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GMB Blog

How to Finance Your Home Improvements

  So you’ve made the decision to improve your home rather than move to a new one. What now? It’s time to start thinking about your financing options. At Great Midwest Bank, our loan options range from Home Equity Loans to Construction Loans, and we’re happy to help you find the best fit for your renovation needs! A Home Equity Loan is a simple, less costly when it comes to a minor remodel. Our local loan officers will either use a new appraisal cost or a tax assessment to determine the current fair market value of your home, rather than basing the loan amount on the value of the home after the remodeling project has been completed. In some cases,… Read the full article.

Why Move When You Can Improve?

  As time goes on, families grow, needs change, and the free space in your house seems to get smaller and smaller. Whether you are looking to increase the size of your home or just need a change of scenery, moving is not the only option available to homeowners. Construction or remodeling can make a significant difference in the appearance of and your equity in your home. No matter what your reasoning is for improving rather than moving, a community bank is the perfect place to go to get the ball rolling on your home renovation. Community banks offer something that big banks cannot: flexibility. Here are some tips for how you can get financial support from a local bank… Read the full article.

Why Cutting Corners Won’t Get You to Your Destination Faster

  Have you started looking for your dream home without seeking a mortgage pre-approval? Many buyers believe they can begin searching for houses now and worry about obtaining a letter of pre-approval later. It’s time to shed some light on the importance of seeking pre-approval before the home search begins! A best practice for the first step of the pre-approval process is to meet with a few different banks to discuss mortgage lender options.The pre-approval process should ALWAYS include submission of your pertinent documents – pay stubs, bank statements, tax returns if necessary.  I’m still shocked that some Lenders will still issue a pre-approval based on a phone call and quick check of credit.  Insist that the loan officer you are working… Read the full article.

Four Financial Questions for Engaged Couples

  Good communication is the key to a healthy marriage, yet so many couples neglect discussing their finances with each other. Discussing finances can be an emotional subject. From our experience, since money squabbles are at the heart of many break-ups, it’s important to sync up your financial goals and philosophies. Here are four conversations you and your fiancé should have prior to tying the knot: What is your spending philosophy? Determine whether you and your partner are spenders or savers, what you both like to splurge on and how your attitudes toward money within a marriage have been shaped by your upbringing. You may be surprised to discover that you both have differing ideas on how much each of… Read the full article.

What Keeps You From Investing?

It’s becoming more and more common for Americans to ignore investing for retirement. In fact, Time estimates 1 in 3 Americans have saved $0 for retirement, saying that saving money is not a financial strength in America. People often cite common financial obstacles including low wages, debt, and saving for a child’s college fund as reasons for not saving for the future. NerdWallet uncovered that, in addition to financial obstacles, fear plays a major factor for the Millennial generation, which now makes up a large portion of the workforce. So what keeps you from investing? We wanted to try our hand at tackling some of the common barriers folks in Wisconsin might have when investing. Don’t know where to start… Read the full article.

Top 10 Budget Busters

Even the most diligent budgeters can get off track, especially when faced with these notorious budget busters. The best way to stay on target is to be aware of where your spending may go wrong and do your best to avoid it. 1. Impulse purchases Did you grab that extra item at check out? Did you go to the grocery store hungry? Or maybe all those online ads and emails promising limited-time savings got you to run your card? The impulse purchase comes in many shapes and forms, but making a shopping list ahead of time can be your trusty road map to your budget goal. Online, consider putting that item in your cart and heading back a day or… Read the full article.

Mortgage Shopping? Read This.

We hear it often from those looking for a home loan to buy, build, refinance or renovate. You want to find the best deal out there, but are concerned that your credit report can’t handle all those hard inquiries. While it is common knowledge that credit inquires may hurt your credit score, that’s not necessarily the whole story. A recent article from the Washington Post took on the subject and dispelled the myth of the hard credit inquiry – which is great news for first time home buyers and those looking to refinance The credit report bureaus use “shopping windows” to allow time to search for their best option. These shopping windows typically last 30 days. Credit inquire within the… Read the full article.

Why Do Mortgage Rates Change?

“Mortgage rates are at historic lows!” Seems we have been saying that now for several years running, and interest rate volatility has been nearly non-existent in the recent past. When we do see interest rate movement, however, there can be a variety of factors in play. Here are some of the most significant: The Federal Reserve The first place to look is the monetary policy from the Federal Reserve, which sets the interest rate banks charge each other for short-term loans. Markets are always looking to guess what “The Fed” will do next. This is a Committee of national economic experts that work to manage the interest rate environment in a way that will help the U.S. economy. Financial markets… Read the full article.

5 Ways to Make College More Affordable

If you’ve read any recent news about the financial details of college education, you’ll know that it’s also a foreboding prospect: there is nearly $1.3 trillion in total U.S. student loan debt, ongoing wage stagnation, and the prospect of enduring years of underemployment. But it’s not all bad news. A notable paradigm shift is taking place: this year, a whopping 98% of current students are actively engaging in ways to make their education more affordable. So how does a student and their family better prepare themselves? Here’s our list of the top five ways families can make college more affordable: 1. Save early and save often. Recent research has shown a link between savings and college success: kids from low-… Read the full article.

Navigating Short-Term Jobs and the 401(k)

In today’s job market, it’s not as likely that workers will stay with even just a couple of employers over the course of their career. Knowing that, it’s important to understand how to navigate your retirement accounts if you are considering a temporary job or changing employers anytime soon. It’s easy to quickly pass on opening a new retirement account in either of these circumstances. However, you might be leaving money on the table. To know if it’s a good idea to open a 401(k) account at a short-term job, you’ll need to look at your employer’s vesting policies: Vesting If you have been keeping up with previous blog posts, you know the best way to maximize your retirement account… Read the full article.