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On the BETTER side of life

dreamstime_xl_32370731 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:

  • Live ...

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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 ...

First Reliance First Time Homebuyer

Before you can make the transition from renting your home to owning your home, you will need to have a substantial down payment, typically 5 to 20 percent of the home’s value. First Reliance Bank suggests the following tips to help save for it:



​Develop a budget & timeline.


Start by determining how much you’ll need for a down payment. Create a budget and calculate how much you can realistically save each month – that will help you gauge when you’ll be ready to transition from renter to homeowner.

Establish a separate savings account.


Set up a separate savings account exclusively for your down payment and make your monthly contributions automatic. By keeping this money separate, you’ll be less likely to tap into it when you’re tight on cash.



Shop around to reduce major monthly expenses.


It’s a good idea to check rates for your car insurance, renter’s insurance, health ...

First Reliance Bank Savings PlansThe key to a good budget is including as much information as you can, so that you can adequately prepare and plan. It's important to keep accurate records of your spending so you'll spot places where you can save money and know how much you can reasonably spend.

What is your current income? The first step in creating a budget is to total all of your income, or money coming. We recommend you do this on a monthly basis. Include only your take home pay (this is your salary minus taxes and deductions). Your income may also include tips, child support, investment income, etc.

What are your monthly expenses?  Next, you'll need to track your expenses, or money going out. Some of your bills will vary from month-to-month, so use a monthly average. For example, if your cell phone is $45 one month and $55 the next, estimate $50 per ...

How to Raise Financially Fit Children Brochure

“I want that!”As a parent, you have probably heard your children make that statement more than a few times while shopping or watching television commercials.

Children understand the power of spending money long before they grasp the concepts of earning, saving, and investing. So, in order to build a solid financial foundation, it’s important for them to understand the difference between needs and wants.

Needs are things you must have in order to survive. Food, water, clothing, and shelter are all needs. A want is something you would like to have, but it is not necessary for your survival. Books, CDs, and toys are all wants. Wants make life more enjoyable, but they are not necessary for survival. Children also need to understand the concept of scarcity, which means they have unlimited wants and limited resources to meet those wants. Scarcity requires people to make choices. Learning “we can’t have ...

As Americans kick off the spring season by cleaning, sorting and tidying up around the house, First Reliance Bank is encouraging consumers to add financial organizaSpring Clean your Financestion to their spring cleaning to-do list. To help, First Reliance Bank has highlighted six tips for organizing your financial house.

“People are motivated to get things done when the weather warms up and the flowers bloom, which makes it an ideal time to look closely at your savings and spending habits,” said Pamela Rhoads, VP Customer Experience. “Putting in the work now will help you live your best life in the months ahead.” First Reliance Bank recommends these six tips to help consumers organize their finances:

  • Review your budget. A lot can change in a year. If you’ve been promoted, had ...

Mobile Device ProtectionAs consumer use of mobile devices continues to climb, cyber criminals are targeting those gadgets more frequently. According to a report by the Federal Reserve, 43 percent of smartphone users say they have used mobile banking in the past 12 months. First Reliance Bank is highlighting 12 ways consumers can take extra precaution to protect the data on their mobile device. “We use gold-standard safeguards to protect customer information, but it’s also important for users to keep safety measures in place to prevent sensitive data from being compromised,” said Mike Dowling, VP Information Technology. “It’s easy to forget that your mobile device can be vulnerable, but any device used to connect to the internet is at risk.” First Reliance suggests following these 12 steps to protect your mobile ...

Tax Refund Coming! According to the Internal Revenue Service, more than 70 percent of the nation’s taxpayers received a tax refund averaging nearly $3,000 in 2017 and will get a similar amount this year. As Americans receive their refunds along with additional benefits coming from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed in December, First Reliance Bank has highlighted six tips to help them use the money wisely.

“Tax season is the perfect time to hit the reset button on your finances,” said Pamela Rhoads, Vice President of Customer Experience. “Your refund can help put you on the right path towards reaching your financial goals. Consider using it to pay off debts or creating an emergency fund.” To help consumers make the most out of their money, First Reliance has highlighted ...

financial_hardshipFinancial hardship can strike anyone. Whether it’s a series of bad decisions, an unforeseen misfortune, or a combination of the two, it’s easy for even the most fiscally responsible person to run into financial problems. Getting back on track can take time, and staying on the right track requires the right habits. Here are some strategies you can use to bounce back from financial hardships. Understanding Your Available Banking Options Different people have different needs when it comes to banking. Some people may find that their current needs require special banking programs. Institutions like First Reliance Bank provide various options to help people from all walks of life handle their finances in a responsible matter. Whether it’s a business owner who wants to take a better approach to the company’s financial resources or an individual who needs more money, having the right program is important. Get Answers to Important Financial ...