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How to enhance your post-graduation financial health

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I’m entering the daunting world of post-college, graduating this month. My fellow graduates and I are entering into an improving economy, but it’s still a tough labor market. With loan debt and underemployment just two of the many major challenges facing the class of 2016, now is the best time for graduates to start establishing healthy financial habits that can guide us for a lifetime.

Being surrounded by experienced financial professionals at UMB as an intern, I thought I’d take advantage of their proximity and ask for some guidance before I begin the task of job searching and setting up my finances for lifelong success. I consulted with a few associates here to get their thoughts on how to get started.5 tips for recent college graduates

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5 tips for recent college grads - build a healthy credit scorePaying off credit card balances in a timely manner keeps your credit score healthy, putting you in a better position to make bigger purchases down the road. Also, remember to pay necessities like utilities, cable and phone bills on time, because your payment status can be factored into your credit score under the new scoring approach taken by FICO.

5 tips for recent college grads - invest wiselyIt’s never too soon to start investing. While it’s important to pay off debts, investing is vital for future financial wellness. But remember to do your research before committing to any investment. Understanding risk is vital, and it must be weighed against the long-term payoff of any investment. If you have stocks, actively tracking them can help you understand how the market works. You’re also never too young to work with an advisor who can guide your investment decisions. If you’re fortunate enough to have a job AND an employer who offers a 401(k) match, make sure you take advantage of the employer match.

5 tips for recent college grads - 50/20/30 ruleMy mentors at UMB suggest using the following formula to help you stay on budget. Take your monthly income after taxes and 401(k) contributions and prioritize spending as follows:

  • 50 percent for fixed costs like rent, utilities and monthly subscriptions.
  • 20 percent toward building a financial foundation, like house payments, paying down student loans or just investing in an emergency savings fund (more on this later).
  • 30 percent into flexible spending, which is day-to-day expenses like groceries, eating out, entertainment and gas.

5 tips for recent college grads - emergency fundMake saving up a few months’ worth of living expenses an immediate priority after graduation. Having money saved in an account is always the best safety net if any unforeseen circumstance puts you in a place with less income. Remember that your living expenses do not need to equal your take-home pay. Only look at your fixed costs (which as we previously stated should be close to 50 percent of your regular budget), not savings and contributions.

have fun on a budgetDon’t let being on a budget get in the way of living a full social life. Using coupons, going to free local events and splitting costs with friends are just a few of the many ways to ensure you are able to have fun without overspending.

The financial pros here reminded me that having a long-term frame of mind when handling finances will have the biggest and best payoff in the future. As a graduate, if you can set yourself up with healthy financial habits now, you have a better chance of experiencing stability and wealth down the road. Come on class of 2016, we have a bright future ahead, so let’s make sure we are saving for it!

5 tips for recent college grads - sources

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.

 


Mr. Nicholas Zych interned with UMB Marketing Communication, focusing on social media. He recently graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in journalism.



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Must-do car maintenance

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If you’re ever tempted to skip car maintenance, think twice. Not doing the work now could end up costing you more down the road. must-do car maintenance

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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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Best time to buy – part II

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Saving money this year? Check out this infographic for a full year of great “Buy the Way Wednesday” savings ideas:
Best Time to Buy infographic

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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.


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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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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Money mistakes newlyweds should avoid {infographic}

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With the annual summer wedding season behind us and the fall season kicking off, here are 6 money mistakes newlyweds should avoid.
budgeting advice for married couples

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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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Best time to buy

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You may have heard that December 26 is the best day to buy Christmas decorations or February 15 is when to nab the cheapest candy. But what about EVERYTHING else that you buy?

We’ve been sharing “Buy The Way” wisdom for the past year on our Facebook page. In case you missed a few, we have a year-long recap of the best purchase to make every month.Buy the Way Infographic

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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.


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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Credit Card Debt vs. Emergency Funds

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You probably already realize the importance of keeping an emergency fund for unforeseen events such as auto repairs or health issues. However, actually saving for the unexpected can be a challenge. By not planning, you can put yourself at risk for financial disaster.

A recent poll from Bankrate revealed 24 percent of Americans have more credit card debt than they have in their emergency savings. Most people, 58 percent, who don’t struggle with credit card debt still fall short when it comes to having a strong emergency fund.

emergency savings vs. credit card debt

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Greg McBride, Chief Financial Analyst at Bankrate, can’t stress enough the poor situation consumers are putting themselves into. “These numbers mean that three out of every eight Americans are teetering on the edge of financial disaster,” says McBride.

How to manage credit card debt

While there isn’t one definitive way to erase credit card debt in a hurry, below are a few helpful tips to expedite the process.

  1. Tackle high interest debt first
    It may be easier for you to stick with a debt payoff goal if you attack the card with the lowest balance. However, most financial experts agree that the best practice is to pay down the balance on the highest interest card first.
  2. Double or triple payments
    Consider doubling or tripling your monthly payments, or apply tax refunds towards outstanding balances. The faster you can tackle your highest interest card, the sooner you will reach a debt-free lifestyle.
  3. Stick with your plan
    When faced with high debt, it is critical to track and budget expenses to monitor progress and keep spending habits under control. Once the highest-interest card reaches a balance of zero, it’s time to move on to the next highest interest card.
  4. Build an emergency savings
    Building an emergency fund is just as important as getting debt under control. Tuck away money each month and set aside for emergencies only. Do this even if it means paying less on your debt payments. Most experts agree that a healthy emergency fund equals at least six months of living expenses.

Getting credit card debt under control requires excellent planning, dedication and patience. Once goals are met, it is important to keep moving forward with healthy spending and savings habits.  Being financially prepared for life’s unexpected events is smart. Having peace of mind is priceless.

 

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.




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