July 2013 eNews

Catch up on the latest Starion news in our July 2013 Starion Financial eNews.

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Monitor your financial identity

One step to ensure no one has stolen your financial identity or established fraudulent credit in your name is to review your credit report. There are three large credit reporting agencies – Experian, TransUnion and Equifax – that receive, store and make information available on the borrowing of most consumers.

The credit agencies receive information when someone applies for credit as well as the payment history on most individual borrowing. Lenders can then access that information when they are considering making loans to individuals. To ensure that your information is correct and no one has taken loans in your name, you should know what is in your credit report.

The Federal Trade Commission established a program with the three credit agencies that enables consumers to receive a copy of their credit reports from each of the three credit agencies once a year. You can request and receive the free reports at www.annualcreditreport.com. This is the only government-authorized program for this service. AnnualCreditReport.com does not solicit consumers by e-mail, telemarketing or direct mail. You should be very wary of advertisements promising free credit reports or credit report monitoring. They are probably attempts to sell reports or services that you probably do not need.

You should review your credit report carefully when you receive it. Do not be surprised if the reports are somewhat different between the different companies. Each company gets information from many sources. If you find the information in your file is inaccurate or unfair, you can take steps to correct it or at least get your side of the story attached to your file. If a creditor has made an inaccurate complaint, you can write to the creditor and insist the record be corrected. You should also write to the credit bureau and request their records be corrected. If you see unusual items in your report, contact the credit agencies immediately.

If you have questions about attaining or reading your credit report, contact a personal banker at Starion Financial today.

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Make your travel spending simple and safe

It’s summertime and many of us are spending our time taking a much needed vacation. If you’re gearing up for an upcoming trip, you might want to consider using a Visa Travel Card to pay for all of your vacation expenses.

Here are a few of the benefits of purchasing a Visa Travel Card:

  • It reduces the chances of fraud. If your card is lost or stolen, no one will be able to access your bank account or learn more about your identity. To manage your money more easily, you can also set up text alerts for information on your balance.
  • It allows you to make cash withdrawals. You can use your Visa Travel Card at ATMs if you’re somewhere that doesn’t accept cards or checks. Your PIN can be set up within minutes.
  • It can have a companion card.  If you and your spouse or travel companion are paying for purchases with the same funds, you can get companion cards that allow you both access to your travel funds.
  • It’s reloadable. If you are taking several trips this year, you can keep the same Visa Travel Card and simply reload it for your next getaway.
  • It can be unloaded after your trip. If you don’t end up spending all of the money that you loaded onto your Visa Travel Card, you can simply unload it for cash or deposit it back into your account.

Having a Visa Travel Card can help make your vacation spending easy, convenient and safe. Stop in to one of our locations or call 888.258.6050 for more details.

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What to consider when starting your own business

Going into business for yourself may seem like an overwhelming task. Millions of others have done it, with many reaching success and others failing. There are no guarantees, but here are some of the issues you should consider.

Are you mentally prepared for a start-up?
The process of starting, building, growing and managing a business is hard work. There are always unanticipated issues and concerns that arise. Most successful entrepreneurs have an ability to accept and manage risks and do whatever it takes to attain success. Make sure you are mentally prepared to deal with the unexpected and go the extra mile.

You should also consider the affect that starting a business may have on your lifestyle and your family. Long hours, constant distractions and sacrifices can put strains on your mind and body as well as those around you.

What type of business makes sense
Hundreds of thousands of ventures are started each year in all lines of business. Starting a business from scratch, buying an existing business or entering into a franchise all present opportunities and potential pitfalls. Be sure to do your homework. Consider the current and potential markets for whatever business you are considering.

Whatever type of business you choose, be sure it’s something you genuinely enjoy. Also, have a professional look at the financial statements and any contracts you may be signing.

If you choose to have a partner, you may also want to discuss how your partnership can be ended. While everyone has good intentions at the beginning, things can and often do change. Having a buy/sell agreement or a contractual agreement may avoid difficulties and hard feelings later.

Are you going solo or should you have a partner?
Running the business yourself gives you the opportunity to make all the decisions, but you must live with the results. A partner can bring skills, experience and capital, however, you should be confident you can work with that person for an extended period of time.

Where will you get the financing you need?
Starting and growing a business takes money. Consider the funds you may need for office space, equipment, inventory, marketing and working capital. You should also remember that not all customers pay quickly. One of the most common causes of business failures is inadequate capital.

You should arrange needed capital early in the start-up process. Once the business is operational, you will probably want to focus on running it and not have to constantly be looking for funds. You can talk with a Starion Financial business banker to find out what they look for when lending to a new business.

Finally, consider setting a limit on how much you are willing to risk or lose before shutting the business down and accepting failure. While this may be difficult to consider when starting out, having a contingency plan for failure is prudent.

Summary
The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in America. As you consider your future, remember that being in business for yourself can be risky as well as rewarding. Taking some key steps early in the process, hard work, a good idea, using sound business practices and maybe a little luck can make all the difference.

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Weiler named one of 40 Under 40

We are proud to announce that Jeff Weiler, executive vice president, was selected as one of the Bismarck Tribune’s 40 Under 40 for 2013. He was chosen for his strong leadership, professional development and commitment to the community.

Congratulations, Jeff, on becoming a Bismarck Tribune 40 Under 40 and being recognized as a strong, young leader in North Dakota. We are proud to have you as a member of the Starion team.

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Trivia

What is the average credit score in the United States?

The average credit score in the United States is between 700 and 710, according to Emperian’s National Score Index. Wisconsin made the top ten list, coming in at #3 with an average credit score of 749.

Courtesy mint.com

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