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On the BETTER side of life

Whether you have actively thought about it or not, you have built a credit history and a credit score that is reviewed constantly by lenders, credit card companies, financial institutions and even employers. Your credit score not only affects the rate you will be charged for credit, but also affects the financial products and services you will be able to obtain. A poor credit score can mean that you may be turned down for even a basic account such as checking.

Understanding how this score affects your financial life is critical, but it doesn’t take much time to learn the basics and even start correcting a bad score. Information on how credit scores are calculated and what lenders look for when you apply for credit is further down in this article. But first, here are some easy steps you can take towards a better credit score:
  • Make payments on ...

Taking control of your money is an important step toward having the freedom to reach your goals. At First Reliance Bank, we are here to help you manage your money and build a plan to reach your goals. As part of our commitment to helping you, we are proud to offer several Managing Your Money Educational Courses.

Money Talks Newsletter

The Money Talks newsletter series contains tips, practical advice, thought-provoking ideas and age-appropriate activities to bring lessons alive for young children, tween, teens and young adults. This newsletter is designed for parents, grandparents and other caring adults to help them teach children and young adults about money. Visit the FDIC Website.

FREE Money Smart™

Developed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Money Smart™ is a free online website featuring easy-to-learn educational courses. These courses are specially designed to help adults learn the key things they need to know ...

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) is an independent agency of the United States government that protects the funds depositors place in banks and savings associations. FDIC insurance is backed by the full faith and credit of the United States government. Since the FDIC was established in 1933, no depositor has ever lost a single penny of FDIC-insured funds.

FDIC insurance covers all deposit accounts, including checking and savings accounts, money market deposit accounts and certificates of deposit. FDIC insurance does not cover other financial products and services that banks may offer, such as stocks, bonds, mutual fund shares, life insurance policies, annuities or securities. The standard insurance amount is $250,000 per depositor, per insured bank, for each account ownership category. The FDIC provides separate coverage for deposits held in different account ownership categories. Depositors may qualify for more coverage if they have funds in different ownership categories and all ...

Are you stuck and can't get out of a hole?  Do you often find yourself saying, "I wish I could, but I can't afford it."

Photo_2_JoeIf this is you, we have a SOLUTION! We're offering four FREE personal finance video lessons for a limited time that will give you the steps to take to fund the dreams you have for things you want for yourself and your family. First Reliance Bank's purpose is "To make the lives of our customers BETTER."   To fulfill our promise, we've partnered with JOSEPH SANGL, a leading teacher of personal finance.  He is the founder of I Was Broke Now I'm Not, an organization that provides financial teaching.  It is his passion and mission "to help people accomplish far more than they ever thought possible with their personal finances."  Additional tools and information can be found on their website:  IWBNIN.com

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The following information will help you manage your account wisely.

Know Your Balance

  • If you have a joint account, designate one person as the account manager
  • Consider direct deposit of your payroll checks and other benefit payments
  • Record all checks, ATM transactions, debit transactions, account fees, and deposits in your checkbook and keep a running balance
  • Never write a check or make a charge on your debit card for more than you have in your account
  • Make sure deposits to your account clear before withdrawing cash or making charges against those deposits
  • Balance your checkbook against your bank statement every month

Keep Your Account Safe

  • Report stolen checks or debit cards immediately
  • Update your personal information when moving or changing names
  • Don’t use other people’s checks or debit cards, or let them use yours
  • Keep your checks and debit cards in a safe place
 

Check Writing Basics

  • Always use a ...

Balancing your checkbook is one of the most basic habits for good money management. This is a simple method of verifying that your records (your checkbook register) match the bank’s records, as shown on your monthly statement. Balancing your checkbook can be done in six easy steps, as outlined in the worksheet below.

Checkbook GraphicsStep 1: Compare your account register to your account statement for unrecorded transactions (such as ATM, Check Card, Interest earned, fees, etc.). Your new account register total should match the adjusted balance in step 6 below.
 
Step 2: Write in the closing balance shown on the front of your account statement.
 
Step 3: Write in any deposits you have made since the date of your account statement.
 
Step 4: Add together amounts listed above in steps 2 and 3.
 
Step 5: List and total all checks and withdrawals that you have made that ...

Plan


Assess your needs for the future, major purchases, and periodic expenses.

Set Financial Goals


Determine your short, mid- and long-range money management goals.

Know Your Financial Situation


Determine your monthly living expenses, periodic expenses and monthly debt payments.

Make A Budget


Follow it closely and evaluate it regularly, comparing actual expenses with planned expenses. See our financial tools.

Don’t Exceed Your Income


Pay down on credit cards, pay more than the minimum amount and don’t charge more on the card than you are paying to your creditors.

Save


For periodic future expenses, try:

  • Saving 10% of your net income.

  • Accumulate 3 to 6 months salary in an emergency fund.

  • Put money in an Individual Retirement Account (IRA)


Pay Bills on Time


If you’re going to be late making a payment, contact the company and work out a payment schedule.

Distinguish Between Needs and Wants


Take care of needs ...

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More than 70 percent of college graduates began their career owing more than $37,000 in student loans in 2017. Considering the additional living expenses they’ll soon face, new college graduates would be wise to focus on their financial future right now. We have highlighted six smart financial decisions college graduates should consider to position themselves for financial success as they embark on their next phase of life.

The habits new graduates develop right now will have a big effect on their financial future. Living expenses add up quickly once you’re out on your own, and many young adults who didn’t plan ahead are delaying major milestones like getting married or buying a home because of their financial situation. The good news is that you can have a bright financial future if you think strategically about money right out of the gate.

Follow these 6 tips for a better financial future: ...

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The summer months mean many kids in America are working for some extra cash in their pocket. Whether he or she is doing odd jobs around the house or working at the local pool, it’s the perfect time to teach your child financial lessons that will last a lifetime.

It’s never too early to begin teaching children the basics of finance. We encourage parents to expose their children to experiences like visiting the bank, budgeting and paying bills.

Here’s some examples of teachable moments to help you get started:


  • At the bank. When you go to the 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 ...

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So you are looking for your dream home. Did you know your credit score will affect your ability to qualify for the best home loan rates and home loan products? Specifically, a lower credit score might lead to:


  1. A higher interest rate

  2. Higher closing costs

  3. Higher private mortgage insurance (PMI)


That's why it's important for you to understand what a credit score is and how your financial activities directly influence your credit score.

The History of Credit Scoring

The credit scoring system used today was designed in the 1950s to help lenders determine how well consumers can repay a loan in a timely manner. Over the decades, laws have been enacted to establish and maintain transparent credit scoring and reporting practices.

For example, the Fair Credit Reporting Act in 1971 established guidelines for fair practices regarding the use of credit scoring. In addition, the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act ...