Sterling Bank Celebrates Financial Literacy Month with Tips for Every Stage of Life
SPOKANE, Wash.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- According to the 2013 Asset and Opportunity Scorecard published by the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED), one in three Americans do not have a savings account. In an effort to help its communities achieve stronger financial footing and in recognition of April being Financial Literacy Month, Sterling Bank, a subsidiary of Sterling Financial Corporation (Nasdaq: STSA ) , offers the following tips to improve your financial well-being at every stage of life:
Youth / adolescents
- Start saving: Commit to setting aside a certain amount every month to save for something important, whether it be a new pair of shoes or something much bigger, like a car or college tuition. Open a savings account if you don’t have one – it is much safer than keeping your money at home and will allow you to gain interest.
- Keep a money journal: Keep track of the money you make (from part-time jobs, birthday gifts, allowance, etc.) and what you spend it on. When you see where your money is going, you might decide to change some of your spending habits.
- Learn the basics of banking: Open a student checking account and learn how to balance a checkbook, even if you use online banking. Make sure you know how much money you have in your account before you write a check or use your debit card and always ask yourself before the purchase, “Can I do without it?” If the answer is yes, walk away.
College graduates / young adults
- Make a budget: Keep all of your receipts for a month or two to see exactly how you are spending your money, and use that information to create a realistic budget. Include wants as well as needs in your budget, and stick to it – overspending is often caused by impulse purchases. Free online resources and apps are also available to help you in tracking your spending and setting a budget.
- Pay off debt: Make car and student loan payments on time and create a plan to eliminate credit card debt. Always pay more than the minimum due, even if it is only a small amount more, and pay down the most expensive debt first. For credit cards, aim to pay off your balance in full every month, or use them for emergencies only.
- Start saving for retirement: Retirement might seem far away, but, thanks to the magic of compounding, money you invest now will be worth much more at retirement than the same amount invested when you are in your 40s or 50s. It is better to start now and invest just a little than to wait until you can afford to invest more. Talk to a financial planner or visit any of Sterling Bank’s branches to discuss your investment options.
Working / middle-aged adults
- Maximize retirement savings: If your company offers a retirement plan, participate – especially if matching funds are provided. Set up automatic payments to a 401(k) or individual retirement account (IRA) with every paycheck to reduce the temptation to skip a deposit.
- Create an emergency fund: Strive to have six months of living expenses saved in an easily accessible FDIC-insured account so you do not need to jeopardize your retirement security if bad luck strikes.
- Review insurance coverage: Evaluate your insurance plans to ensure you have the right combination of health, disability, long-term care, life and property coverage to meet your needs.
- Review plans for your legacy: Talk to your financial adviser about estate and tax planning, setting up a trust for your children or heirs, and leaving gifts to charity. Review and update your will if necessary.
- Organize: Make sure your important documents and accounts are in order, and designate a trusted friend or family member to take over the management of your finances in the event of an emergency.
- Protect your identity: Seniors are often targets of fraud. Protect yourself from identity theft by keeping your passwords, PINs, bank account information, Social Security number and credit card numbers safe and secure. For extra protection, consider switching to e-bills and e-statements – most banks, including Sterling Bank, offer them – shred documents with sensitive information and watch your mailbox for theft.
From setting up a child savings account, to financial planning and trust services, Sterling Bank is prepared to help consumers and businesses get their financial well-being on track. For more information, stop by any Sterling Bank branch or visit: www.bankwithsterling.com.
About Sterling Bank
Sterling Savings Bank, the principal operating subsidiary of Sterling Financial Corporation (Nasdaq: STSA ) of Spokane, Wash., is a Washington state chartered and federally insured commercial bank. Sterling Savings Bank does business as Sterling Bank and, in California, Sonoma Bank. Sterling offers banking products and services, mortgage lending, and trust and investment products to individuals, small businesses, corporations and other commercial organizations. As of Dec. 31, 2012, Sterling had assets of $9.24 billion and operated depository branches in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and California. Visit Sterling’s website at www.bankwithsterling.com.
Cara L. Coon, 509-626-5348
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