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Hills Bank and Trust Company

HBT Connect eNewsletter from Hills Bank and Trust Company

  HBT Connect  
Volume 2, Issue 3: May - June 2012  

  How Life Choices Affect Your Financial Future

Every day you make choices that impact your retirement opportunities. Taking steps to identify unnecessary spending and saving as little as $5.00 per day could lead to big savings over time.

Here’s the breakdown to put it into perspective:

If you invest $5.00 per day, you could save $35 per week for retirement. If your investment earned an average annual rate of return of 6%:

  • In 20 years you would have $68,977
  • In 30 years you would have $148,213
  • In 40 years you would have $290,197

As you can see, how you choose to live your life impacts your financial security – and it doesn’t take big changes. Find other savings goals with our savings calculator. For a secure future, take a close look at the choices you make. Small, positive and small changes could significantly improve your finances in the future. Not ready to give up the daily latte? Here is a list of other, larger changes you can make:

You are your most valuable asset. If you are not satisfied with your responsibilities, salary, or career path, it’s never too late to refresh skills and gain training for a new adventure. Likewise, in today’s uncertain economy, keep in mind that a long period of unemployment could threaten your financial security. Keep your résumé updated as you gain skills and experience. Consider joining a professional network or LinkedIn to connect with individuals in your field and keep pace with innovations. It’s important to keep yourself skilled and relevant to remain a valuable asset to your company.

Managing Debt
With the abundance and accessibility of credit cards, it’s easy to buy on credit and pay only the minimum each month. Soon, you’re paying more in interest than your purchase actually cost! Over time, credit card debt can have a devastating impact on your finances, credit score, and ability to recover from debt. Stop the cycle and work towards paying off your balances.

Housing Costs
Purchasing a home is the single largest purchase you’ll likely ever make, and it’s essential to save for surprise expenses that come with home ownership. The square footage of the average American home has increased over the past several decades as well as the cost. If your mortgage, taxes, and maintenance expenses deplete a large portion of your income, consider downsizing. What you save in housing costs could be significant and help improve your financial standing in the future.

Retirement Planning*
It’s estimated you’ll need around 75-85% of your working income during retirement. If your employer offers a retirement plan, participate and contribute – it’s like missing out on free money if you don’t! Plus, the earlier you start, the more you will have by the time you retire. Check out this retirement planner calculator to find out what it takes to work towards a secure retirement.

Unfortunately, accidents happen. Not having adequate insurance could lead to financial ruin. Protect yourself and your assets by ensuring you are adequately covered. If you are uncertain about insuring your assets, contact the Hills Insurance Agency and they will be glad to assist you!

Most days you have small financial choices to make, but some days there are life events that require more thought and preparation. Hills Bank understands that special financial considerations need to be addressed for each circumstance, and we have the experience, personnel, and products to guide you toward your desired financial future. Learn more about the resources and products available on hillsbank.com under the Life Stages tab.

*Investment and Insurance products are not a deposit, not FDIC insured, not insured by any federal government agency, carry no bank guarantee, and may go down in value.

  Everyday Savings

By now, you know you face financial choices every day, from the grocery store, to entertainment, to summer vacation plans.

One of the most frequent financial choices you make involves grocery shopping. The United States Department of Agriculture estimates a family of four spends $816.70 per month on groceries.* Using a few simple strategies will help keep your cupboards full without emptying your wallet.

Meal Plan Around Specials and Discounts
Plan meals around the coupons you have and the discounts you find in weekly ads. Items tend to go on sale every 4-6 weeks. Use your calendar or smart phone to track when your favorite items go on sale, and stock up on non-perishables during that time.

Buy Bottom Shelf or Top Shelf
Heavily promoted and more expensive items are usually at eye level. Often times, better deals on similar items are found on the top or bottom shelves. Also, don't overlook the store brands. Many times these items are made at the same facilities as the regular brands. The only difference? You are paying for the packaging and marketing for the name brands.

Take Advantage of Farmers Markets This Season
Get delicious, fresh produce at your local farmers market. You can even stock up on fresh items like onions, peppers, and mushrooms by dicing and freezing them to use in recipes throughout the year. For a list of local farmers markets in the Corridor, visit hillsbanklivelocal.com within "Experience Local Life."

Another daily dilemma is entertainment costs, including everything from movies, music and games to sporting events and recreational activities. According to the US Department of Labor, the average consumer spends $2,504 a year on entertainment.^ Here are a few ideas to save on entertainment without getting bored.

Save on DVDs, CDs, and Books
You can find great deals on used DVDs, CDs, and books at consignment shops and used book or CD stores. Don't forget, you can also get all these for free at your local library.

Visit Local Museums
Luckily, the Corridor has several area museums rich with fantastic exhibits. You can learn and have fun at the same time!

Watch Local Theatre
Spend an evening at a local theatre and support local actors. Many of these productions strive to present professional caliber performing arts while going easy on the entertainment budget.

Enjoy Local Music
You don't have to travel a long way racking up hotel and gas bills to hear great music. Catch a live band at a local music hot spot. The Corridor has several great venues where you can support local musicians, especially during the summer.

Visit the Experience Local Life Calendar
There are a lot of inexpensive and even free family friendly events happening year-round throughout the Corridor. The Hills Bank Live Local calendar is a great way to find activities the entire family can enjoy.

When planning your vacation this summer, consider a stay-cation for a family getaway. Eastern Iowa has several great destinations right in our own backyard. Live Local and try some of these excursions.

Amana Colonies
The Amana Colonies is surrounded by thousands of acres of prairie, farmland, riverbottom, and timber. Not only does it offer handcrafted shopping experiences and fantastic food, but it also is a perfect setting for biking, hiking, golf, and birding. Visit amanacolonies.com to learn more.

Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines
The Blank Park Zoo has more than 1,000 furry, finned, and feathered creatures waiting to meet YOU! Learn more at blankparkzoo.com.

Frank Lloyd Wright Home, Quasqueton
Frank Lloyd Wright built a home for Agnes and Lowell Walter in 1948 in Quasqueton overlooking the Wapsipinicon River. It's the only Wright structure in Iowa constructed with the signature red tile which was used to indicate that everything was designed by Wright himself. Learn more at franklloydwrightsites.com.

Wilton Candy Kitchen
Visit the oldest ongoing ice cream parlor/soda fountain in the world! Founded by R.A. McIntyre in 1860, the Wilton Candy Kitchen has been serving lunches, ice cream, and candy for over 150 years. Visit wiltoncandykitchen.com to learn more about this unique Iowa treasure.

These are just a few of the great getaways in Eastern Iowa. Talk to family and friends about the unique adventures they have had in our local communities. You'll have a memorable experience without breaking the bank.

Sources: *Official USDA Food Plans: Cost of Food at Home at Four Levels, U.S. Average, March 2012. ^US Department of Labor Annual Average Expenditures and Income of All Consumer Units.


FBI Warns of International Cyber Ring that Infected Millions of Computers World-wide

The FBI is warning internet users about an online scam that could cause your computer to lose connectivity to the internet this summer. Last November, an international cyber ring that infected millions of computers world-wide was dismantled by the FBI. The FBI is now encouraging internet users to visit dcwg.org, a site that will guide users through the process of identifying and fixing infected computers. Please visit the FBI website, fbi.gov, for more details on the computer virus.


Greater Iowa City Area Home Builders Parade of Homes

The Greater Iowa City Area Home Builders Association is hosting its annual Parade of Homes June 2 - 10. Homes are open on Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm, Sunday from noon to 5 pm, and on Tuesday and Thursday from 6 to 9 pm.


Greater Iowa City Area Home Builders Remodelers Parade

The Greater Iowa City Area Home Builders Association is hosting its Remodelers Parade on Saturday, June 2nd from 10 am to 5 pm and on Sunday, June 3rd from noon to 5 pm. Visit the Iowa City Home Builders website for more information.


Holiday Schedule

The bank will be closed on the following holidays:

Memorial Day
Monday, May 28th

Independence Day
Wednesday, July 4th

Even though we will be closed, you can still do your banking at over 80 Hills Bank ATMs in the Cedar Rapids - Iowa City Corridor, Hills Bank Online, via mobile banking, or through Push Button Banker.

View the complete Hills Bank holiday schedule.

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