A First-Year Money Management Guide for the New College Grad

Thursday, May 28 at 10:10 AM
Category: Personal Finance

A young adult's first months out of college are about personal freedom and finding one's path as an adult. Building solid money habits is a big part of that. 

Most grads are managing money alone for the first time – finding work, places to live and if they're in the majority, figuring out how to pay off college loans. For many, these are daunting challenges. If you are a young adult – or know one – here are some of the best routines to adopt from the start: 
Budgeting* is the first important step in financial planning because it is difficult to make effective financial decisions without knowing where every dollar is actually going. It's a three-part exercise – tracking spending, analyzing where that money has gone, and finding ways to direct that spending more effectively toward saving, investing and extinguishing debt. Even if a new grad is looking for work or waiting to find a job, budgeting is a lifetime process that should start immediately. 
A graduate's first savings goal should be an emergency fund to cover everyday expenses such as the loss of a job or a major repair. The ultimate purpose of an emergency fund* is to avoid additional debt or draining savings or investments. Emergency funds should cover at least four to seven months of living expenses.
Retirement may seem a distant spot on the horizon after graduation, but success depends on saving and investing as soon as possible. New grads can benefit from the IRS's Withholding Calculator* to determine the right amount of tax is being withheld from weekly paychecks. From there, he or she can evaluate personal retirement savings options and employer's plans as well – both will be necessary to retire effectively. Signing up for automatic deposits into retirement accounts and personal savings allows money to grow without the temptation of spending it first. 
Insurance is crucial. Renter's insurance is important not only to cover personal belongings that are lost, stolen or damaged, but most policies cover living expenses in an emergency and offer liability and medical coverage if someone gets hurt at one's apartment. Auto insurance is the law in many states, and even though disability coverage may be available at work, it is important to determine whether additional individual coverage should be purchased. Finally, the Affordable Care Act has made health coverage a must for young adults. New graduates may stay on a parent's plan until the age of 26 even if they have the option for health coverage at work. After age 26, health insurance can be bought privately or through federal and state exchanges. 
Young adults should get into the habit of tracking their credit reports from the beginning. By law, everyone has the right to receive all three of their credit reports* for free each year, and it is important to stagger requests from the three credit bureaus – Experian, Equifax and TransUnion – to better check for inaccuracies and potential identity theft. 
Finally, for those still having trouble making ends meet, moving home for a limited time period could be an option. New grads should negotiate an affordable rent on a fixed timetable and use those savings to create investment accounts that can pay for major goals like a home, a wedding or graduate school. If you're working with a financial advisor already, ask them to weigh in with additional ideas. 
Bottom line: The first year out of college, young adults encounter a range of financial challenges that will shape their money behavior for a lifetime. Embracing budgeting, saving and investing is crucial even with the smallest of amount of resources. 
Article authored by Jason Alderman, a financial expert who directs Practical Money Skills for Life.

This article in intended to provide general information and should not be considered legal, tax or financial advice. It’s always a good idea to consult a tax or financial advisor for specific information on how certain laws apply to your situation and about your individual financial freedom.

Links marked with * go to a third-party site not operated or endorsed by Arvest Bank, an FDIC-insured institution.

Tags: Budgeting, Financial Education, Retirement

Gentry, Ark. Arvest Bank Grand Opening

Thursday, May 28 at 05:40 AM
Category: Arvest Community News

Arvest Bank in Gentry, Ark., hosted a grand opening celebration on May 1, 2015, to mark the official end of construction of the location serving downtown Gentry at 320 E. Main St. The more than 100 people attending the festivities also celebrated the dedication of the newly created Gentry Heritage Park. 

The new 3,185-square-foot branch nearly doubled the space of the old branch, added a community room, and created an updated layout and look. The branch cost approximately $1.5 million to build. 
It was constructed on the same lot next to the older bank building, which remained open during the construction process. Once the new building was completed, the old building was demolished and the site paved for a new parking lot. 
Included in the construction plans was the designation of a small park area near the corner of the lot. The park grew from the community’s desire to preserve the large Sycamore tree that grows on that corner, one of the oldest trees in the downtown area. 
“We are so pleased that we were able to respond to the community’s concern for the Sycamore tree,” said Roger Holroyd, President and CEO of Arvest Bank in Siloam Springs, Ark. “We incorporated the tree into the landscaping plan so that it could become a focal point for the town, just as responding to the voices of our customers is a focal point for Arvest.” 
Now named the Gentry Heritage Park, Arvest Bank gave the park to the City of Gentry during the dedication ceremony. Future plans are to add a “Welcome To Gentry” sign on the wall in the park, according the City of Gentry website. 
As many national and regional banks are abandoning smaller communities or reducing branch services or hours, Arvest Bank has continued to grow and update its branch network.   
The building that housed the previous Gentry branch first opened on July 26, 1966, and was originally built as Bratt-Wasson Bank. First National Bank bought Bratt-Wasson, and later, Arvest Bank purchased First National Bank. 
Tags: Arkansas

Children in Joplin, Mo. Learn About Savings

Wednesday, May 27 at 06:55 AM
Category: Arvest Community News

Arvest participated in Teach Children to Save, a national program sponsored by the ABA Community Engagement Foundation, which consists of a series of presentations given by bank employees to area schools. The presentations encourage good saving habits beginning at a young age. 

Nine Arvest Bank associates in the Joplin, Mo., region had the opportunity to give 24 presentations over the course of a month. These Arvest Bank associates joined more than 14,000 bankers nationally who visited classrooms to teach the next generation good money management skills. Arvest Bank’s presentations reached more than 950 students, ranging from Pre-K to eighth grade, in five different communities. Arvest Bank in the Joplin region is pleased with the outcome of this year’s presentations and are already looking forward to presenting again in 2016! 

Tags: Community Support, Joplin, Missouri, Savings

Friday Financial Forum May 29 in Bartlesville, Okla.

Tuesday, May 26 at 06:25 AM
Category: Arvest Community News

Join us Friday, May 29, at 10 a.m. for our Friday Financial Forum. We’ll meet in the Friday Forum Room at Arvest's Eastside Branch located at 4225 S.E. Adams Rd., Bartlesville, Okla. Every Friday we invite customers like you to attend our one-hour Financial Forum. 

This week’s featured speaker is Bob Fraser, CEO of The Frank Phillips Foundation and Woolaroc Museum and Wildlife Preserve. In this capacity, Mr. Fraser oversees the operations and marketing of Woolaroc, a 3,700 acre ranch listed on the National Register of Historic Places in Washington, D.C. Woolaroc includes a world-class museum, the historic lodge home, buffalo, longhorn, elk and various other free roaming species. Woolaroc was founded in 1925 and is one of the leading tourist attractions in Oklahoma.

What you can expect at the event:

  • Information: Community leaders share topical, local and state information (Sen. John Ford, Rep. Earl Sears, Rep. Travis Dunlap)   
  • News: "The Scoop" about business and community happenings in Bartlesville (Billie Roane, Arvest Bank)
  • Stock Report and Economic Update: Josh Randolph,* Arvest Asset Management
  • Humorous Anecdotes: Jim Bohnsack, Arvest Bank

If you have any questions about the event or would like us to add someone to the invitation email list, please contact Billie Roane at (918) 337-4358. We look forward to seeing you there!

*Josh Randolph, Oklahoma Insurance License #122041

Tags: Bartlesville, Community Support, Oklahoma

The Outlook for 2015 College Grads

Thursday, May 21 at 10:20 AM
Category: Personal Finance

They say all good things must come to an end. For many students across America this spring, that means leaving the comfort zone of college and heading out into the "real world." With college debt at record levels and the average student amassing nearly $30,000 in student loans, finding that first job has taken on a whole new level of importance.

For the graduating class of 2015, there is reason to be hopeful. The job market seems to be recovering and recent surveys have college student hiring in 2015 projected to increase more than 15 percent.

Occupations With Job Openings
The College Board, a non-profit organization designed to connect students to colleges, provides this data on occupations with the most job openings projected for the period of 2008 - 2018 for graduates with bachelor's degrees:
  • Teachers – elementary, middle and high school (excluding special education and vocational schools)
  • Accountants and auditors
  • Systems analysts
  • Software engineers
  • Network systems/data communications
  • Construction managers
  • Market research analysts
Tips for Landing a Job
If you're a recent graduate, here are some ways to improve your chances of getting hired:
  • Focus the search. Try to find positions with companies that are in line with your experience, skills and education. Don't apply for jobs that don't suit your experiences or interests.
  • Be realistic. While every student would love to land that perfect position with a great salary and benefits package, it's not realistic to expect that on a first job. Look for positions that provide opportunity for advancement and skill development so you can land that dream job later on down the road.
  • Network. If you know friends or relatives at companies where you'd like to work, talk to them to see if they have any connections or advice.
  • Review your social sites. Before hiring prospective employees, some hiring managers will check social networking sites to learn more about applicants. With that in mind, take a careful review of your online photos and posts to ensure there's nothing posted that could hurt your chances of getting hired.
  • Get your resume and cover letter in order. Your resume and cover letter are critical to helping you get interviews, so it's important to spend the time perfecting them. Think about attending resume-writing workshops or having an expert review yours to ensure you're representing yourself on paper in the best way possible.
  • Keep at it. In life, and in job searches, persistence pays off. Keep searching for job opportunities and applying for ones that meet your requirements.
You've proven you're a winner and a finisher with that new college degree. Now, it's time to go put that degree and your determination to work in a new and exciting career.

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