Dec 20, 2012

Raising Charitable Children

Among the many challenges parents face in raising children, instilling values ranks high on the list in importance. We all want our children to share our values (hard work, faith, generosity, etc.) and carry them on for future generations. One key value you can instill in your children is an appreciation for charitable giving.

Fostering an appreciation for charitable giving truly begins at home. Make it a family activity and model the behavior you want your children to emulate. When it comes to making monetary donations, show them how you select a charity, set realistic charitable giving goals and then make a schedule and adhere to it. Make them a part of the process and educate them about the impact your donations can make on an organization.

While making financial donations is important, don’t forget to discuss the many other different ways to contribute. Often giving your time and talent is equally important. Choose a location to volunteer as a family—a soup kitchen, community event or church activity, deliver meals to the homebound or help at the local animal shelter. The opportunities are limitless, as are the teachable moments.

Remember, it’s almost never too early to start sharing charitable activities with the next generation. Even at age three or four children can select a toy to give to a less fortunate child at the holidays, help clean out their closet and donate the outgrown clothing or be a part of your local acts of kindness—such as visiting an elderly neighbor or cooking for a sick friend. To get started, help your child open a savings account and teach them to save properly. Once they learn to save, they will have the funds available to also give.

If you want to bring up children who value charitable giving, make it a cornerstone value in your life and they will build upon it for a lifetime!

For more information, see Bank of Luxemburg Chief Operating Officer Rebecca Edler give tips for charitable giving on FOX 11's Living with Amy.

Dec 17, 2012

Bank vs. Mortgage Broker: You Be the Judge

Over the past few years, as people have been refinancing left and right due to plunging home loan rates, home owners are faced with the question—do we finance our loan through a local bank or a mortgage broker?  It’s a common, valid question.  Here are some truthful answers to help guide your decision.


When you finance your mortgage through a local bank, you meet with a local loan officer, and they can guide you through the process. They will address any problems you may encounter before, during, or after the loan process. They know the specifics about the area where your home resides, which is beneficial when it comes to home insurance and what coverage you may or may not need, based on your geographic location. When you make a payment or have questions come tax time, you can walk into the local banking establishment and take care of any necessary business.   

It’s worth noting that while not all banks service 100% of their loans, Bank of Luxemburg currently does. What this means is that, every customer who is approved for a loan through Bank of Luxemburg can rest assured that their home loan is being taken care of by Bank of Luxemburg.

Mortgage Brokers

It’s important to point out that a mortgage broker is paid a commission to find a match between a mortgage lending company and a buyer. They will only be paid a commission if they make this match happen, which oftentimes occurs even when the match is less than ideal.  

Example: Think of it the same way as financing a vehicle through a dealership. You want to buy a car. The dealership wants you to buy the car, so they can collect their commission. They have you fill out a loan application and send it into cyberspace for any lending company to snatch up at a good rate. This company doesn’t have to be local and doesn’t necessarily know anything about you or the area you’re in.

Mortgage brokers work the same way, sending your mortgage application to a multitude of lending establishments to allow them to “fight” over your mortgage. Once a lender is chosen, it doesn’t have to be a local company (most often it’s not). What this means for the borrower is that problems could arise—the lending company might not be familiar with terminology, regulations, or insurance exclusive to the region. Issues like these could slow down the loan approval process. Lastly, once the loan is financed, the buyer can’t go back to the mortgage broker for help. Prior to this, during the borrowing process, the mortgage broker has been a go-between. Once the closing occurs, the buyer is on their own to deal with an out-of-state lending company they’ve never spoken with before.


Believe it or not, whether you are working with a bank or a mortgage broker, there are fees involved. You could see them up front (as in the case of banks), or they could be hidden (as in the case of mortgage brokers). With a mortgage broker, you’ll see higher charges for some areas such as “application processing fee,” “doc. prep fee,” “paying for points,” and also “closing costs.” Typically, the fees associated with your loan will actually be higher when working with a mortgage broker.  

A Great Opportunity!

Lakeshore Community Action Program, Inc. is offering income-eligible homebuyers a $5,000 grant for the down payment of a home in Door, Calumet, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, or Sheboygan County. Buyers will be required to complete an education and counseling class, must have income that qualifies (per approved for a first mortgage), cannot have owned a home in the past three years, and purchase the home in specially designated areas.  

Homebuyer Education will be offered Friday November 30th from 9am – 3pm at Bank of Luxemburg at 100 Old Orchard Avenue in Casco, Wisconsin. Lakeshore CAP Homebuyer Education offers practical tools, consumer information, and includes handouts for each participant about the home buying process. This workshop is sponsored by a generous donation from Bank of Luxemburg. To register for the workshop, please call 1-800-924-0510.  Lunch and refreshments will be provided. Lakeshore Community Action Program, Inc. is an Equal Housing Opportunity Agency.

Dec 10, 2012

Managing Finances After a Death in the Family

Bank Accounts
When a family member passes away loved ones are usually left with many financial decisions. To help ease this burden, we recommend setting up re-planned funerals, account beneficiaries and wills while living. Of course this is not always possible and in most cases family members will still need to deal with some financial issues.

It’s helpful to have an attorney or the executor of the estate advise you on a deceased’s bank accounts. Different types of accounts differ in their requirements for access:
  • Joint Account: If you have a joint bank account with the deceased, control over the account can go to the survivor. The survivor can continue to make payments, deposits, and changes as usual. To remove the deceased from the account, you must show a valid death certificate.
  • Traditional Bank Account: With a traditional account, the deceased had sole control over the account. In this case the money goes to the individual(s) named as beneficiaries. If there are no beneficiaries listed, the funds go to the estate. To access the account, the beneficiaries or the executor of the estate must have the death certificate.
  • Trust Account: Usually set up as part of a larger estate plan, a trust names the beneficiary of the account and identifies how the funds will be distributed.
  • Safe Deposit Boxes: Safe deposit boxes are similar to traditional bank accounts. To access, you will need a certified death certificate and legal documents identifying the executor of the estate. 

To Start ... 
  1. Request numerous copies of the death certificate through the funeral home or your state Department of Health.
  2. Contact each financial institution where the deceased had accounts. Most likely you will be asked to set up a meeting with a financial advisor. Make sure to ask what proof of identity you need to bring to the meeting.
  3. Review any financial statements you find in the home of the deceased. Many times loved ones find additional bank accounts or safe deposit boxes.
  4. Comply with the will or estate executor. Remember, legally you are bound by their wishes, even if you don’t agree with their decisions. 

This process often isn’t easy and is sometimes even more difficult given the emotions that come when dealing with finances. Remember, by preparing ahead—through funeral pre-plans, estate planning and wills—you can ease the process for your loved ones.

Few people die with all financial details in order, but before you start writing checks or panic about expenses, take time to learn your rights and responsibilities.

 Managing Bills
1) List all the deceased’s liabilities, including mortgages, bills, lines of credit, loans, etc.
2) Divide the liabilities into administrative expenses (bills that will continue to need payments, such as a mortgage) and final bills (bills that can be paid in full, such as funeral expenses). Administrative expenses will be paid by the executor of the estate out of any funds currently in the estate.
3) Make decisions about maintaining payments. Keep records of all payments for the estate’s financial records.
4) Determine what can be sold. This is usually the executor’s responsibility. Selling items may be necessary to cover debts.

This information is not intended as a substitute for legal advice and we urge you to obtain competent legal advice for any questions regarding financial matters following the death of a loved one.

Watch this video for even more tips from Bank of Luxemburg Chief Operating Officer Rebecca Edler: