Plenty of options exist when it comes to handling an individual’s financial needs. Some people prefer to keep all of their cash on their person, while some choose alternative banking methods, such as check cashing or payday lending.
Steve Levy, senior vice president, commercial banking at Erie Bank in Independence; and Melissa Maki, vice president and marketing communications director at Middlefield Bank in Middlefield, said using a bank is the best way to fulfill and individual’s financial needs.
Levy emphasized bank employees are here to help and have a wide range of knowledge for every need that a customer might have.
“These are individuals with expertise,” Levy said. “Just like you hire a landscaper or hire a painter to paint the house. It’s always good to seek the advice of professionals. This is what they do. They’re licensed and credentialed. In most cases, not all cases, but in many cases they have been doing this for quite some time. There is an argument to be made for ‘set it, forget it, do it yourself.’ But if you’re looking for a little bit more advice, it’s probably worthwhile to talk to your bank.”
Maki said not only are banks well-informed, but they are also well-intentioned and well-trusted. In a time where many customers are concerned about the safety of their transactions, banks offer a protected service for their clients.
“The bank is a safe place for your money, and it is federally insured,” Maki said. “The costs can really add up when using alternative banking options such as check cashing or payday lending. A traditional bank account is also a fast and secure method for direct deposit, tax refunds, or other government funds to be deposited.”
Maki added many people try to go about their financial business on their own, while thinking that they have all the answers. But banks can provide information that some clients did not even think they needed.
“I think the biggest mistake is not finding a bank or banker that you can trust to ask questions and seek guidance,” Maki said. “There are a lot of unspoken barriers to banking for the average person including processes, terminology, regulations, and disclosures. An experienced community banker can help you get the best financial solutions for your lifestyle.”
One of these processes that many people could use professional help with is keeping up with their portfolio regularly.
“So, a lot of people who invest on their own forget to rebalance their portfolio on a periodic basis, whether it’s semi-annual or annually. They don’t necessarily change their investment philosophy, which you probably should be doing as you age. Your risk profile changes. It’s good to have an advisor that can just kind of give some industry norms, ‘here’s what our recommendations would be for you.’ I think a lot of people that kind of go in alone, often forget to plan.”
Levy said being proactive with seeking advice from professionals is important, even when the client thinks they are doing well at the moment.
“No one looks for a new advisor when they’re doing well,” Levy said. “Most people can feel like ‘I’m doing really well because the market is doing really well.’ You could be doing better with the advice of a professional.
“But no one seeks the advice of the professional that they’re doing well. they tend to wait until they’re not doing well. Then they seek the advice of the professionals. I would say maybe waiting too long to get advice.”