Brad Rex, author of “The Surpassing Life. 52 Practical Ways to Achieve Personal Excellence” and motivational speaker, addressed the ANB team on Thursday, June 21st. He discussed his life experiences as well as the 4 C’s of life: competence, commitment, character, and compassion.
As students graduate from colleges and universities across the country and begin to plant the seeds for their financial future, American National Bank offers tips to help graduates manage finances in the “real world.”
Graduation is an exciting time for students who are often anxious to gain financial independence. It’s important to remember that the financial decisions they make now will affect their future for years to come, so they should take a moment to outline their short- and long-term financial goals and come up with a monthly budget that will work for them. This is one simple exercise that will be well worth any recent grad’s time.
Students who don’t already have their own individual bank accounts (not cosigned by mom and dad) should open one immediately. ANB recommends graduates look to a community banker who can work with them one-on-one to make a financial plan that suits their individual needs.
Other tips include:
- If you don’t have strong financial literacy skills, take some time to educate yourself on money matters, such as credit and ways to save for retirement. There is an abundance of resources available from programs such as FDIC Money Smart or access the American National Bank Financial Information web page.
- Understand credit, how to build it and what hurts it.
- Set up online banking to help you manage your finances from anywhere.
- Start saving for retirement now even if it does seem like a long way away. Many employers offer investment matching plans to help you get started.
- Set up an automatic savings account that pulls from your account every month as soon as you get your paycheck. Some employers also allow you to defer savings to another account. If you don’t see it, chances are you won’t miss it so much. Having a safety net in your savings account will help you stress less.
- Stay on top of any student loans, don’t miss deadlines and consolidate if appropriate. Some companies will help you pay off your student debt; make sure to ask about this when negotiating your new job.
- Review your banking, credit card and loan statements regularly so you can be aware of any errors.
- If you move, notify your bank, card and loan issuers immediately.
- If closing a bank account, confirm that the account and appropriate lines of credit have been closed by verifying with the bank.
- Take advantage of working with financial planners at your bank who can help you create your financial road map and a smart monthly budget for this stage in your life.
This stage of a grad’s life is all about empowerment—and financial matters are no different. American National Bank congratulate this year’s college grads and wishes them a prosperous financial future.
Convenience is the driving factor in the rise of mobile banking. It opens the doors to consumer choice and access to banking options. But, as mobile devices, like smartphones and iPads become more popular, hackers are finding savvy ways to steal information. American National Bank urges consumers to be cautious when using mobile devices to do their banking.
ANB urges consumers to take a common sense approach to mobile banking. “Use caution on your phone just like you would a computer. If you’re careful, you can really enjoy mobile banking’s benefits safely and securely.” says Rick Kalin, ANB’s Electronic Banking Manager.
Following a few simple steps can prevent a big headache later. ANB offers the following tips to protect your information:
- Avoid storing sensitive information like passwords and social security numbers on your mobile device.
- Password protect your mobile device and lock it when you’re not using it.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Don’t type any sensitive information if others around you can see.
- Log out completely when you complete a mobile banking session.
- Protect your phone from viruses and malware just like you do for your computer by installing mobile security software.
- Download the updates for your phone and mobile apps.
- Use discretion when downloading apps.
- If you change your phone number or lose you mobile device, let your financial institution know right away.
- Monitor your accounts regularly and report suspicious activity to your financial institution immediately.
To spotlight June 15th “World Elder Abuse Awareness Day” American National Bank is offering tips on how to identify and prevent elder financial abuse.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, seniors throughout the United States lose an estimated $2.6 billion or more annually due to elder financial abuse and exploitation.
American National Bank offers the following tips to our elder consumers:
- Never give your Social Security number, account numbers or other personal financial information over the phone unless you initiated the call.
- Don’t open e-mails from unknown sources, and beware of any notice claiming you have won a lottery.
- Shred receipts, bank statements and unused credit card offers before throwing them away.
- Review your monthly accounts regularly for any unauthorized charges. Report lost or stolen checks immediately.
- Order copies of your credit report once a year to ensure accuracy.
- Lock up your checkbook, account statements and other sensitive information when others will be in your home.
- Do business with companies you know are reputable, or first check their references and credentials. Beware of any home improvement contractor that comes to your door or tries to sell you services over the phone.
- If a stranger needs to send you payment for something, insist on a check for the exact amount. Never accept a check for more and wire the difference back.
- Never let someone pressure you into agreeing to loan terms before you’ve had a chance to review them in writing with a trusted adviser.
- Report any unusual account inquires you receive—whether by phone or e-mail—to your banker, who will take measures to protect your account and notify authorities.
- Carefully choose trustworthy people to act as your agent in all estate-planning matters.
- Talk to your local banker about any financial needs, concerns or questions.
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With the kickoff of summer just around the corner and many Americans planning to hit the road or the skies for their much-anticipated summer vacation, American National Bank wants consumers to have the information they need before they leave home to keep their money safe.
Financial professionals agree that the safest and most convenient way to travel with your money is to take a small amount of cash with you. It’s also a good idea to carry a debit, credit or ATM card. These cards are convenient while traveling because they are easy to carry, easy to use and often offer the lowest fees and the best exchange rates.
However, travelers still need to plan ahead to be prepared. To help, American National Bank offers these tips to consumers about what they need to take care of before they take off:
- Let your bank know when and where you will be traveling to avoid account holds or transaction rejections when out-of-the-ordinary transactions are presented for processing or posted.
- If you’re traveling overseas, keep in mind that ATMs in many countries only accept four-digit personal identification numbers (PINs) and some countries have keyboards with numbers only, while others do not acknowledge zeros. Ask your bank if you should create a new PIN for your account before you take your trip.
- Carry a back-up card that you keep in a separate place. Families or couples may get even greater back-up coverage if each person takes a different card.
- Make copies of all the cards you’ll be carrying. Be sure to copy the front and back of the card. Take a copy with you and give a copy to someone you trust back home. Be sure to also include the security code for the card and the customer service phone number.
- Set up transaction alerts for credit and debit cards. This will allow you to be informed much faster of any transactions that occur on your cards and shut down fraudulent activity.
- Bring a list of emergency phone numbers, but remember, 800 numbers can only be used in the United States and Canada. Be sure to get a number for your bank that you can call if you’re out of the country.
- Many credit cards provide travel accident insurance and traveler’s assistance. Ask your community bank what special services are available through your card.
- Check your balance before you leave. Know the limits on how much you can withdraw. Save all your receipts.
- Thoroughly check any ATMs that you use; fraudsters are increasingly altering the facades of ATMs in an effort to capture card data. Ensure the card reader does not look tampered with and pull on it to ensure it’s not a layover.
In the event that something unfortunate does happen, your bankers are always just a phone call away and ready and able to help .
For more information about what to do if you your card is lost or stolen or if you need additional help, visit http://usa.visa.com/personal/using_visa/travel_with_visa.html or http://www.mastercard.us/support/lost-card.html.