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As two become one, many couples opt to combine their finances. You may also need to manage debt and establish good savings habits as you begin your life together.

Marriage Life Stage: Solutions for the financial stages of your life.

You’ve found someone to share your life with. You’re walking hand-in-hand down a mutual path of hopes and dreams. Everyone has a unique life 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.

Get started with these options:
Saving and Spending
Keeping You Covered
Near Future
  • IRA
  • Trust and Wealth Management
    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.


Tips for couples getting married

Honesty is the best policy. Before getting married, have an honest discussion about your finances and disclose any debt you carry. It may be a good idea to sit down with your partner and review your credit reports together. By federal law, you are entitled to one free credit report every year from AnnualCreditReport.com. Have a talk about who will be responsible for paying bills, keeping important documents, balancing checkbooks, and researching purchases so you are both on the same page.

Make a wedding budget worksheet. Budgeting for your wedding is an essential part of wedding planning. Your budget will determine many of the decisions you make throughout the wedding process. You can find several tools online to help set your wedding budget, plus several websites with advice and tips for a beautiful wedding on a budget.

Joining accounts as well as joining in matrimony? Understand the risks and responsibilities of joining accounts. If you are going to be co-owners with your spouse on a credit card, you will both be responsible for the charges made and credit card debt is reported on both partners' credit history. If you choose to have a joint checking account, be sure to share one checkbook and record ALL transactions so you don't lose track of your balance and overdraft, resulting in unnecessary fees.

Obtain a marriage license. Once you choose your wedding location, you need to apply for a marriage license, usually four to six weeks before your wedding date. Most marriage license applications are valid for 30 to 60 days, so if you don't have your wedding within the required timeframe, you will have to apply for another marriage license and pay the fee again. After your wedding, make sure your license is recorded in the county where you married. A few weeks after your wedding, you will receive your marriage certificate in the mail. Visit the Recorder's office for the following counties to learn more about marriage licenses.

Taking a new last name? If you are recently married and are taking a new last name, you will need at least three certified copies of your marriage certificate to update your name with the following agencies:

  • Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)
    Bring a certified copy of your marriage certificate to the DMV and tell them you've changed your name so it can be updated on your driver's license and the title to any automobiles you own.
  • Passport
    • If your passport was issued a year or less from the date of your marriage, you need to complete Form DS-5504 and send it to the US Passport Agency, along with a certified copy of your marriage certificate, old passport, and two new color photos.
    • If your passport was issued more than a year from your date of marriage, then you need to complete Form DS-82, and send it to the US Passport Agency, along with a certified copy of your marriage certificate, old passport, and two new color photos.
  • Social Security Administration (SSA)
    Update your name with the SSA by completing Form SS-5. The SSA will notify the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) so you do not need to file anything with the IRS.
  • Other Institutions
    Once you receive your new Social Security card and driver's license, be sure to change your name with the following institutions:
    • Assets/mutual funds/stocks companies
    • Bank
    • Credit card provider
    • Employer
    • Insurance companies
    • Medical offices
    • Mortgages/deeds/landlord
    • Postal service
    • State tax authority
    • Utility companies
    • Voter registration

Tax preparations. Typically, it's better for a married couple to file taxes jointly for several reasons. The income thresholds that move you into a more costly tax bracket are higher when earnings are joined. Filing jointly also qualifies you for tax credits that you don't get when filing individually. Meet with your tax professional to make sure that filing taxes jointly makes sense for your situation and to see if you need to make any changes with your employer for payroll deductions.

Update emergency contact information. Update your emergency contact information with your employer to include your spouse. It's also a good idea to ask your medical office to inform you of the procedures through which your spouse has access to your medical records. Don't forget to ask about the requirements for picking up each other's prescriptions from a pharmacy.

Update beneficiary information. In the event of your death, the value of your life insurance and retirement benefits go to a beneficiary. To prevent your benefits from being distributed according to state law, update your spouse as the beneficiary for your retirement plans, bank accounts, life insurance, and other assets such as mutual funds or stocks and bonds.

If you don't have a Will, be sure to make one so your spouse will be provided for from your Estate in the way you would like. A common misconception is that everything always passes to your surviving spouse. Meet with your attorney to update both of your Wills once you are married, and then update your Wills once you have children.

Learn to spend time together without spending a lot of money. Spending quality time to make memories with your partner doesn't mean spending a lot of money. Find activities you can do together like joining a co-ed bowling league, planting a garden, cooking meals together, or playing board games. Want more ideas? 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 inexpensive club memberships and events in 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.

Pay attention to your partner's financial habits. Financial incompatibility is one of the leading causes of conflict in a marriage. Learn how your partner views money and handles financial matters, both large and small. Have honest discussions about debt and future goals regarding your home, continuing education, children, and retirement. Make sure your goals are compatible and realistic. Once your financial goals are established, create a workable plan to accomplish them by highlighting strengths of each partner including who will be responsible for paying bills, filing documents, budgeting, and balancing the checkbook.

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.

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.

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!

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 online marriage resources

  • ACF.gov: A website from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services designed to help couples gain access to marriage education services to acquire skills and knowledge necessary to form and sustain a healthy marriage.
  • Financial Resource Center: Discover wealth management strategies from Hills Bank designed for the different stages of your life.
  • Financial Calculators: Easy to use calculators to help answer common financial questions.
  • HealthyMarriageInfo.org: A resource from the National Healthy Marriage Resource Center and the United States Department of Health and Human Services, this website has information for those who want to learn more about healthy relationships, marriage, and marriage education. 
  • MyMoney.gov: A U.S. government website dedicated to financial education. There is a “Marriage/Divorce/Partners” section with guides for couples.


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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