The First to Know Blog

Are You Financially Healthy?

August 10th, 2017 Comments (0)

Traditional financial literacy efforts haven’t been a rousing success. Research from Harvard Business School shows that even Americans who are taught personal finance in school don’t seem to save more or manage credit better than anyone else. That’s why many experts concerned about Americans’ money habits — including regulators such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and financial think tanks such as the Center for Financial Services Innovation — are promoting the concept of financial health. “Financial literacy is really what you know. Financial health is the outcome,” says Rachel Schneider, the center’s  senior vice president. “You might know what [ read more ]

Allowances Don’t Teach Your Kids About Money – You Do

July 20th, 2017 Comments (0)

Many parents tell me they feel guilty about allowances. They aren’t consistent about when and how they give their kids money. They wonder if allowances should be tied to chores. Even how they dole out money can be a problem. Cash is easiest, but much of what kids want to buy — downloads of a favorite show, a toy on Amazon, a realm in Minecraft — requires plastic. I’ve used our daughter as a guinea pig to test all kinds of allowance systems and apps, starting when she was just 3. We started with divided piggy banks that had sections [ read more ]

Enjoy Your Summer Vacation — Without Maxing Out Your Credit Cards

July 6th, 2017 Comments (0)

School is out, and summer is upon us. It’s time to let loose and have some fun. That sounds great in theory, but it can be horrible for our finances if we aren’t careful — especially when it comes to taking summer vacations. For many people, travel is a significant part of their summer budget, but reckless spending while on vacation can wreak havoc on their finances. People often spend more when on vacation, perhaps because they get caught up in the moment or simply because things are more expensive than at home. So what can you do this summer [ read more ]

Making the Most of E-Banking

June 22nd, 2017 Comments (0)

If you’re reading this article online, you’re probably at least somewhat tech-savvy. But when it comes to digital banking, you might be missing out on a few time-saving tricks. Here’s how the Internet can help make your financial life easier. Online banking: You don’t have to leave home for everyday transactions, because financial institutions offer a slew of online banking tools. For example, you can set up free online bill pay, review your statements, see when checks clear and more. You can also make transfers between accounts at different financial institutions. E-statements: With so much snail mail, it’s easy to [ read more ]

Get to Work on Building Your Unemployment Fund

June 8th, 2017 Comments (0)

As if being laid off weren’t stressful enough, most Americans don’t have enough money saved to pay monthly bills if they’re jobless for more than a few weeks. But you can avoid that added stress: Create an emergency fund now for potential unemployment. A recent NerdWallet study found that Americans don’t save enough to weather several common emergencies, the most expensive being unemployment. Even factoring in state unemployment benefits and average annual savings, most people come up thousands of dollars short. Among those who lose their jobs in the U.S., the average length of time spent unemployed is 26 weeks. [ read more ]

How Debit Card Fraud Happens — and How to Avoid It

May 25th, 2017 Comments (0)

For many people, debit cards are the perfect plastic. They offer most of the conveniences of credit cards with no risk of accumulating debt. But like credit cards, debit cards are vulnerable to rip-off artists. And debit card fraud is particularly scary because thieves can withdraw money directly from your checking account. Here’s how debit fraud happens and how to protect yourself. How identity thieves operate Debit card fraud can be sophisticated or old-school. Thieves use techniques including: Hacking When you bank or shop on public Wi-Fi networks, hackers can use keylogging software to capture everything you type, including your [ read more ]

How to Manage Your Finances After Graduating College

May 11th, 2017 Comments (0)

You’re done with college, and now you’re ready to be on your own. But for newly minted grads who didn’t major in money management, here’s one last assignment: Summer reading to help with your financial future. That degree you earned might open the door to a higher salary — and carry a student loan burden — so it’s important to know how to balance it all as you set the stage for the rest of your life. Map out a budget As a college student, you probably got accustomed to living frugally. Stay the course. A good way to live [ read more ]

Best Ways to Use a Tax Refund

April 27th, 2017 Comments (0)

Over the past few years, the average federal tax refund has come to about $3,000. That’s not exactly chump change. With the filing deadline approaching, it’s not too early to begin thinking about how you’ll use a refund this year. Here are five pointers to keep in mind. 1. Pay down debt It’s not as much fun as booking a trip to the Caribbean, but cutting down the amount of debt you owe is one of the best money moves you can make. Outstanding loan and credit card balances can hurt your credit score, making it more difficult to get [ read more ]

Mobile Payments and your Future Banking Needs

April 13th, 2017 Comments (0)

We all love our smart phones and they have changed our lives. Now they can be a greater part of how we bank. Mobile transactions are expected to double to about $62.5 billion in 2017. Still about 75% of us have yet to try contactless payments. At The First this technology is ready for you to use today. We believe it could be of value and something you should consider for the following reasons: Mobile Pay is safer than swiping. Random numbers are generated that work like a credit card but are useless if stolen. Mobile Pay is faster than [ read more ]

Tax Tips to Help New Parents Save Money

March 30th, 2017 Comments (0)

Congratulations, new mom or dad! Now take out the checkbook, because your bundle of joy comes with a bundle of new expenses. But all those day care costs and pediatrician bills can bring new tax deductions that can help you ride out the first years of parenthood without going broke. Here are the major ways your tax situation may change now that you’re a parent. Child tax credit This credit is worth up to $1,000, and you can claim it if you have a dependent child living with you who is under age 17. There are income limits that start [ read more ]

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