Home Sweet Home: The Kitchen Jul 14, 2016, 8:01 am By Heidi Carmack Pfaffroth

Use our handy guide to figure out how much you need to set aside each month for an eventual kitchen appliance replacement.

Is your refrigerator running? Just kidding. What we really want to help you think about is whether you know how old your fridge is. What about your garbage disposal or hardwood flooring?

If you don’t know the age of your kitchen appliances or how many years down the line you’ll need to replace them, it’s hard to save up for that cost. On average, a garbage disposal lasts 12 years, but could cost you $400 to replace. If yours breaks next week, do you have the money set aside to replace it, without displacing any funds you need elsewhere in your budget?

One way to make sure you’re ready for repairs is to divide the amount you think you will need (use our guide for an estimate—using the higher number in the range is one way to avoid unexpected costs) by the number of years until you will need to repair or replace. Then, make sure you set aside that amount each year until the time comes for repair or replacement. You can try setting up automatic transfers if you aren’t sure whether you’ll be able to set the money aside instead of spending it.

House-Costs-Infographic-Kitchen

Find our handy guide for your home’s exterior here and watch for guides coming up for bathroom, living room and basement repairs and replacements!

Money manager tip: Transactions Jul 12, 2016, 9:25 am By Heidi Carmack Pfaffroth

With money manager, you can view transactions across multiple accounts in one place:

In money manager, you’ll see an aggregate view of all transactions from internal and external accounts. Transactions will be automatically categorized, and you can adjust categorizations as needed. Money manager will learn your patterns as you re-categorize transactions and keep up. Then, you can filter the view by account or date, as well as search the dataset for any keyword or amount. Other functions include the ability to add manual transactions and to export the list to a .csv file.

Transactions

Find more money manager tips here.

Money manager tip: Accounts Jul 05, 2016, 8:51 am By Heidi Carmack Pfaffroth

Have you tried Bank of American Fork’s new money manager in online banking? It’s powered by MX and has some neat features to help you manage your income, spending, budgeting and even see your net worth.

To use the money manager, just log in to online banking and click the money manager tab. From there, we’ll walk you through some of the steps to aggregate your accounts and begin to set up budgets. If you don’t have online banking, call us at 800-815-BANK and a real, live person will help you get set up.

One of the awesome features of money manager is that you can see all of your accounts in a single place:

Connect your Bank of American Fork accounts and accounts at other financial institutions for a single view of your internal accounts (“held”) and external accounts (“held away”). You can see your life insurance policy, 401(k) accounts, savings accounts and checking accounts. You can change the account name, account type, interest rate, credit limit, original balance and account purpose (business or personal). Once you add each account, you can also manage alerts, exclude the account, mark the account as duplicate and see the historical balance.

Accounts

Find all of our money manager tips here.

Some ways you can give us feedback Jun 13, 2016, 9:03 am By Heidi Carmack Pfaffroth

BAF Logo(R)_cntrd_4c_1900x850We value feedback from our customers. We want to know what’s working for you and what you want to see. Here are some ways to give Bank of American Fork feedback:

Call 800-815-BANK and talk to a live, real person in Utah Valley during our call center hours. We have awesome call center representatives that are knowledgeable and are great listeners.

Visit your nearest branch and talk to a teller or new accounts representative about what is working for you or areas you want to see a change.

Reach out to us on social. We are on Facebook, Twitter™, Pinterest®, LinkedIn® and Instagram. Share questions you have (that others might have to!) and talk to us about what is or isn’t working in your financial life. Just make sure you don’t ever post sensitive information like account or card numbers.

Comment here. You’re always welcome to post comments and questions on our blog!

Email us at customercare@bankaf.com. We review each email sent to this address and we will make sure your feedback gets to the right person or department.

Use our website feedback form.  Contact us through our feedback form on www.bankaf.com. Go to our website, find “Feedback” at the bottom, and fill out the form.

Contact the president. Select “Contact the President” at the bottom of our website to send a message directly to the bank president.

Call a branch directly if you have a branch that you like to visit or want to make sure you’re talking to someone close to where you live or work. You can find the numbers for each of the branches here.

Live chat with a local customer service representative through our website. When we’re available, you can find a button that says “Live Chat” near the top right.

Facebook is a trademark of Facebook Inc. Twitter is a trademark of Twitter Inc. LinkedIn is a registered trademark of LinkedIn Corporation and its affiliates in the United States and/or other countries. Instagram is a trademark of Instagram, LLC in the United States and elsewhere. Pinterest is a registered trademark of Pinterest, Inc.

Summer fun in Utah! Jun 06, 2016, 8:08 am By Heidi Carmack Pfaffroth

This summer, Bank of American Fork is celebrating Utah’s cities and the wonderful people that live in them. Join us for Community Appreciation Day at your local Bank of American Fork branch for free food, prizes, games and fun. And don’t forget to wave to us as we float through your city parade!

Here's a sneak peek of our float during production!

Here’s a sneak peek of our float during production!

CITY/BRANCH  PARADE INFO COMMUNITY APPRECIATION DAY
Alpine August 13, 10 a.m. August 12, noon-2 p.m.
American Fork  July 9, 9:30 a.m. July 8, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Bountiful July 22, 6 p.m. N/A
Draper July 16, 9 a.m. July 15, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Eagle Mountain June 4, 10 a.m. N/A
Highland August 6, 10 a.m. July 6, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Layton N/A July 1, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Lehi  June 25, 10 a.m. June 24, noon-2 p.m.
Murray July 4, 9 a.m. September 23, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Orem June 11, 7 p.m. June 10, noon-2 p.m.
Pleasant Grove June 18, 10 a.m. June 17, noon-2 p.m.
Riverton July 2, 6:30 p.m. July 1, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Sandy July 4, 6 p.m. October 3, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Saratoga Springs June 11, 10 a.m. June 10, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Spanish Fork July 25, 9 a.m. July 21 & 22, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
St. George TBD TBD

Northern Utah County Leads the Economic Growth Trend for Utah Apr 25, 2016, 11:23 am By Heidi Carmack Pfaffroth

The Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) recently released its 2015 Annual Report and Resource Guide. The report and other indicators show Utah’s upward trend in economic and population growth, with Northern Utah County being the fastest growth in the state.

Bank of American Fork is seeing from the banking side evidence to support the GOED report. Many businesses have continued to open and experience success alongside those established businesses that are experiencing growth.

In addition to the GOED report, other Utah indicators show:

-A 3.1 percent 2016 expected job growth in Utah compared to the national estimate of 1.7 percent, and a 3.7 percent unemployment rate in Utah compared to 5.3 percent nationally.

-Personal income projected to grow by 5.3 percent.

-Residential housing units constructed estimated to be more than 17,400.

-Forecast for permit authorized construction is $6.5 billion.

-Sources: 2016 Economic Report to the Governor, Bureau of Economic and Business Research, and Forbes.

In Northern Utah County, indicators include:

-Unemployment rate in Lehi, Utah is 2.9 percent with job growth of 5.37 percent.

-Future job growth over the next ten years is predicted to be 47.8 percent.

-Source: Sperling’s Best Places

“We’re excited to see such positive economic growth in our state,” said Richard Beard, CEO, Bank of American Fork. “We see it firsthand all around us. People within our community have the opportunity to thrive and grow both their businesses and their families in a supportive environment. Jobs are being created, fewer people are out of work, families are purchasing homes; Utahns are in the right place at the right time.”

 

Explore What’s Near: Spring City, Utah Apr 22, 2016, 9:46 am By Heidi Carmack Pfaffroth

Historic town Spring City is next on our list of must-see Utah spots.

 

Utah Spring CityI asked Christopher, a Utah native, about recommendations for fun weekend trips that I could do with my family, and Spring City, Utah was one of the first spots he mentioned. While Utah is more well-known for its sublime scenery and national parks, towns like Spring City are surely a reason Utah was recently named the top pick on Fodor’s Go List 2016.

Here’s what Christopher said about Spring City:

Spring City is a small Utah town in Sanpete County with about 1,000 residents.

When I was in sixth grade, my family lived in Spring City. I remember that two grades shared each class room. Our teacher for the fifth and sixth grades was Mr. Allred, the principal. One of the kids also got their tongue stuck on the frozen flag pole, just like in the movie “A Christmas Story.”

The entire city is listed on the National Register of Historic places, along with only Williamsburg, Virginia. This is because there are so many historic homes and buildings that have been preserved. One can get a good feeling for what a pioneer town looked like. It’s an agricultural town with many farm yards and barns also preserved. Some of my favorite buildings are The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints chapel which features beautiful hand-cut stone and a beautiful tower unlike any other church by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints I have seen; the Orson Hyde home; and Horseshoe Mountain Pottery, which has not locked its doors in more than 30 years. The best time to go to Spring City is on the Saturday before Memorial Day when many historic homes and buildings are open for tours and the town holds their annual Heritage Day Celebration.

Spring City is also home to artists like Joe Bennion of Horseshoe Mountain Pottery and Mom’s Stuff Salve. I asked him what keeps him in Spring City.

“I love Spring City because it is quiet, slow going and welcoming. Whether you stop at one of the two eateries, an art gallery or just the gas station people will take an interest in you and make you feel like they are glad you came.”

Spring City wagon

Tip: Besides choosing an economical location, which cuts down on transportation costs, one of the best ways you can have a good time without stressing about money is to budget ahead of time. Figure out the cost of each element of your trip and make sure it works for your overall spending plan. If you want to avoid feeling like a miser on your vacation, make sure you leave a little room for unexpected fun.

If you missed it, the first Utah staycation we talked about was a High Uinta Yurt Trip. Even though we’re nearly past our season for cross-country skiing, the High Uintas make for beautiful hikes during the summer!

Home Sweet Home: Exterior repairs and replacements Apr 18, 2016, 8:35 am By Heidi Carmack Pfaffroth

Plan now for your home’s longevity

Start planning now for home repair and replacements so you aren’t surprised when the time comes around. Here are some estimates (although actual costs may vary) for the expected time until you need to make repairs or replacements in your home. When you prepare for possible costs, you’ll be more financially prepared for your home’s future needs.

Let’s start with the exterior. The elements will erode your roof, rain gutters, deck and paint—short of erecting a bubble around your house, you won’t be able to prevent it. You may also have assets exposed to the elements, like your air conditioner. You can keep your garage door and garage door opener in better condition by oiling its parts, but that doesn’t mean a replacement isn’t somewhere down the line. If your house is new, most of your external repairs and replacements are probably several years down the line, but it’s important to know the year your house was built or when they were last taken care of when you move into an older house.

House-Costs-Infographic-Exterior

One way to make sure you’re ready for repairs is to divide the amount you think you will need (use our guide for an estimate—using the higher number in the range is one way to avoid unexpected costs) by the number of years until you will need to repair or replace. Then, make sure you set aside that amount each year until the time comes for repair or replacement. You can try setting up automatic transfers if you aren’t sure whether you’ll be able to set the money aside instead of spending it.

We have more handy guides coming up for kitchen, bathroom, living room and basement repairs and replacements, so come back!

Personal Finance Considerations for Graduating High School Seniors Apr 14, 2016, 8:29 am By Heidi Carmack Pfaffroth

As the school year begins unwinding for the year, graduating high school seniors will face a myriad of opportunities, challenges and obstacles. One of the greatest obstacles will be an increased responsibility of personal finances.

Acquiring a job will be front and center for many high school seniors. Jobs they can work during the summer (or longer) to help pay for college, provide income for activities and entertainment, and provide for themselves and others. Regardless, the first step to personal finance responsibility will be the acquisition of a job.

“Many young people don’t yet have the experience needed to make good personal financial decisions,” said Marcia Clements, Central Region Operations Manager, Bank of American Fork. “They graduate and find they need to quickly understand how to manage their money, prepare to make life-event choices and purchases such as cars, college and rent, and learn the basic habits that will provide them with a lifetime of good financial decisions.”

A few basic financial practices that will be important for high school seniors to consider and learn include:

Saving and Planning – One of the best practices of personal financial management is to learn to pay yourself, or in other words, save. One suggestion is to save 10 percent of your income in a savings account. As the fund increases, it opens opportunities for high school seniors to consider other longer-term investments or make plans to pay for needed purchases. Consider setting up an automatic payment to your savings account each month when your paycheck comes in, so you only have to make the decision to save once.

Interest – Learning how interest can work against high school seniors if they rack up credit card and other debt causing expensive and lengthy pay back schedules, and how it can work for those who save and invest and let compound interest increase over time.

BudgetingBudgeting is one of the hardest management tools to learn, but even the simplest budget – a plan of how your money is spent over a period of time – can be one of the strongest personal finance techniques high school seniors can learn. It creates financial discipline and strong financial management. Find a budgeting tool that works for you, whether it’s paper, an Excel spreadsheet or trying the top budgeting apps available on your smartphone.

Credit – Graduating seniors often want to begin establishing credit, but they should be very careful. Any form of credit will require strict discipline to make payments on time and to avoid racking up too much debt. Gas cards, checking overdraft and other simpler forms of credit are good places for high school seniors to begin. Establishing credit will be important when high school seniors are ready to purchase homes and other high-cost items.

Courses and Training – Any class, course or resource focusing on personal finance can be invaluable for high school seniors to take in preparation for good personal finance.

These are just some of the many areas of personal finance high school seniors should consider as they graduate this spring. Additional resources are available at blog.bankaf.com.

Take advantage of $5K tax deduction this week Apr 11, 2016, 9:38 am By Heidi Carmack Pfaffroth

If you’re looking for a way to reduce your taxable income for your 2015 taxes, consider the advantages of an IRA—you have about a week to make contributions to an IRA for last year. This year, you have until April 18—an extra couple of days! Contributions to IRAs can be made as late as the first due date of a tax return, and can be considered retroactive to the previous tax year, so you can still make a qualifying IRA contribution and get the tax benefit if you qualify for your 2015 tax filing. For 2015 the dollar limits for IRA contributions are $5,500 if you are age 49 and younger, $6,500 if you are 50 and older.  If you don’t have an IRA, Bank of American Fork can help.

Xsmall - IRA with floating moneyBank of American Fork’s IRAs are held in CDs, not in the stock market, so you are guaranteed a safe return and you are covered by FDIC insurance. Unlike some banks, we don’t charge you holding fees or an annual fee. Depending on the type of IRA you choose and subject to IRS rules, you can earn tax-free or tax-deferred income. When you are eligible, you can receive distributions from the money in your IRA.

Here are the types of IRAs we offer:

-Traditional IRA: Allows contributions of pre-tax income. Taxes are paid upon distribution

-Roth IRA: Allows contributions of after-tax income, if qualified. Qualified distributions of principal and interest are tax-free. After retirement, distributions are not required.

-SEP IRA: SEP stands for Simplified Employee Pension. It allows a business to make contributions toward its employees’ retirement using IRAs. These are especially popular with sole proprietors, where the business owner and the employee are the same person. SEPs allow a higher maximum contribution than a Traditional or ROTH IRA. (See IRS for eligibility requirements)

At Bank of American Fork, variable-rate IRAs require only $10 to open, while fixed-rate IRAs can be opened with a $500 minimum opening deposit.

Don’t wait any longer to start your retirement savings and save on your taxes. Open an IRA today! At Bank of American Fork, our friendly staff can meet with you and show you firsthand how we can help you secure a strong financial future. Call 1-800-BANK to set an appointment. We look forward to speaking with you.

Consult your tax advisor for details.


 

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This blog includes articles, information, tips and advice on all things money by the financial experts at Bank of American Fork. But this blog is not one-sided; we want to hear what you think. Share your ideas, experiences and comments to get the dialogue going.

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