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Budget Friendly Ideas for Thanksgiving

Here are some ideas to enjoy the holiday this year – and on a budget!

Buy in season.
Sweet potatoes, squash, and pumpkin should be more affordable than many other fresh veggies during this time of the year, and they’re pretty much as autumn as you can get.

Use what you already have.
You may have some cans in the back of your cabinet that you totally forgot about or even some frozen vegetables way in the back of your freezer. Before you get started on your shopping list, see what you can make with what you already have in your kitchen and pantry.

Don’t be afraid of frozen vegetables.
It would be shocking if anyone realized the green beans you put in the casserole were purchased from the frozen section of the grocery store. Most frozen veggies are frozen just after they’re picked, so they will still be good and they are more affordable.

Collect those deals for your shopping list.
Shop tactically by collecting or looking up all of the Thanksgiving grocery store coupons the week before Thanksgiving. Compare prices between stores on all the items you need (via coupons or even online), then make a shopping plan to pick up everything at the most affordable price.

Look up budget friendly recipes.
We are sure you already have a whole collection of classic Thanksgiving recipes that you want to make, but it doesn’t hurt to learn some more or substitute a few this year. Head over to Pinterest to search for some budget-friendly options and make sure to follow the Bank Five Nine Pinterest page while you’re over there.

Buy in bulk.
Buying in bulk saves money, and if there are a few of the items you are making that have ingredients you use frequently, it’s a good way to save over time.  If you can, make extra servings of the meal and use your freezer to enjoy some of your Thanksgiving favorites all year long.

Figure out your turkey needs and do a little math.
Does it make sense to buy a whole bird, or could you settle for some breasts, thighs, and/or drumsticks? Since the CDC is suggesting that this year’s Thanksgiving tables be a little smaller while limiting the number of guests, maybe you  do not need a whole turkey. If you have family or friends who prefer chicken anyway, it could be the cheaper option.

Remember what the holiday is about.
Most of us at Thanksgiving reflect on what we are thankful for and although we don’t have to be thankful for the pandemic, but we can be thankful through it. We encourage you to write down a few things you are thankful for to share with those you’re close with.  We will get it started! Bank Five Nine is grateful for those who choose to bank with us!

Senior Discounts and Savings

While 65 is the age to officially claim Medicare and Social Security benefits, many senior perks and discounts start much earlier as not all companies classify seniors in the same way! If you enroll in an AARP or Association of Mature American Citizens (AMAC) membership on your 50th birthday, you’ll have a head start cashing in on senior discounts. For all other discounts, the minimum age requirements vary based on the company or location and can range from 50 to 65 years of age.

Here is a good overview of some of Senior Discounts that are available!

RetailerDiscountEligibility
Amazon Prime50% off Prime membershipMust be a qualifying government assistance recipient, including SSI and SNAP
CVS ExtraCareEarn 2% back in ExtraBucks Rewards every time you use your ExtraCare cardCVS ExtraCare card member
CVS Veterans Advantage20% off your purchaseVetRewards member
Home DepotPrice match guaranteeNo age requirement
Goodwill Senior Savings Day10% off your purchase60+ years
JOANN Senior Discount Day20% off your purchase55+ years; must present a state-issued photo ID for proof of age upon checkout to receive discount
Kohl’s15% off your purchase60+ years; must present a state-issued photo ID, which is required at checkout
Lowe’s Veteran Program10% off your purchaseMilitary veterans must first enroll online; valid photo ID required at checkout
Ross Dress for Less 55+ Program10% off your purchase55+ years; must provide a photo ID at checkout
Michaels10% off your purchase55+ years; Must create a Michaels Rewards account
Walgreens Seniors Day20% off eligible items and cash rewards55+ years or an AARP member; must create a myWalgreens account
RestaurantDiscountEligibility
Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. (Minnesota)Save 10% on food and nonalcoholic beveragesPresent AARP card at checkout
Bonefish GrillSave 10% on food and nonalcoholic beveragesPresent AARP card at checkout
Carrabba’s Italian GrillSave 10% on food and nonalcoholic beveragesPresent AARP card at checkout
Denny’sSave 15% off your check; dine from Denny’s 55+ menuPresent AARP card member to save 15%; 55+ years for the senior menu
IHOPDine from IHOP’s 55+ menu55+ years
Joe’s Crab ShackSave 10% on food and nonalcoholic beveragesPresent AARP card at checkout
Landry’s Inc. RestaurantsSave 10% on food and nonalcoholic beveragesPresent AARP card at checkout
McCormick & Schmick’s (Illinois)Save 10% on food and nonalcoholic beveragesPresent AARP card at checkout
McDonald’sDiscounted or free coffee at participating locations55+ years
PerkinsDine from Perkin’s Fifty-Five Plus menu at participating locations55+ years
Outback SteakhouseSave 10% on food and nonalcoholic beveragesPresent AARP card at checkout
CompanyDiscountEligibility
AMC TheatresDiscounted movie tickets at select locations60+ years
AudibleSave $2 per month for monthly membership, or save $30 on an annual membershipAARP member
AncestrySave 30 percent on a World Explorer or All Access membership for the first yearAARP member
Marcus Theatres and Movie TavernYoung at Heart special: $6.00 for any show that starts before 5:30 p.m.60+ years
National Parks America the Beautiful Senior Pass$20 annual park pass or $80 lifetime park pass provides admittance to more than 2,000 recreation sites62+ years; must provide proof of age and residency or citizenship. A $10 fee applies to passes bought online or by mail
SilverSneakersFree healthy living and fitness classes at over 17,000 fitness locations & online65+ years and a member of select Medicare or other health plans
TicketmasterSave on tickets to select shows and eventsAARP member
Cruise companyDiscountEligibility
AARP Travel Center Powered by ExpediaUp to $300 in extra onboard credits on select cruisesAARP member
Carnival CruisesExclusive savings for seniors55+ years
Collette Cruise ToursSave $50 per person on cruise toursAARP member
Grand European TravelSave up to $100 per person on over 30 luxury river cruisesAARP member
Royal CaribbeanExclusive senior pricing on selected sailings55+ years
Vacations By RailSave 5% on more than 40 rail and cruise vacationsAARP member
Hotel or rental carDiscountEligibility
Avis Rent a CarSave up to 30% off Avis’ base rates, plus get an upgrade on compact through full-size car class bookingsAARP member
Budget Rent a CarSave up to 30% off Budget’s base rates, plus get an upgrade on compact through full-size car class bookingsAARP member
Budget Truck RentalSave 10% to 20% on truck rentalsAARP member
Best Western Hotels & ResortsSave 5% to 15% at over 4,000 hotels worldwideAARP member
Cambria HotelsSave up to 10% off the best available rateAARP member
Choice HotelsSave 10% on advance reservations60+ years or an AARP member
HertzSave up to 20% off Hertz’s base rates with the Fifty Plus Program50+ years
IHG Hotels & ResortsSave with IHG’s Senior Discount Rate program62+ years
MarriottOffers a senior discount rate at participating locations62+ years
Payless Car RentalSave 5% on leisure daily, weekly, weekend, and monthly base rates, plus get a free upgrade on compact through full-size car class bookingsAARP member
Thrifty Car RentalJoin the Silver Thrifty Club and save 5%50+ years
Wyndham HotelsSave 10% off Wyndham’s best available rateAARP member
ZipcarSave 43% off an annual Zipcar membership, plus $40 in free driving creditAARP member
TransportationDiscountEligibility
AmtrakSave 10% on most rail fares on most Amtrak trains65+ years
British AirwaysSave $65 off World Traveller (economy) and World Traveller Plus (premium economy) or $200 off Club World (business class) fares when you purchase round-trip transatlantic tickets online to over 130 destinationsAARP member
Delta AirlinesSenior discounts are available for limited itinerariesCall Delta’s customer care at 800-221-1212 to find out if your flight is eligible for the discounted fare
GreyhoundSenior discounts are available for specific destinations and dates62+ years
United AirlinesSave on senior fares to select travel destinations65+ years

Source: Seniorliving.org

Starting an Emergency Savings Account

When things are going well, saving for an emergency can seem unimportant.  However, once an unexpected life event happens, having savings for it can feel extra significant. (We are talking about true emergencies here – like a pandemic, an unexpected visit to the emergency room or an emergency home/car repair. We are not discussing an unexpected sale on your favorite brand of shoes.)  Having a fund set aside for emergencies can turn a true crisis into more of an inconvenience, and allows you peace of mind that if something unfortunate would happen, you’d have a financial cushion in place.  

Having an emergency fund can help you with the following things:

  • First and foremost, it will keep you prepared.
  • It will help you to avoid debt. There is of course other ways you can quickly access cash, like borrowing, but keep in mind this comes with interest, fees, and possible additional penalties. Debt can quickly snowball if you’re not able to pay it off at the end of the month.
  • It will give you peace of mind and less stress. Being prepared with an emergency fund gives you self-assurance that you can handle life’s unexpected events without adding money worries to your list.

Where should you keep an emergency fund?
Your emergency fund should be kept in a safe place where you can get to it easily and quickly.  

  • A separate savings account connected to your checking account.
    • If the emergency fund is just for you, choose an individual account.
    • If a spouse or someone else will possibly need to access the account, you may want to consider a joint account. (Learn about joint accounts here.)
  • A money market account that comes with a debit card or allows check-writing. (Bank Five Nine’s Money Market accounts comes with both, as well as ATM access.)  
     

How big should an emergency fund be?

The standard advice or rule of thumb is that you should save at least 3-6 months of living expenses for emergencies.  Keep in mind that the size of an emergency fund can vary depending on your lifestyle, monthly costs, income, and number of people in your household. We suggest starting with a goal of 3-6 months, and then work your way up to a year. (Something many people learned from the COVID-19 pandemic is that an unexpected crisis can drag on for a lot longer than anyone is prepared to handle.)

What are a few ways to start saving for an emergency fund?

  • Make a budget (or look at your current one) to see where, and how much, you can start saving money to put towards an emergency fund.
  • Automate your savings to make consistent contributions. Set up an automatic transfer from checking to savings each paycheck via direct deposit. This helps remove the temptation to spend extra money in your budget.
  • Save part or all of your tax refunds, economic impact payments and rebates and put them toward boosting your emergency fund.
  • If you have the opportunity, gradually increase your contributions.  If you are just starting your emergency fund and feel overwhelmed – start small. After you get used to saving, you can increase the dollar amount over time.

Having an emergency fund gives you some financial control over how you react to unforeseen events. As a bonus, this also can help you stay on track for other savings goals. 

Bank Five Nine has the products and expertise to help you through budgeting, savings, credit, and more.  Compare saving options, or learn more about building your emergency fund in our learning module on emergency savings here, or contact one of our personal bankers.

Questions to Ask Your Home Inspector

In general, all home inspectors should examine and evaluate the following during the home inspection:
•    Exterior: siding, doors, windows, and trim
•    Structure of the Home: walls, basement, crawlspaces and framing structure
•    Heating and Cooling Systems: systems and ductwork
•    Plumbing: plumbing pipes and plumbing fixtures
•    Electrical: panels, outlets, switches, and visible wiring
•    Attic, Insulation and Ventilation: accessible attic spaces, insulation, and ventilation sources
•    Roof: coverings, visible flashings, chimneys, and gutter systems 
•    Doors, Windows and Interior: this includes doors, operation of windows, and interior wall, floor, and ceiling conditions
•    Fireplace: cleanouts, damper doors, and gas inserts

Here are some great questions to ask your home inspector after they do the home inspection. 
1. What condition is the house in?  This will help you discover if the house is move in ready or needs some work prior to move in. Most houses do have some small problems and they are not always deal breakers. If there is something that is a deal break for you – that is exactly why you’re having the home inspection done! You can address it with the seller prior to purchase, or in some cases may need to walk away.

2. How do we fix that? The inspector should be able to recommend a quick fix or an expert that can help you fix the issue. It’s also not a bad idea to call in another expert—a plumber, electrician, roofer, or HVAC professional—to take a look at anything the inspector flagged as a concern or issue.

3. What would you fix first? This question will help you decide how to prioritize repairs. At the end of the inspection, your inspector should give you a summary of what he found. You’ll get a written report later, but this is a great moment to get clarity on what the inspector thinks are the house’s biggest issues and fixes. 

4. Should we know how “x” works? Learn how appliances work and the maintenance for them. Flaws aside, a home inspection is your golden opportunity to have an expert show you how to take care of your house. Inspectors are used to explaining basic things. If you have an inspection question, ask it.  Now with that in mind, don’t expect your inspector to teach you how to build a deck onto your house, but they should be okay with explaining how general things in your home should work.

5. How much time is left in “x” item? Get an estimate of when you will likely need to replace appliances (or when they can see the warranty ends). This helps you budget for the future! Maybe something is all good and dandy for now, but having a timeline for when it may need to be replaced can help you save for when that time comes.

We do suggest you hold your questions until the end of the inspection. This allows the home inspector to complete his work fully and thoroughly. If you ask the questions while he is doing the inspection, this may distract the inspector causing him to miss critical items.

Whether you’re purchasing or refinancing your first home or your hundredth, Bank Five Nine is with you each step of the way to help navigate the process for you. We have a team of mortgage lenders ready to help with all your home financing needs and questions! Contact or choose a lender to get started

Not ready to contact a lender quite yet? You can find some additional resources about what to expect during the mortgage process and tools to hopefully help answer some of your questions.

Things to Do in Milwaukee This Summer

  1. Harley-Davidson Museum
    • They feature an unrivaled collection of HD motorcycles and memorabilia, a 20-acre park-like campus and a calendar full of activities. Open weekends only, Friday – Sunday from 10am – 5pm. Located at 400 West Canal Street.
       
  2. American Family Field
    • Am Fam Field is open with limited seating (25% capacity) for Brewers home games. Masks are required except when eating or drinking. Learn more at mlb.com/brewers
       
  3. Lakefront Brewery
    • Brothers Jim and Russ Klisch started brewing beef in Milwaukee’s Riverwest neighborhood in 1987. Now open at 1872 N. Commerce St. Lakefront Brewery features innovations like gluten-free beer, indigenous brewing and organic beer. While the tour is currently closed, their restaurant and taproom are open.
       
  4. Milwaukee County Zoo
    • The zoo is open! Outdoor habitats along with most of the animal buildings are open at a limited capacity, however Primates of the World and the Small Mammals building are currently closed. Hours are 9:30am – 4pm.
       
  5. Milwaukee Public Museum
    • They are open with the use of timed ticket entries for all visitors, including members. The Dome theater is closed along with a few other exhibits and the general store. Their current special exhibit is Mandela. Through August 1st, this exhibit features previously unseen film, photos and the display of more than 150 historical artifacts and personal effects.
       
  6. Milwaukee Public Market
    • The Public Market is open and features vendors providing candies, bakery, fresh food, coffee, spices, beer, specialty olive oil, wine, ribs, sausage & cheese, and SO MUCH MORE! Open M – S from 10am – 8pm and Sunday 10am – 6pm.
       
  7. Pabst Mansion
    • Open to the public Friday – Sunday. Self-guided tours offered 10am – 4pm on Fridays and Saturdays and 11am – 4pm on Sundays. Guided tours, specialty house tours and bike tours will begin to be added shortly.
       
  8. Historic Third Ward
    • You’ll find locally owned restaurants, spas, theaters, galleries, and boutiques all in a historic warehouse setting. The neighborhood is home to the award-winning Third Ward Riverwalk and the nationally acclaimed Milwaukee Public Market.
       
  9. Milwaukee River Walk
    • The Milwaukee RiverWalk winds through the heart of the city, tying together three distinct riverfront neighborhoods – the Historic Third Ward, Downtown and Beerline B – bringing you to some of the city’s best restaurants, brewpubs, shops, and nightlife. It’s also home to an outdoor art gallery called River Sculpture that includes both permanent pieces and temporary installations that change periodically.
       
  10. Great lakes Distillery
    • Founded in 2004, it’s the first distillery to open in the state of WI since prohibition. They ferment and distill high quality spirits like vodka, gin, rum, whiskey, brandy, and many more. Tours are available for groups of 10 or less Tues – Sunday.
       
  11. Chudnow Museum of Yesteryear
    • Located at 839 North 11th Street in Milwaukee, this museum displays the late Avrum Chudnow’s extensive and eclectic collection of early 20th century Americana. It boasts various shops and exhibits from his collection.
       
  12. The Domes
    • The Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory, better known as the Domes, is a living museum filled with plants from across the globe. From a desert oasis to a tropical jungle. They ask that guests only visit with members of their immediate household, reserve tickets before visiting and wear face coverings indoors. You can select a timeslot on their website.
       
  13. Lake Express
    • 2021 season started on May 7th and offers four daily crossings from Milwaukee, across Lake Michigan, to Muskegon MI. Typical crossings take just 2.5 hours
       
  14. North Point Lighthouse
    • Offers a wide variety of artifacts about Milwaukee’s famous lighthouse and its keepers. Visitors can see exhibits about the heritage, culture and role that Milwaukee has played in the regional maritime activities of the Great Lakes. Open on weekends starting May 1st.
       
  15. Wisconsin State Fair (Bank Five Nine is a sponsor!)
    • The 2021 Wisconsin State Fair will take place Thursday, August 5 through Sunday, Aug. 15. The annual Wisconsin State Fair is the state’s largest agricultural showcase, offering endless family entertainment at a phenomenal value. The Fair features the exciting SpinCity Amusement Ride and Game Area, 30 FREE stages, educational exhibits, shopping, and hundreds of food and beverage options.
       
  16. Henry Maier Festival Park
    • Black Arts Fest MKE, 8/7
    • Irish Fest 8/20, 8/21, 8/22
    • Mexican Fiesta 8/27, 8/28, 8/29
    • Summerfest 9/2 – 4, 9 – 11, 16 – 18
    • KISS End of the Road Tour with special guest David Lee Roth, 9/5
    • Petfest 9/25

3 Reasonably Affordable Home Improvements that Will Add Value to Your Home

Bathroom Updates

According to a HomeAdvisor Survey, redoing a bathroom is the most popular planned renovation project in 2021.

Making an important room more comfortable, efficient and/or practical makes a lot of sense and can be a really nice selling point.

Up-to-date toilets, faucets and showerheads are not only nice to look at but also can conserve water and help lower operating costs.

The cost of a full bathroom remodel averaged around $13,401 last year, according to the Home Advisors True Cost Report, however this is cheaper than redoing a kitchen, which averages more than $35,000.

Keep in mind that you don’t need to rip out tile or add all new fixtures to give your bathroom a face-lift. In fact, 26% of sellers make improvements to their bathrooms before selling, and they can be simple fixes. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Replace the vanity lights for a more updated look
  • Replace the mirror
  • Replace faucets
  • Re-caulk or re-glaze the tub instead of replacing the whole tub itself
  • Re-grout
  • Tiled surfaces such as flooring or showers often develop missing or stained grout. If cleaning just isn’t doing it anymore, re-grouting the surface can make it look brand new again.


Interior Painting

One of the cheapest ways to transform a room is to use paint. Think about painting a few walls, cabinets, or even your baseboards to give your space a whole new look or new feel. Baseboards take a lot of abuse, and over time they get worn. If your baseboards are still in reasonable condition, sand them down, and give them new life with a new coat of paint. You can even use paint to add curb appeal by painting your front door. Many paint stores offer deals every so often, so make sure to keep an eye out for these if you want to save even more on the paint.

If you are thinking of painting with selling your home in the near future, be careful with the colors you choose. When a potential buyer is walking through a home they generally are picturing their items in the home, so it’s best to look for neutral tones that blend nicely with any style.  The same can be said of exterior painting.

According to the Zillow Group Report, 36% of sellers paint their home’s interior before selling.

Update Flooring

Replacing worn out carpet, wood or tile with new flooring will make your home feel more comfortable, but also can make it more attractive when it’s time to sell.

The average cost to replace your home flooring is $4,680. According to Realtor.com, in 2019 homes that had hardwood floors sold for 2.5% more than homes with other types of flooring, and provided a ROI between 70% – 80%.  Faux wood flooring or even laminate are also shown to be more desirable than carpet.

5 (Very) Simple Ways to Cut Your Monthly Spending

Every week, month and year that you spend less than you earn, the more you can save — and in the end, the better your financial situation will be. Remember, every penny counts and adds up over time.

1. Use cold water for your laundry.
There are a few reasons for this. First and foremost, cutting back on hot water can help decrease your energy bill by saving on the cost of heating the water.  Second, since cold water washing is better for the longevity of your clothes, you’ll save money not having to replace your favorite black t-shirt every year. So unless the clothing item you are washing is awfully stained, or the instructions on your clothes request warm or hot water, use cold water for your laundry. (Don’t worry, using cold water still results in clean clothes!)

Fun tip: Did you know there are symbols on your clothing tags and actually tell you the maximum temperature that your clothes can handle?

Here is a good rule of thumb to follow, provided by Cold Water Saves:

  • For jeans, delicate fabrics or dark, bright colors that can bleed, use cold water.
  • For undergarments, smelly clothes or athletic garments, use warm water.
  • For really dirty clothes and towels, hot water has its pros, like removing germs and heavy soil. Remember, hot water can shrink, fade and damage some fabric, as well as be more expensive, so be sure to read your garment care labels before selecting the hot option.

2. Save on groceries
Groceries are an expense we can’t avoid completely, but an expense we actually have quite a bit of control over. By shopping smarter, there are ways to stretch your grocery dollars when you’re shopping, and even after you get your food home. We have a great compiled list of 12 easy ways you can save on weekly groceries here.

3. Review and cut any unnecessary subscriptions or memberships
If you have a subscription or membership that you haven’t used in a bit, cancel it. If there is a subscription you forgot about on your bill, you probably don’t need it. Remember, you can always renew it in the future if you decide you have a need for it again.

4. Use Money Saving Apps
Here are a few to review to see which will would work the best for you.  Although coupons and cash-back apps are both great ways to save money, they do work differently. With coupons, you save money before you checkout. With cash-back apps, you earn cash rewards (either cash, check, or gift cards) after you make a purchase. The best cash-back app for you will depend on your personal spending habits. Try one or two apps to start and watch how much you save in a month. If you feel it’s not worth it for you, explore another option.

  • Fetch RewardsIbotta
  • Target
  • Coupons.com
  • Kroger
  • Rakuten

5. Switching Lightbulbs and Turning Off Your Lights
When one of your light bulbs burns out, switch to an LED light bulb.  LED light bulbs can help the typical home save about a $1,000 over a 10-year period. That’s roughly $8.33 a month. (Remember, every dollar when you’re saving counts and can add up over time!) LED bulb prices are more expensive than your basic bulb, however their savings in energy costs and longer shelf life make up the cost in the long run.  

Another thought: If you don’t have LED lightbulbs and have Incandescent or Halogen lights instead, make it a habit to turn them off when they are not in use.  Energy.gov states that the cost effectiveness of when to turn off lights depends on the type of bulb. The cost of electricity in Incandescent and Halogen bulbs is higher due to the fact that 90% of the energy they use is given off as heat, and only about 10% results in light. Turning lights off will also keep a room cooler, an extra benefit for your air conditioning bills in those warmer months. 

What you should do with the money saved? 
The key to making any money saving tips really work is to not simply spend your saved dollars on something else that is not essential.  Here are just a few ideas on what to do with your savings each month that will help with whatever your financial situation is.

  • Open a new savings account at Bank Five Nine and use that to start building an emergency fund.  (Saving just an extra 25 dollars a month from our grocery tips? It doesn’t feel like a lot at the time, however, that adds up to $300 a year!)
  • If you have any debt, use the extra funds for an extra debt payment as part of your debt repayment plan.
  • Save for retirement. Contact your financial advisor or use that same dollar amount you are saving to put more of your paycheck away towards your retirement each paycheck.

10 Cybersecurity Tips

Cybersecurity is all about being cautious when engaging in online activities, protecting yourself, and reaching out for help when you encounter something suspicious. Here’s a deeper dive into the 10 cybersecurity best practices from the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) that they recently listed in their recent issue of Independent Banker Magazine. 

1. Enable the strongest authentication tools offered by your bank. Popular authentication methods include biometrics, security keys and single-use codes.

2. Use unique passphrases as passwords and differentiate them across multiple platforms. Length trumps complexity. A strong passphrase is at least 12 characters long.

3. Do a system check. Purge unused apps and outdated or sensitive information stored in old files and emails and ensure all software on internet-connected devices is current.

4. Manage social media settings and minimize information sharing. Just a few data points can create a pathway for exploitation by cybercriminals.

5.  Use Wi-Fi judiciously. Limit the type of business conducted over open public Wi-Fi connections, including logging in to key accounts like banking.

6. Monitor account activity regularly for irregular transactions, and report discrepancies to your financial institution immediately.

7. Back up intellectual property and other digital information and store it safely so in the unfortunate event of a ransomware or other cyberattack you have a way to retrieve the data.

8. Read the fine print when purchasing items online. If prompted, do not save credit and debit card information on the merchant’s website or app.

9. Be mindful when shopping onllne and look for signs of illegitimate websites. Spelling or grammatical errors, missing contact information, and suspicious URLs or email addresses are all red flags.

10. Look for special indicators such as web addresses with https:// that denote extra measures taken to help secure your information. URLs that end in .BANK are assigned for exclusive use by financial institutions.

All About Joint Banking Accounts

Is opening a joint bank account a good idea or a bad one?

Our honest answer: It could go either way! A joint savings or checking account can make your financial life easier and less complicated if you manage your money with another person, such as a spouse or partner. However, even with their conveniences, there are pros AND cons, therefore you should also know how they work and whether it makes sense for you to have one.

What is a joint bank account?

A joint bank account is a shared bank account between two individuals.
Joint Checking Accounts work very similarly to other checking accounts in letting you write checks and use a debit card. Both owners of the account can write and deposit checks, as well as both have a debit card linked the account. Joint Savings Accounts work like general savings accounts, keeping your money safe and paying interest.  The primary difference is that both people who own the account have full control over it – both individually being able to add funds or withdraw them from the account.

Who owns the money in a joint bank account?

Since the account will belong to both owners, you both have equal ownership. This means either person can withdraw or deposit money whenever they see fit.

Here are some pros and cons to think about when deciding if a joint account is right for your situation:

Pros of Joint Banking Accounts

A joint account makes it easy to plan finances and pay for expenses together, such as rent, bills and date nights

A joint account can help you save more easily together for any of your wants or needs

A joint account can allow you to share responsibilities such as paying bills or managing a budget without transferring money back and forth

Each account holder is insured by the FDIC up to allowable limits, increasing the amount of total coverage

Putting two individual’s money together can help meet the minimum balance requirements needed to get benefits like getting maintenance fees waived or rewards that result in lower interest rates on loans

If unfortunately one account holder passes away, the other will have access to the account without having to locate a will or involve a lawyer

Cons of Joint Banking Accounts:

One joint owner could overdraw the account, meaning both individuals would be on the hook for potential fees

If one account holder lets debts go unpaid, creditors can pursue money in the account for settlements

Individuals sharing the same joint account may have different tax obligations, so you may want to get advice from a pro come tax season

Both account holders can see all transactions in the account, so tension may build if you feel the other account owner doesn’t contribute their fair share of money as they stated

A joint account holder can change their mind, withdraw money and use it for something that has not been discussed.  Trust, therefore, is a must for anyone sharing a bank account

Find the best joint bank account for both of you

Exploring and chatting about bank accounts is good opportunity to get comfortable talking about money. As you compare features that come with different accounts, you can decide what’s important to both of you. If you do feel a joint banking account is for you, you will want to make sure you discuss what the account will be used for. Will it be for paying everyday bills solely? Managing debt and savings? Putting money away for a big event or purchase?  Once you find an account that works for both of you, follow the bank’s account opening process.

Learn about Bank Five Nine’s Personal Banking Accounts here.

How to close a joint bank account

This may be surprising, but even though it takes both individuals to open the account, only one account holder is needed to close a joint account.

At Bank Five Nine, there is a clear paper trail of who closed out the account and where the funds went (Cash, Check, another account, etc.). If one person would like to keep the account and remove a joint signer, that joint signer will need to sign a form to be removed from the account.

In conclusion

Joint accounts mean joint ownership, so we recommend that anyone looking to open one should completely trust the other joint owner, as they will have access to funds that you deposit into the account.  If one would share an account with someone who has trouble sticking to a budget, this could cause more money being taken out of the joint fund than both are comfortable with. When considering the pros and cons, both owners should agree about how everything will be managed – from saving to spending.

Holi-days of Giving 2020

During the final weeks of December and into the first week of January, as part of its “Holi-Days of Giving” program, the branches of Bank Five Nine delivered much-needed holiday cheer to thirteen individuals.  We want to thank everyone who nominated someone this year for the program as many amazing nominations were received!  

Bank Five Nine collected and received hundreds nominations during the month of November 2020, and found 13 families/individuals in Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington Counties who deserved a little extra holiday cheer. Each recipient received holiday gifts, valued up to $500 from the bank. Some of the chosen recipients included a Pastor with Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a worker at a local Senior Center, a thoughtful selfless volunteer, two wonderful husbands that are also cancer caregivers, a young lady fighting a brain tumor, and a local deputy fire chief with two children with special needs.

As a true community bank, our mission is to ‘Make Lives Better’. This year was rough on a lot of people, and we are thankful we can bring some joy through this wonderful program,” said Jeff McCarthy, Bank Five Nine VP of Marketing.