MILWAUKEE, March 13, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- For those who find themselves short on "green" this St. Patrick's Day, M&I, a part of BMO Financial Group, has created a website designed to help users better manage their money and learn ways to improve their financial standing.
The Helpful Steps website – www.bmoharris.com/helpfulsteps – is a simple yet powerful tool to help people arrive at a better place financially. The website focuses on arming users with resources and information related to saving money, reducing and eliminating debt, preparing for unexpected costs, and increasing awareness of their financial status.
"While some Wisconsin residents may prefer to catch a leprechaun and secure their pot of gold, financial security takes time, preparation and hard work," said Kara Kaiser, Regional President, M&I a part of BMO Financial Group. "M&I wants to help them meet their financial goals without the help of fairytale characters, which is why we launched this educational resource."
The site features tools, calculators and advice on money management subjects ranging from meeting savings goals to getting out of debt and preparing for the future. Among other things, M&I makes these recommendations:
- Pay yourself first: Add your savings account to your monthly list of bills, and make saving a priority.
- Save more through small changes: Identify where you're spending money, and where you can make changes. For instance, packing your lunch instead of eating out could save you thousands over the course of the year.
- Maximize your savings: Once you've started saving, and know what you're saving for, set up appropriate accounts to manage your money. For instance, consider an IRA for retirement savings, and a money market account for your expanding nest egg.
- Write a budget: It's the most effective way to get on track to financial success. Don't forget to allocate funds for savings and charitable contributions, and to ensure that your spending doesn't exceed your income.
- Know your credit score: This rating will determine if you'll have access to key credit options – whether you're opening a new credit card or applying for a mortgage – in addition to driving the interest rate you'll be paying. Check your credit reports regularly to ensure accuracy and develop better credit habits to increase your score over time.
About BMO Harris Bank
Based in Chicago, BMO Harris Bank N.A. provides a broad range of personal banking products and solutions through over 650 branches and approximately 1,350 ATMs in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota, Nevada, Arizona and Florida. BMO Harris Bank's commercial banking team provides a combination of sector expertise, local knowledge and mid-market focus throughout the U.S. Deposit and loan products and services provided by BMO Harris Bank N.A. Member FDIC. BMO Harris Bank(SM) and M&I® are trade names used by BMO Harris Bank N.A. BMO Harris Bank is part of BMO Financial Group, a North American financial organization with 1,600 branches, and a retail deposit base of approximately $180 billion.
SOURCE BMO Harris Bank