August 13th, 2012- Come Join Kids Club!
Kids Club Savings is a fun way to teach kids the
value of saving money at an early age. Benefits of a Kids Club
Savings account include:
- An ID card and Coin bag will be provided when
the account is opened.
- A Birthday card with a $.50 piece will be
sent every year.
- Semi-annual newsletter.
- A stamp card will be provided. Kids will receive
a punch with every $10 deposit. Once the card is filled, the
card can be turned in for prizes.
Want to know more - click
Your Back-to-School Shopping Game Plan
August has arrived, and with it, the start of another school
year. Start your back-to-school shopping with a game plan to save
at the checkout line, and use the opportunity to teach your children
about the importance of saving.
Make a list and get your child involved. Use the recommended
or required supplies from your child's school or teacher as a
starting point. Sit down with your child and go over your list
together. You'll be teaching your child how to get organized,
a skill that applies to more than shopping.
Take inventory. Once your list is complete, take some time to
search your home office for items you already have. Take an inventory
of the supplies you have on hand, and plan to reuse items that
are still in good condition. Check those items off your list.
Determine a budget and separate wants from needs. Most school
supplies don't go out of style -- but as any parent with last
year's superhero notebook knows, beware of the power of trends.
Rather than just trying to talk your child out of the more expensive
items, set an overall budget for supplies and help your child
figure out how to fit items in. It will help him or her set priorities,
learn how to manage money and start saving allowance for the items
your budget won't allow.
Buy basics in bulk. Basic items such as paper, pencils, glue
sticks and notebooks are often sold in bulk at discounted prices.
Consider going in with a group of other parents to split the cost
and divide up the items. Or, if you have items left over, set
up a supply shelf or storage container at home that can be used
all year to avoid late-night shopping trips to buy notebook paper
when your child runs out. Plus, you'll know where to find unused
items when it comes time to shop for supplies next year.
Search for quality used items. You may be able to find great
deals on clothing items, backpacks and other supplies at consignment
stores or garage sales. Taking time to find quality used items
can pay off when you find the items you need at a fraction of
Watch for savings. Some discount office supply stores offer free
shipping on online orders. Scour the weekly ads to find the best
prices on supplies. If the store where you're shopping charges
more, ask the sales clerks to match its competitor. Some stores
that don't advertise price matching will still do it.
Shop end-of-summer sales. Kids wear some clothes, such as short-sleeve
polo shirts, all year long. Hit the big end-of-summer sales, and
snatch up discounted items that can be worn well into fall.
Figure out when quality counts. Leaky pens will cost you more
in ruined clothes than some more expensive varieties. In the event
that a strap or zipper breaks, a backpack with a warranty might
be a good investment, even if it costs more. Read online reviews
to determine when it's worth paying a little extra.
Plan now for next year. Some schools send a back-to-school list
home with kids on the last day of school so parents can shop for
the best bargains. If your school doesn't do this, get together
with other parents or your parent organization and talk to administrators
about how you can help your school put together a list earlier
Five Money Tips for the Graduate
May 15, 2012
Graduation season is here, and whether you're graduating from
high school or college, there has never been a better time to
prepare for your financial future. To get the class of 2012 started
on the right foot, here are five tips every graduate should consider.
1. Save now. As you prepare to enter college or the workforce,
saving is more important than ever. If you receive some extra
cash as graduation gifts, stash it away in an interest-bearing
savings account or CD at your local bank. Start by saving enough
money to create an emergency fund for unexpected expenses such
as major auto repairs. If you have a job, have a portion of your
paycheck automatically deducted to a retirement plan or savings
account so you won't be tempted to spend that amount. Many employers
offer retirement savings plans -- and some will even match a portion
of the dollars you contribute. This is free money you won't want
to pass up!
2. Create a spending plan. Creating your own spending plan --
commonly known as a budget -- is the best way to make sure you
don't spend more than you earn. Track your expenses and compare
the total to your income; then develop a realistic spending plan
that works for you. Your spending plan will include fixed costs
that are the same each month (rent, utilities, student loan payments
and saving for retirement). The rest of your income is considered
discretionary, and you control how that money is spent. After
a few months of tracking your spending, you may discover that
you need to cut back on things such as magazine subscriptions,
fitness memberships, fast food, cable television, pizza delivery
or dining out at restaurants.
3. Understand student loans. If you have student loans or plan
to take them out, be aware that they come with a variety of features
and repayment options. It's smart to understand the details of
your loan agreements so you know when you have to start making
payments, how much your interest rate and payment rates will be,
what consolidation options exist and what to do if you get in
a bind and can't make your payments.
4. Maintain a good credit history. Your credit history is important
to obtaining future credit to buy a house, car or other major
purchase. To maintain a positive credit history, be sure to pay
all of your bills on time -- this includes your student loans,
credit cards, utilities, cell phone and other bills. Curious about
your credit history? Federal law allows you to obtain free copies
of your credit reports every 12 months by visiting the official
website at www.annualcreditreport.com or by calling (877) 322-8228.
Review you credit reports carefully, and if you find errors or
notice any suspicious activity, be sure to contact the credit
reporting agency immediately.
5. Share living expenses longer. College students and those just
out of college often get the itch to find an apartment and live
on their own. But once the utility bills start rolling in along
with monthly rent, many find themselves stretched too thin. Instead,
consider finding a roommate or two to help share monthly living
expenses. If living at home is an option for you, it can also
be a great way to save money. You don't want to overstay your
welcome, but even living at home for a year after graduation can
help you save enough money to buy a car, make a down payment on
a house or build an emergency fund.
Avoid a Tax Scheme Targeting Senior Citizens
March 6, 2012
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently warned senior citizens
and other taxpayers to beware of an emerging scheme tempting them
to file tax returns claiming fraudulent refunds.
The scheme carries a common theme of promising refunds to people
who have little or no income and normally don’t have a tax-filing
requirement. Promoters claim they can obtain for their victims
a tax refund or nonexistent stimulus payment based on the American
Opportunity Tax Credit, even if the victim was not enrolled in
or paying for college.
Typically, con artists falsely claim that refunds are available
even if the victim went to school decades ago. In many cases,
scammers are targeting seniors, people with very low incomes and
members of church congregations with bogus promises of free money.
The IRS has also seen a variation of this scheme that incorrectly
claims the college credit is available to compensate people for
paying taxes on groceries.
The IRS has already detected and stopped thousands of these fraudulent
claims. Nevertheless, the scheme can still be quite costly for
victims. Promoters may charge exorbitant upfront fees to file
these claims and are often long gone when victims discover they’ve
been scammed. The IRS is reminding people to be careful because
all taxpayers, including those who use paid tax preparers, are
legally responsible for the accuracy of their returns and must
repay any refunds received in error.
To avoid falling victim to this scheme, the IRS says taxpayers
should beware of any of the following:
• Fictitious claims for refunds or rebates based on false
statements of entitlement to tax credits.
• Unfamiliar for-profit tax services selling refund and
credit schemes to the membership of local churches.
• Internet solicitations that direct individuals to toll-free
numbers and then solicit social security numbers.
• Homemade flyers and brochures implying credits or refunds
are available without proof of eligibility.
• Offers of free money with no documentation required.
• Promises of refunds for “Low Income – No Documents
• Claims for the expired Economic Recovery Credit Program
or for economic stimulus payments.
• Unsolicited offers to prepare a return and split the refund.
• Unfamiliar return preparation firms soliciting business
from cities outside of the normal business or commuting area.
Aug 17, 2010 - Security Alert
First Bank has learned that criminals have launched
a major e-mail campaign to deploy the infamous ZeuS Trojan e-mail,
which will send spam messages disguised as fraud alerts from the
Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Twitter account hijack warnings,
or salacious Youtube.com videos. The fraudulent IRS e-mail message
uses the verbiage "Notice of Underreported Income" as
the Subject Line and encourages the recipient to click a hyperlink
to review their tax statement. All of the latest e-mails use a
variety of URL shortening services.
As the internet grows and used more for business
and banking activities, the attempts to gain customer information
will also grow.
During First Bank's website renovation we added
a Customer Security section that will help keep you informed of
such attacks. Feel free to visit our Ways
To Protect Yourself page on our website. It is full of
useful tips on how you can decrease the risk of your information
We also strongly recommend that you use an up-to-date
antivirus, antispam, and antispyware program.
Feel free to contact us with any comments or questions
by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org
or giving us a call at (515) 225-2641.
Aug 29, 2007 - First Bank introduces E-Statements
First Bank has expanded its banking services and
is excited to introduce Electronic Statements (E-Statements). Customers
can now utilize the convenience and efficiency of the internet by
using E-Statements in their own home. Once enrolled, customers will
receive an email notification when their statements are ready. By
simply accessing First Bank’s online banking customers will
be able to view their E-Statement. For more information and to sign
up, download the Electronic Bank Statement Consent and Agreement
Form and return it to First Bank to begin receiving E-Statements!
For the form, click
June 20, 2007 - HSA's Now Available
A Health Savings Account (HSA) is a tax-deferred
investment account used in conjunction with a qualified high deductible
health plan. It is an arrangement that allows earnings and deductible
contributions to grow tax-deferred.
You are an eligible individual
and may make or receive an HSA regular contribution if, with respect
to any month, you:
- Are covered under a
high-deductible health plan (HDHP) on the first day of such
- Are not covered by any
other type of health plan that is not an HDHP (with certain
exceptions for plans providing preventative care and limited
types of permitted insurance and permitted coverage);
- Are not enrolled in
Medicare Part A or Part B; and
- May not be claimed as
a dependent on another person's tax return.
If you want more information about HSA's, please