computer by installing mobile security software.
• Download the updates for your phone and mobile apps.
• Use caution when downloading apps. Apps can contain malicious software, worms and viruses. Beware of apps that ask for unnecessary “permissions.”
• Avoid storing sensitive information like passwords or a social security number on your mobile device.
• Tell your financial institution immediately if you change your phone number or lose your mobile device.
• Be aware of shoulder surfers. The most basic form of information theft is observation. Be aware of your surroundings especially when you’re punching in sensitive information.
• Wipe your mobile device before you donate, sell or trade it using specialized software or using the manufacturer’s recommended technique. Some software allows you to wipe your device remotely if it is lost or stolen.
• Beware of mobile phishing. Avoid opening links and attachments in emails and texts, especially from senders you don’t know. And be wary of ads (not from your security provider) claiming that your device is infected.