Should You Buy or Rent Your Next Home?

Smart Solutions: Helping You Reach Your Financial Goals

Welcome to Smart Solutions from Commerce Bank. As part of our commitment to helping you reach your financial goals, we offer valuable information and practical advice designed to give you better control and guidance with your personal finances. Let Smart Solutions help you with your future financial decisions.

Should You Buy or Rent Your Next Home?

March 2017 - Whether you’re going across town or across the country, moving is a big decision, both financially and emotionally. While buying a home makes sense for some, for others, renting is a better option. As you weigh the pros and cons of both, consider your current finances, long-and short-term goals, and lifestyle preferences to determine what’s best for your personal situation and needs. Read More >

Smart Steps for Homebuyers

February 2017 - You’ve been dreaming of a new home, spent hours scouring listings, and even done a little decorating in your mind. But have you taken the necessary steps to prepare financially? A mortgage is likely the largest and longest loan you’ll ever have. To help you understand and better navigate the process, these steps can help prepare your finances (and your sanity) to ensure that your home buying process goes as smoothly as possible. Read More >

Talking to Your Millennial Kids About Money

January 2017 - As your young adult children begin to launch careers and financial lives of their own, it doesn’t mean that your parenting job is over. In fact, your kids could probably use your guidance now more than ever as they navigate their own path toward independence. They just might not know how to ask. And as confident as they may appear, there’s a good chance they’re unsure about how to manage their finances — and still see you as a trusted resource. Read More >

Preserving Your Assets

January 2017 - If it’s been a while since you’ve reviewed your estate plan, or if you haven’t yet prepared one, there’s no better time than the present to make sure that your future wishes are carried out. A little planning now can go a long way toward preserving your legacy, protecting your assets, minimizing future taxes and — most importantly — ensuring peace of mind for you and your loved ones. Read More >

Five Ways to Tackle Your Debt in 2017

December 2016 - As the number of years between now and retirement continues to shrink, it's a good time to take stock of your debts and expenses. Sure, you've been saving for retirement and looking forward to the next chapter of your life. But are you still paying off home equity loans, cars and credit card balances? Read More >

Four Ways to Manage Holiday Expenses

November 2016 - From gifts to food to seasonal events, holiday spending can add up quickly. One of the biggest reasons people tend to overspend during the holidays is due to lack of planning. But it is possible to celebrate and give generously without going into debt. Here are four ways to budget for this year's holiday season, and avoid those last-minute impulse purchases that can derail your budget. Read More >

Five Ways to Tackle Student Loan Debt

November 2016 - Whether your student loan payments are about to kick in or you've been making payments for a few years, chances are there are other ways you’d rather spend your money. Having a plan in place as well as a timeline to pay off that debt can help you avoid extra fees and interest, keep payments affordable and protect your credit. These five tips will help you get started. Read More >

How to Build a Budget That Actually Works

October 2016 - If you find it challenging to create and stick to a budget, you’re not alone. While it sounds simple enough to track money coming in and going out, many people forget to factor in all of their expenses — or focus on the big picture. The good news is that you can learn to create a budget that works for you without depriving yourself or cutting out all the fun. Read More >

Tips for Launching an Encore Career

September 2016 - People are living longer, healthier lives than previous generations, and many can’t imagine the idea of slowing down once they reach retirement. While encore careers are often inspired by the need for financial stability, many people look forward to pursuing personal interests after years of financial and family obligations start to wind down. Read More >

The pros and cons of going cashless

August 2016 - Online and mobile technologies have made their way into just about every industry, and banking is no exception. From plastic to apps, research shows that more of us are embracing the convenience of non-cash methods to spend, save and even transfer money. Read More >

How to Find the Right Family-Friendly Vehicle

July 2016 - When baby makes three (or more), it may be time to purchase a different vehicle — one expressly designed for the safety and enjoyment of your growing family. So here's a checklist of six factors and features to consider when you're shopping for a family-friendly ride. Read More >

Big expense on the horizon? Your home equity could help.

July 2016 - Are you looking for ways to finance an upcoming major purchase or other expense? Whatever your need, the equity in your home may provide a perfect solution. Read More >

You're ready for retirement. But are your finances?

June 2016 - As your retirement horizon moves closer, you're undoubtedly excited – and probably a little anxious, too. We've put together a checklist of tasks you can tackle now that will help you transition into retirement feeling confident and financially secure. Read More >

What to Do if Your Identity Is Stolen

June 2016 - Have you spotted suspicious transactions on your credit card statement? Has your driver's license (or entire wallet) gone missing? Have you recently learned that one of your online accounts was hacked or your personal information was exposed in a data breach? These are all red flags that you're at risk for identity theft. The best way to minimize any potential damage to your finances is to act fast. Read More >

Top 10 Considerations When Choosing Your New Neighborhood

May 2016 - City or suburb? Close proximity to work or walkable neighborhood? Your home's location will play a big role in your everyday life, so it's important to consider all of the features that come with a new neighborhood and evaluate how they may serve your lifestyle before deciding where to buy. Read More >

College Versus Retirement: How to Set Your Saving Priorities

April 2016 - Many experts recommend that you have at least $1 million saved to retire comfortably.1 And many recommend setting aside $40,000 to help cover the costs of a public-college education — or $80,000 for a private college.2 Read More >

Five Ways to Save More, Starting Now

March 2016 - When you're working toward important financial goals, every penny counts. Read More >

The ABC’s of HSAs

February 2016 - With the Affordable Care Act, more people than ever can choose a Health Savings Account (HSA) as part of their healthcare coverage. Read More >

What Does Market Fluctuation Mean to You?

December 2015 - The past few months have demonstrated with clarity that the stock market can be a roller coaster. Read More >

What if Your Debit Card is Compromised?

October 2015 - You hear it on the news as you’re driving home: A store where you shopped last weekend had a data breach. Information on millions of debit cards, possibly including yours, could have been stolen. Read More >

Enhanced Fraud Protection: Understanding Chip Debit Cards

October 2015 - Maybe you’ve already noticed when you are checking out at your local retailer — the card terminals have changed. Similarly, if you haven’t already received a new debit or reloadable prepaid card embedded with a computer chip, you probably will soon. Read More >

Is Your Life Insurance Keeping Up with Your Life?

September 2015 - Life changes fast, and those changes often entail new children, new homes and new jobs that make the adventure particularly rewarding. But as life keeps getting better, how is your life insurance coverage stacking up? Read More >

Saving Strategies for Every Generation

September 2015 - The need to save money for the future is something that transcends age and generation. But each generation's financial goals and saving priorities look a little different. Read More >

Before You Purchase that Pre-Owned Car…

August 2015 - You’ve made the big decision to buy a new vehicle — or at least, one that’s new to you. Purchasing any vehicle can be a complex process and going pre-owned means you have an added set of factors to consider. Read More >

Why It’s Important to Know Your Credit History

June 2015 - You probably know that any time you apply for a mortgage loan or a credit card, the lender will consider your credit score in their decision-making. Not only does a better (higher) score increase the likelihood of getting approved, it might also lower your potential interest rate. Read More >

Three Reasons Why Sending Your Kids to College Is Still Worth It

April 2015 - With college tuition skyrocketing to more than $22,000 a year and student loan debt averaging $25,000 per graduate, both parents and students are left asking: Is higher education still worth it?
Read More >

Buy, Refi, or Wait? Tips for Making a Decision

March 2015 - Mortgage rates are the lowest they've been in more than a year and a half. And that's causing many people to jump off the fence and into a mortgage purchase or refinance. But is it the right move for you? Read More >

The ABCs of Home Equity

March 2015 - Now that the U.S. housing market is on the rebound, it's a question on many a homeowner's mind: How much equity do I really have in my home? And more importantly, with spring renovation season just around the corner — how much of it can I borrow? And is this the best way to finance a home improvement or large purchase? Read More >

Why Your Emergency Fund is More Important Than Ever

February 2015 - Let's face it. We just can't predict what the future will hold, especially in today's uncertain economy. Having a financial cushion for the unexpected — losing a job or incurring unplanned medical expenses — just makes good financial sense. Read More >

Managing Your Money Is Easier Than Ever

January 2015 - If you haven't tried Online Banking yet, maybe it's because you don't know all the benefits it can offer. So here's a quick review - just in time to give your money management a fresh start for the new year! Read More >

Four Reasons to Try Mobile Banking

December 2014 - By 2018, half of the U.S. adult population is projected to use smartphone banking.1 If you haven't hopped on the mobile banking bandwagon yet, now is a great time to start, as features just keep getting better. But if you're still on the fence, consider these four advantages. Read More >

'Tis the Season for Safe Holiday Shopping

November 2014 - In this issue of Smart Solutions, we explain the latest precautions to take whether you're shopping in store, online or via your smartphone, plus how to get peace of mind with helpful identity theft tools. Finally, we offer some tips to keep your holiday budget on track. Read More >

Budgeting for Holiday Expenses

November 2014 - Whether it's for food, festivities or fun, holiday spending can add up fast. So we've outlined some ways you can save money while still making your celebrations festive. Read More >

Make Doing Good Feel Even Better

October 2014 - Not only is giving to a worthy cause personally satisfying, it can help offset your tax load too.* With the giving season starting soon, here are some ways to get your ducks in a row before tax time rolls around. Read More >

Taking Care of your Most Precious Assets - Your Family

September 2014 - Have you checked your life insurance policy lately? Are you just married or a new parent? These types of life events are an important time to review your future financial needs. Read More >

Financial Care for Aging Family Members

September 2014 - As your parents or other close family members get older, it's natural to start thinking about their healthcare needs. But it's just as important to consider their financial wellbeing. Read More >

Pre-Paid Cards - a Safer Way to Pay

August 2014 - Prepaid cards are growing in popularity as an alternative to cash, debit cards and other forms of payment. But many people don't know much about them. To help you get in-the-know and decide if this financial management tool is for you, consider these four quick facts. Read More >

Two Ways to Leverage Your Home's Equity

July 2014 - Are you looking for ways to finance an upcoming major purchase or other expense? Maybe you're thinking about home improvements, planning a wedding or consolidating debt. Whatever your need, the equity in your home may provide a perfect solution. Read More >

Financial Planning Tips for College Students and Summer Travelers

June 2014 - This summer, many incoming college freshmen are excitedly packing their bags — as parents nervously hand over their credit cards. If you have a child heading off to college soon, we have three important lessons you can teach your student about handling money smartly when he or she arrives. Another place where smart money management matters is on the road, so we're also sharing five tips to help keep your money safe when you travel. Read More >

Five Tips for Protecting Your Money While on Vacation

June 2014 - Summer vacation is a time to relax and make memories. But a pickpocket or identity thief can quickly turn your trip into a stressful one you'd rather forget. To avoid that possible fate, follow these five tips for convenient and secure management of your money while you're on the road. Read More >

Should You Remodel or Relocate?

March 2014 - Upon the realization that their house no longer fits their needs, homeowners are faced with two choices: remodel or relocate. Until recently, both options might have been considered a financial risk for many homeowners. But 2013 saw the strongest gain in home prices in eight years,5 giving owners the confidence — and the equity — they need to make their next move. If your current property falls short of your dream home, answer the following questions to help determine if it's time to break out the toolbox or the moving boxes. Read More >

Are You Making These Common Retirement Mistakes?

February 2014 - In today's uncertain economic times, retirement is a hot topic. Many Americans are concerned they will not be able to save enough to retire comfortably — or at all. Increase your chances of achieving your retirement goals by avoiding these three common mistakes. Read More >

Top Three Financial Resolutions

January 2014 - The start of a new year is the perfect time to review where you have been and where you would like to be. That's why every January, nearly half of all Americans resolve to improve their lives in some way, and about half of those resolutions relate to money. Read More >

Recover From Holiday Spending

January 2014 - In today's uncertain economic times, retirement is a hot topic. Many Americans are concerned they will not be able to save enough to retire comfortably — or at all. Increase your chances of achieving your retirement goals by avoiding these three common mistakes. Read More >