‘Tis the Season!

‘Tis the season!

As I walk outside, I see vibrant shades red, orange and yellow leaves falling from the trees and farmers preparing to harvest their crops. Then I walk into a store and see shelves stocked with shades of green and red holiday decorations. I think to myself, am I ready? Then I remember everything will be fine because I have spent the last year saving up financially, only for the gifts to take minutes to be unwrapped! Even though it is only October, Christmas is everywhere you look.

Are you ready? Christmas Clubs are a great way to plan for the holidays. It is a short term savings account that you control. You can pick you club plan and then receive that money just in time for holiday shopping.

Other ways to be ready:

  • Set a realistic budget: Figure out how much you can afford to spend and stick with it.
  • Make a list: Who do you buy for, how much per person and a gift idea.
  • Get a head start: Shop early so you make wise purchases.
  • When all else fails: Give gift cards.

Now let’s save, shop and have a safe holiday season! For more information on Liberty National Bank’s Bonus 50 Christmas Club, please visit https://myliberty.bank/personalSAVINGS.php#christmas.

Top 10 Reasons to Keep Your Personal Information Private

Because you tend to live out a good portion of your life on the World Wide Web, it’s easy to forget that having a life online also means that countless numbers of people have access to your personal information at any given time.

Whether you’re writing a blog post or posting an update on Facebook, it’s easy to overlook breaches to your electronic privacy. Others Eyes are able to access your personal data in various ways, it’s critical that you constantly work to keep your personal information private.

The term “personal information” can take on any number of meanings. Many individuals would state that personal data is your name, address and Social Security number, but that definition barely scratches the surface. When using the Web, personal information can be defined as your status updates on Facebook, what you post in your tweets and even the photos you share on Flickr.

It’s vital that you practice privacy control for many reasons concerning the following:

  1. Prevent identity theft.

Identity theft is currently the number-one rated cybercrime, and as the Web grows, so will the number of individuals whose identities are stolen online. Identity theft occurs when someone gains access to your personal information and pretends to be you online. Individuals who have accessed your personal data can retrieve your login information for various websites or commit cybercrimes such as fraud, all while posing as you. Identity theft is the type of crime that can have long-lasting repercussions for both your electronic privacy and your online reputation.

  1. Protect your banking information.

Many people feel completely safe when banking online, but protecting your banking information has never been more important. Cybercriminals can take your banking information and make unauthorized withdrawals and transfers. Although banking websites are encrypted, you should still practice privacy protection by changing your passwords frequently and by never logging in unless you’re on your protected network at home.

  1. Avoid posting vacation details.

You may not be the only one excited that you’re posting a status update about your upcoming trip. Unless your Facebook status updates are completely protected, you may literally be leaving your front door open to break-ins and home robberies. Never share your vacation plans on social networking websites.

  1. Protect your employment record.

Status updates aren’t just for talking to your friends and followers; they can also give a future employer a quick gauge as to what type of employee you might be like. Sharing personal information such as your likes and dislikes about politics, religion or your current job can shut the door on future job opportunities. Be aware of what you’re posting on Facebook and Twitter, and ensure a spotless record before you get the job.

  1. Manage your business online reputation.

If you run a business online, you know that practicing business reputation management is something you must do on a daily basis. Failure to protect your company’s electronic privacy can destroy your online reputation. Criminals can take your business information and create false email accounts and fake employee names and even hack into your corporate computer system. Protect your company’s digital privacy by running your intranet on a secure server.

  1. Secure your credit card information.

Credit card scams are on the rise. Although improvements to SSL technology have allowed you to feel more secure using your cards online, it’s still a good idea to safeguard your credit card number and security PIN. In addition, you can protect yourself by asking the credit card company to add extra security questions to your account and alerts to your credit bureaus.

  1. Gain admission to the school of your choice.

In much the same way that your social network status updates and tweets can prevent you from gaining a new job, they can also damage any chances you or your loved ones have of gaining admission to college. Recruiters and admissions clerks search for applicants online, often judging them solely on their Facebook profile. Check out this article about how Facebook has become the judge and jury of your online reputation. Keep your personal information private.

  1. Protect your insurance.

Having proper home insurance is often a necessity for obtaining a mortgage. Like home insurance, life insurance gives you peace of mind that your family will be protected. If you post personal information on the World Wide Web about risky behaviors involving you or your home, you could be denied your insurance plan. Always protect your privacy by avoiding status updates detailing behaviors that your insurance company might deem perilous.

  1. Defend yourself in legal proceedings.

Being involved in a lawsuit is stressful, but if you’re leaking personal data on the Web you could damage your ability to win your case. Never share any type of legal information or post specific details about any type of legal dealings. You may be underestimating those who search for you online.

  1. Guard your medical information.

Posting your personal information on the Web can prevent you from receiving adequate medical care. Criminals troll websites specifically looking for detailed medical information. When they have obtained your personal data, they will use it to gain personal medical attention for themselves or to sell to others. You could possibly be denied medical attention due to unpaid debt. Always protect your electronic privacy by not posting any medical-related data, including information about specific medical conditions.

When you’re sitting in front of your computer at home, it’s easy to feel safe while surfing the Internet. Focusing on privacy protection is vital in protecting your personal data both online and off. So, keep your personal information private.

Savings Tips for Children

April 24th is National Teach Children to Save Day. We have employees going to local schools to teach children the importance of saving. Anytime is the right time to begin teaching children about money, and below are some tips that can help you teach money at home.

  1. Talk openly about money with your kids. Communicate your values and experiences with money. Encourage them to ask you questions, and be prepared to answer them – even the tough ones.
  2. Explain the difference between needs and wants, the value in saving and budgeting and the consequences of not doing so.
  3. Set up a chore chart and give your children an allowance for completing their tasks.  Require them to save at least a small portion each week.  The three jars method, one for spending, one for saving and one for charitable contributions is a good way to impart a sense of responsibility.
  4. Open up a savings account at your local bank for your children and take them with you to make deposits, so children can learn how to be hands-on in their money management.
  5. Be an example of a responsible money manager by paying bills on time, being a conscious spender and an active saver. Children tend to emulate their parents’ personal finance habits.

Last Minute Tax Tips

The tax filing deadline is quickly approaching, but there is still time! The deadline to file your taxes is Tuesday, April 18th. If you still need to file your taxes, below are some last-minute tips that can minimize what you owe and maximize your tax savings.

  1. Report all of your income

Don’t end up on the IRS audit list by hiding extra income you collected throughout the year. Any time you receive income, whether it’s a side job, a dividend check, interest from your bank, you’re required to report that income and pay taxes on it. With this, you should receive 1099 forms. Make sure the information you enter on your return matches what’s on each form because the 1099s are also filed with the IRS.  If the information doesn’t match, you stand a good chance of getting audited.

  1. Identify what tax credits are available

Tax credits reduce your tax liability dollar-for-dollar. In other words, a $1,000 tax credit means you get to automatically deduct $1,000 from your tax bill in full. Take time to read up on the tax credits available. There are tax credits geared toward parents, students and others that can add up to huge savings, but you need to know how to submit them.

  1. Know your deductions

Tax deductions can save you money by excluding a portion of your income from taxes. There are numerous deductions available to tax filers, including the mortgage interest deduction, medical expense deduction, and deductions for charitable contributions. You should claim as many deductions as possible, but first check your records and make sure your numbers are 100% accurate. Have copies of your bank, credit card statements and receipts, adding up what you spent.

  1. There is still time to contribute to last year’s IRA

You have until the April 18, tax filing deadline day, to contribute to the previous year’s IRA account. And if you max out a traditional IRA, you could possibly deduct more than $1,000 off your tax bill.

Do You Need a Mortgage Check-Up?

Just like you get your physical health checked on regular basis, it’s a great idea to get a regular Mortgage Check-Up.

How long has it been since you’ve reviewed your Mortgage Health? Here’s some questions that can help.

  • Is your current rate higher than 5.00%?
  • Do you have an adjustable rate mortgage?
  • Has your credit score improved since you got your mortgage?
  • Are you moving soon?
  • Do you have additional debt you would like to consolidate?
  • Are you planning on starting your own business soon?

If you can answer yes to any of these questions, NOW might be the time for an appointment. For additional information on Mortgage Loans or to contact a Mortgage specialist, visit us at: https://myliberty.bank/loansrealestate.php.

We Love our Customers!

There is nothing better than getting a survey back that says “Everything about the loan process was easy and comfortable…like talking to a friend. Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. We are very happy with our LNB experience!”

With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching, take time to share what you love. We LOVE our customers! And we LOVE being able to help and make great experiences! Thank you for choosing Liberty National Bank to help with your financial journey. Please contact us if you ever have questions or need financial guidance. Our Vision is: A Customer For Life! And we take that to heart!

What’s it mean to be Financial Healthy?

What’s it mean to be financial healthy?  It means a lot of things, but one thing it definitely means is having a plan for saving.  Step One in that process is deciding how much to save.  There are lots of suggestions out there…3-6 months of living expenses is what we hear most.  That’s a fine suggestion, but it doesn’t mean anything.  How is someone supposed to know whether it’s 3 or 6 or somewhere in between?  Or maybe an altogether different number?

The truth is, the number you need in savings is the number that makes the knot in your stomach go away.  If you’re married, it’s spouse-#1’s number plus spouse-#2’s number divided by two.  Anything over that number is something you should have working for you in some other, more beneficial way.  Some people keep hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings, “just in case.”  There is no eventuality that will cost that much; fear or “I don’t care” are the only two reasons for that.  If it’s fear, seek to understand what you’re money is doing by finding a trusted financial advocate.  But don’t waste the opportunity your money has to benefit you and your family.

For more information, please visit https://www.myliberty.bank/financialplanning.php.