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True Interest Rate

Interest rates are always in flux; in fact, they change every 60 seconds. So, there is no real way to predict their path from one month to the next. Trying to catch the perfect rate should never deter you from owning your dream home. In fact, agents will often say, “Marry the house, date the rate.” This basically means don’t let interest rates deter you because you can always refinance. We have an inventory problem.

There is always a possibility that we could see another dip, and there could be a refi opportunity in that. If you find that perfect house, don’t wait to get it. Even if the rate isn’t what you’d hoped, there are always opportunities to modify or refinance. It’s a lot easier than people expect.

Don't Wait

In this market, the perfect home is harder to come by. If you find it, there’s no reason to ...


If You’ve Been Hacked

It may seem to happen frequently; you see a nightly news story, or worse yet, you receive an email that a major retailer says we’ve had a little “tiny” problem, and consumer card information has been hacked. When that happens, it is quite possible that you feel vulnerable. So, how can you protect yourself in advance? Read along for tips from First Reliance.

Be On Guard

At a minimum, you should log in to online banking and set up daily balance alerts. Better yet, make a point to look at your account online every day. And we mean, look closely.

Know How Hackers Work

When credit card information is stolen, hackers sell it to other hackers online. The smart ones buy card information from their area, which means you may not see charges from some exotic place. These hackers could be using your card information at a store down the ...


If you answered "yes," to any of the following questions, you could be involved in a FRAUD or about to be SCAMMED!

  1. Is the CHECK from an item you sold on the Internet, such as a car, boat, jewelry, etc.?
  2. Is the amount of the CHECK more than the item's selling price?
  3. Did you receive the CHECK via an overnight delivery service?
  4. Is the CHECK connected to communicating with someone by mail?
  5. Is the CHECK drawn on a business or individual account that is different from the person buying your item or product?
  6. Have you been informed that you were the winner of a LOTTERY, such as Canadian, Australian, El Gordo, or El Mundo, that you did not enter?
  7. Have you been instructed to either "WIRE," "SEND," or "SHIP" MONEY as soon as possible to a large U.S. city or another country, such as Canada, England, or Nigeria?
  8. Have you ...


How to Create a Good Password

You probably have dozens of accounts and want to keep them safe, but how many passwords do you have? Are you just using the same password for every website you visit? If you are, then you’re asking for trouble. If one password gets stolen, they’re all stolen.

Password Manager Software

An excellent solution is to use a password manager program. While those can cost money, and you still need at least one password to secure it, they are good management tools. So how else can you lock down your accounts? Here are four free ways to lock down your accounts with better passwords.

Don’t Use Names

Don’t use names or words found in any dictionary, for that matter. If you’re using your dog’s name and your address, trust us, someone would eventually be able to figure that out.

Substitute Numbers for Letters

It’s easy to substitute numbers or symbols in ...


How to Improve Your Credit Score

Yes, life happens! If your credit score has seen better days, it can hurt you when borrowing money. Maybe you get turned down or must pay high-interest rates.

How credit reporting bureaus calculate credit score is a little complex. In this short video, we share some things you should know if you are trying to improve your score.

  1. It’s not good to have no credit cards or cancel all of your cards.
  2. Conversely, don’t open credit accounts you don’t need.
  3. If you have credit cards, keep the balance at less than 50% of the available balance (30% is even better).
  4. Closing an account doesn’t make it go away, as it can still appear on your credit report.
  5. If you’re behind on any accounts, get current, and pay on time as long as it is possible.
  6. If you have an account that goes to collections, that will stay with you. In ...


Talking With Kids About Money

Do your kids talk about how they can get money? Whether from you or from others, helping kids handle their money better is never dull. First Reliance Bank may not have all the answers to helping kids earn or save money, but we do have a few suggestions. Before they ask again, consider sitting down in advance of their want and share these tips.

It is possible kids will learn how their parents or family members may be more likely to give them money if they first learn how to be responsible with it. Letting kids know that going to the toy or game store with every dollar may not be the smartest thing to do; however, giving them a plan may guide their current spending as well as develop good habits for the future.
 

Charity, Savings, and Spending

Give your kids three envelopes and have them mark one ...


Ways to Save on Groceries

No matter how you approach grocery shopping, one loves it while another dislikes it! One thing is constant – it is easy to spend hard-earned money. Have you ever considered how much money is wasted at the grocery store every year because of impulse buying? You know, picking out weird things you think you MUST have. Here are some ways to fight the impulse and save cash.

 

  1. Shop only once a week. Fewer trips may mean less temptation.
  2. Shop alone. Research shows that you wind up buying 8% more unneeded items when you take someone with you.
  3. Shop with a list and stick with it. Only walk down the aisles stocked with the items on your list. Studies show that wandering up and down unnecessary aisles can increase your spending by 18%.
  4. Consider purchasing fruits and vegetables at a farmer’s market where prices are usually lower than at a ...


Are You Dreaming of a Vacation?

With the Memorial Day weekend right around the corner, who isn’t ready for a vacation? If you are itching to travel or enjoy a long weekend break, Memorial Day officially kicks off a time of spending time away to explore, refresh, and renew.

If you are planning a trip, here are five ways to save money. Some you may not have thought of, but they really work!

1. Join a local travel social media group
It may be a great way to crowdsource your travel savings. Local members will alert the group when an airline offers a sweet deal from nearby airports, for example.

2. Ask for cash and travel-related gift cards for birthdays and holidays
People may be giving you gifts, so why not make it something towards decreasing the cost of your next vacation? This could be a win-win for you and the gift-giver!

3. Establish a travel ...


April is Financial Literacy Month, and the FDIC asks, "How money smart are you?"

Our financial lives can get complicated quickly. It’s easy to lose track of spending and savings. But if you take the time to nurture good financial habits and follow the FDIC website suggestions from their award-winning Money Smart program, these and other important aspects of your financial health will be “built-in.”

Here are the 5 good money habits everyone should work to develop:

  1. Keeping a Budget. Making even a simple budget doesn’t have to be difficult when you have access to past bank statements as a guide.  Monthly expenses are easy but don’t forget those surprise, once-a-year expenses like insurance payments that draft annually or every six months.  You’ll find a budget is one of the most effective money management tools, and it’s free!
  2. Automate Savings.  You’re more likely to do something if it’s easy.  That’s just human nature. So automate your savings. First, if your employer offers a ...


How to Prevent Fake Check Scams

Fake check scams are occurring more than ever, and scammers are being more and more clever with their tactics. Here's how a fake check scam typically works.

Someone you don't know sends you a check. It could be from a company, like UPS or John Deere. The person will ask you to deposit the check and send some of the money to them or another person in return. The scammer always has a reason to explain why you were sent the check and why you can't keep all the money. If you deposit a fake check and send money to the scammer, you will be responsible for that money. This can sometimes be thousands of dollars!