Families on the Go

Family related expenses are numerous and include big goals: buying a home and saving for college.  Throughout this time, regularly evaluate your progress towards achieving the goals you set earlier. Adjust your budget, spending and saving to make sure you stay on track.  In spite of all the demands on your income, it’s still important to build long-term investments.  Planning and discipline will determine your future financial success.   Blackhawk Bank offers sound financial management tips during this demanding time of your life.

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Managing the financial responsibilities of family life

1. Shop for the best mortgage and consumer loans

Seeking the best mortgage or consumer loan by  shopping, comparing and negotiating may save you thousands of dollars.  A mortgage—whether for a home purchase, refinancing or a home equity loan—is a loan product with a variety of rates and terms that are dependent on your unique circumstances.  You’ll want to compare all the costs involved in getting a mortgage including interest rates, points, fees, and the down-payment and private mortgage insurance requirements.   Home equity loans and lines of credit can be helpful when extra cash is needed to reduce significant credit card debt—but be cautious about re-building credit card debt once it's paid.

With competitive rates, experienced lending professionals and local decision-making, you’ll be sure to find a loan at Blackhawk Bank that meets your needs.  To apply for a mortgage or consumer loan now, click on the links below, or stop by and talk with one of our lenders. 

 

2. Understand your credit report

Your financial behavior over the past seven years, including how much credit you have, how long you've had it and whether you pay your bills on time is information included in your credit report.  Three credit reporting agencies — Equifax, TransUnion and Experian — maintain these reports, and lenders buy them to help them decide whether to offer you a prequalification.  Your credit report also carries your credit score ranked between 300 and 850 that many lenders use to decide whether you are creditworthy and will you'll repay a loan.  Your credit score can also influence the interest rate you pay.  In many cases the higher your score, the lower your interest rate. Your credit score is available from the three credit reporting agencies: 

Equifax –  www.equifax.com
TransUnion – 
www.transunion.com
Experian –
www.experian.com 

Once per year, Blackhawk Bank will provide you with a FREE TransUnion Credit Report and Score, and counseling to help you fully understand it.  For Mortgage Loan Applications, banks must pull reports from all three credit bureaus, and a fee applies. Improving Your Credit is a booklet that you can print to help you understand how the pieces add up that determine your FICO Credit Score.

3. Start Saving for College

By starting early, when your child is in preschool or before, you can build a realistic fund through the power of compounding over many years.  The earlier you start, the less you’ll have to save per month.

Through Blackhawk Bank, you can access products designed to help you fund your child’s higher education.

529 Plan
A 529 Plan is an education savings plan operated by a state or educational institution designed to help families set aside funds for future college costs. It’s named after Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code which created these types of savings plans in 1996.  To learn about a 529 Plan (and other college savings plans) you should meet with an Investment Advisor.  Blackhawk Personal Bankers can introduce you to the 529 Plan experts located in our Investment Centers. 

Private Student Loans - Blackhawk Bank has partnered with Sallie Mae® to offer the Smart Option Student Loan®.  It’s an ideal solution to help bridge that gap between federal loans and the cost of your education expenses. These loans have the advantages of a lower interest rate and can be repaid over a longer time period than standard consumer loans. Learn more.

US Government EE Savings Bonds – EE Bonds are reliable, low-risk government-backed savings products that you can use toward financing education and other special events.   Log onto http://www.treasurydirect.gov/indiv/research/indepth/ebonds/res_e_bonds_eebuy.htm to learn more. As of January 1, 2012 the US Treasury only offers the purchase of Bonds online.

Federal Financial Aid for Higher Education (FAFSA) – All college applicants and their parents or guardians should become familiar with the most recent FAFSA guidelines and deadlines which can be found at  http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/.  Applications for federal student aid may also be available from your high school counselors, public library or college financial aid office.

Here's a valuable (and printable) Saving for College Workbook that sumarizes these options and more to help with the funding of higher education.

4. Conserve time, money and paper with Blackhawk Bank’s convenient checking accounts with online banking, bill pay and ATM services

You’ll reduce the time it takes to pay your bills and save on the expense of printed paper checks and postage while also helping the environment.

Easy Money Checking is the most popular checking account among clients with its high interest earnings and refunded ATM fees.  You can literally use any ATM, anywhere in the world and get refunds on any fees you may incur by meeting two easy requirements per qualification cycle. Learn more…

5. Improve Funds Availability, Save Time and Money With Blackhawk Bank’s Convenient Direct Deposit

With Direct Deposit, your funds are available and your money begins working for you right away. Plus, you’ll have added safety with no chance of your check being lost in the mail or stolen. Most companies offer payroll Direct Deposit, and all new Government checks are now direct deposited.

6. Save for Retirement

Many people underestimate the amount of money they’ll need in retirement. Be realistic about major expenditures, e.g., will your mortgage be paid off by retirement?  If so, you may need less income than you do now.  Do you plan to buy a vacation home or travel extensively?  Will you have to pay for your own health insurance?  These and other financial considerations all come into play.

Now is a good time to increase contributions to your retirement savings plan.  Talk with Blackhawk Bank’s Personal Bankers or Financial Advisors to learn about the products that can help you meet your retirement goals. 

Blackhawk Bank’s printer friendly Retirement Workbook provides helpful tips and ideas about how to make the most of your money in retirement.

Tips for Effective Financial Management

  • Make sure your mortgage payment, including taxes and insurance, represents no more than 31 percent of your gross monthly income.
  • Review the cost of your health care insurance and make sure you are getting adequate coverage at the best price.
  • Make wise purchasing decisions by determining what you “need” compared to what you “want.”  This will help you make ongoing decisions to keep your finances in check.
  • Guard against impulse shopping, especially for costly purchases such as vehicles, major appliances, furniture, jewelry and the like.

 Mortgage Calculator | Retirement Calculator

For help determining the best accounts and products for sound and productive money management during your Active Family Life-Stage, please call a Personal Banker at 800.209.2616, or stop by any office.

Securities offered through Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC are:

  • Not deposits
  • Not insured by FDIC or any other governmental agency
  • Not guaranteed by Blackhawk Bank
  • Subject to risk, may lose value

Blackhawk Bank and Blackhawk Investment Group are independent of Raymond James.
Raymond James financial Advisors may only conduct business with residents of the states and /or jurisdictions for which they are properly registered. Therefore, a response to a request for information may be delayed.  Please note that not all of the investments and services mentioned are available in every state.  Investors outside of the United States are subject to securities and tax regulations within their applicable jurisdictions that are not addressed on this site. Contact your local Raymond James office for information and availability.