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Deck the Halls without Racking Up Credit Card Debt

Understand the benefits of using a debit card rather than a credit card during the holidays and beyond. Whether you’re holiday shopping or doing your regular run-of-the-mill grocery run, it’s all too easy to grab for the plastic in your wallet. We do it mindlessly; even if there are multiple cards in your wallet. But this holiday season can be a great reminder to pay with plastic more mindfully, especially as you shop beyond the holidays or make financial New Year’s resolutions. Did you know that 77% of payments are made with plastic over cash or checks?* Of that 77%, 44% of shoppers pay with a debit card — and with good reason. Unwrap these advantages to see why choosing a debit card payment will benefit you, especially during the holidays. Theft and fraud protection benefits. Many debit card issuers include protection benefits to keep you and your financial information safeguarded from criminals. In fact, cardholders who proactively use issuer-provided safety and security tools ...

First Bank Offers Tips to Help Prevent Elder Financial Abuse

According to the National Council on Aging, almost 90 percent of the financial abuse committed against older Americans is sadly done by someone they know. More than ever, it’s imperative for seniors to select a trustworthy person to properly manage their finances and personal affairs. First Bank offers tips to help choose the right financial caregiver and prevent financial abuse: When delegating financial decisions, make sure it’s someone you trust. If you’re unable to facilitate financial transactions, carefully choose a trustworthy person to act as your agent in all financial matters. Know who is in your home. Conduct a thorough background check on all individuals you hire for personal care or home care services. Check references and credentials before you let them into your personal space. Understand the terms of assigning a Power of Attorney (POA). Granting someone POA gives them the authority to act and make decisions on your behalf, including managing and having access ...

First Bank Provides Tips for Stopping Elder Financial Abuse in its Tracks

Every year, millions of seniors fall victim to financial fraud. Studies show elder financial abuse costs seniors approximately $2.9 billion each year. First Bank is urging older clients and their trusted caregivers to safeguard all personal information and stay alert to the common signs of financial abuse. Fraudsters often prey on seniors experiencing cognitive decline, limited mobility, and other disabilities that require them to rely more heavily on others for help. Appointing someone you know and trust to handle your financial matters aids tremendously in the fight against these crimes. First Bank is offering the following tips: Plan ahead to protect your assets and to ensure your wishes are followed. Talk to someone at your financial institution, an attorney, or financial advisor about the best options for you. Carefully choose a trustworthy person to act as your agent in all estate-planning matters. Lock up your checkbook, account statements, and other sensitive information when other ...

First Bank Offers Tips to Manage Holiday Spending

Black Friday doesn’t have to lead to black marks on your credit report. The holiday shopping season is well underway.  We’d like to offer tips to manage holiday spending and avoid a post-holiday credit hangover. Consumers spreading holiday cheer should keep in mind that January bills are only a couple of months away. If consumers are not budgeting for their holiday purchases, people will find themselves bringing in the New Year with last year’s debt. This isn’t a good step to take if your goal is to save. First Bank recommends that clients manage their finances this holiday season with the following spending tips: • Create a budget and stick to it. Set a dollar amount based on what you can afford this holiday season considering your current savings, income and other expenses. Be sure to include a $20 to $100 cushion for unexpected expenses. • Make a list. Santa isn’t the only one who needs a list! Write down the names of the people you plan to buy gi ...

Let’s Take a Look at Passwords

The issue of cyber security is up to all of us. Current news and events continually highlight the need to stay up-to-date and informed on this widespread global issue. One of the most basic items we can all do to protect our information and data is to create strong passwords. Creating strong passwords is as easy as 1-2-3. You should always 1) create unique passwords for each of your online accounts; 2) create passwords with intricate combinations of numeric and alphabetic characters; and 3) always change passwords frequently. While you’re creating these strong passwords, you may ask what are the worst passwords to use? According to SplashData, the top five WORST passwords to use are: 1) 123456 2) password 3) 12345 4) 12345678 5) qwerty A few others also made the list, like ‘baseball,’ ‘letmein,’ and ‘abc123’. If you are currently using any of these passwords, change them as soon as possible. Also, if you’re using the same passwords for multi ...

There’s a Season for Everything—Including a Time to Prepare, a Time to Sell

Seasonality, in any business, can wreak havoc on cash flow.  Whether you’re in the construction trades, a wedding planner, or a lawn care professional, all business owners feel the burden of having to manage expenses during the ebbs and flow of the seasons.  From startups to maturing companies, analyzing your overall cash management strategy annually, while also including growth preparation, is key to long-term sustainability. Strategize Periods of Downtime If you own or operate a seasonal business, you’ll need to consider how to best maximize periods of downtime.  Generally, seasonal companies utilize that timeframe as an opportunity to train, prepare for busier periods, or recover.  Savvy companies may use the entire off-season preparing for growth by conducting effective sales calls while the rest of the competition is preoccupied.  Increasing sales staff should be a consideration to help boost your seasonal profitability. However, the costs associated with this n ...

#TipTuesday: Give Gifts – Not Your Identity This Holiday Season

With identity theft high during the busy holiday season, First Bank provides the following protective tips. According to a recent online survey completed by The Harris Poll, nearly 60 million Americans have been affected by identity theft.* Identity theft is especially prevalent during the holiday season, as criminals take advantage of the hustle and bustle to steal your personal and financial information. Protect yourself and your financial information during the holidays and beyond using these tips and keep your cards and information “wrapped up”! Debit cards and chip security. Debit cards are much more convenient than checks, allowing you to get through checkout lines faster. However, always be aware of your surroundings and keep your card and PIN out of sight at all times. Identity thieves may resort to watching you enter your PIN – or worse, taking a picture of your card or a picture/video of your card and PIN entry with their cell phone. - Chip technology adds an a ...

Will Your Fall Home Improvement Project Make You Money?

The fall season is always a great time to get started on those long overdue home improvement projects in order to get prepared for all of the upcoming fall activities. Perhaps, you’ve decided you’d like to create an outdoor living space, add a gazebo, or install a stone patio? Or, maybe your home improvement projects are more like home maintenance projects that you just haven’t gotten to tackle? If you’ve made the decision to get started, then you may want to consider the projects and their return on your investment (ROI). According to a recent study, the following six home improvement projects returned the highest investment on your home’s resale value: • Attic insulation—107.7% (ROI) • New Entry Door—90.7% (ROI) • Siding Replacement—76.4% (ROI) • Deck Addition (wood)—71.5% (ROI) • Deck Addition (composite)—65.2% • Backyard Patio—54.9% (ROI) Although you may not plan to sell your home soon, your ROI ...

How to Talk to Your Kids About Money and Savings

How to Talk to Your Kids About Money and Savings How soon is too soon to talk to your kids or grandkids about money? If they are old enough to ask for a toy or a bike, they are old enough to start learning financial lessons that will last a lifetime. The best financial lessons are part of everyday experience. Look for opportunities to talk about money, read books aloud, and play games that center around spending money wisely. Be open and honest when you discuss your financial experiences—good or bad. Here are some examples of teachable moments to help you get started: At the bank When you go to a bank, like First Bank, bring your children with you and show them how transactions work. Get the manager to explain how the bank operates, how money generates interest, and how an ATM works. On payday Discuss how your pay is budgeted to pay for housing, food and clothing, and how a portion is saved for future expenses, such as college tuition and retirement. At the market It’s eas ...

Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life

Let’s do more of what you love.   At First Bank, we’re more than just a lender [or bank]. We’re also an integral part of your trusted team of advisors, offering an array of products and services to help you along life’s financial journey. From a variety of insurance offerings to help you through life’s transitions to a suite of financial management products to navigate the banking side of business, First Bank is here to save you both time and money, allowing you to get back to what you love doing.   Security for the Future—Are you prepared for the unexpected? Don’t let an unfortunate or unplanned life event derail your long-term financial security. First Bank’s insurance solutions are here to help protect you, your family, and your business. Life happens, so ask us about our cost-efficient life, disability, and long-term care insurance products today! Fast Access to your Hard-Earned Money—If increased productivity is important ...

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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.