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Is your financial plan on course?

Is your financial plan on course?  Let Hills Bank Trust and Wealth Management work with you to chart a course for your financial future.
Let Hills Bank Trust and Wealth Management work with you to chart a course for your financial future.

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Moving Up

You are acquiring assets and enjoying your freedom, but you also need to establish good saving and borrowing habits.

Moving Up.  Financial advice to manage your income, credit, and borrowing needs.

Your life may never be as free as it is right now. Your focus is on your career and enjoying life. Everyone has a unique story, and each chapter of that story is accompanied by different financial needs. As your community bank, Hills Bank would like to be a part of each stage of your life and help you with the financial products and services you will need along the way.

These products will help you establish good habits in your financial management:
Saving and Spending
Keeping You Covered
Near Future


Tips for moving up

Find a mentor: Years ago, most professions started out with an apprenticeship while workers were learning a trade. Today, a mentor has a similar role as an experienced person with a career you admire. Develop friendships with a colleague at work, someone you meet at a conference, or a professional associate in your field who can become your advisor and help with challenges as you grow in your career. Be sure that your mentor never feels taken for granted. Take them out for lunch, send them thank you cards, and give them positive feedback about advice they have given.     

Continued education. It's important to continue growing after you land your first job. You will need to keep up on your field's latest technology, sharpen your skills, and continue learning. You can continue education at your local college, online, through professional associations, or by attending conferences in your career field. Continued professional development will aid in a successful career.     

Learn to budget. There are several online resources that offer budgeting tools. A simple Internet search will allow you to compare different budgeting tools so you can find one that is best for you. Start by identifying what you currently spend your money on, track it, and create goals that take into account your long-term financial objectives. A smart budget will help you build your emergency fund and save for your future. 

Time is on your side. Even though you are probably at a starting wage, time is on your side. Through compounding interest, the earlier you start saving, the more you will have for retirement, even if you are not contributing large amounts of money. If your employer offers a retirement plan, sign up at the earliest opportunity. If your employer doesn't have a retirement plan, utilize Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs), Roth IRAs, or other savings vehicles to start saving for your retirement. 

Develop or update basic estate planning and insurance documents. Now that you have income and are starting to build wealth, you should work with a financial planner and estate planning attorney to draft a will, general durable power of attorney, medical power of attorney, and a living will. You should also meet with an insurance specialist to make sure you are adequately covered. 

Rethink social media. When looking at your Facebook or Twitter accounts, view it through the eyes of a potential employer. Many times employers do an Internet search on job applicants before they hire. Do an Internet search on yourself, and you may be surprised at what pops up. Is this the online brand you want for yourself? If not, clean up anything you wouldn't want a potential employer to see, and lock down those social media sites you want only family and friends to see. Use your LinkedIn account to network and make connections. Need help? Visit the LinkedIn Learning Center to learn about profiles, find out how to get a new job, and make meaningful connections with other professionals. 

Discover a healthy work/life balance. Sure you have to pay your dues when you are learning a new job, but all work and no play is a way to burn out fast. Even though it's hard to make time for exercise when you have a jam-packed schedule, getting the minimum amount recommended each week pays big dividends. Exercise can help boost your mood, expend built-up energy, allow better quality of sleep, and increase your energy level by making you more alert—and will keep you healthier so you pay less for medical bills down the road. 

Another way to keep a healthy work/life balance is to explore hobbies and activities you are passionate about. Maybe you enjoy volunteering, or have always had an interest in theatre. Now is the time to do those things. Find ways to give back to your community on the Live Local page of hillsbank.com. There are also many community theatre groups in the area that you can get involved in. Visit hillsbanklivelocal.com and explore potential hobbies such as biking/hiking trails, community clubs, recreational leagues, and start expanding your social reach with family and friends. 

Below are ideas for club memberships and events in the area to help you relax and enjoy The Corridor.

  • Conquerthecorridor.com: Find ways to play around the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City Corridor.  
  • CulturalCorridor.org: Find over 150 different cultural organizations in The Corridor that you can be a part of.
  • Hoopla: Discover meetings and clubs within the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City Corridor.
  • Iowa.com: Find clubs, activities, and events across Iowa.
  • IowaBeautiful.com: An Iowa travel guide to attractions and events all over the state.
  • HillsBankLiveLocal.com: Take pride in the Eastern Iowa Corridor and discover ways to get involved, sustain our local economy, strengthen our community, and make a difference!
  • TravelIowa.com: Learn about festivals and events in your area from the official tourism website of the State of Iowa.

Identify your short-, mid-, and long-term goals and budget your money accordingly

Your short-term goals of less than five years might encompass a wedding, honeymoon, furniture or a new car. Mid-term goals could include the purchase of a home and financing your future children’s college education. Your long-term goals are probably centered around your retirement. These goals will help you determine how to spend and save your money.

Build assets by saving at least 10–15% of your income

It may be wise to invest in Certificates of Deposit (CD) or money market funds for your short-term goals and the stock market for your longer-term goals. Historically, the stock market has outperformed other types of investments over comparable time periods, but it’s not for the faint of heart. You may also want to join a 401(k) plan if available from your employer or open an IRA account.

Hills Bank can help compound your savings with an account that’s right for you:

  • Hills Bank CDs –  We offer competitive rates and a variety of short- and long-term certificates of deposit for you to choose from. For your convenience, you can either apply for your new CD online or at any of our locations
  • Regular Savings – This is a great place to start saving money.
  • Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) – Our IRA Department is skilled in helping you achieve your retirement goals. To speak to an IRA specialist, feel free to contact us and we will be glad to answer your questions.

Establish an emergency fund

A good guide is to save three to six months' worth of living expenses to cover rent or house payments, utilities, car payments, food, transportation, and insurance into a separate bank account that could be easily accessed in case of job loss or uncovered medical expenses. Don’t use the money for anything else.

Hills Bank recommends a Money Market Account to establish your emergency fund.

Cost-effective checking options

You’ll reduce the time it takes to pay your bills and save on the expense of paper checks and postage while helping the environment.

Debit Card – Use your Hills Bank debit card for faster, more convenient, and economical payments without the hassles of a checkbook.

Mobile banking – Access your Hills Bank accounts easily and securely. Mobile banking has no fee, and it's available anytime, anywhere with a text phone or a smart phone. 

Hills Bank provides mobile banking without charge. Account transaction limits and fees apply. Message and data rates may apply. Text STOP to cancel or HELP for help to 55658. View full terms.

Hills Bank Online – Bank 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with Hills Bank Online.

eStatements – Receive your monthly bank statements electronically with eStatements. This will not only help reduce the paper mail that arrives at your home; it also allows you to view your statement the day after it is generated at the bank.

PowerPay – With free PowerPay, you pay your bills from your Hills Bank checking account without writing a check or buying stamps.

Understand your credit report

Your financial behavior over the past seven years, including how much credit you have, how long you've had it, and whether you pay your bills on time, is information included in your credit report. Three credit reporting agencies — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — maintain these reports, and lenders reference them to help decide whether to offer you a prequalification. Your credit report also carries your credit score ranking between 300 and 850 that many lenders use to decide whether you are creditworthy and will repay a loan. Your credit score can also influence the interest rate you pay. In many cases, the higher your score, the lower your interest rate. Contact the three credit reporting agencies to get your credit score: 

Equifax –  www.equifax.com
Experian – www.experian.com

TransUnion –  www.transunion.com

AnnualCreditReport.com allows you to request one free credit report per year. In accordance with the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACT Act), AnnualCreditReport.com is a secure way to obtain your credit report which is generated by the three nationwide consumer credit reporting companies at one site. Get your free annual credit report today!

Borrow wisely

Avoid high-interest credit cards and pay off your credit card debt monthly. Work with Hills Bank for your major lending needs. When considering a mortgage, seek a loan from a bank you can trust — whether for a home purchase, refinance, or a home equity loan. You will want to compare all the costs involved including interest rates, points, fees, down payment, and private mortgage insurance requirements. A home equity loan or line of credit can be helpful when extra cash is needed, or to reduce significant credit card debt, but be cautious about re-building credit card debt once it has been paid.

To apply for a mortgage loan now, visit hillsbankmortgage.com, or stop by and talk with a member of our mortgage team.

You can apply for a personal loan by contacting a Personal Banker at any Hills Bank location or by calling 319-679-5500 for the Iowa City area, 319-654-8100 for the Cedar Rapids area, or toll free at 1-800-445-5725 today!

Save for retirement

Many people underestimate the amount of money they’ll need in retirement. Be realistic about major expenditures. For example, will your mortgage be paid off by retirement? If so, you may need less income than you do now. Do you plan to buy a vacation home or travel extensively? Will you have to pay for your own health insurance? Before these and other financial considerations come into play, now is a good time to increase your contributions to your retirement savings accounts.

Talk with Hills Bank’s Trust and Wealth Management team to learn how we can help you meet your retirement goals. 

Financial planning can be a very involved process. Hills Bank can help you get started with a free financial analysis. Please return the completed form to Hills Bank Trust and Wealth Management or drop it off at any Hills Bank location. A financial professional will provide you with your analysis shortly.

Investment 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.

Organize your personal documents

With all the junk mail, notices, and bills that arrive in your mailbox each day, it’s easy to feel like you're drowning in paper. Don’t let important papers pile up, waiting for you to find the time to sort and file them. Getting organized can be a chore, but it is absolutely essential. Managing your financial affairs requires taking charge of important documents such as birth certificates, insurance papers, deeds, and more with a tool called the Personal SAFEkeeper.

The Personal SAFEkeeper will provide small steps to tackle your project. Work through each page and you'll have a binder full of easy-to-reference essential documents.

Areas of focus include:

  • Credit and debit
  • Personal documents
  • Title and insurance 
  • Home ownership
  • Social security
  • Retirement records
  • Investment records
  • Estate planning
  • Tax records
  • Personal insurance

Assemble important papers and get organized today with your Personal SAFEkeeper. Don’t forget you can store all those essential papers in a safe deposit box* at any Hills Bank location!

*Safe deposit box contents are not FDIC insured.

Rent a safe deposit box

This is a convenient place to store important items that would be difficult or impossible to replace. Hills Bank’s safe deposit boxes* offer privacy and in most cases, greater security than keeping your valuables and important documents elsewhere. Additionally, some insurance companies charge lower insurance premiums on valuables kept in a bank's safe deposit box instead of at home. 

*Safe deposit box contents are not FDIC insured.

Stay current with financial information, products, and incentives from Hills Bank

You're busy, and time is a limited commodity. It's hard to keep track of the ever-changing financial industry. Consider signing up for the following eNewsletters from Hills Bank for the latest financial information, products, and incentives from Hills Bank. 

HBT Connect – This bi-monthly eNewsletter is a useful resource to help you manage your finances. Sign up for HBT Connect today!

Successful Business – This bi-monthly eNewsletter for businesses gives helpful tips to improve your business and exclusive information about Hills Bank services. Sign up for Successful Business today!

The Economy and Market from Here...in Hills – A quarterly eNewsletter that provides an overview of the economy and markets. Sign up for The Economy and Market from Here...in Hills today!

Tell a friend about Hills Bank

Tell a friend about Hills Bank and you can earn extra money when they open a checking account. 

Tell A friend About Hills Bank and earn money!Hills Bank offers convenient services

  • Unlimited check writing (checking accounts only)
  • Hills Bank Picture Perfect debit card — personalize your no annual fee debit card with your favorite photo and earn money for the public school district or private school of your choice in our community with Classroom Cash!
  • Unlimited free ATM transactions at Hills Bank ATMs throughout the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City Corridor
  • Friends ClubTM membership for qualifying individuals age 50 years and better
  • Free Hills Bank OnlineTM
  • Unlimited mobile banking
  • Free PowerPayTM — pay unlimited bills online

Hills Bank offers a variety of accounts

Tell a friend about Hills Bank today!

Hills Bank Customer Protection Center

Hills Bank has created the Customer Protection Center to provide educational information and ways to protect your accounts and personal information. In this center, you can find up-to-date security alerts from the FDIC and Hills Bank, information on protecting your bank cards, tips for online security and mobile security, information about social media security, a video about identity theft, and a list of online resources to help protect your identity. 

Visit the Customer Protection Center today!

Additional resources for moving up

  • BLS.gov: The United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics provides career exploration and information for jobseekers.
  • CareerOneStop.org: A resource provided by the U.S. Department of Labor with tools to help job seekers, students, businesses, and career professionals. 
  • MyMoney.gov: A U.S. government website dedicated to financial education. There is a “Starting/Losing a Job” section with guides for retirees.
  • MyNextMove.org: An interactive tool for jobseekers provided by the U.S. Department of Labor.
  • MySkillsMyFuture.org: Enter your current or past job and this interactive site will find careers with similar skills for you to explore.
  • Résumé Guide from CareerOneStop.org: Find information on creating a résumé that will stand out in today's job market.
  • USA.gov: Find government information and services on finding a job, including government jobs, job banks, résumé building, employment assistance, and more.
  • USAJOBS.gov: Find available job openings at the official jobsite for the U.S. federal government.

For help determining the best practices and products for sound and productive money management during
your particular life stage, please contact us at any Hills Bank location or email us at hillsbank@hillsbank.com.


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