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Active Family

Active Family

This season of life is sure to find you busy with children and all their activities, as well as a few of your own! As you think about paying for lessons, taking family vacations, saving for college or buying a home, remember to revisit your financial goals to make sure you’re on track. Having a family places a lot of demands on your income, but planning and discipline will ensure the success of your financial future.

    1. Establish a household budget – and stick to it!

With a household budget, you can control how your money is spent, rather than it controlling you. Establish a monthly budget that includes all of your current monthly household expenses. Assign each item a dollar amount for each line item and categorize expenses into similar buckets. The way to make your budget work for you is to be as detailed as possible by including everything you spend and stay within the budgeted amounts you allocate. Let Clarity, our free Personal Financial Manager available within online banking, help you budget and set goals!

    2. Pay yourself first.

With so many demands for your attention – and finances – during this season of life, one of the best strategies is to pay yourself first. Automatically setting aside a portion of your income for savings and retirement on a consistent basis will ensure a bright financial future.

    3. Take your time purchasing a home.

Are you and your family outgrowing your rental or starter home? If you are considering buying a home to meet your growing family’s needs, take time to review every angle and question you may have. How much will maintenance for the house cost on top of your monthly mortgage payment? Is it in your ideal school district? Will it meet your needs longer than just a few years?

Also, a house payment that is at or below 25% of your monthly salary is a good target. Here are a few tools that will help you calculate what payment range best fits your income level.

Farmers Bank & Trust offers loan options to fit your season of life. With a 15- or 20-year fixed-rate mortgage, you will quickly build equity in your home. Our lending experts can help guide you to finding the loan that meets your unique needs.

    4. Understand your credit report.

Credit reporting agencies keep track of your financial behavior including how much credit you have, how long you’ve had it and whether you pay your bills on time. The agencies that maintain the reports include Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. Lenders buy credit reports and use them as a tool in deciding whether to offer you a prequalification. Credit reports are ranked with a score between 300 and 850 that allows the lender to determine whether you are creditworthy and are likely to repay a loan.

    5. Start saving for college.

Opening a college savings fund while your child is a toddler during this season of life will allow you realize the power of compounding over the next several years. The earlier you start, the less you’ll need to save per month. Farmers Bank & Trust offers products and tools to help you create a plan on how to finance your child’s college education when the time comes.

Once you and your graduating high school senior are ready to apply for college, it is important to become familiar with the most recent Federal Financial Aid for Higher Education (FAFSA) guidelines and deadlines [http://www.fafsa-application.com/]. Also, applications for federal student aid may be available through a high school counselor, local public library or college financial aid office.

    6. Open a checking account for this season of life.

Save on time, money and paper with a Farmers Bank & Trust checking account. We offer online and mobile banking that simplifies banking when you’re on-the-go. Our personal checking accounts offer NetTeller Online Banking and NetTeller Bill Pay at no additional charge.

  • Kasasa Checking – Earn up to 2.01% APY interest or 5% Cash Back, ATM fees refund and unlimited check writing
  • Farmers Checking – No-fee ($4 with paper statements) and no minimum balance checking with added features.
  • Club Checking – Unlimited check writing with a multitude of benefits for a low monthly fee.

    7. Eliminate extra mail and household clutter with e-statements.

Simplify your life by eliminating extra paper when you sign up for free e-statements via our NetTeller Online Banking program.

    8. Save for retirement.

It’s easy to underestimate the amount of money you’ll need in retirement. Be realistic about major expenditures, for example, will your mortgage be paid off by the time you retire? If so, you may need less income than you do now. On the other hand, if you plan to buy a vacation home or travel for fun or to see grandchildren when you retire, you may need the same level of income you have now. Also, will you have to pay out of pocket for health insurance? Numerous financial considerations come into play when planning for the future.

    9. Teach your child(ren) to save.

When kids learn how to save money early in life, they are much more likely to develop good money management skills and grow up to be good stewards later in life. Tools such as a piggy bank or coin jar offer good ways to encourage savings. Younger children may not realize that $10 tomorrow is better than $2 today and usually will want to spend money immediately. During this season of life, help them understand the benefits of savings by setting simple goals and track their progress visually so they can see the results. Also, offering a non-monetary reward may motivate them to reach their goals, or the goals you help them set. As they begin to understand the concept of savings, consider making a date to bring them to the bank to open their own savings account. Then, review their regular statements with them so they will continue to be mindful of their savings.