Blog   Tagged ‘expenses’

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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Is Amazon the new Christie’s?

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Would you like to add a Norman Rockwell original to your shopping basket? Well, now you can.

Amazon recently launched a new platform where you can purchase fine art just like you would buy toys, books or laundry detergent on their site. On Amazon Art, you can choose from a wide array of options in price, artists and quality.

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Buying art online

 

 

Research on internet art purchasing shows that online sales tend to be in the $5,000 and under price range and are usually the works of living artists with or without a significant resume. Online buyers also tend to view their pieces as more decorative versus a long-term investment.

 

 

 

There are both benefits and drawbacks to buying fine art online. If you’re thinking about purchasing a piece of art from an online source, consider these benefits:

  • Easy access to more artists: The online option increased the market for sellers by providing an inexpensive, easily-accessible platform and fronting with a brand name.
  • Pick your price point: Sites now offer options that range from $20 to $4 million, so there is something for everyone. With a broader selection of pieces, you will be able to stick to a price point that fits your budget.
  • Customized shopping: Some sites are very user-friendly and give you the option to shop by color, price, size, etc. These sites will only continue to evolve, which will force all players to keep improving their online customer experience to be competitive.

On the flip side, there could be some risk to buying art online:

  • Value risk: Basically, are you getting what you paid for? This is something to think about because there may not be an opportunity to verify authenticity or provenance (or origin) before buying a piece.
  • Transactional risk: Depending on the online seller or site, there may not be a guarantee to return a piece you purchase if you learn it’s not authentic, is misrepresented, etc.
  • Lack of References: Check references before buying a significant piece. Call the gallery directly or arrange to view the piece on site.  While we encourage this practice, you may or may not have this option depending on the online seller.
  • Hidden Costs: You may also encounter added expenses, such as shipping, handling, administrative fees or insurance.

When you look for your next piece of art, keep your options open and these tips in mind. If you are thinking about buying a significant piece, you may find traditional shopping methods are best.  But if you’re interested in looking online, there are many options to choose from ­– just remember to proceed with caution.

 

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.


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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Simplifying your credit

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When was the last time you downloaded your credit score? If you can’t remember or you have never checked it, you should consider taking a look at it soon. But you’re not alone. Two thirds of the population have not downloaded their credit report in the past year, despite the fact that the average American owes $118,000 in debt. This includes mortgage, student loans, credit card debt, etc.

Pie Chart Downloaded Credit Report in Last 12 Months

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Why do you need to know your credit score? High debt combined with little to no information about your credit score could put you in a risky financial situation. If you have so much debt that you can’t keep up with it and your regular monthly bills, you might end up paying a bill late or forget to pay it at all. This will lead to a lower credit score. Then when you go to apply for a home or car loan, you could be either denied or receive a higher than normal interest rate based on your lowered score.

Unfortunately, this has become a very common scenario. Many people are living month-to-month and often carry over their credit card debt each month just like their regular bills. One third of working adults don’t pay bills on time in part due to the number of accounts they have. Many have trouble keeping up with monthly expenses, requiring them to dip into savings to cover regular expenses.

Pie Chart Pay Bills on Time

Did you know that there are ways to reduce your loan interest rates and monthly payments? You can also reduce the number of payments you owe and even earn money with rewards points from certain credit cards.

To simplify your credit, consider the following options:

  • Use the bill pay option with your bank

    This saves time and you can go to one place to manage all of your bills and schedule them to pay once per month.

  • Consolidate your debt

    Consolidating your debt allows you to have one payment for all your debt and you can usually obtain a lower interest rate. This can allow you to pay your debt in less time for less money.

  • Reduce the number of credit cards you use

    This is another way to help you keep track of your spending and bills. Consider using a credit card that allows you to earn rewards. When you use the card you can earn points toward purchases, helping you save money.

  • Take advantage of low interest rates

    If you refinance your current mortgage to the low rates available now, you can save on your monthly payment. This is also true of auto loan rates.

If you feel overwhelmed by debt and monthly bills, take advantage of these ways to simplify your credit to help you work on becoming debt-free. Even if you don’t have much personal debt, it’s still a good idea to consider these tips to organize your finances, save money, and monitor your credit.

 

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. Burditt serves as senior vice president of customer experience in UMB’s Consumer Division. He is responsible for developmental and strategic direction of the UMB consumer customer experience. He joined UMB in 2011. Mr. Burditt earned a Bachelor of Science degree in agricultural journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia. He also is a graduate of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce’s Centurions program.



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The business of doing good: How to manage your non-profit’s finances (Part 2)

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The non-profit sector is a growing field and an important part of the economy. With so many organizations for people to choose from, how does a non-profit gain continuous support from donors? How do they attract associates and maintain staff enthusiasm for the organization? One answer is something you might not expect: cards.

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UMB hosted a group of almost 40 representatives from Colorado Springs non-profits to talk about a variety of financial management tips for non-profit organizations.

In my previous post I highlighted the first idea covered in this forum: stream-lined, full-service fundraising options for your supporters. Two additional ways to develop and maintain support from both groups are affinity cardprograms for the donors and a commercial card (also known as a corporate card) program for the staff.

Affinity Card

Affinity card programs give your supporters an easy way to donate to your organization. Every time they use the affinity card to make a purchase, a certain amount of money is donated to your organization. The amount will vary based on the card provider you use.

You can even personalize the card to display your logo or another image that represents your organization.

Sometimes organizations avoid programs like this because they think it’s too much hassle to maintain the program. Actually it’s easier than you think. The most important thing to remember is to research the program, the bank that sponsors it, and the terms and conditions of the card.

Commercial Card

Like affinity cards, some non-profit organizations avoid using commercial cards. They’re concerned it will cost them money and be more of an obstacle than a useful tool. Actually, you can use commercial cards to bring money back to your organization, not just to pay expenses. For example, if you sign up for a card with a rewards or rebate program, you could make money using your card. Or you could earn points toward other purchases for the organization.

Many cards offer a comprehensive set of payment solutions you can use to pay for everything from basic expenses to financing full-scale fundraiser events. These payment solutions often offer automated purchasing/payables for your bookkeeping, allowing you and your staff to be more efficient and focus on the work you’re doing in the community.

Other features and benefits of commercial cards include:

  • Spending Controls
  • Convenience
  • Reporting Capabilities

Creating enthusiasm from your donors and associates is easy because they’re passionate about supporting your organization and its mission. Maintaining that enthusiasm is sometimes more difficult and it often involves thinking about processes from their point of view. One way to do this is to establish programs that remove obstacles and allow them to focus on supporting the organization.

 

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. Doyle is community bank president for UMB’s Colorado Springs region. He is responsible for guiding strategic direction in the Colorado Springs region as a member of the Colorado management team. He joined UMB in 2011 and has eight years of experience in the financial services industry. He earned a bachelor’s degree in finance from Florida State University in Tallahassee, Fla. and a master’s degree in business administration from Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Okla.



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Paying off student loans doesn’t have to be a life sentence

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Picture yourself graduating from college. You may have landed a great job and moved into your own apartment. Or maybe you’re getting some work experience with an unpaid internship and you’ve moved back in with your parents for a few years. You may also have close to $30,000 in student loan debt that you feel like you’ll be paying off for the rest of your life.

You’re not alone. Before you go off to college, you might want to consider alternatives to student loans. Many people realize too late that they can’t afford the debt from their college expenses. Tuition, room and board, books and other costs over four or more years add up quickly. Not to mention if you choose to pursue an advanced degree.

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Student loan delinquencies in the U.S. are rising quickly. Student loan debt is also on the rise. The average student loan debt was $17,233 in 2005. In 2012, it had climbed to $27,253, an increase of more than 58 percent in just seven years.

Student Loan Delinquencies
Information from research done by FICO Labs

This debt increase combined with a slowly recovering economy has created an unstable situation; one that’s leading many to default on their student loan payments.

You might think defaulting on a loan isn’t a big deal. But, when you default on a loan, your credit rating drops and it’s more difficult to get approval for new credit. It’s a vicious cycle and it’s only getting worse. As more people default on their student loans, more of the population has lower credit scores, less access to credit and less opportunity to help grow the economy.

But this doesn’t mean you should skip college and go straight to working full-time. Student loans aren’t the only option to help pay for education. You do need to be prepared though. Don’t wait until you’re a senior in high school to start thinking about the following options:

  • Research scholarships and grants. As opposed to loans, students don’t have to pay back these types of financial aid.
  • Once you’re accepted to a school, research the least expensive options for non-tuition expenses (used books, on-campus housing, meal plans, etc.).
  • Get involved in the process so you can learn valuable financial lessons for the future. If you’re involved in the process from the start, you will have a better understanding of how to manage your money after college.

 

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. Stone serves as vice president, financial center manager and is responsible for leading the execution of sales and client experience within the financial center. He joined UMB in 2005. Stone earned a Bachelor of Science in Management from Baker University in Baldwin, Kan.



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