Ask Tom Your Financial Questions

Ask Southland CEO Tom Lent your financial questions!

Which Southland priority or project are you most excited about in 2021?

The most exciting and biggest project in 2021 is our planned conversion at the end of the 3rd quarter to a new Digital Banking platform.  We will have an all new, innovative, state-of-the-art mobile banking app, along with a new online/home banking site and bill payment system that will significantly improve the Member experience. 

The new digital platform will be faster and will offer the same innovative and user-friendly functionality across all platforms. There will be many new features, including card controls, alerts, remote deposit capture, and account aggregation, among many others. 

More than half our Members utilize Digital Banking, so we are excited to offer these improvements. We are also expecting a significantly larger number of current and new Members to adopt Digital Banking once they see these enhancements.

What financial advice would you give to your own children as teenagers? And as young adults?

My advice:

  • Start saving early and don’t buy things that are beyond your capacity to afford, as hard as it may be to wait. Although it’s tempting to buy the newest car or phone or gaming system, practice the art of being patient and saving for major purchases.
  • If your employer offers a 401(K), put in the maximum you are allowed – because the contributions are pre-tax, it’s like “free” money. And even better if the employer matches your contribution – again, “free” money.
  • Always pay your bills on time to build and protect your credit rating, but don’t overextend yourself by borrowing more than you can pay off in the short term. If you have a strong credit rating, it will save you throughout your life by allowing you to borrow at the best and lowest interest rates for major purchases like a new home or car.

I also solicited three of my now 20- and 30-something year-old sons to tell me what advice they would give a teen or younger adult, since they are closer in age:

  • Save early
  • Save and invest and try not to take money out of savings unless it’s an emergency
  • Don’t buy something on a credit card that you’re not prepared to pay off the following month
  • Don’t go on payment plans for expensive things you don’t need
  • Eat out less and make your own food more
  • Dating can be expensive! Don’t over-extend yourself on dates, meals and gifts.
  • Live where you can afford – major metropolitan areas are fun, but expensive. Look for housing where rent is affordable based on your income.