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From category archives: First Bank Wisdom - Personal

Personal

Are you Concerned About the Equifax Breach?

As you may have heard, Equifax, one of the three major credit reporting agencies that handle the data of consumers and businesses worldwide recently reported a data breach. At First Bank, the security of our clients’ information and accounts is paramount. In light of the Equifax security breach, we’ve reviewed our security procedures and made adjustments to continue protecting our clients’ information and account access.  Rest assured, we employ a variety of security measures to defend against such continuously-evolving threats. In addition to the actions taken by First Bank, there are actions you can take to further protect yourself. Visit the website www.equifaxsecurity2017.com. This site is dedicated to the Equifax security breach, allowing you to do the following: Check online whether or not your information was impacted at https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/potential-impact/. Enroll in the credit monitoring and identity theft insurance service offered free for a y ...

Are You Saving for the College Price Tag?

“As a parent of a graduating high school senior, I can tell you first-hand that this day comes much sooner than you anticipate or expect. I remember thinking this day would come ‘some day’ and that we had plenty of time to save for the college price tag as it was very far into the future. Now, that ‘some day in the future’ has suddenly arrived. After multiple proms, many high school sporting events, finals, and end-of-the high school career activities, I began seriously contemplating the college price tag that’s now right upon us. Although I had opened a college savings account for our son as a toddler, and encouraged him to excel at school, organizations, and sports with high hopes of potential scholarships, I can tell you it was no match for the costs we’re faced with for the next four years. Although we’re a double-income family, we still have other children and other expenses. The question rings in my mind, as I’m sure it does many families, “How ...

Let’s Face It, Life Happens

Since summer’s winding down and area schools will be back in session soon, you may think I’ll discuss last-minute vacations, home equity projects, and other financial-related topics; however, I want to take this opportunity to discuss something unique–the upcoming solar eclipse that everyone is talking about. I certainly don’t claim to be an astronomer, but this event is really fascinating.  I mean, how often will we have the ability to view what some are calling the Great American Eclipse? If you’re in what’s called the ‘path of totality’ you’ll experience the sun disappearing behind the moon, daylight turning into twilight, and will feel temperatures drop dramatically. I’m certain for sky watchers, this will be an incredible experience. Want to know something else that’s really interesting about this rare occurrence? This event i ...

Let’s Achieve It!

I hope you enjoyed your holiday, along with a spectacular fireworks display. One of our favorite holidays, my wife and I attended a local display not far from our home to enjoy the celebration of this great nation’s birthday and freedoms. How lucky and blessed are we? Recently, I heard a sobering statistic that America’s World War II Veterans are leaving us at the rate of 430 per day. This ‘greatest generation’ and their sacrifices helped ensure we’re still afforded our Independence Day. Through our partnerships and support of such first-class organizations as the St. Louis Blues and the Greater St. Louis Honor Flight (GSLHF), we’re able to assist in the mission to honor St. Louis area veterans’ service in World War II and other wars, by providing an all-inclusive trip to Washington, DC to visit the memorials built in their honor.  It’s through this organization that we’ve had the honor of meeting such incredible heroes as WWII Veteran John W ...

First Bank Recognizes World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

14 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. In recognition of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15, 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,” said Kelly Wiese, Senior Vice President/Director of Marketing. “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 ad ...

It’s Possible to Save Money While on Vacation

Summer vacation plans for many travelers have already begun. For many, this is the one week (or two) each year where everyone in the family is off from school, work, and team sports, so the desire to splurge is certainly understandable. Although enjoying your well-deserved vacation should be the primary goal, it’s also necessary to keep over-spending in check by having a reasonable budget in mind. Vacations can be expensive—the average American household spent approximately $1,800 per person on summer vacations last year, and that cost continues to rise in 2017. With over 44% of that budget going toward transportation, establishing an overall vacation budget is better done BEFORE the trip, not after the excitement has already begun. Not sure where to begin? Let’s get started! 1) Check with a trusted travel agent. Although there are many resources available online, checking with a travel agent before your trip may prove to be helpful. Often, agents have access to special offers and res ...

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 ...

The “Paying for College” Conversation

It’s easy to get caught up in filling out FAFSA and loan applications, evaluating your 529 plan performance and planning a budget for college expenses, and forget one very important step of the paying for college process: having an open, honest conversation with your child about how you will handle the cost of college.  According to the College Savings Foundation 2013 Survey of Parents, 75 percent of parents expect their children to contribute to college costs. If you’re among this number, do your children know that these are the expectations? It’s important to have “the college conversation” well in advance of the first tuition bill so that there aren’t any surprises or arguments over who will be paying when the time comes. These tips can help you maneuver this tricky conversation with ease. Before you talk Do your calculations As accurately as you can, estimate how much you would be able to contribute to each school that your child has received an aid off ...

Time for Graduation Season: Time to Talk Money

It's May, also known as graduation season. Do you know of a graduating senior or do you have one in your household? Many new graduates find themselves in a new, more independent role, along with the financial independence that often comes along with living on their own. Although this is an exciting time, it can also be intimidating as money management is a big part of adulthood. In order to help get students started on the path to financial independence, we wanted to offer the following tips:   Help your student learn the importance of creating a budget. The first step in managing your own finances is to create a realistic budget and sticking to it. Watch spending. Keep all receipts and track spending. Pace all spending (even minor purchases) and increase saving by cutting unnecessary expenses, like eating out or shopping for new clothes, so that your money can last longer.  Use credit wisely. Understand the responsibilities that come with using cred ...

Tax Facts: Charitable Deductions

This year the deadline for individuals to file or request an extension is April 18 th. If you owe taxes, filing an extension does not mean you get an extension to pay. With the tax deadline looming, individuals who gifted cash or goods to charity in 2016 may be able to claim a deduction on their federal return. Before you do there are some important facts to know before taking the deduction: Qualified Charity - The donation must be made to a qualified charitable organization. Gifts to specific individuals, political organizations, social clubs and foreign organizations (certain Canadian, Israeli or Mexican charitable organizations allowed) are not deductible. Confirm with the organization their status. Beware of fake charities set up by scam artists. Itemize Deductions - In order to deduct charitable contributions the taxpayer must itemize deductions. Benefit in Return - If you get something in return for the donation, this may reduce the amount you are able to deduct. Taxpaye ...

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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.