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The Credit Conversation: Now is the time to talk with your private banker

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Personal lending was a completely different world just a few short years ago. With shifts in the financial landscape, economic uncertainty and low interest rates, this is a good time for you to talk with a private banker and create a financial plan for the future—and the conversation should start with the topic of credit.

What was best for a person five years ago may not be the right choice now. Markets shift, and it’s important to occasionally survey the financial landscape with your private banker and possibly prepare for new opportunities.

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  • Work with advisors, not transaction managers.
    Sound financial planning is built on strong relationships, not individual transactions. Those relationships are built on knowledge and trust. A private banker should be acting as your advisor so they can help you make decisions that fit both your short- and long-term goals. Advisors will focus on tomorrow’s financial decisions, not today’s transaction.
  • Don’t make credit decisions with blinders on.
    No financial decision should be made without knowing the overall financial picture. In a trustworthy banking relationship, your private banker works alongside an entire team of experts to determine the best lending solutions for areas such as investment, tax and retirement purposes while also taking into consideration the overall wealth and estate plan.
  • Create a customized credit plan.
    It’s important to understand all the options. The truth: most people don’t proactively manage the borrowing side of their personal balance sheets when they plan to purchase a luxury vehicle, a business or a second home. That may stem from not knowing all of the varied credit options available.

    A private banker can help you explore and customize lending solutions to match risk and best leverage your assets. This provides you with options that may extend beyond the ones commonly offered in the marketplace.
  • Prepare for the unexpected with a line of credit.
    As the old saying goes, the time to borrow money is when you don’t need it. For example, a line of credit can be an invaluable tool to help you prepare for the unexpected and manage your overall financial picture. 

    Lines of credit can be used for a wide variety of purposes, including major ticket purchases, home improvements, education and medical bills. Additionally, lines of credit can provide you with peace of mind if and when unexpected expenses occur.

As you plan for your future, it’s important to talk with a professional who can ensure you are taking full advantage of the many credit solutions available to you while also providing you with advice related to your overall wealth plan.

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.


Ms. Stokes is a senior vice president and director of Private Banking at UMB. She is responsible for driving sales and relationship management activities. She works closely with the Wealth Management leadership team and regional presidents to grow business and helps to develop roles in wealth management, relationship management and presentation skills. She joined UMB in 2009 and has more than 30 years of experience in the financial services industry. She earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Missouri- Kansas City and a Bachelor of Arts from the graduate school of retail banking.

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Don’t Get Sacked Buying a Big Screen for the Big Game

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The big game is just around the corner and many people are thinking about buying a new big screen. You may think you’re getting a Hail Mary of a deal, but make sure you’re not getting blitzed. Here are some ways to score the TV you want and advance your financial goals down the field.

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  • Your budget is your playbook. Even if you can’t execute every play perfectly, the closer you can stick to your plan, the more points you’ll put up on the board.
  • Plan out your maximum price, the features you want and the size you want.

For example, when you start looking, you may be thinking about buying a 47-inch TV for $700, but then you find a great 47-inch TV marked down to $500. Then the helpful sales associate says that they have a 50-inch marked down from $1,000 to $750. They say that with the bigger TV you save 300 dollars instead of 250 and you’re still under your budget.

Watch out: they’re going for an interception!

If you have a budget and you spend the full amount, you did not save any money. You were never going to buy the $1,000 dollar 50-inch TV. When you came in the store, you were thinking you’d be happy with the 47-inch model. Remember the play you’re running, buy the size you originally wanted and you’ll have another $250 to put towards saving. 

  • In the NFL, players will watch hours of game tapes to learn about the other team. Do your homework by checking out customer reviews or other trusted sources.
  • That helpful sales associate may also offer you no payments or no interest for months. But even the worst referee would call a flag on this play. These deals often take the form of deferred interest, so if you don’t pay back the full amount in the given time frame, you could owe interest for the entire length of time. Every loan and credit card is different, so be sure to read the fine print before you sign on the dotted line. You may gain 10 yards on the play, but paying a high interest rate can set you back worse than a 15 yard penalty.

Remember, buying a TV is just one play in one game. For saving money, the season never ends. NFL players train their entire life to get to the big game. We save money our entire life to get to retirement. Don’t let spending sideline you. 


John R. Moreau is a product manager for Consumer Loans and Deposits at UMB Financial Corporation. He joined UMB in 2008. Moreau earned a Bachelor of Science from Arizona State University and a Master’s in Economics from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Economics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

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Navigating through the “sandwich years” (Hometown Perspective: Warsaw, Mo.)

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My husband and I are very proud of our three children who are currently in various stages of college. We’re also blessed to have some of our parents still with us. We’re in the midst of the “sandwich years.” Our children are transitioning into adulthood and our parents are dealing with the prospect of additional – and often much higher – health care costs.

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The situation certainly isn’t new, but the financial challenges of this particular age group have recently changed. In addition to your retirement fund(s) likely taking significant losses during the financial crisis, those of us currently in the sandwich years also face the financial challenges of our children and parents. Our kids are graduating into an extremely difficult job market, while our parents are dealing with the rising costs of health care on a fixed income. With these challenges, sometimes our parents and kids may need our help financially.

Don’t wait until you and your family are faced with these issues to begin dealing with them. Usually if a financial emergency occurs, you won’t have much time before you have to act. In my thirty plus years at UMB, I have seen customers in the middle of these transition years who haven’t had important discussions with their kids or their parents soon enough. Living in an area with a high concentration of retirees, I’ve seen countless children of senior parents who have waited too long to talk to them about their financial plans.

So what can you do to plan for the sandwich years?

Prepare your children for financial independence by:

  • Opening a college fund as soon as possible (your kids don’t have to be burdened with student loan repayments while they work to become financially stable).
  • Teaching them the foundation of financial responsibility at an early age.
  • Encouraging them to hold part-time jobs as teenagers to develop a strong work ethic early on, and learn the benefit of saving and budgeting.

Prepare your parents for the issues they will face by:

  • Having an open dialogue about their overall financial situation, while being respectful of their privacy and wishes.
  • Approaching the sensitive subjects of having a will, power of attorney and health care directive. They are difficult conversations, but it’s better to have them early. It is much harder to discuss finances when failing health and/or mental incapacity have occurred.

Prepare yourself for the sandwich years by:

  • Talking regularly with your financial advisor about what you need to do to prepare for your own retirement.
  • Creating an emergency fund. You don’t want to dip into your retirement fund if something should happen and your kids or parents need financial help.

The sandwich years can be very stressful but that stress can be greatly reduced if you plan ahead. Prepare your children to become financially independent young adults and ensure your parents have a financial plan for their senior years. And don’t forget to make your own financial preparations. Your children will thank you for it when they reach their sandwich years.

 

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.


Ms. Porter is senior vice president and financial center manager for the Eastgate location in Warsaw, Mo. She joined UMB in 1981. Ms. Porter is responsible for managing the consumer sales and functions of that location and has been involved in many other areas of the bank in her thirty-two years with UMB. Actively involved in the community, she has worked closely with the Warsaw High School vocal and instrumental departments for many years. She is a trustee of the Mary Lay Scholarship Fund, currently serves on the Harbor Village Fund fundraising committee and is a board member of the Warsaw Area Chamber of Commerce.

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The Plan in Planned Giving

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Planned giving can be an important tool when planning for the future of your estate. Some may have a desire to give to non-profit organizations, including their alma mater, a medical research project or a favorite youth organization. Whatever your desire, make sure you work with an experienced financial partner that can help guide you through the process to ensure your goals can be met.

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First, what constitutes a meaningful gift?

Quite simply, any gift is a meaningful gift. Many people are under the impression that only the very wealthy can be philanthropic. However, this is not the case. Gifts of any size are greatly appreciated by non-profit organizations, especially now as economic challenges have affected many individuals’ ability to donate while the needs continue to grow.

Motivations for gifting

The reasons for gifting vary greatly depending on the individual. Compassion for those in need, an extension of a religious or spiritual commitment, desire to share good fortune with others and memorializing the lives of others are some of the most prevalent reasons for planned gifts. You should personally evaluate your motivation and goals, and keep them in mind when determining how and when you want to support a cause.

Selecting the “right” organization

There are many worthy organizations, and choosing the non-profit that best fits your giving intentions is extremely important. Once your inspiration for giving has been clearly identified, make a short-list of potential groups. Organizations should be carefully researched and vetted to ensure you are comfortable with the final decision. It’s important to learn about a specific topic or organization, so your philanthropy can be used in a meaningful way. Once one or more organizations have been selected, a financial partner can help you define your vision, determine how the gift will be distributed and then evaluate, when possible, how the gift has been used.

Gift Options

Another item to consider is the type of gift you may want to give. Many organizations have gift acceptance policies, which may exclude certain types of donations. Things like stocks, real estate, art or other items may be quite valuable, but you should have a conversation with the organization first to ensure they are able to accept these types of gifts.  

Planned giving is an extremely meaningful and personal investment. Taking the time to evaluate these types of questions can really help individuals and organizations make the most of charitable gifts.


Jan Leonard is senior vice president and managing director for charitable trusts, private foundations and fine art services. She joined UMB in 2003 and has more than 25 years of experience in the management of private and public organizations. Leonard earned a bachelor’s degree from Arkansas Tech University and a master’s degree in business administration from Ottawa University in Ottawa, Kan. She is also a graduate of the Cannon School of Foundation Management.

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Balancing Act: The changing landscape of commercial banking

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Technology has changed the way people do business. It’s also changed the way they do business banking. You can transfer money between two business accounts in minutes with online banking or complete and submit your entire expense report on the computer. Technology gives you the convenience of having greater control over your company’s finances. But that shouldn’t change the business partnership you have with your company’s bank.

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Like any relationship, creating and maintaining an effective partnership requires regular communication between you and your bank partner.  A strong relationship with your company’s financial institution not only enhances your customer experience, but also helps the bank balance quality service with a high level of information security.

Customer Experience

Your banker should know your company beyond what can be learned from a monthly commercial credit card statement. Your bank should act as an extension of your business and not just a place for you to keep your corporate accounts. Understanding the business cycles and unique financial needs of your engineering firm or your agriculture business gives your bank the insight to be a partner working with you on developing ideas to help your business succeed. This experience begins with a simple but powerful idea: know your customer.

For example, a bank that uses “know your customer” requirements for you to access your account can take this information and use it as a chance to get to know you and your employees better. At UMB, we require you to provide information that will uniquely identify you as the customer you say you are when you call us. These precautions are also good security measures to reduce potential fraud on your accounts.

Information Security

Having a strong relationship with your bank is important to your information security. Most banks will monitor spending habits to check for fraudulent activity on your commercial cards. For example, if a commercial card for a construction company starts posting a series of expensive charges at a department store within several hours, UMB might flag that account for suspicious activity or even put a hold on the card to stop any further transactions. Some might see this as too constrictive and even intrusive, but if you have a good working relationship with your financial institution you’re more likely to view this type of monitoring as a partner looking out for your company’s financial well-being.

So what can you do as a customer to keep the two-way communication open? Keeping your profile with your bank up-to-date makes it easier to verify who you are when you need to contact them. This also helps your bank ensure an accurate and safe customer experience.

Balancing self-service, customer service and information security is a challenge. A good bank should maintain the fine line between giving you the freedom to run your business and manage your finances, while remaining a loyal business partner who will always looks out for your best interests and the financial safety of your company.


Mr. Wegner is vice president and commercial card product manager at UMB. In this role, he is responsible for product development and program design for new and existing programs. He joined UMB in 2011. He earned an MBA in Management from Rockhurst University in Kansas City MO. He is a member of the NAPCP Public Sector Advisory Board.

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