News

New Year, New Financial Plan

A Jar of money for savings

It’s a new year, which means that it may be time for a new financial plan. Make 2020 your year to start saving for your goals. The best way to do that is to start off the year with a strong financial plan. Here are the first steps to take in creating your plan!

Step 1: Find Out Where Your Money is Going Now

To do this, get a notebook or a financial planning app and write down every time you spend money on something. Make sure to record how much you are spending and what it is specifically. Then, at the end of the week, total all those numbers up and put them in the categories: food, travel, housing, clothing, entertainment, healthcare, rent, mortgage, utilities, and other. We recommend doing this for about 3 months to get a good picture of common themes. This process is extremely important to create a realistic financial plan with fairly accurate estimates of monthly expenditures.

Step 2: Set Financial Goals

It is important to make SMART goals. These goals are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound. An example of a SMART goal is “I want to save $10,000 by December 2020 to start my own business”. It’s crucial to make these goals specific and attainable to accomplish them!

Step 3: Start an Emergency Fund

Often times, people ignore the fact that emergencies are bound to happen. It is a good idea to also set aside money for emergencies. You want to make sure you are prepared to weather a storm. Otherwise, you could face getting yourself into some extra debt.

Step 4: Get Insurance

After working hard to earn your money, the last thing you want is an unplanned occurrence to disrupt your financial plan. Insurance is your back-up plan that will protect your assets if something happens when you need a large amount of money to resolve it. Your insurance coverage should include health, auto, disability, life, home or rental, and business.

Step 5: Start Saving

The key to a successful savings plan is not increasing your income. The key is to decrease your total expenses. This means being mindful of your outgoing money, not just your paycheck. After looking at your list of expenditures, determine where you might be spending too much. Look for ways to save here and there, but don’t be too harsh on yourself. Your goal is not to eliminate guilty pleasures. Rather you should try to control them so that you can free up some extra cash! A realistic goal would be to try to save 10% of your monthly income.

Step 6: Review Your Plan Frequently

Once you have your financial plan outlined and you have begun chugging along, it’s important to review your plan and make any necessary adjustments if your goals or the circumstances around your life change. If you check infrequently, it’s harder for you to deal with unplanned life occurrences, bounce back from setbacks and accomplish your financial goals.

Step 7: Stick With it

Your journey to financial independence won’t always be easy. Pursuing a goal of financial independence is not always fun, but it’s completely achievable. Remember to have a solid plan for your finances, be disciplined and avoid overspending. You’ll feel great when you really make a constant effort to stick to your budget.

We’re Here to Help!

We know that financial planning can be difficult and knowing where to start can be hard. All of our Points West Bankers are here to help you with your financial plan and help you stay on track throughout the year! Contact us today to get started on your 2020 financial plan!

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Small Business Financing

Man working on his laptop at his small business

Starting a new business in the competitive business world comes with excitement and a lot of planning. You need to overcome a multitude of problems and administrative tasks, which require a lot of time and attention. Managing your small business finances is one of them. Here are 3 tips to help you manage your small business finances like a pro!

Avoid Expensive Credit

A crucial step in getting your business off the ground is to establish your financial goals. As you are setting up a startup, optimum use of funds is the key to success. Try your best to avoid any expensive credit options. Shop around for the best deals and check out your local community banks as they typically provide loan options that are competitive.

Manage Expenses

In the early stages of starting a business, it is important to keep your fixed expenses as low as possible. Expenses include anything that keeps your gross revenue from going straight into your account. Planning a year in advance for large expenses such as rent, payrolls, taxes, interest, cost materials for goods and products, debts, utilities, and other operating expenses can help reduce the financial burden.

Set Up Insurance

As an entrepreneur, insurance is one of the things that you will probably dread paying for. In the end, it’s an important component of owning a business. In order to build a profitable portfolio and manage your small business finances, you should spend some time researching different insurance options to determine which one is right for your business and your personal needs.

Points West Community Bank and all of our experienced bankers are here for you every step of the way as you make this endeavor into business ownership. Our bankers can help you manage your finances and navigate the trials and tribulations that come with owning your small business. Contact us today with any questions you have or to set up an appointment with one of our financial advisors!

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Giving the Gift of Health to Larimer County

Through Points West Community Bank’s new on-going community betterment project, Points West Cares, we will be participating in a Food Drive for Larimer County Food Bank.

The Food Bank ensures that those in our community who are hungry have convenient access to free, healthy and nutritious food.

Now through December 13th, the Wellington and Fort Collins Timberline locations will be collecting food items that will be delivered the Food Bank by December 18th.

In order to help our neighbors move from hunger to health, we ask that you please donate nutritious, non-perishable foods such as peanut butter with non-hydrogenated oils, whole grain pasta, brown rice, canned tuna or chicken in water, whole grain oats and cereal with low sugar, canned fruits in juice, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds and dried fruits. Please bring items in non-glass containers!

Cash donations are also very much appreciated. For every $1 that is donated, the Food Bank is able to provide $5 worth of food. You may make checks payable to: Food Bank for Larimer County.

For more information, please visit foodbanklarimer.org

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Benefits of Paperless Statements

Man in a grey sweater using an IPAD by a green window

Times are changing and so are the ways that people prefer to receive their banking statements. You might be asking yourself what the real benefits of going paperless are. We have compiled the top 4 benefits for you below:

  1. Decrease the clutter

Paperless billing helps decrease all of the piles of papers that you have sitting around. It will also reduce the risk of losing a statement due to clutter.

  1. Retrieve your records anytime, anywhere

With paperless billing, you can retrieve your statement 24/7 from any location. This adds to the convenience of paying your bill and decreases the chances of you missing a payment.

  1. Increased security

Mail theft is one of the most common ways people can attempt identity theft and fraud. With paperless statements, you don’t have to worry about someone stealing your statement through the mail.

  1. Save the environment

PayItGreen claims that Americans save 452,819 trees per year for every 5 percent of households that switch to electronic bills, statements and payments. Switching to paperless statements is an easy way to have a significant impact on the environment.

 

As you can see, there are many benefits of breaking away from traditional paper statements and opting towards paperless statements. Going paperless not only reduces environmental impact but also increases convenience and enhanced security. Learn more about going paperless on our website and see if this is the right switch for you!

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Great Ways to Give Back This Holiday Season

A group of people in blue shirts with their backs facing us and arms wrapped around each other

The holiday season is quickly approaching, but not everyone is fortunate enough to celebrate comfortably. For many people and families, the holidays can be a difficult time of the year as they navigate celebrating the holidays and keeping their family finances afloat. Here are some great ways to give back this holiday season!

  1. Donate to a Local Cause

Around 13 million children in America live in poverty and many will receive few or no toys this holiday season. Purchasing toys for children in need can boost their self-esteem and have a positive influence on their lives. We support an incredible organization called Serve 6.8. This is a nonprofit organization that specializes in mobilizing, resourcing, and connecting the local church to care for vulnerable people in Northern Colorado. We will have gift trees again this year at our Windsor locations. Please stop in to support this initiative!

  1. Volunteer at Your Local Food Bank

According to Feeding America, more than 48 million Americans live in food-insecure households, meaning that they do not have enough access to a healthy amount of nutritious food. You can help serve these struggling families and senior citizens in need of food by volunteering at a local soup kitchen. Learn more about this opportunity on either the Food Bank for Larimer County website or on the Weld County Food Bank Website.

  1. Put Together Care Kits for the Homeless

Buy some bags and pick out practical and fun items to put in them. Some ideas include granola bars, water bottles, toothpaste and warm gloves or socks. Keep the care kits in your car, and hand them out to homeless people you encounter on your daily commutes.

 

  1. Charity 5Ks and Fun Runs

There are a lot of great holiday-themed 5Ks in Northern Colorado to participate in and running for charity is always a good—and healthy—idea. Check out all of the 5K races happening around Colorado and find one near you!

 

  1. Donate Canned Goods

Food Shelters are always in need of extra food around the holidays. Go to the grocery store or set up a canned food drive in your community to help donate cans of non-perishable foods to your local food bank.

At Points West Community Bank, we love giving back and participate in many different events throughout the year. We especially like to participate in events around the holidays. Here are some of the events we participate in. We encourage you to participate as well if you are able!

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