Tag Archives: finances

How to Spring Clean Your Credit Card Debt

As the weather gets warmer, don’t let your credit score go up in flames! The average person with credit card debt has a balance of $16,000. That’s the cost of a brand new Ford Focus!

We understand the road out of debt isn’t easy but we want to provide you with some helpful tips.

Spring CleanGet organized. Kyle Long, Senior Commercial Credit Analyst at Two Rivers Bank & Trust, said organization is essential! “Create a detailed list of your current credit cards, total debt on each card, minimum payment on each, and their interest rates,” he suggested.

Hide your cards. After you’re organized, hide your cards. Try not to use them if you don’t have to. “Determine if there are any areas where you can save money during the month,” Long said.

“If you can eat out less, eliminate unnecessary luxury expenses, and utilize coupons, that money can be saved to make additional payments to the total credit card debt.”

Start with one card at a time. The card with the highest interest rate is where you should start. “Apply any extra cash you have every month to paying off this card, while still paying the minimum on the other cards,” Long explained. “Continue this approach until all your cards have been paid off.”

Long’s best advice for someone with substantial credit card debt? “Don’t ignore it! Make a plan and execute it because prolonging the debt will lead to increased interest charges, late fees, and a decrease in your credit score,” he said.

Our advice? Take a deep breath. Two Rivers can help you along the way. Our checking accounts include a debit card and online banking services that can help you use your credit card less.

You can come see us, too. Our lenders can review your finances with you.

“We can determine if a personal loan or home equity loan can help you consolidate your credit card debt, which can save you thousands of dollars in interest payments,” Long explained.

Being a good neighbor means we are there for financial guidance. Call us or come see us to talk about your credit card debt. We can help you breathe a little easier just in time for spring!

Give the Gift of Finances!

email headerLet’s face it. Your child has everything! They’re fed, clothed, and probably even have an Xbox One, a cellphone, or both! But did you know that 48 percent of children are lacking a college fund or any type of savings account?

Coralville Personal Banker, Jeannie Beisel, believes it’s never too soon to start teaching your children sound financial habits. “The earlier that you start those good habits, the better they’re going to stick.”

So, ‘Why open a Jr. Banker Savings account during the holidays?’ you ask?

“Grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. give money around the holidays, and opening a Jr. Banker Savings account at Two Rivers Bank & Trust will teach kids how to be responsible with their money instead of spending it on the first thing that catches their eye,” said Beisel.

It costs $5 to open the account.

Investing in your child’s future has never been easier! For just $5, you can open your little one’s savings account and set them up for a bright future. “The interest rate for the Jr. Banker Savings account is phenomenal,” said Beisel. “So your child’s money will grow as it just sits safely in the account.”

Maintaining a bank account teaches your child about money management.

campfireDon’t you wish someone taught you more about money management as a kid? Kids will be better off financially as adults when they grow up learning to set aside money, instead of spending it the minute they get it. Opening a savings account for your child is a great excuse to start that dialogue to explain why it’s important to save, and how much they should be saving. The best part? With a Jr. Banker Savings account, you can open it when they’re five, and it can stay with them when they decide to take up babysitting or a paper route a couple years down the road.

Your loved ones have more ways to give to your child.

All too often, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, and even friends are uncertain about what to give your child for birthdays or holidays, so they turn to cash or gift cards. Beisel said, “A Jr. Banker Savings account is great for when your children do get monetary gifts from relatives.” So, rather than sending out extensive gift lists and keeping track of who got what, an alternative would be to ask your loved ones to contribute to your child’s savings account. A donation to your child’s savings is the gift that keeps on giving since Two Rivers Bank and Trust pays interest on these accounts!

For $5 you can open the door to financial security for your little one’s future, and your child will learn how to manage money – an invaluable gift.

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National Write a Business Plan Month

How to- Write a business plan (2)

If you’ve always wanted to turn your passion into your profession, there’s no better time than the present – especially considering December is “National Write a Business Plan” month. Vice President of Community Banking, Jason Svejda, thinks that behind any strong business model, lies an even stronger plan.

“It serves as the framework for the company and lays out strategies and action plans so that you can establish and successfully operate your new business.”

Here’s everything you need to get on your feet when you’re in the early stages of planning your small business.

Do market research.

StockSnap_A9BJ0ZOQ0WBefore you launch your business, be sure to conduct thorough market analysis to determine whether or not your products and services will fill a consumer need. Methods of research include consumer surveys, experiments, and utilizing free resources like the Census Bureau for demographic information.

“It’s essential to have the knowledge and understanding of what exactly it is you want to do and knowing the obstacles involved,” said Bill Partain, Senior Vice President at Two Rivers Bank & Trust and Chair of the Entrepreneurship Committee of the Greater Burlington Partnership.

“A business plan isn’t about fluff or length, it should be more about facts and other key variables that will make the business successful, as well as knowing what hurdles and threats you will face that could potentially cause the business to fail.”

Write up your company details.

Clarify your business structure and product offerings by writing up the details. Consider the best method of managing your company, how your products will benefit your consumers, your products’ lifecycles, and your company’s differentiators; what makes your business stand out from the competition?

To put it simply, Svejda said, “Determine what your competitive advantages are or a distinction your business has, or could offer.”

Determine your marketing methods.

This is the step where you need to determine how you will market your products or services. Analyze your market research to determine the best method of reaching your target audience. For example, a younger demographic is not likely to be persuaded by mailers. Find out what works best for your target market, and include the sales strategy in your business plan.

Create your financial projections.

StockSnap_D0IYVWQ0KVThis step is crucial if you are in need of funding for your small business. Investors need to see sales projections in order to invest in you and your business. Keep in mind that different investors will be interested in different projections – determine what kind of projections you need before you make your pitch!

“Financial projections are simply a forecast and provide a means to quantify the many different variables and considerations within the business plan,” said Svejda. “While it’s not an exact science, a well-prepared financial projection will show a potential investor your understanding of the market you wish to be in, as well as financial metrics such as growth rates, expense ratios, profit margins, etc.”

Revisit your business plan frequently.

“It’s important for any business owner to maintain a healthy balance sheet to ensure they have the ability to withstand any adversity they may face,” said Partain. “We actually encourage the majority of our business customers to review their business plan at least a couple times throughout the year.”

Two Rivers Bank & Trust | Small Business Account

At Two Rivers Bank and Trust, we love supporting our neighbors, which is why we offer our Small Business Checking with 400 free items per month at no charge! It’s a great way for your company to manage its finances without spending a lot on services you don’t need.

“We take a simple approach with our small business account,” said Svejda. “This account provides the basic services and conveniences at a minimum cost. Our Small Business Checking is a great option for startups or businesses working on growth, as we offer the first 400 items (debits, credits, deposited items) free.”

Partain says at Two Rivers Bank & Trust, he’s fortunate to be part of many financial success stories in the local small business community.

“Whether a business owner needs to borrow funds to grow their business, or they simply need a better way to manage their cash, Two Rivers Bank & Trust has the resources and the experienced staff to assist you.”

Learn more about our Small Business Checking at Two Rivers Bank & Trust and get your start-up on its feet!