Scary Sweets for Halloween


At Raccoon Valley Bank, Halloween is one of our favorite holidays! We love resurrecting recipes each year for both neighborhood and community Halloween parties. Before you start planning your next Halloween bash, be sure to add these dangerous delicacies to your list of spooky specialties!


Witch’s Fingers: These pretzel rods add a delicious and haunting bite to any attendee’s plate! Simply cover each pretzel in melted bright green chocolate and attach an almond at the tip. Make them even more realistic by painting the almonds black with food coloring, and adding creases in the fingers.


Bug Cups: Surprise your guests with these crawling cups. Comprised of gummy treats, jello, and crushed Oreos, this easy desserts will entertain your party as they dig their way through the tasty treat.


Witch’s Brew: Filled with pickled beet and ogre’s toe, this gruesome drink will give you all the energy you need for a fun-filled evening of trick-or-treating. For the adults concocting this brew, you may find a mix of orange juice, sparkling grape juice, and sparkling apple juice will make for a the most fruitful potion.


Pumpkin Cake: A magical Halloween sweet, this delicious pastry is created to look just like a jack-o-lantern. Remember to customize your design with your family’s favorite pumpkin carving!


Halloween Cookie Cake: Covered in slime and bark, this famous treat is the perfect treat for exhausted halloween monsters. Give your little monsters a slice after trick-or-treating or before watching a family scary movie!


Caramel Apple Nacho Bar: Tailor your recipe to your own terrorizing tastes with this ooey gooey spread. You can choose the best ghoulish garnishes for you and your guests!


Jello Worms: Scare your friends with these creepy crawlers. Just combine your favorite jello, plain gelatin, and hot water to get these critters moving.


Jack-o-Lantern Pies: Be sure to scoop up these horrifying hand pies for your next event. With a simple crust, and a scrumptious filling, these decadent desserts are sure to be a hit at any fall festivity.


Butterbeer Hot Chocolate: For all the witches and wizards out there, this classic drink will make you want to say, “Repello Muggletum!” Get started and craft a cup for one, or for the entire place, this is a recipe you’ll want to try again and again!

How a $1,403 Cup of Coffee is a Bargain


What do you dream of doing when you retire? Relaxing at home, traveling the world, or maybe a mix of both. Wherever your retirement takes you, you’ll want to be sure your savings can support your future lifestyle. Keep your dreams on track and follow this simple guide courtesy of Raccoon Valley Bank.


When you decide to retire, you start to receive the benefit of those hard-earned savings you’ve tucked away. Interest earned from these savings, along with any assistance you may receive, will soon become your primary source of income. This means that in order to have a successful retirement, you need to have a successful savings.


As of today, the estimated cost of future income is $16.75. This means that if you want to accrue $1 in earned income each year, you need to keep a savings of $16.75 in the bank. Now, let’s say for example, one of your retirement goals is to go down to the local diner each weekend and meet with friends for a cup of coffee. This cup of coffee costs $1.61, and for the sake of simplicity we won’t factor in inflation.


$1.61 x 52 weeks = $83.72 for your yearly coffee.


At $83.72 for the year, that would calculate to be $837.20 over the course of a decade, and $2511.60 over the next 30 years. However, once we calculate the current dollar of future income:


$83.72 x $16.76 = $1403.15 to cover your coffee for 30 years.


By this measure, you can pay for $2511.60 of weekend coffee, over the course of 30 years, by utilizing the $87.72 yearly interest on a total sum of $1403.15.


Concepts like this help showcase the incredible potential your retirement can hold! If you’re curious on how to maximize your savings, stop in today to speak with one of our knowledgeable personal bankers. We’ll help show you how to have your coffee and drink it too!

6 Ways to Save on Your Home Energy Bill

Save Money

The cool months are approaching, and so is the increase in your home’s energy usage. Before the days start to get chilly, put these key steps in motion to save some serious pocket change on your next utility bill.


  1. Swap out your 40 watt bulbs for a more efficient LED bulb. While the lights themselves may be more costly, they will save you money in the long run. Begin with one room in the house and every couple months splurge for another room’s new light bulbs. Slowly, your home’s lighting will become more energy efficient, dropping your electricity usage.
  2. While the temperature’s still relatively warm, turn off your air conditioning, and let the house breathe. Open up windows both upstairs and downstairs to cool the house, and bring in some fresh air. Even if it’s for only a few hours a day, this simple technique can decrease your energy usage a little at a time.
  3. Trade in those mesh curtains for an energy efficient alternative. Darkening shades can help to keep your house warm by trapping heat inside. As an added bonus, they also shield the sun, so sleeping in on the weekends has never been easier.
  4. If you have a family of four, doing laundry can add up quick! Decrease your energy usage by switching to a cold wash detergent and only using hot water when deep cleaning whites. For additional savings, hang items to dry outside while it’s still warm, eliminating the energy needed for the dryer.
  5. Fill your freezer. By keeping a full freezer, you make the appliance work less, once all the food is frozen. Each of the items inside of the freezer will help keep the space frozen, meaning less energy is needed to keep everything cold.
  6. Pile on the layers this season. Once the cold comes, instead of running to the thermostat, make your way to the closet. Adding sweatshirts, jackets, and cardigans to your wardrobe can help you stay toasty on those chilly nights, without spiking your energy bill. If the evening is particularly cold, enjoy the night in front of a warm kindling in the fireplace, and remember to add a couple blankets to your bed!


Whatever tactics you choose to save, Raccoon Valley Bank is here to help! Got questions on how to average your utilities over the course of the year? Our experienced personal bankers can help!


Budgeting for Your Big Day


After the question has been popped, answered, and celebrated, it’s time to get into planning mode! Coordinating everything from table seating, gift registries, food, and more; putting together an exciting wedding celebration is no easy task! Find out how to get the most out of your big day, with these helpful budgeting tips courtesy of Raccoon Valley Bank.


  1.   Have the Money Talk with Your Family

One of the great parts about a wedding is the fact that it symbolizes two people, and two families, joining together. Likeminded, your budget should be a joint effort as well. Sit down with your parents, spouse, and his/her parents to discuss what can be contributed by each family. Once you have decided on a reasonable budget you can begin to look into appropriate venues and vendor options.


Be sure to also ask relatives with talents to help with various wedding activities. Whether its photography, floral arrangements, or singing during the ceremony, you’d be surprised how many talented family members are more than happy to help!


  1.   Pick Three

The golden rule to budgeting the perfect wedding is to choose your top three priorities. Whether that’s the food, venue, photographer, or other wedding elements, choose which components you want to put the bulk of your budget in. This doesn’t mean you can’t spend money outside of your three choices, rather this budget allows you the freedom to save money in the areas that aren’t your main focus.


In most weddings the top three expenses are the venue, dining, and entertainment, followed closely by the photographer, floral arrangements, and wedding dress.


  1.   Staying Under Budget

Like any good budget, staying on top of your numbers can be a huge advantage! Be sure to keep all your receipts associated with the event to help track expenses and create a paper trail with your various vendors. Just like your personal finances, it’s a good idea to leave some cushion for unexpected costs and additions. Whatever your overall budget is for the event, be sure to leave 5 percent of it unused for various unplanned changes. This way if extra flowers or drinks are needed, the money is already set aside, headache free!


Many couples are opting to use apps like HoneyFund to take the expense of a honeymoon out of their budget. With apps like this relatives and guests are able to choose an item on your honeymoon wish list to give instead of a traditionally wrapped present.


Setting the date is simply the start of your wedding planning adventure! If you need help structuring your wedding budget, stop by Raccoon Valley Bank or give us a call at (515) 993-4581, we’d love to help make your big day a success!


Generational Financial Habits: Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z.

Saving Money

When it comes to your spending habits, your age may influence your decisions more than you think! Depending on your generation, there may be some key patterns that differentiate you from your older and younger counterparts. Discover your key financial traits with this helpful guide courtesy of Raccoon Valley Bank.


Baby Boomers

Typically classified as the savers of the modern age, many of those age 51-70 are known for tucking away funds as quickly as they can accumulate them. Many baby boomers were affected by both the Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. assassinations and hold strong sense of mistrust of the system. There are many in this generation who choose savings options outside of financial institutions. This large generation of approximately 70 million people, is currently in the process leaving the workforce and entering retirement. The most important item on their financial agenda is to save and secure funds for the decades of life they will enjoy outside nine to five.


Generation X

Often overshadowed by the large baby boomers ahead of them, generation X’ers tend to be strong willed and decisive, fighting for their share of the financial pie. Having been one of the first generations to experience divorce as a normal occurrence, many of those adults age 40-50 continue to look out for their individual financial wellbeing through strictly defensive tactics. Boasting on the highest education rates, this group makes strategic savings plans, constantly preparing for the ball to drop. They are best known for their cautious optimism and lofty financial goals.



The current generation of twenty and thirtysomethings, were shaped by a highly digital world. Growing up in the age of computers and terrorism, these young adults believe that the typical American dream, may be slightly skewed. In many areas, home and car ownership is on the decline as more and more millennials strive to gain experiences over material possessions. Influenced by their parental counterparts, it is common to see this generation shying away from long term debt after seeing their parents succumb to missed payments and foreclosures during the 2008 economic crash. Couple that cautious initiative with crippling student loans and added inflation, where now today many college graduates are working multiple jobs to simply make ends meet.


Generation Z

The up-and-coming generation of the century, this group is the first age demographic to grow up completely immersed in digital technology. The days of cell phones and computers encompassed their childhood, and many of those age 0-20 have never known life without the digital realm. Still relatively young, these Gen Z’s take diversification to the next level, not trusting too much in any one entity. With advancing diagnostic systems this generation takes time and consideration into account before making any major life decision. As this generation ages, more experiences and choices will continue to shape their financial style.


No matter what generation you are a part of, there are a variety of ways you can improve your financial habits. Speak with one of our experienced personal bankers today, and we’ll show you how to get started!


What Your Teen Needs to Know About Money Management

Personal Finances

Throughout their teenage years, your children will begin to grow their personal money management style. Offer them some assistance by offering these four financial lessons from Raccoon Valley Bank.


Securing Their First Job

No matter if it’s babysitting, lifeguarding, or bagging groceries, there are plenty of employment options for eager high school students. These opportunities typically start at minimum wage with zero benefits, but offer a foundation of experience and learning. Talk with your son or daughter, and help them select positions to apply for that resonate with them. Resources such as the Chamber of Commerce often list local job openings, and are a good place to comb for recent availabilities.


Managing Money

The younger you begin various habits, the better they stick with you. Teach your children the positive effect proper money management can have on their pocketbook. Start by opening both a savings and a checking account for your teen. Each pay period, help them figure ten percent of their earnings to put into their savings. You can also work with them one-on-one each month to help balance their checkbook and plan for any large expenditures.


Saving for College

Secondary education isn’t cheap. If your son or daughter plans on attending a college or trade school, the time to start saving is now! Work with your future student to determine an educational budget, providing an estimate of upcoming expenses. Once you know the amount needed you can set savings goals for both you and your teen to start tucking money away. The sooner you begin your savings journey the smoother the road will be to your target amount.


Making Payments

Whether it’s purchasing their first car or simply covering the cost of meals at school, learning how to maintain a payment plan is an important life lesson. Explain your personal bill paying system to your teen and see how they can tailor it to their needs. Once they have a grasp on the system itself, gradually add payments to your child’s list of responsibilities, even if you add the money to their account. This will help them learn to keep an updated payment calendar before they graduate high school.


Money management is a continual learning process. There are always new techniques or tricks to better arrange your finances. Don’t stop honing your teen’s money management after these four lessons – stop by Raccoon Valley Bank and see how you can keep growing your family’s financial skills today!

How to Hit a Homerun in Retirement



Winning in a baseball game or in your retirement savings is no easy feat! It takes dedication and determination to seal the win. As you begin to reexamine your retirement plan try these key pointers from Raccoon Valley Bank to coach you along the way!


Load the Bases


If you have available resources, make sure you’re using them! Just as a batter is primed to score with his bases covered in players, so are you by capitalizing on your 401(k), IRA, personal savings, and structured investing plan. Score extra points by taking advantage of your company’s 401(k) which matches your monthly contributions up to a certain percentage of your salary. Those are free dollars to aim towards your retirement!


Pitch a No Hitter

Don’t let the opposing team get ahead; work to pitch a no hitter by setting up your emergency savings fund. Instead of walking any unexpected expenses, such as auto repairs or medical bills, send those players back to the dugout with an added savings curve ball. You’ll be protecting your savings and racking up points, while staking your claim to your space in the hall of fame.


Build a Winning Team

Just as you would compile your fantasy team around leading scorers and left handed pitchers, the same applies to your financial team! At Raccoon Valley Bank we have a well-rounded lineup of personal bankers, wealth advisers, and lenders to help you make it to the big leagues.


Play Extra Innings

Even in retirement, there’s no rule against a little over time! Take up a part or full-time job you enjoy to cover living expenses before you have to dip into your savings account. You and your spouse could land a home run in the bottom of the 10th with some additional income at the start of your retirement.
No matter if you’re swinging for the fences or just trying to get on base, our experienced team at Raccoon Valley Bank can help craft a game plan for your retirement! Give us a call at (515) 993-4581 or stop by the bank today!

10 Things Successful People Do

Successful People

Ever wonder how Mark Zuckerberg or Richard Branson got where they are today? Success doesn’t come easy, but it grows where it is watered. At Raccoon Valley Bank, we want to help you climb into success with these simple tactics! Learn how to begin your journey to the top with these 10 key actions:


  1. Have maker time. No matter how many meetings there are in a day, schedule time each and every day to create, produce, and whittle down your to-do list. Not only will you get more done, but you’ll get more completed within your structured time!
  2. Prioritize your tasks. Sometimes that to-do list can be a mile long. Start your day with one main priority, and three sub tasks. Once these core items have been completed you can move on to the other smaller agendas you have for the day.
  3. Keep your values. Whether it’s making it home for dinner, or keeping on top of an evening health regiment, realize there are other values outside of work that need your attention too. Designate your time at work to do the most you can, so once the clock hits five, you know you’re scheduled to be somewhere else.
  4. Strategize your meetings. Do you need to be in every one of your meetings? Perhaps not! Speak with meeting organizers to determine if your input is truly needed and if so, could that be communicated through email instead? Time is precious, so make the most of yours!
  5. Say no. No is a powerful word. While you may not be able to say “no” to a supervisor’s request, when being asked to participate in additional projects, be selective and only join the workload you can handle appropriately
  6. Know when to delegate. You can’t do everything yourself. Invest time in your peers and ensure that if you need a task completed, they are up to the challenge. A great leader utilizers their team’s strengths and weaknesses, so be sure you’re putting the best person on each task.
  7. Create a daily routine. Everything from your morning breakfast choices, the various times you check your emails, to your scheduled breaks, you need to have a routine, and stick to it!
  8. Treat failure as a lesson. There’s a learning experience in every failure. By taking this simple mindset to heart, you can embrace the good that comes with every thwarted attempt. This insight helps not only grow your current project, but also broadens your mind to potential possibilities for future endeavors.
  9. Choose a mentor. The day you stop learning is the day you stop growing. One of the most effective things successful people do is to continue to learn. By never boasting a full cup, you can continue to add valuable knowledge to your repertoire and learn from someone who’s navigated many experiences you’ll soon face.  
  10. Wake up early. The early bird gets the worm! Whether you start work at 4:00am, 8:00am, or 8:00pm arrive early to collect your thoughts before your co-workers swarm in. During rush hour you’ll also notice an easier drive if you leave an extra half hour or hour early.

Start a New Business in 5 Easy Steps


Getting your business off the ground isn’t always as easy as it seems. With a laundry list of to-do items, it can be hard to prioritize which needs have to come first. Luckily, Raccoon Valley Bank is here to help! By following these key stepping stones, we’ll help you get on the path to success with your new business venture.


  1. Develop a business plan. Determine what it is you want your business to do, and how you want to do it.
  2. Capital. Capital. Capital. Make sure whether you’re working with investors, securing a business loan, or putting up the money yourself, you have all the funds you need in addition to a large cushion for overhead and operating expenses.
  3. Get it in writing. With options such as an L.L.C, Corporation, S Corporation, Nonprofit or Cooperative, you’ll want to protect your personal finances with a legal structure for your business.
  4. Make it official. After registering with state and local tax agencies, you’ll need to obtain the appropriate permits and licenses to make your business compliant with local laws and regulations.
  5. Get people in the door. Ensure you have an effective marketing strategy, or list of transferred clients to get your business off the ground. The old saying, “If you build it they will come,” no longer applies. Make sure everyone in your area knows you’re opening, and offer a valuable incentive to help encourage them to stop by!


Local businesses are the backbone of small town America. If you’re looking to set-up your own new shop, Raccoon Valley Bank is eager to help! Our experienced business lenders are here to find you the best business financing option for your needs!

How to Tip on Vacation


Traveling the world is both adventurous and insightful. From climbing mountain peaks, to swimming among tropical fish, wherever your next vacation takes you, make sure you’re financially prepared. At Raccoon Valley Bank, were excited to help you get ready for your upcoming destination! Try these tipping tricks next time you’re out and about on your future getaway.


Bartenders: $1 per drink or, or 15-20 percent of the total bill.


Bellman/Porter: $1-2 per piece of luggage.


Casino Card Dealers:Tip a chip in the amount you are betting, staggered on your amount of win’s. If you are playing $5 chips and win a few then giving the dealer a $5 chip as well.


Concierge: $5 per request.


Hairdresser/Manicurist: An additional 10-20 percent for a good service.


Housekeeping: $2-3 per night up to $5 generally in more high end hotels.


Instructors: An additional $10-20 per quality lesson for various sport or leisure activities.


In suite dining: Service charge goes to the hotel not the waiter. If no gratuity added put on an additional 15-20 percent tip.


Scuba Diving: For an afternoon (or 2 tank dive) it is common to tip $20 per person, per day of the trip. These tips generally go to the deck hands and dive guides for equipment hauling and tank turnover.


Spa: Tip 10-20 percent if gratuity has not already been included.


Tour Guides: 15-20 percent or more depending on knowledge and quality of the outing.


Valet Parking: $2-5 when picking up car.


For all your vacation excursions and more, these helpful tips will aid you in all of your travel spending. To better manage your finances back home, be sure to give Sunset Bank & Savings a call! We’ll work with you to help boost your savings to make your next vacation a relaxing success.

We're Centered Around You