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Establishing Good Financial Habits

Establishing Good Financial Habits

We all tend to develop habits that provide a rhythm or structure to our daily lives.  Once these habits are developed, they can be hard to break.  Building good financial habits can provide a rhythm, or sense of control, for your financial life.  Here are ten good financial habits that can help you build a sound financial foundation and help you reach all your financial goals:

  1. Make sure your financial information and records are organized.  Knowing where important financial information is located and having a system will save time and aggravation.
  2. Use direct deposit for your paycheck.  This saves time and gets you money working for you faster.  It is also safer.
  3. Use automated savings plans to save for near term purchases and long term financial goals.  This involves having MutualBank or your employer transfer a set amount each month into your savings account to be available for a vacation or a major purchase. 
  4. Prepare a household spending worksheet.  The process of preparing your first one will help you identify potential areas for reducing expenses.  Analyzing your spending on a regular basis (perhaps annually) will help you monitor your spending and develop savings habits.
  5. Prepare a personal balance sheet periodically.  Having a current, or relatively current, personal balance sheet can be handy when you are considering applying for a loan.  Over time, you will be able to monitor your progress toward your long term financial goals.
  6. Reconcile your checking account.  Using tools like online banking and MutualMobile help you to avoid bouncing checks.  It is much easier to do this every month than to skip a month or two and then have to deal with multiple statements.
  7. Review all your bills and statements as soon as you receive them.  Even if you are not going to pay the bills immediately when you receive them, by reviewing your bills and statements you can identify and correct any errors.
  8. Make credit card payments promptly and pay more than the minimum.  If possible, pay your balance in full each month. Avoid late payment fees and reduce the amount of interest you may owe on unpaid balances by making sure your payments arrive before the due date.  Paying only the minimum will cost you more interest and it will take much longer to pay off the balance.
  9. Be sensitive to fees.  Some fees can not be avoided, but choosing to walk an extra block to use an ATM that does not charge a fee instead of using an ATM outside your network can be worth the effort.  Also, be sure to understand any fees that may be associated with your checking or savings accounts based on minimum balances.  There is no sense in paying fees if you do not have to.
  10. Learn more about handling your finances.  The more you know, the easier handling your finances will seem.  Try to read the personal finance columns in newspapers or perhaps even subscribe to a personal finance magazine.

Your habit of a morning coffee may be a good start to your day.  A few good financial habits can be the start of a good financial life. Go ahead...live a better life!

Contact a Representative Today

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Personal Banking Security Measures for the 21st Century

clientuploads/21st-Century-Securitysquare180.pngMany of us are constantly connected to the online world these days. This means that the potential is there for our computers and personal information to be compromised which greatly increases the risk of ID theft and financial fraud to occur. However, by taking some basic precautions you can significantly reduce the risk of your computing environment being compromised. Following these simple guidelines should help your computing environment become more secure:

Keep your computer and software up-to-date

Keep your computers and network equipment secured with the latest software updates and enable automatic updates whenever possible.  This includes updates to third party applications such as Java and Adobe Products.  

Use hard drive encryption

In the event your machine is lost or stolen, drive encryption can prevent others from accessing the data on your hard drive.  The purpose is to encrypt or scramble your data on your machine so that it can only be read with your encryption key.Many operating systems offer drive encryption.  Microsoft offers Bitlocker and Apple has FileVault. There are also other third party encryption offerings.   

Enable your firewall

Think of the firewall to your computer as the fence around your property.  If there were multiple holes cut in the fence, it wouldn’t be very useful at keeping people out.  Firewalls are typically enabled by default on Windows machines, but double check to make sure it’s on.  Here are instructions to do so if you are using Windows 7. Only allow necessary applications inbound access through your firewall. The same principles apply to your network firewall. 

Configure your screensaver

Set an auto-locking screensaver so your account gets locked out after a few minutes.  This is useful if you forget to lock your machine when are away from it. On Windows machines this can usually be done by pressing the “Windows Key” and the “L” button simultaneously.

Make your passwords stronger

The longer and more complex the password, the better.  At least 16 characters with a combination of upper and lowecase letters, numbers, and special characters is a best practice.

Configure your router

Use the strongest wireless security available (currently WPA2-CCMP) with a long and complex password for your wireless network. Disable WPS on your wireless router for greater security.   

 


Think that some secure banking information
of yours has been compromised?

If you suspect that your personal financial information has been compromised, call MutualBank Customer Support at 800-382-8031.


 

Monday, April 7, 2014

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Establishing Good Financial Habits

Establishing Good Financial Habits

We all tend to develop habits that provide a rhythm or structure to our daily lives.  Once these habits are developed, they can be hard to break.  Building good financial habits can provide a rhythm, or sense of control, for your financial life.  Here are ten good financial habits that can help you build a sound financial foundation and help you reach all your financial goals:

  1. Make sure your financial information and records are organized.  Knowing where important financial information is located and having a system will save time and aggravation.
  2. Use direct deposit for your paycheck.  This saves time and gets you money working for you faster.  It is also safer.
  3. Use automated savings plans to save for near term purchases and long term financial goals.  This involves having MutualBank or your employer transfer a set amount each month into your savings account to be available for a vacation or a major purchase. 
  4. Prepare a household spending worksheet.  The process of preparing your first one will help you identify potential areas for reducing expenses.  Analyzing your spending on a regular basis (perhaps annually) will help you monitor your spending and develop savings habits.
  5. Prepare a personal balance sheet periodically.  Having a current, or relatively current, personal balance sheet can be handy when you are considering applying for a loan.  Over time, you will be able to monitor your progress toward your long term financial goals.
  6. Reconcile your checking account.  Using tools like online banking and MutualMobile help you to avoid bouncing checks.  It is much easier to do this every month than to skip a month or two and then have to deal with multiple statements.
  7. Review all your bills and statements as soon as you receive them.  Even if you are not going to pay the bills immediately when you receive them, by reviewing your bills and statements you can identify and correct any errors.
  8. Make credit card payments promptly and pay more than the minimum.  If possible, pay your balance in full each month. Avoid late payment fees and reduce the amount of interest you may owe on unpaid balances by making sure your payments arrive before the due date.  Paying only the minimum will cost you more interest and it will take much longer to pay off the balance.
  9. Be sensitive to fees.  Some fees can not be avoided, but choosing to walk an extra block to use an ATM that does not charge a fee instead of using an ATM outside your network can be worth the effort.  Also, be sure to understand any fees that may be associated with your checking or savings accounts based on minimum balances.  There is no sense in paying fees if you do not have to.
  10. Learn more about handling your finances.  The more you know, the easier handling your finances will seem.  Try to read the personal finance columns in newspapers or perhaps even subscribe to a personal finance magazine.

Your habit of a morning coffee may be a good start to your day.  A few good financial habits can be the start of a good financial life. Go ahead...live a better life!

Contact a Representative Today

Back to Education Resources

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