Posted on 2/4/2020 10:53 AM By First Bank
Most lenders use credit report information to evaluate the creditworthiness of potential borrowers. Borrowers with good credit are presumed to be more creditworthy and may find it easier to obtain a loan, often at a lower interest rate.
You can do a number of things to help improve what's on your credit report, including the following:
Pay bills on time. Your credit report provides information to lenders regarding your payment history. For the most part, a lender may assume that you can be trusted to make timely monthly debt payments in the future if you have done so in the past. Consequently, if you have a history of late payments and/or unpaid debts, a lender may consider you to be a high credit risk and turn you down for a loan.
Limit credit inquiries. Each time you apply for credit, the lender will request a copy of your credit report. The lender's request then appears as a "hard inquiry" on your credit report. Too many of these inquiries in a short amount of time could ...
Posted on 2/4/2020 10:11 AM By First Bank
If you find that you are struggling to pay down a credit card balance, here are some strategies that can help eliminate your credit card debt.
Pay off cards with the highest interest rate first. If you have more than one card that carries an outstanding balance, one option is to prioritize your payments according to their interest rates. Send as large a payment as you can to the card with the highest interest rate and continue making payments on the other cards until the card with the highest interest rate is paid off. You can then focus your repayment efforts on the card with the next-highest interest rate, and so on, until they're all paid off.
Apply for a balance transfer with another card. Many credit card companies offer highly competitive balance transfer offers (e.g., 0% interest for 12 months). Transferring your credit card balance to a card with a lower interest rate may enable you to reduce interest fees and pay more against your existing balance.
Most balance transfer offers ch ...
Posted on 2/4/2020 9:11 AM By First Bank
The SECURE Act (Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act) is major legislation that was passed by Congress as part of a larger spending bill and signed into law by the president in December. Here are a few provisions that may affect you. Unless otherwise noted, the new rules apply to tax or plan years starting January 1, 2020.
If you're still saving for retirement
To address increasing life expectancies, the new law repeals the prohibition on contributions to a traditional IRA by someone who has reached age 70½. Starting with 2020 contributions, the age limit has been removed, but individuals must still have earned income.
If you're not ready to take required minimum distributions
Individuals can now wait until age 72 to take required minimum distributions (RMDs) from traditional, SEP, and SIMPLE IRAs and retirement plans instead of taking them at age 70½. (Technically, RMDs must start by April 1 of the year following the year an individual reaches age 72 ...
Posted on 2/4/2020 8:42 AM By First Bank
The Markets (as of market close January 31, 2020)
January was full of ups and downs as investors rode a wave of uncertainty. The month began with many of the benchmark indexes listed here losing value (except for the Nasdaq) only to surge ahead during the middle of the month. However, fears that a widespread outbreak of the coronavirus would impact global economic growth pushed investors away from stocks, which lost significant value by the end of the month.
By the close of trading on the last day of January, only the tech-heavy Nasdaq gained value, as each of the remaining benchmark indexes listed here fell, led by the small caps of the Russell 2000, which plummeted by more than 3.25%. The Global Dow dropped 2.75%, followed by the Dow and the S&P 500. Unfortunately, the momentum enjoyed in December didn't carry over to January for stock investors.
By the close of trading on January 31, the price of crude oil (WTI) was $51.61 per barrel, well below the December 31 price of $61.21 per barrel. ...
Posted on 1/8/2020 8:50 AM By First Bank
This report features world capital market performance for the last year.
World Asset Classes
International Developed Stocks
Emerging Markets Stocks
Select Country Performance
Select Currency Performance vs. US Dollar
Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)
Global Fixed Income
Impact of Diversification
Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. Indices are not available for direct investment. Index performance does not reflect the expenses associated with the management of an actual portfolio. Market segment (index representation) as follows: US Stock Market (Russell 3000 Index), International Developed Stocks (MSCI World ex USA Index [net div.]), Emerging Markets (MSCI Emerging Markets Index [net div.]), Global Real Estate (S&P Global REIT Index [net div.]), US Bond Market (Bloomberg Barclays US Aggregate Bond Index), and Global Bond Market ex US (Bloomberg Barcl ...
Posted on 1/2/2020 10:30 AM By First Bank
All organizations, regardless of their ownership structure, need to have a strong leadership hierarchy in order to withstand the test of time. Two reasons commonly cited for family-owned business failure are poor succession planning and lack of next-generation leadership development. Since only 30% of family-owned businesses report surviving into the second generation, family business owners should certainly recognize the importance of solid leadership development and succession as well as formal hiring and promotion processes to attract and retain the highest quality talent.
Family-owned businesses are unique in that their leadership team(s) are often part of the immediate or extended family; in other words, there’s a high probability that they all share the same last name. Determining the right family member to take the reins can often easily be identified, but there are instances when a son, daughter, or other family member just isn’t interested in working for the family business or the ...
Posted on 1/2/2020 9:47 AM By First Bank
Your credit report contains information about your past and present credit transactions. It's used primarily by potential lenders to evaluate your creditworthiness. So if you're about to apply for credit, especially for something significant like a mortgage, you'll want to get and review a copy of your credit report.
You can see what they see: getting a copy of your credit report
Every consumer is entitled to a free credit report every 12 months from each of the three credit bureaus: Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax . Besides the annual report, you are also entitled to a free report under the following circumstances:
A company has taken adverse action against you, such as denying you credit, insurance, or employment (you must request a copy within 60 days of the adverse action)
You're unemployed and plan to look for a job within the next 60 days
You're on welfare
Your report is inaccurate because of fraud, including identity theft
Visit www.annualcreditrepo ...
Posted on 12/12/2019 10:33 AM By First Bank
Here are 10 things to consider as you weigh potential tax moves between now and the end of the year.
1. Set aside time to plan
Effective planning requires that you have a good understanding of your current tax situation, as well as a reasonable estimate of how your circumstances might change next year. There's a real opportunity for tax savings if you'll be paying taxes at a lower rate in one year than in the other. However, the window for most tax-saving moves closes on December 31, so don't procrastinate.
2. Defer income to next year
Consider opportunities to defer income to 2020, particularly if you think you may be in a lower tax bracket then. For example, you may be able to defer a year-end bonus or delay the collection of business debts, rents, and payments for services. Doing so may enable you to postpone payment of tax on the income until next year.
3. Accelerate deductions
You might also look for opportunities to accelerate deductions into the current tax year. If you ...
Posted on 12/4/2019 12:33 PM By First Bank
Unfortunately, data breaches are now normal, everyday occurrences in our society. As a result, many companies are offering services to help you protect your personal information. If you want an extra layer of protection, an identity theft protection service is a good option. However, the term "identity theft protection service" can be misleading. The reality is that no one service can safeguard all of your personal information from identity theft. What most of these companies actually provide are identity theft monitoring and recovery services.
A monitoring service will watch for signs that an identity thief may be using your personal information. This typically includes tracking your credit reports for suspicious activity and alerting you whenever your personal information (e.g., Social Security number) is being used. The recovery portion of the service usually helps you deal with the consequences of identity theft. This often involves working with a case manager to help resolve identity the ...
Posted on 12/4/2019 9:22 AM By First Bank
The Markets (as of market close November 29, 2019)
Stocks grew for the third straight month as each of the benchmark indexes listed here posted solid returns in November. Despite unrest in Washington as the impeachment process drones on, investors were encouraged by the possibility of favorable movement toward a resolution of the trade war between the United States and China. While inflation remained stymied, consumer spending remained solid and business fixed investment perked up.
By the close of trading on the last day of the month, each of the benchmark indexes listed here posted gains, led by the Nasdaq, which climbed close to 5.0%. The small caps of the Russell 2000 advanced nearly 4.0%. The large caps of the Dow and S&P 500 also posted solid monthly gains of well over 3.0%. Year-to-date, the Nasdaq is more than 30.0% ahead of its 2018 closing value. In fact, of the indexes listed here, only the Global Dow has not gained at least 20.0% for the year.
By the close of trading on November 29, th ...