How Debit Card Fraud Happens — and How to Avoid It

May 25th, 2017
How Debit Card Fraud Happens — and How to Avoid It image

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
How to Manage Your Finances After Graduating College image

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
Best Ways to Use a Tax Refund image

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
Mobile Payments and your Future Banking Needs image

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
Tax Tips to Help New Parents Save Money image

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 ]

Your Estate Plan

March 16th, 2017
Your Estate Plan image

As a financially responsible individual, you have managed the demands involved with building and maintaining wealth. Complete financial security for yourself and others often involves more. Unresolved issues and information related to your achievements need to be understood and addressed. A recent survey reveals only about a quarter of wealthy individuals have a complete estate plan. Only slightly more than half have prepared a will. The reality of this situation is that only about half of the $3.2 trillion to be passed to the next generation will reflect the wishes of those that created it. Is that what you worked [ read more ]

Tips for Avoiding Credit Card Fraud

March 2nd, 2017
Tips for Avoiding Credit Card Fraud image

With nearly 38,000 complaints logged in 2015, credit card fraud ranks as the second most common form of identity theft, behind only tax- or wage-related fraud, according to the Federal Trade Commission.   It can take many forms, including: Scammers who try to sucker you into giving up credit card info over the phone. E-mail phishing. Skimmers – devices hidden in the mouths of card slots at gas pumps, ATMs and even restaurants to copy card information. Nothing but healthy skepticism can save you from falling for a slick hustler. But advances in technology are designed to better protect consumers against credit card [ read more ]

How to Have “The Talk” With Your Parents

February 14th, 2017
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As parents age, the need often arises for adult children to get involved in managing care and financial issues. This is typically new territory for everyone and can be difficult to navigate. Experts agree, open communication is key; they recommend the following approach: Schedule a meeting and take this task seriously. Prepare an outline of items requiring discussion. Do your best to keep emotions in check. Make it a two-way conversation. Consider using outside resources where needed. The Trust & Wealth Management team at The First is a valuable source for knowledge, resources and services in this area. When financial [ read more ]

How Your Teen Can Benefit From Opening a Roth IRA

January 19th, 2017
How Your Teen Can Benefit From Opening a Roth IRA image

Your teenager just got a job and will soon be getting that first paycheck. Or maybe she’s earning extra cash by babysitting or walking dogs. Although visions of video games or a shiny new car might be dancing in your youngster’s head, it’s wise to consider stashing that cash for the long haul. If you’ve first set an example by fully funding your own retirement and your teen’s college savings, a great way to help your child get ahead financially is to have her open a Roth individual retirement account, or IRA. Start saving early, reap the rewards Anyone who [ read more ]

How to Get out of Debt in the New Year

December 29th, 2016
How to Get out of Debt in the New Year image

A brand new year often inspires positive life changes such as breaking free of debt. If collections calls have been interrupting your dinner or you’re just stressed out from heavy-duty debt, here’s how to eliminate the burden. Determine where you stand In order to solve a problem, you need to fully understand it. Assess your situation by listing all your debts, including balance owed, interest rate and minimum payment required for each. Next, order your free credit reports to make sure you haven’t forgotten any debt or overlooked errors. Finally, compare your income and expenses and calculate how much you [ read more ]

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