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Mobile Payments and your Future Banking Needs

April 13th, 2017
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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 ]

Using Equity Loans to Winterize Your Home

December 1st, 2016
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There are all sorts of ways to guard your home from the winter elements. Some are cheap and may even fall in the do-it-yourself category, like adding weather stripping and caulking. Other endeavors, such as swapping out single-pane windows for energy-efficient double panes, or replacing a furnace, are beyond the skill set of most homeowners — and often beyond the balances in many savings accounts as well. In that case, taking out a home equity loan or line of credit may be the answer. Here’s what you should know before you do. Take stock If you know your home needs [ read more ]

How to Stay Safe When Shopping for Holiday Gifts Online

November 17th, 2016
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Want to avoid long lines and large crowds this holiday season? Shopping online lets you zip through your list with just a few clicks. Before whipping out your plastic, however, you’ll want to make sure you’re shopping on a secure site. Use these tips to keep your data safe. 1. Look for the padlock symbol Don’t check out at a website unless you see a padlock symbol on the browser bar of whatever device you’re using. This symbol means that the page has extra security to prevent others from viewing your sensitive information. Another way to tell a website is secure is that it starts [ read more ]

4 Financial Tips for Fall

November 3rd, 2016
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Fall means dreams of pumpkin spice lattes, turkey dinners and a cozy holiday season just around the corner. Here are four ways to make sure you’re financially well-equipped for the last stretch of the year. 1. Winterize your home: Save energy, save cash As temperatures drop, home heating bills rise. But properly sealing and insulating a house can save an average of about 11% a year on energy costs, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Keep your expenses to a minimum by sealing gaps and cracks in windows and doors with weatherstripping or caulk. Clean and inspect your furnace to ensure it’s running as efficiently as [ read more ]

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