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Your First Class Introduction to College Banking 101

It’s that time of year when summer is coming to an end and the beginning of another school year is quickly closing in. Whether you’re a returning college student or a first-year freshman, there are a lot of things you need to do before the semester starts. Choosing a college or university can be a difficult decision, as many factors will come into play. With the expenses you will incur while away at school, having access to cash is a must. Plus, the process to obtain your money should be as easy as possible for your on-the-go lifestyle. Student Checking Opening a student checking account is a practical solution for clients who are between the ages of 16 and 24. Opening this account offers a wide variety of benefits including your first order of checks at a discounted rate, eBanking, mobile banking, free eStatements, free bill pay, and much more. For more information on terms/charges and features/benefits, please visit checking account options. eBanking Secure eBanking is a gr ...

How Will You or Your Child Pay for College?

In a fast paced, competitive job market, the desire for obtaining a college degree is at the top of many minds. Whether you have been dreaming of attending college since you were a child, or you’ve recently decided to attend, figuring out how to pay for your education can be difficult. What’s the price? Expectedly, the price of tuition has risen over time. College expenses aren’t what they used to be 50 years ago; and they certainly won’t be the same as they are now in 50 years. As the importance of a degree continues to increase, the price tag also seems to increase right along with it. Let’s face it. College tuition is expensive, regardless if you attend a public university or a private university. The average annual cost for a four-year public university varies, depending on if you are an in-state or out-of-state student. For in-state students, the average cost is $9,716 per year. For out-of-state students, the average cost is $21,629 per year. For a four-year pri ...

Scam Alert: Worshippers Beware

Recently, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has reported a new wave of scams; this time, they’re targeting people of faith. As always, First Bank is committed to keeping you informed of scams that have the potential to impact you or family. The Scam The scammers imitate a trusted pastor, priest, bishop, or rabbi. They ask for donations by gift card for various causes. Although the majority of these scams are being delivered through email, there have also been reports of the scammers using texts and phone calls. The fraudulent message asks the targeted victim to purchase a gift card (or multiple gift cards), typically from iTunes, Google Play, or Amazon, and then requests the gift card number, along with the secure number on the back of the card. Once the criminal has the gift card number, your gift card and the money that was on it, is gone. First Bank would like to remind clients to stay vigilant and watch for the following: Fraudulent emails may look legitimate, but always review a ...

The 7 Tips for Protecting Yourself Online

Though the internet has countless uses and advantages in our daily lives, it can also make users vulnerable to fraud, identity theft, and other scams. According to a recent survey, a staggering 12 adults become a victim of cybercrime every second. We’d like to recommend the following tips to keep you safe online: 1.    Keep your computers and mobile devices up to date.   Having the latest security software, web browser, and operating system are the best defenses against viruses, malware, and other online threats. Turn on automatic updates so you receive up-to-date fixes as they become available.  2.    Set strong passwords. A strong password is at least eight characters in length and includes a mix of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.  3.    Watch out for phishing scams. Phishing scams use fraudulent emails and websites to trick users into disclosing private account or login informa ...

Adulting 101: A How-To Guide for a Bright Financial Future

Graduating from high school, college, or vocational school is an exciting time; one in which it feels like the world is your oyster. After years of hard work and dedication, a variety of opportunities and experiences are now available to you. Regardless of your plans after graduation, the next step in your journey can be a bit confusing – especially in regards to your finances. These budgeting tips for new grads of any kind can help assure a bright financial future, so get to studying! Make sure your banking affairs are in order. Before heading off to college or moving to a different city for your first professional job, be sure you have everything you’re looking for in a bank – specifically a checking account and savings account. Take advantage of all of the tools and resources your bank has, including secured debit cards, online tools, mobile banking apps, like First Bank On The Go, and other banking tools to conveniently manage your money and accounts at any time. Also, save yourself so ...

Could You Be Losing $675 a Year (by not Going Green?)

Conservation efforts increase daily as we learn the environment needs our help. Those endeavors, however, go beyond recycling initiatives, energy efficiency, and the like; by preserving our planet, you can also preserve your own bank account. Being eco-friendly means being economically friendly which can save you significant amounts of money. Cutting down on waste can help with cutting down on wasteful spending habits. Living a sustainable lifestyle doesn’t have to mean replacing your car with a more fuel efficient one, but can start with smaller efforts around home and in your daily life that add up in a big way. Complete a Home Energy Audit (Potential savings: About $500/year) The average U.S. household spends at least $2,200 on utility and energy bills per year1 and much of that is spent on paying for heating and cooling costs2. Wasted energy can be improved from one of several home improvements, including energy efficient appliances, sealing windows/ducts/doors, adding insulation to your ...

Spring Cleaning Made Easier with a Home Equity Line of Credit

Spring comes with a sense of renewal and rejuvenation – and your home should be no different! Spring is the perfect time to get a head start on remodeling your deck, sprucing up the garden, or completing routine maintenance on your roof and windows to keep your biggest investment in tip-top shape. Whether you’re simply keeping your house in working order with various updates and repairs, or overhauling and replacing an HVAC unit or other large household fixtures, a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) could provide some relief. What is a HELOC? A Home Equity Line of Credit is a line of revolving credit similar to a credit card, but this form of credit uses your home as collateral. Home Equity Lines of Credit are loans set up as a line of credit in which funds can be drawn when the borrower needs the money, rather than in a lump sum. Funds in a Home Equity Line of Credit can be accessed at any time, however, cannot exceed the amount originally set from the beginning. Because a HELOC is a revolving cr ...

Seven Ways to Make Your Tax Refund Count

More than 70 percent of the nation’s taxpayers received a tax refund averaging nearly $3,000 in 2018, according to the Internal Revenue Service, and it’s anticipated they will get a similar amount this year. As Americans receive their refunds, the American Bankers Association has highlighted seven tips to help them use the money wisely. “Prioritizing your tax refund to create an emergency fund and pay off debts first will help position you for financial comfort the rest of the year,” said Corey Carlisle, executive director of the ABA Foundation. “As those who have been affected by the federal government shutdown this year can attest, financial challenges can arise quickly and it's critical to have money set aside for those unexpected hardships.” Carlisle highlighted recent changes to the tax code as a reason for consumers to file their returns as early as possible this year. “There are a lot of new wrinkles to the tax code that may surprise people, so you’ll ...

Love and Money: Personal Finance Tips for New Couples

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner; often, this is known as the season of love and proposals. To help couples start their journey on strong financial footing, we’d like to offer these post-wedding money mistakes to avoid: Not having the money talk. Discussing your finances can be a bit uncomfortable for many couples, especially in the beginning, but those who tackle it head on will be better for it. Understand your partner’s financial goals and spending habits. While you may have different answers, this conversation can help you develop an approach to money management from the start that works for both of you. Not setting a budget. A mistake many couples make is not establishing a budget early on. After assessing your finances as a pair, determine how you’ll spend your money each month. Are there certain expenses you should be cutting back on and others you should be saving toward each month? Perhaps, you’d like to start saving for a down-payment on a new home or to start ...

Are you Ready to Buy a New Home?

Helpful Tips to Consider If you’re ready to buy a home, that’s great news! There are a few things you’ll need to do that you may not realize, especially if you’re a first-time homebuyer, or if it’s been a number of years since your last home purchase. Getting Ready to Buy Before you even begin looking for a new home, contact First Bank Mortgage and one of our knowledgeable Home Loan Advisors can help guide you through the homebuying process. It’s helpful to obtain pre-approvals prior to house hunting, so you’ll know your budget ahead of time. We’ve provided a helpful list of items, like previous employers and prior addresses, to have ready when applying for home lending with First Bank Mortgage. Once you’ve received loan approval and an approved contract (and amount) on a new home, you’ll need to obtain homeowner’s insurance for your new place or condo insurance if you’re buying a condo. Most lenders require that informati ...

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Disclosure

All First Bank blog information and content is strictly informational. It is not intended to be specific investment, tax, or legal advice. If you need detailed financial, investment, or tax advice, please contact a First Bank qualified professional. Please note, First Bank occasionally shares third-party content we find to be relevant and helpful to our audiences.