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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 ...

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 you ...

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 revolv ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

4 Simple Steps to Stop A Cyber Thief

First Bank Raises Awareness for Data Privacy Day Jan. 28 In recognition of National Data Privacy Day on Monday, Jan. 28, First Bank is urging consumers to take an active role in protecting their data. As always, First Bank’s first priority is to protect our clients’ money and their financial data. We use a combination of safeguards to protect our clients’ information and we certainly encourage our clients to partner with us in that effort. To help ensure the safety of your personal information, we’d like to offer the following four tips: Create complex passwords. Avoid birthdays, pet names and simple passwords like 12345. Because friendly theft – theft by someone the victim knows – is the most common type of identity theft or fraud, don’t share your passwords with family members and be mindful of who has access to your personal information. Keep tabs on your accounts. Check account activity and online statements often, instead of waiting for the mont ...

Are Your Financial Resolutions on Track?

Set up a budget to help you get started! During the first few weeks of the year, many Americans are typically focused on establishing their goals and resolutions. Whether it’s weight loss, a new hobby, changing careers, or simply saving more money, writing it down can mean the difference between achieving your goals and not achieving your goals. In fact, experts agree that by establishing a plan and writing down your goals, you’re more likely to achieve them. If you’re like many of us, saving money and establishing a long-term savings plan may be at the top of your to-do list. According to a NerdWallet survey (2018), over 84% of Americans make financial resolutions for the New Year but, sadly, over 50% who made them in 2018 failed to achieve their monetary goals. We want to help you stick to them, so let’s get started. The first part of any financial plan must start by telling your money where to go. If you simply deposit it, forget it, and spend it, then you’ll likely ...

How Does a Luxury Vehicle to Chauffer you from the Airport Sound?

First Bank Debit Mastercard® Offers Convenience, Luxury, and so Much More! During the busy holiday season, it’s easy to use your First Bank Debit Mastercard® for your purchases and appreciate all of the convenience it offers. Not to mention, enjoy the ease and security of not carrying cash. But, did you know there are also additional benefits of using your First Bank debit card that can help you ease through the holidays as well? Just take a look at a few of the hidden benefits of using your First Bank debit card: Mastercard Airport Concierge™ Service—Traveling for the holidays? With a First Bank debit card, you can enjoy 15% savings on Airport Meet and Greet Services. With these services, you can arrange for a personal, dedicated agent to escort you through the airport. Talk about added security and comfort! Plus, with Mastercard Airport Concierge Service™, certain airports will expedite you www.mastercard.com/airportconcierge or consult your Travel Advisor ...

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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.