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Learn the Rules of “CHES”

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Although many people consider home ownership to be part of the American Dream, home ownership rates have been lagging across the nation. At the end of 2016, the national home ownership rate was 63.7%, a drop of more than five percent from 2006 when the national home ownership rate was 68.9%.*

While there are some obvious economic conditions driving this trend, there are a number of additional contributing factors that vary among demographic groups. Analysis of 2015 mortgage application trends demonstrates that low- and moderate-income applicants in the state of Missouri are more than one and one half times more likely (4.3% vs. 2.6%) than middle- and upper-income applicants to be turned down for a home loan due to their credit history.

Recognizing this challenge, UMB is working with Credit & Homeownership Empowerment Services, Inc. (CHES, Inc.), a Kansas City-based non-profit credit-counseling organization. UMB will provide sponsorships to qualified referrals, making the six-month CHES, Inc. program—valued at $694—available to participants at a deeply discounted total cost of only $55.

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Through UMB’s sponsorship, low- and moderate-income applicants who didn’t credit qualify for a mortgage purchase loan will have the opportunity to participate in consumer credit education and credit restoration services provided by CHES, Inc., which is a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) housing, financial education and credit counseling organization.

The program provides access to a financial counselor who can help address the individual’s unique financial situation, with the goal of achieving long-term financial and home ownership success. While no one can guarantee the results of participation, UMB’s sponsorship of program participants is broadening the pathway to home ownership for low- and moderate-income individuals in Kansas City.

“We’ve seen many clients transform their lives in a short period of time and we’re excited to be working with UMB to continue this work in the community,” said Coley Williams, President and CEO of CHES, Inc.

*Statistical information contained within this post was compiled from the 2015 Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data available at www.consumerfinance.gov/data-research/hmda/‡ and the Current Population Survey/Housing Vacancy Survey, Series H-111, U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC 20233.

 

When you click links marked with the “‡” symbol, you will leave UMB’s website and go to websites that are not controlled by or affiliated with UMB. We have provided these links for your convenience. However, we do not endorse or guarantee any products or services you may view on other sites. Other websites may not follow the same privacy policies and security procedures that UMB does, so please review their policies and procedures carefully.pulation Survey/Housing Vacancy Survey, Series H-111, U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC 20233.


Zach Wentz joined UMB in 2015 as fair and responsible banking manager. In this role, Zach manages UMB’s compliance with federal banking laws such as the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), Equal Credit Opportunity Act, Fair Housing Act, and Unfair, Deceptive, Abusive Acts and Practices (UDAAP). He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in business finance from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln and is a graduate of the North Carolina School of Banking.



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How to Prepare for Ag Challenges in 2017

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For those in the ag business, it’s no secret that 2015 and 2016 were challenging years. And 2017 is looking like it might follow suit. In an industry known for its optimism, you could be hard-pressed to find anyone overly positive about what lies ahead this year.

Producers, in particular, are going to face more challenges in 2017 given the current commodity prices and over supply of crops. In light of those challenges, here are a few steps they can take to prepare for 2017 and beyond.

1. Know Your Numbers: As lenders work with you to project what the next year will look like, it will help to be prepared with key data points, including:

  • Planting intentions – Know your acres, crop type and fertilizer application plans
  • Working capital needs – Know what is changing and ways to improve working capital
  • Break-even analysis – Know your input costs, conservative bushel projections and sales triggers
  • Expense management – Know what specific changes are being made in your operation to endure lower prices and what further trimming can be done
  • Balance sheet basics – Have a good understanding of your current amount of working capital, overall debt-to-equity ratio and value of unencumbered real estate
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2. Be a Tough Negotiator: With the significant price changes in the grain complex, those who sell to farmers are having a harder time making the next sale. This means you have an opportunity to attain better prices when you spend money.

  • Cash rents – In general, landowners will need to make some concessions on cash rents. Be willing to negotiate but not afraid to walk away if the math doesn’t work for you at renewal time.
  • Equipment – There are definitely deals to be had on used iron, but only do what makes sense for your operation. Also, aggressive lease terms are being offered and in many cases may lower cost, or improve cash flow, throughout your operation.
  • Basic purchases – Those who sell you crop insurance, seed, fertilizer, chemical, parts, equipment and more will need to know that farmers are carefully weighing each purchase. Loyalty to such suppliers is wonderful but it is also okay to encourage competition for your spending dollars.

3. Sell Items that Aren’t Contributing: The truth is there are some things that just need to go. Whether it is a poor piece of land that isn’t producing, a tractor that might not be essential or a trailer that is collecting dust, take stock of what you have and determine what needs to go.

During this period in which some producers will have limited working capital and struggle to service debt, it is imperative to critically examine your assets. Working capital and liquidity have become – and will continue to be – critically important in the coming years. Any asset sale that bolsters your liquidity position will improve your ability to endure the current commodity prices and thriving as we look forward to better days.


Lance Albin is vice president, agribusiness commercial lending officer at UMB Bank and has more than nine years of experience in agriculture financing. He has a master’s degree in business administration from Fort Hays State University. UMB Bank is one of the Top 25 Farm Lenders in the United States serving farmers/ranchers, producers, processors, manufacturers and dealers throughout the Midwest and Mississippi Delta regions.



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St. Louis Snapshot: Q&A with Peter Blumeyer

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In the early months of the year, bankers are looking ahead and considering challenges the industry might face as well as where the industry could be going. The Risk Management Association recently hosted a Bank Presidents’ Fireside Chat to gain insight and industry perspectives for 2017. Following are a few of the comments shared by UMB Bank St. Louis President Peter Blumeyer, who served as one of the panelists.

What is your outlook for the year?

As we begin 2017, the banking industry is very competitive. We believe C&I, manufacturing and distribution will be the most competitive industries for lending this year. We have set high goals and will work very hard to compete in this market. We will also keep a keen eye on the talent in the market. We want to ensure we hire people who can compete in this industry while providing them a fruitful career.

How has UMB Bank dealt with the extended period of extremely low interest rates?

We continue to operate in a sustained low interest rate environment that has impacted our net interest margin and continues to challenge our industry. However, we have actively positioned UMB to benefit as rates begin to rise. As a result, whenever the Federal Reserve does drive the short end of the rate curve higher, the nimble position of our earning assets is expected to produce a lift in interest income. We have a solid balance sheet and take pride in our extraordinary credit quality and are well positioned for when interest rates begin to move up.

Are there any new trends developing, positive or negative, in lending?

One negative trend we are experiencing is aggression. As mentioned above, the market is very competitive as every bank looks for new deals and areas to grow. We are seeing customers hone in on the aggressive competitive nature. They might ask for more money with a lower rate or try and compare different term sheets. This can work in their favor as they search for the best rate, but it’s also a risky situation. If a customer tries to piecemeal a deal, it might not be very attainable for the banker to create.

A positive trend is the market is healing. We are slowly coming back from the recession, which is very exciting. Companies have access to the money they need to grow their business and perform their capital expenditures. This is even better for our economy as more growth is added to St. Louis. It is encouraging to see, and at UMB, we are excited to support this growth.

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UMB Financial Corporation (Nasdaq: UMBF) is a diversified financial holding company headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., offering complete banking services, payment solutions, asset servicing and institutional investment management to customers. UMB operates banking and wealth management centers throughout Missouri, Illinois, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Arizona and Texas, as well as two national specialty-lending businesses. Subsidiaries of the holding company include companies that offer services to mutual funds and alternative-investment entities and registered investment advisors that offer equity and fixed income strategies to institutions and individual investors.



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Focus Items for Small Business Owners

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In December, the NFIB Small Business Optimism Index‡ had its highest reading in 12 years. In the report seven of the 10 index components rose, including small business owners expecting better business conditions and higher sales.

Optimism is currently at a high point allowing for owners to focus on their next big idea, their bottom line and how they can make things better for their employees. Their bankers should be thinking about those things, too.

If you’re a small business owner, make sure you’re talking with your financial partner about these business-critical items as you venture into 2017 and beyond.

Top Talent Identification and Retention
Companies requiring vocational talent can face challenges finding the right type of employee. As businesses look to expand, growth can be difficult without a sound workforce and could potentially force companies to outsource to other cities or move operations entirely.

As part of their talent acquisition and retention efforts, small businesses should ensure they are offering solid compensation and benefits to build and retain a strong workforce.

Business Growth
With an ultimate goal of growing their company, small businesses need to evaluate what other potential clients exist and if there are new segments where they can introduce their product or service.

Companies that did not survive the 2008 economic downturn left behind certain voids that need to be filled. Existing companies should evaluate this as an opportunity to expand to a new business target.

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Employee compensation and benefits
Currently, there are two big issues that could pose a threat to small businesses: the minimum wage discussion and health care. If minimum wage increases, many businesses will face challenges with revenue and cash flow, particularly if they employ lower-wage workers. With no offsetting revenue increase, this would affect a company’s cash flow and could create unprecedented challenges within the business.

The other topic of note for business owners is healthcare. The rules and regulations of the Affordable Care Act may change with the current administration discussing extensive healthcare reform. This could mean an extra expense without incurring any additional revenue for small businesses.

Fraud and Protection
Fraud continues to be a top concern among business owners, and the latest statistics prove it is a legitimate fear. In the 2016 Association for Financial Professionals Payments Fraud and Control survey, 62 percent of companies were subject to fraud during the survey period, and wire fraud has nearly doubled from 14 percent to 27 percent.

The truth is, businesses can plug one gap and another one opens up somewhere else. The key is to stay vigilant with your employees, train them and understand the latest tactics that are being used to commit fraud.

 

When you click links marked with the “‡” symbol, you will leave UMB’s website and go to websites that are not controlled by or affiliated with UMB. We have provided these links for your convenience. However, we do not endorse or guarantee any products or services you may view on other sites. Other websites may not follow the same privacy policies and security procedures that UMB does, so please review their policies and procedures carefully.


Dominic is a executive vice president for the Business Banking division at UMB. He joined UMB in 2013 and has more than 20 years of experience in the financial services industry.



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Investment broker vs. investment advisor: who should you choose?

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What’s the difference? Which is better?  

Let me try to clear up some of the confusion. In the investing world, there are two standards of care that can be given by financial service providers: the fiduciary standard and the suitability standard. Before we look at the differences between brokers and advisors, let’s first define the two standards.

The fiduciary standard – Your financial service provider must advise you without conflicts of interest and for your sole benefit as the client they serve, always putting your interests above their own. The fiduciary standard of care was established by the Investment Advisors Act of 1940.

The suitability standard – Your financial service provider must make recommendations consistent with your best interests and in line with your investment objectives and tolerance for risk. Suitability rules are established by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

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Some believe that there should be a uniform standard of care. In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, legislators in Washington D.C signed the Dodd-Frank Act into law in July 2010. Part of the act directs the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) to study the need for establishing a new, uniform standard of care for the investment industry. To this day, multiple agencies, industry groups and regulators continue to debate what that standard should be, and there are plenty of arguments for and against a uniform standard. The debate has been going on for years with no resolution. Here’s why: there is not just one right answer.

On its surface, a uniform standard makes perfect sense. In reality, consumers of financial services may need a provider operating under either or both standards and many providers are able to act as both, depending on the needs of the client.

Now, let’s take a look at the difference between advisors and brokers.

Investment advisors

Investment advisors provide a fiduciary standard of care. They give advice on what to invest in and will typically charge a fee for their advice on an ongoing and fully-disclosed basis. It could be either a flat fee or a percentage of your investment assets. Investment advisors are regulated by the SEC and the states in which they do business.

Investment brokers and agents

Investment brokers and insurance agents provide a suitability standard of care. They sell financial products like stocks, bonds, mutual funds, life insurance and annuities. Brokers and agents typically charge a commission on the product they sell or are paid a commission by the product manufacturer. Investment brokers are regulated by FINRA and the states in which they do business. The states also regulate the insurance industry.

So which is better, broker or advisor?

Again, there is no right answer. For example, perhaps you need help with planning for retirement and have a nest egg to invest, but don’t have the time or inclination to invest the money. An investment advisor that can do the planning, choose investments, monitor your portfolio and make changes along the way may be a good choice for you.

Or, maybe you know that you want to buy or sell a stock, bond, mutual fund, buy life insurance, an annuity or even add gold or silver to your portfolio. A broker or agent can help you make the transaction.

Who should you choose?

Depending on your situation and needs, it could be one or the other or both. When searching for a provider, look for a person or firm by clearly communicating your needs:

  • your expectations for service,
  • asking what you will receive,
  • when you’ll receive it and
  • how much it costs.

Many financial firms can provide both brokerage and advisory services, so there are many providers to choose from with varying products, services and service levels. Like anything else you buy, shop around, ask questions and take your time to find the right fit.

When you click links marked with the “‡” symbol, you will leave UMB’s website and go to websites that are not controlled by or affiliated with UMB. We have provided these links for your convenience. However, we do not endorse or guarantee any products or services you may view on other sites. Other websites may not follow the same privacy policies and security procedures that UMB does, so please review their policies and procedures carefully.

 

DISCLOSURE AND IMPORTANT CONSIDERATIONS:

UMB Private Wealth Management is a division within UMB Bank, n.a. that manages active portfolios for employee benefit plans, endowments and foundations, fiduciary accounts and individuals.  UMB Financial Services Inc * is a wholly owned subsidiary of UMB Bank, n.a. UMB Bank, n.a., is an affiliate within the UMB Financial Corporation. Banking and trust services offered through UMB Private Wealth Management, a division within UMB Bank, n.a.

s/b

UMB Financial Services Inc * is a wholly owned subsidiary of UMB Financial Corp and an affiliate of UMB Bank, n.a.

This report is provided for informational purposes only and contains no investment advice or recommendations to buy or sell any specific securities. Statements in this report are based on the opinions of UMB Private Wealth Management and the information available at the time this report was published.

All opinions represent our judgments as of the date of this report and are subject to change at any time without notice. You should not use this report as a substitute for your own judgment, and you should consult professional advisors before making any tax, legal, financial planning or investment decisions. This report contains no investment recommendations and you should not interpret the statements in this report as investment, tax, legal, or financial planning advice. UMB Private Wealth Management obtained information used in this report from third-party sources it believes to be reliable, but this information is not necessarily comprehensive and UMB Private Wealth Management does not guarantee that it is accurate.

All investments involve risk, including the possible loss of principal. This information is not intended to be a forecast of future events and this is no guarantee of any future results. Neither UMB Private Wealth Management nor its affiliates, directors, officers, employees or agents accepts any liability for any loss or damage arising out of your use of all or any part of this report.

“UMB” – Reg. U.S. Pat. & Tm. Off. Copyright © 2012. UMB Financial Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

*Securities offered through UMB Financial Services, Inc. member FINRA, SIPC, or the Investment Banking Division of UMB Bank, n.a.

 

Insurance products offered through UMB Insurance, Inc. You may not have an account with all of these entities. Contact your UMB representative if you have any questions.

Securities and Insurance products are:

NOT FDIC INSURED * NO BANK GUARANTEE * NOT A DEPOSIT * NOT INSURED BY ANY GOVERNMENT AGENCY * MAY LOSE VALUE




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Gifting a new set of wheels this holiday season

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Every holiday season people plan celebrations and select presents to give their loved ones. For the most special people in your life, you may be inclined to spend a little more money.

A new car with a large bow strapped to the top is a familiar image many commercials have incorporated into holiday campaigns. However, if you are thinking about gifting a new vehicle, you should consider a few factors.

Car Gift New Christmas Key Bow Car Key

Know the deals
Fortunately, December is an especially good month for individuals to invest in a new set of wheels, according to Consumer Reports. Consumers will typically see the best prices during the holiday season.

“Last December was absolutely the best month of the year for deals,” said TrueCar spokesman Alan Ohnsman, according to Consumer Reports. “Black Friday has become a major opportunity for dealers to promote year-end deals.”

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Kiplinger echoed this sentiment noting that prices usually fall because dealers are looking to make room for the new models coming in. Consumers purchasing a vehicle at the end of the year can save as much as 10 percent of the manufacturer’s suggested retail price.

Research deals on various makes and models before heading to the showroom, and ensure you know what you are looking for and how you plan to finance the vehicle.

Pick a car that fits
If you decide to give a vehicle as a gift, Auto Trader noted you will need to make sure you select a car that’s appropriate. Consider their unique needs and how a set of wheels should accommodate them. Size, horsepower and fuel efficiency should all be considered. Remember, you are not purchasing a car for yourself, but for another person.

You also want to ensure that a car is the right gift for the person you are giving it to.

“A woman told me her husband gave her a car with a big bow on top for Christmas, just like the ads you see on TV,” said Kit Yarrow, a consumer psychologist who teaches at Golden Gate University in San Francisco, according to Consumer Reports. “But unlike the scenes in the ads, she wasn’t delighted by it. She felt cheated because she’d had no say in picking out the car, and it was really a family purchase, rather than a gift specifically for her.”

Before picking out a car for your spouse or family member, reflect on the decision and ensure it is appropriate. If it is, find out their car preferences and match them as much as possible. Have other people ask about dream cars, colors or other preferences and report back to you.

Let the dealer in on the surprise
When working with a professional, you will probably want to let him or her know that you are planning to surprise someone special with the vehicle. If you are gifting it to your spouse, he or she will also need to sign the paperwork. However, by notifying your dealer that you plan to give the car as a holiday present, you may be able to put off finalizing the purchase until after you have surprised your husband or wife.

In addition, by letting the dealer know it is a surprise, it can prevent them from calling and unintentionally letting the cat out of the bag.

Understand registration and taxes
There are a few other considerations regarding the purchase of a vehicle that are different when you are giving it as a gift. According to The Nest, you can give an individual up to $13,000 annually to a person. If the car you purchase is more expensive than that, you will need to file a gift tax return. However, this does not always mean you will owe any gift tax.

You will also need to think about registration. Register the car to the individual who will be driving it. The sooner this can be done, the better it will be for the person receiving the gift.

Wrap it creatively
If you have gotten the car and plan to surprise the recipient, have some fun with the presentation. This is an opportunity to be creative and make the individual feel celebrated. Consider wrapping the keys or a framed photograph of the new vehicle. For a little extra fun, wrap one of these items in a small box, then wrap that box in a larger box, and so on. It’s a fun way to throw the recipient off when giving them the gift.

 

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Mr. John Peine is an Assistant Vice President Financial Center Manager at UMB . He is responsible for leading banking centers in Olathe, Kansas. In his time at UMB, John has built his career from teller to personal banker, and he is now manager of two branch locations.



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9 Tips: Teaching children to save: easy as 1,2,3

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Learning good money habits like saving at a young age will help ensure responsible financial decisions in the future. If you have children, consider these tips to help teach your young ones the importance of saving money.

Provide an allowance
One of the best ways to teach proper money management is by giving your child an allowance. According to Bankrate, working for money and enforcing good budgeting habits are two benefits to offering an allowance to your children. “When your child gets their first dollar, we suggest that you teach them to save 10 percent, invest 10 percent, give 10 percent and live from 70 percent,” said Lori Mackey, author of Money Mama and the Three Little Pigs. “When you give them a dollar, you give them two quarters and five dimes and then you sit with them and say this dime is for something that is important to you or that you want to help.”

Savings blocks

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Teach the power of patience
Sometimes even adults need to be reminded they may have to wait to buy the things they want. According to Forbes, teaching kids delayed gratification early on is beneficial in the long-term. Set an example and practice holding off on buying certain items. Explain to your children why waiting a little longer to get the things you want may help you save and stay within your financial means.

Encourage children to make goals
One way to teach young ones financial responsibility and how to save money is by making a savings goal chart, noted Money Crashers. Use stickers or drawings to visually demonstrate the amount of money saved each week to show progress. If your child wants to save up for a specific item, consider adding a picture representing what he or she wants to purchase with the saved funds as a motivation.

Consider matching contributions

A 401(k) retirement plan that matches what you put into retirement is a great way to encourage more regular saving habits. Consider implementing the same type of reward system for your child, but make sure you establish specific rules or guidelines ahead of time. For example, have a required amount your child must save each week, but anything above that can be matched by his or her parent and added to the fund.

Focus on long-term saving
When kids are between 11 and 13 years old you can begin discussing long-term goals for saving. For example, discuss a car-buying goal with your child when he or she reaches pre- or early-teens. Look at prices of current cars and discuss budget and long-term financial goals.

Work together to create a plan to save a certain amount of money, whether it’s the child saving alone, or with the parents matching the savings contributions. Understanding the importance of long-term saving goals early on will make saving for large purchases easier in the future.

Deal with spending decisions
While encouraging saving money is a good way to instill valuable skills, sometimes it’s OK to let your children learn from mistakes, noted Bankrate. “Let them make impulse buys, that kind of thing,” said Greg Karp, author of The 1-2-3 Money Plan: The Three Most Important Steps to Saving and Spending Smart. “There is an opportunity cost and it teaches that money is finite. You really want them to regret some decisions because they won’t forget them.”

Create a list of priorities
Before your child spends his or her money, write down what he or she wants and rank how essential each item is. Don’t settle on just toys or books, ask your child to think long term. Ask if he or she wants to save for college, a trip in the future or other investments he or she wants to make. Prioritizing these wants can help young ones commit to saving early.

Open a savings account
Having their own independent account may encourage older kids to save more money, and it will make them feel more responsible. Head to a local bank with your kid and open an account with him or her. Consider asking the banker to discuss why saving is important so your child hears it from someone other than you. Repetition will help solidify the importance of stashing away money.

Encourage giving
Bankrate indicated in addition to saving, you may want to teach your children the importance of giving to others. Suggest giving a certain amount of their allowance to a charity of their choice or to use for gifts for friends or family members. Saving money is an important step to becoming a financially-responsible individual. By instilling this skill in your children early on, you can rest assured they are better prepared for their futures.

 

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Mrs. Adriean Castro is an Assistant Vice President Financial Center Manager for UMB at the Shawnee, Kansas banking center. She joined UMB in 2003 and has 12 years of experience in the financial services industry. Adriean has a passion for philanthropy and coordinates volunteer opportunities throughout the year for UMB consumer associates. She is also an ambassador for the Shawnee Chamber of Commerce.



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Rising rental rates encourage homeownership

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The 2015 Rental Market Report conducted by Rent.com showed that rates for apartment units are likely going to continue to increase.

The 2015 Rental Market Report conducted by Rent.com showed that rates for apartment units are likely going to continue to increase. The survey gathered responses from more than 500 property managers in the U.S. to determine the current and forecast state of the rental market.

Rising rent encourages home buying

Rent will rise
According to the survey, 53 percent of property managers indicated they would prefer bringing in a new tenant and charging a higher rate over negotiating a lease renewal with a current tenant.

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In addition, the survey showed 88 percent of managers raised rent in the last year, and 68 percent of participants believe rates will continue to rise into the next year. Many expect rent to rise by an average of 8 percent, which is a 2 percent increase from the expected rent rise predicted in 2014.

The increasing cost of renting an apartment is turning many renters into interested homeowners, according to a recent survey done by TD Bank.

“Rising rents are motivating Americans to purchase a home,” said Scott Haymore, Head of Pricing and Secondary Markets. “With an improving job market and economy, renters are gaining more confidence in the housing market and starting to explore homeownership as a feasible option.”

Mortgages may be more appealing
Many current renters are seeing substantial increases in the rent they regularly pay, which is making them more interested in becoming a homeowner. The survey indicated the breaking point for many consumers deciding to transition from renting to buying is when their rent reaches $1,100 per month. The average monthly rent currently sits at $1,000 making the breaking point for many individuals very close.

Many renters have already experienced substantial increases in the rent they pay each month. More than 50 percent of respondents indicated their rents increased by nearly $300 in the past two years.

Rising rent was 47 percent of survey participants’ biggest motivators for purchasing new homes.

The American Dream
Owning a home is still a critical component to the American Dream. Almost 60 percent of consumers and 76 percent of millennials indicated it was “extremely” or “very important” to own a home in the TD Bank survey.

While 51 percent of respondents indicated money is the primary concern when it comes to purchasing a new home, the average surveyed renter was able to save more than $50,000 for a down payment, and 24 percent of millennials have saved $100,000. The ability to save is the true key to homeownership.

“We can see from our data that rents are rising, and while many renters feel that saving for a home is out of reach, there are other options they should consider,” said Haymore. “Today, potential buyers can take advantage of state and government affordability programs, which offer options outside the traditional 20 percent down payment. This enables them to pursue homeownership, build equity and still feel comfortable with their monthly payments.”

Saving for a down payment
Gathering the funds to save for a down payment on a new home requires dedication. According to Zillow, hopeful homeowners will want to first establish exactly how much money is needed to pay for the perfect house. Reaching out to a real estate professional will help to get a better idea of what the current local market looks like and whether buyers or sellers have the advantage.

In addition, contacting a mortgage lender can help an interested buyer figure out what can be expected from the entire lending process. If a consumer wants to secure a lower interest rate, he or she may want to provide a larger down payment.

Once it’s been decided how much is needed to invest in a new home, interested borrowers should examine their current spending habits. Budgeting downfalls can lead to issues when saving for a down payment, but fixing these issues will help hopeful homeowners reach their financial goals even faster.

Another way for interested buyers to build their savings for a new home quickly is by earning more cash to contribute to funds. Individuals can get a second job for a certain amount of time, or they can figure out a way to turn a favorite hobby into a profitable one using websites like Etsy or Facebook as a marketing platform.

Holding a garage sale is another way to increase savings and build a down payment fund. Decreasing the number of items that must be moved will also be beneficial when it’s time to pack everything up and relocate.

 

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Planning last minute holiday travel

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Temperatures across the country continue to drop as the holiday season approaches. While the change in weather means seasonal cheer is on its way, it also means winter is coming.

Temperatures across the country continue to drop as the holiday season approaches. While the change in weather means seasonal cheer is on its way, it also means winter is coming. Sometimes a vacation to help forget the ice, snow and wind is the most welcome gift anyone can receive.

If you are considering booking last minute holiday travel, prices will likely be very high due to demand. However, there are ways to reduce costs and book a budget-friendly vacation.

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Plan a holiday vacation


Find the best deals
According to The New York Times, one of the best times of the year to travel to Europe is during the holidays. While airfare might be pricier than other seasons, hotels tend to be far more affordable, making a holiday trip to Europe more plausible.” Europeans tend to stay at home for the Christmas holiday,” said Gabe Saglie, a senior editor at Travelzoo. “That means there are hotel deals to be had in popular destinations.” Traveling parties can enjoy upgrades and discounts during the slower season, which provides a little more wiggle room when working with a fixed budget.

Even domestic hotels are more affordable during the holiday season. “Thanksgiving to Christmas can be a bargain proposition because the business traveler is not booking those hotels,” said Saglie.

Consider booking a cruise
When it comes to kicking back and relaxing during the holiday season, there is no better way than on a cruise. These trips are especially beneficial because they often include the price of everything from food to entertainment. This package deal eliminates some of the pressure accompanying planning a trip and saves you money. U.S. News & World Report suggested using the help of a travel agent. These professionals can help you find deals that aren’t available to the general public – ultimately saving you money. Last minute booking can also save you a bit of money when paying for a cruise, noted U.S. News & World Report. However, you’ll need to be flexible with dates to get better deals.

Determine a plan for saving
When planning last minute holiday travel, gather as much money as possible to use toward the trip. Independent Traveler suggested opening a savings account designated specifically for travel expenses. Contribute to the fund regularly to build a nice stash of spending money you can use while on your vacation.

Since the holidays are approaching so quickly, consider setting up automatic deposits to ensure you regularly contribute a certain amount of each pay check to your savings account.

In addition to having a savings account, a change jar is another easy way to build additional funds for the trip. While it may not initially seem like very much, change can add up quickly and really bolster the growth of vacation savings.

Enlist the help of others
When you are bringing the whole family on a vacation, it provides a unique opportunity to teach your children a little bit about saving money for something special. Ask your young ones to help make their very own contributions to the family vacation savings account. Whether they have an allowance they want to deposit into the fund, or if they decide to give up weekend outings to cut costs, kids can help make a substantial impact on your savings for a holiday getaway.

Even though flight prices can be higher in the holiday season, a vacation shouldn’t be written off as out of the budget just yet. With a little planning and dedication, you and your family can enjoy some time away.

 

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UMB Financial Corporation (Nasdaq: UMBF) is a diversified financial holding company headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., offering complete banking services, payment solutions, asset servicing and institutional investment management to customers. UMB operates banking and wealth management centers throughout Missouri, Illinois, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Arizona and Texas, as well as two national specialty-lending businesses. Subsidiaries of the holding company include companies that offer services to mutual funds and alternative-investment entities and registered investment advisors that offer equity and fixed income strategies to institutions and individual investors.



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UMB Insights: Bank Outlook

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Our CEO of UMB Bank gives an inside look into some of our strategies and how we’ve been successful through a variety of economic environments.

 

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Mr. Hagedorn is president and chief executive officer of UMB Bank and vice chairman of UMB Financial Corporation. Prior to this role, Hagedorn served as chief financial officer and chief administrative officer of UMB Financial Corporation. He joined UMB in March 2005.



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