Making Smart Financial Choices
Article courtesy of | ANB
Four Rules for Smarter Finances
Whether you’re a young family planning for the future, a college student heading back to school, or a teenager learning basic money management, your financial well-being always depends on the choices you make. Regardless of income or circumstances, your daily decisions will determine your financial outlook as much as anything else.
Patti McKnight, a Vice President at ANB, has worked in the banking industry for more than three decades. Here are her four rules for making solid financial choices.
- Start early.
Whether you’re investing for retirement or building a credit score, time matters. Learning good financial habits early can prevent long-term headaches. That’s why McKnight believes Plastic Student Accounts at ANB are so valuable.
“Start when they’re young and with you at home,” she tells parents hoping to teach their kids to manage money. Plastic spending cards for teens work just like a debit card—but with built-in parental controls. “You can help them with online banking, watch their spending habits, and help them save for future purchases,” she says.
So instead of entering the financial world at 18 with minimal experience, teens can build healthy habits as they grow, giving them a solid foundation before making their own financial decisions.
- Save money when you can.
Pay yourself first, McKnight says. You might be saving up for a big purchase, establishing an emergency fund, or just putting money away for a rainy day. Whatever the reason, saving gives you financial control and releases you from a paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle. “During the pandemic, a lot of people were wishing they had some extra money in savings. It gives you a sense of financial freedom,” she explains.
ANB makes it easy for customers to automate their savings. “You can set it up using our online banking,” McKnight says. Linking a basic savings account to a free checking account is simple. “You can schedule automatic monthly transfers. It’s just so easy and convenient. Even if it’s just a little at a time, this helps you take control of your own financial situation.”
- Build a relationship with your bank.
ANB’s loan officers are always willing to meet with customers. These financial experts know how important it is to establish a trusting relationship with a financial institution that cares. Even if you don’t need a loan today, that relationship can have an enormous impact on your future finances.
“If you build that relationship, you have a person available to help you with decisions or give good advice about our financial products,” she says. This is especially important for young couples or students graduating from college. “Most banks, including ANB, have a program that can help you build credit. Having a lending relationship with someone you trust is important when you’re just starting out,” adds McKnight.
- Choose the right lender.
McKnight has seen several customers turn to ANB after having made past mistakes like choosing a payday lender instead of a traditional bank. “Payday lenders make it seem easy, but the interest they charge is astronomical. By the time you’re ready to pay their fees or interest, you have to get another payday loan,” she says. These predatory lenders can take advantage of individuals who may not have a relationship with a bank like ANB.
The same goes for credit cards with high interest rates. In these cases, a traditional bank loan is almost always a better choice. “We can offer loans for as small as $500 at very reasonable rates. They might be vacation loans or back-to-school loans. But our rates are a lot cheaper than a payday lender and cheaper than a credit card,” says McKnight.
She and her ANB colleagues are always willing to work with new customers or help existing customers make good financial choices. To learn more, visit your nearest branch or anb.com.