One of the most frequent questions we in Treasury Management hear from our business clients is, “Should I pay by an Automated Clearing House (ACH) payment or a wire transfer?” After all, choosing correctly can translate to enhanced security, sounder cash management, and a better position to capitalize on trade discounts. But the short answer is, it depends on the situation, as both methods have their pros and cons.

If you're in the market for a new job, you've got enough on your plate without adding the consequences that come with falling prey to scammers. However, bad actors know that job seekers can be especially vulnerable to their schemes, so they target them relentlessly, and often with much success. If you count yourself among the many exploring new career opportunities, or if you've been presented with a business proposition that seems like it may be too good to be true, the following article – "Looking for a New Job or Considering a Business Opportunity? Spot Signs of a Possible Scam," by Rosario Méndez of the Federal Trade Commission – has some tips that can ensure you stay safe and free from the clutches of fraudsters.

We’re in the midst of a particularly unpredictable and challenging economic period. Yet, regardless of whether times are tight or plentiful, your bank should serve as a strategic business partner. If your banker simply takes orders and responds to requests rather than getting to know your business and anticipating needs, it could be costing you money.

Most consumers are all too familiar with the term inflation. But stagflation is a rare economic condition that few are familiar with and even fewer have had to experience. While the country is not dealing with stagflation at the moment, it is a term that is starting to be used occasionally in the media that deserves a more in-depth explanation, and warrants some information about steps both businesses and individuals can take to reduce the chances of stagflation occurring in 2022.

Estate planning is an important element of financial preparedness. It confers a wide range of important benefits on you, your family, and possibly others. One group of benefits accrues during your lifetime, while the other set addresses post-death considerations. Let’s explore both.

As expenses increase with inflation and interest rates rise to combat it, small businesses are especially feeling this crunch. The labor shortage has a bigger impact when your team is comprised of significantly fewer people to start with. When you are missing even one or two people, the whole team feels the added burden. Here's what can you do as a small business owner.

In the simplest terms possible, investing is a journey from point A to point B. Thinking about that journey as a road trip, most would prefer the ride to be as smooth as possible. However, bumps, traffic, and even a detour or two are inevitable, and that's often the case when investing, too. As 2022 progresses, we continue to see the markets being quite volatile and bumpy, and this is likely to persist. Let's review what happened in May.

Nationwide, businesses and individuals have seen an uptick in fraudulent theft attempts this year, and we want to help your business be vigilant and avoid losses. Even though you may be busy facing the challenges of supply disruption and inflationary pressures this year, don’t miss an opportunity for a quick system check of your security procedures to make sure you catch any vulnerabilities before someone else finds them.

Preparing for a new baby can be an overwhelming, anxiety-inducing, exciting experience. Strollers, diapers, daycare … there are so many decisions to make in what seems like a long time, but really isn’t. If you’re a new mom or dad, you know how quickly nine months pass. If we can give anyone that is expecting one piece of advice, it’s to add financial planning for your child to your list of to-dos.

If your business needs expensive or specialized equipment like machinery, fleet vehicles, heavy duty trucks, or high-end computers, you may be wondering how to finance these purchases. Let’s consider some factors that might influence your decision to either buy or lease.

Ideally, we would all enter our retirement years fully confident that our investment and retirement planning efforts would translate into comfortably maintaining our desired lifestyles until the day we die. However, retirement planning, like most important things, is not that simple.

You’ve probably heard the old investing adage, “Sell in May and go away.” It’s an expression based on the theory that the stock market underperforms during the warmer summer months, before coming back six months later with stronger growth. By its logic, one would sell their investments in May and not invest again until sometime around the beginning of November. With the market activity we’ve seen so far in 2022 – and specifically, into the last couple of weeks of April – it’s fair to wonder whether the selling came early this year.

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, 99 percent of all companies are considered small businesses. And, while 80 percent of small businesses are sole operations with no employees, the remaining 20 percent are still responsible for employing 48 percent of all private sector employees. That’s one of the reasons why State Bank of Cross Plains has dedicated an entire department specifically to serving small businesses in our local community.

If you’re like many people, your understanding of how an annuity works probably looks something like this: You give an insurance company a sum of money, and the insurance company returns the funds to you as a monthly payment for the rest of your life. While accurate, that understanding encompasses only what are referred to as immediate annuities – there are other types available that may be more beneficial in certain circumstances.

For business owners, there’s never enough time in the day. Whether you’re meeting with current or potential clients and talking to vendors, or putting out fires and managing the day-to-day operation of your enterprise, you’ve got a lot on your plate. The best way to buy yourself time is to find efficiencies when and where you can.

Since the start of the pandemic, the interest rate environment has presented plenty of challenges to commercial borrowers and depositors alike. Although a bank money market account offers a safe place to keep funds with immediate availability, there are other alternatives a business might want to consider before parking excess capital there for the long term.

With the current inventory of homes for sale in Dane County down more than 10 percent from last year at this time, many people on the hunt for a home are considering building as another option for their situation. While there are distinct pros and cons for both building and buying a home that make either option a viable solution, the financing process can be more complicated to navigate when building.

You would never just settle for “good enough” in your personal relationships. Your business banking relationship deserves the same standard of excellence. Let’s review some questions to consider when researching your banking options.

Baby Boomers are rapidly retiring, and Gen-Xers aren't far behind. It's easy to imagine their positive expectations, but it's important to recognize that, for many, retirement also presents a few downsides. Here are four non-financial “lost benefits” for your consideration as you plan and prepare for your eventual retirement.

There are plenty of economic reasons to not want to revisit the Seventies. Unfortunately, we're dealing with many of the same issues now that we were then, plus Covid. There's good news to be found, though. Here's why it's unlikely we're going to see a full repeat of history.

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