Navigating the World of Consumer Loans for Young Adults
Young adults, consider this your mini-crash course in consumer loans and basic financial literacy. The world of consumer loans doesn't have to.....
Navigating the World of Consumer Loans for Young Adults
Young adults, consider this your mini-crash course in consumer loans and basic financial literacy. The world of consumer loans doesn't have to be daunting. When approached wisely, these financial tools can help you achieve your dreams while setting you up for long-term success.
A consumer loan is a type of loan that is intended to help individuals and families finance their purchases and expenses. Whether you need to buy a new car, pay for home renovations, or cover unexpected medical bills, a consumer loan can be a helpful tool to help you achieve your goals and manage your finances. With a consumer loan, you can get access to the funds you need quickly and easily, and you can repay the loan over time with affordable payments that fit your budget. If you're looking for a way to finance your expenses and achieve your goals, a consumer loan may be the right choice for you.
Why Consumer Loans Matter
Consumer loans are not just about borrowing money; they're financial tools that can propel you forward in life. They can help you establish and build credit, make large purchases like your first car, and even consolidate high-interest debts. Knowing how to utilize these financial products wisely is crucial.
Building Good Credit
Almost every young adult gets their first credit card as soon as they leave the nest. While credit cards can offer a sense of financial freedom, they come with responsibilities. One of the most common mistakes: Treating them as free money. Some tips to make sure you are building good credit are:
• Pay on Time: The simplest way to build good credit is to make your payments on time. Even a single late payment can harm your credit score.
• Maintain Low Balances: Keep your credit card balances under 30% of your credit limit.
• Monitor Your Credit Report: Each of the three major credit bureaus offers one free credit report every 12 months. Stay updated and understand your score.
Types of Consumer Loans
• Auto Loans are typically the most common loan for people in their twenties. Auto loans can help you purchase a car, a must-have for many young adults. The concept of auto loans dates back to 1919, not long after cars were invented!
• Personal Loans: These are versatile loans that can help with debt consolidation, emergency expenses, or making a large purchase. Personal loans can be more than just a tool for emergency cash. They are often a more affordable option than credit cards for making large purchases or consolidating high-interest debt.
Your Financial Compass: Budgeting is a skill that takes practice. Knowing where your money is going helps you make educated decisions. Some of the best budgeting tools are:
• Pen and Paper: Sometimes, the simplest methods are the best.
• Excel Sheet: A basic Excel sheet can make tracking expenses easier.
• Budgeting Apps: Many apps can connect to your accounts and help you monitor your income and expenses.
Always remember it’s important to cultivate good financial habits by developing self-control. Try to resist the urge for impulse buys. Never take on more debt than you can handle, and don’t forget to contribute to your emergency fund. It is wise to maintain an emergency fund account for life's unexpected twists.
So, the next time you think of taking a loan or swiping that credit card, remember it's not just about the money you borrow; it's about understanding your options and making smart choices.
Adulting After Graduation - Part 2
As a new graduate embarking on the next chapter in life, managing your money can be a daunting task. However, it's important to remember.....
Adulting After Graduation - Part 2
As a new graduate embarking on the next chapter in life, managing your money can be a daunting task. However, it's important to remember that good money management is crucial for your future financial stability.
To begin, it is vital you have certain accounts established and are aware of the tools built into each one and this is why most students or new graduates will need to establish a checking and/or savings account. Often you can start a savings account with a low opening amount. This will help you set aside some money each week or month, so you aren’t spending all you earn. A checking account along with a debit card will also be critically important. These accounts also have many features built into them, to make it a convenient and efficient way to bank. Alerts are a wonderful feature that alert you if your balance is getting low.
Also, it’s important to download your bank’s mobile app. From the app you can check your balance, make transfers, deposit checks with mobile deposit, and control your debit card. Many debit cards have a feature where you can turn off your debit card in case it is stolen or misplaced. Some other tips include the availability to view recent transactions, set limits, set locations if traveling, as well as the ability to see what subscriptions or apps you have linked to your card. Many banks encourage overdraft protection which transfers funds from your Savings Account or another donor account if your Checking Account becomes overdrawn.
A pro tip is to look at your account several times a week. Make sure you know what is in the account and any debits or credits that will be posted to your account. You can set up alerts, so you know if your balance is getting low. You can set up overdraft protection to transfer from your Savings Account if your Checking Account becomes overdrawn. In addition, many employers require a direct deposit, which means you will need a checking account to receive your paycheck. Having a checking account also allows you to build a relationship with a financial institution, which can be valuable in the future when you may need to apply for a loan or credit card. Practicing good credit management and utilizing your banks products and services is important for young adults to avoid debt, maintain a good credit score, protect against fraud, and set themselves up for a healthy financial future. By choosing the right accounts, monitoring activity, and using credit wisely, you will be sure to start off on a healthy financial journey.
"Banking" on The American Dream
June is National Homeownership Month. National Homeownership Week began in 1995, which was the strategy of the administration under....
"Banking" on The American Dream
June is National Homeownership Month. National Homeownership Week began in 1995, which was the strategy of the administration under President Bill Clinton, to increase homeownership across America. Later, in 2002, President George W. Bush expanded the period of observation from a week to the entire month of June. National Homeownership Month reinforces the belief that owning a home is one of the steps towards achieving the American dream!
What is National Homeownership month?
National Homeownership month is celebrated in the United States every June to raise awareness about the benefits of owing a home, and the importance of making homeownership more attainable for all Americans.
How did National Homeownership month start?
National Homeownership Month started as just a week-long celebration. It began in 1995 when President Bill Clinton saw it as a strategy to increase homeownership in the US. Later, in 2002, President George W Bush expanded the period of observance from a week to the entire month of June. National Homeownership Month reinforces the belief that owning a home is one of the steps toward achieving the America dream.
There are so many benefits to owning a home, here are some reasons why homeownership is important:
• Homeownership provides an opportunity to build equity and wealth over time. As you pay off your mortgage and property values appreciate you can accumulate financial assets and create a stable foundation for your future.
• Owning a home offers stability and a sense of belonging. It provides a safe and comfortable environment for you and your family- take pride in homeownership.
• Homeowners have vested interest in their communities. Homeownership helps create strong and vibrant communities.
• Research shows homeownership positively impacts educational outcomes, especially for children. Stable housing can lead to improved academic performance and increased educational attainment.
66% of American’s own a home. First Federal is here to help on your journey to homeownership. We strive to help the buyer understand every facet of the buying process. If you are ready to start your homeownership journey meet with one of our loan officers to get pre-qualified. We will make the process simple and will find the best mortgage program to fit your needs. First Federal offers a variety of mortgage products to fit everyone’s needs. We are a one stop shop!
Mortgage fun facts
• Mortgage is a French term for “death pledge, with the intention that the pledge (obligation) dies when the debit is fully paid off.
• In the early days of the mortgage, interest rates were pretty high (sometimes up to 15% or 20%), This made paying off a mortgage an even more momentous occasion, and homeowners would celebrate by throwing a big party and burning their mortgage documents. Calling it a mortgage burn party -Guests would bring gifts to help commemorate the home being owned free and clear, and this tradition has since evolved into what we now know as the housewarming party.
• Sears used to sell mail-order houses. From 1908-1940 Sears took DIY to a whole new level. As many as 75,000 kits were sold in hundreds of styles, some of which are still in existence.
• The largest home has 400,000 sq feet and the smallest home has only 25 sq feet.
• The average homeowner stays in one home for 13.2 years.
• Millennials were the largest homebuyers in 2022, making up 43% of total buyers.
• An average American will own three homes in their lifetime.
Careers In Banking
The banking industry offers a wide variety of rewarding career opportunities, whether someone is looking to enter the workforce for the first time or to advance.....
Careers in Banking!
The banking industry offers a wide variety of rewarding career opportunities, whether someone is looking to enter the workforce for the first time or to advance their current career. Customers may identify with tellers or loan officers as the face of the bank, but as we will see, there are so many more employment options available in banking!
What is it like to work for a bank?
Most banks have a professional setting, after all, customers are entrusting us with their finances. However, you may be surprised to learn that banks aren’t as stuffy as one might think. From casual days and community events to electronic services and fun marketing (tik tok anyone?) banks today are keeping up with trends.
What education and skills do I need to work at a bank?
The minimum education level for most banking jobs is a high school diploma or equivalent. Other specific education or degree requirements should be noted in a job listing. Although specific skills needed may vary by position, trustworthiness, honesty, integrity, professionalism, and an excellent work ethic are core values for any banking career.
What types of jobs are available?
Wow! So many! Customer facing positions include tellers, personal bankers, branch managers, loan officers, financial advisors and even insurance agents. Lending, both mortgage and commercial, offers an array of opportunities such as loan processor, loan servicer, and underwriter/credit analyst. There are many supporting departments, all offering diverse opportunities. Marketing may appeal to creative minds while accounting, internal audit and compliance are more analytical. Operations, Human Resources, and Information Technology provide other unique professions.
What are some perks of working at a bank?
I am glad you asked! Banks are a great place to work! In general, banks provide employees with good working conditions, reliable hours, a host of different positions, competitive salaries, and a comprehensive benefit package including things like paid time off, group insurance and 401k retirement plans. Career development and advancements opportunities are available for individuals who have proven to be motivated, responsible, dedicated, and productive in their current role.
Where can I learn more?
Here are some great links to explore more:
17 Career Paths in Banking (Plus Tips for Choosing) | Indeed.com
Careers in Banking | American Bankers Association (aba.com)
Bank Teller Skills: Definition and Examples - Glassdoor Career Guides
Top 10 Skills Needed for a Job in Banking (careeraddict.com)
Visit First Federal Savings Bank’s career site to explore our current employment opportunities and apply online.
5 Things You Should Know Before Your Home Purchase
The market is hot, and you’re ready to buy. The first step is getting prequalified for your loan.....
5 Things You Should Know Before Your Home Purchase
Get prequalified with a local lender.
The market is hot, and you’re ready to buy. The first step is getting prequalified for your loan. But which lender should you use? The promise of quick approval through internet-based providers is tempting, so why use a local lender? Buying a home will likely be the biggest purchase you will ever make in your life. Finally moving into your new home will be a joyous occasion.
A letter you receive instantly online may be meaningless. Local lenders are well known and respected by the realtors and can give your purchase offers more credibility. Local lenders are knowledgeable, industry experts who will find the best product to fit your needs. Local lenders should discuss your income, assets, and credit score in detail, and provide you with a legitimate home prequalification.
Mind your credit use.
Once you are serious about a home purchase, pay all your debts on time and don’t open any new accounts. Also, don’t close any active revolving accounts and strive to pay down your credit balances to 30% of your credit limit or less. Credit inquiries, new accounts, and late payments will impact your credit score and could change your prequalification status.
Get all your assets in order.
Whether your down payment is $1,000 or $100,000, know where it is coming from and get your account statements in order. Transferring assets or accumulating money after application will trigger more required documentation.
Avoid a job change if possible.
Demonstrating consistent employment is essential when applying and getting approved for a mortgage loan. If you want to explore new employment, try to wait until you have completed your home purchase. If it can’t wait, let your loan officer know, so that they can obtain new employment verification prior to the loan closing.
Prequalification is based on estimates.
Once you have a home in mind, discuss specifics with your loan officer. Things like real estate taxes and homeowners association dues can vary and may impact your qualification.
Please click here to start your prequalification.
The Feeling is Mutual
Thrift, Savings and Loan, Mutual Savings Bank – these terms have been used over the years to identify the type of charter held by First Federal Savings Bank.....
The Feeling is Mutual
Thrift, Savings and Loan, Mutual Savings Bank – these terms have been used over the years to identify the type of charter held by First Federal Savings Bank. But what does that mean?
What is a Mutual Savings Bank?
Mutuals were created in the early 1800s specifically to provide a safe place for depositors to save and to invest in mortgages and other loans in their communities. The early mutuals were philanthropic, designed to uplift their communities without focus on profits or shareholders.
That original essence of mutuality remains today, and our Savings Bank charter requires that the majority of our assets be held in residential home loans, small business loans, and other community related investments.
Why should that matter to our customers?
First Federal Savings Bank, and other Mutual Savings Banks, can be compared to a locally owned restaurant, versus a large national chain. Our employees, leaders, and executives live in the communities where we operate. Our policies, practices, and decisions are made within a core group of leaders who are local and accessible to our customers.
Our goals are focused on traditional core banking activities. Gathering deposits and making loans in our community, by offering a robust and competitive product menu. Just take a look around our website to see all we have to offer.
Do Mutual Savings Banks lack the technology of ‘big banks’?
First Federal Savings Bank has a strong commitment to offering all the online and mobile features, as well as payment methods you need. We know our customers expect those services. But we also know that our technology will never be a replacement for personal service. We serve our customers where they want to be served, whether they are on the go with their mobile device, home on their laptop, or in our lobbies or drive-thrus. We have all the latest technology, without giving up the personal service you need.
What is one thing a prospective customer should know about the Bank?
When you bank with us, you are supporting your community. Your deposits will in turn be used to make loans-home, business, and personal loans. We are going to offer you competitive interest rates and reasonable fees. But the one thing you should know is that we value each and every individual customer. We are going to get to know you, support your financial needs, and do our best to make you a customer for life.
If this sounds like the type of bank you are looking for, we want you to know:
The Feeling is Mutual.
Check Fraud: What’s old is new again!
Like some of those 80’s fashion ‘fads’, some things should be left in the past. Unfortunately, it appears that good old-fashioned check fraud....
Check Fraud: What’s old is new again….and not in a good way!
Like some of those 80’s fashion ‘fads’, some things should be left in the past. Unfortunately, it appears that good old-fashioned check fraud is on the rise again!
How does check fraud happen?
Recently, criminals committing mail theft-related check fraud have been targeting the U.S. Mail in order to steal personal checks, business checks, tax refund checks, and checks related to government assistance programs, such as Social Security payments and unemployment benefits. Criminals will generally steal all types of checks in the U.S. Mail as part of a mail theft scheme, but business checks are more enticing because business accounts are often well-funded.
What are some types of check fraud that we are seeing?
Forgery – signing a check without authorization or endorsing a check not payable to the endorser.
Theft – stealing checks to use for fraudulent purposes.
Paper hanging – writing checks on closed accounts or ordering and, then, writing checks on closed accounts.
Washing – using chemicals to remove information from a check.
Counterfeiting – illegally printing checks using information from the victim’s account.
How can check fraud affect me?
Of course, the most common concern related to check fraud tends to be loss of funds. Even if those funds are returned, there can be other problems or hassles. In most cases it is best to close the defrauded checking account and open a new account. This often times means changing payment account information for vendors, and usually means ordering a brand-new debit card at the same time. For businesses, one incident of check fraud could easily be detrimental to customer and vendor relationships and cause reputational damage. For individuals, unchecked occurrences of fraud could cause long-term damage to your credit score and leave other finances at risk.
How can I prevent check fraud?
Unfortunately, check fraud can happen to anyone…whether it is a stolen blank check, stolen mail, or looking through garbage to find cancelled checks. Here are some ways that you can help prevent, or quickly report, check fraud:
1. If you have to write a check:
a. Reconcile your checking account (or at least review your transaction activity) every month. Keep check images or cancelled checks in a secure locations and destroy those checks once they are no longer needed for tax purposes.
b. Never give your checking account information to anyone, especially over the phone.
c. Limit the information that is written on a check (do not include your SSN, driver’s license number, or phone number)
d. Make sure your checks have built-in security features. While you may pay a little more in the short-run, you will be grateful for the security measures provided in the long-run.
e. Never endorse a check until you are ready to cash or deposit the check.
f. Write the check out with a dark, permanent, ink pen. Preferably gel ink, because it is Be consistent with your signature! Banks attempt to compare your signature as part of fraud prevention.
g. Don’t leave blank spaces! Fill the check amount box and write the cents in a way that cannot be altered. For the written amount, start at the far-left edge and put a slash between the cents and the 100. Draw a line after the cents all the way to the right side of the dollar line.
h. When mailing a check, when possible, it is safest is put the mail in the post office building. Avoid using public blue mailboxes, as criminals do something called ‘mailbox fishing’ where they utilize a sticky trap to pull envelopes out of the mailboxes.
2. Ways to avoid writing checks:
a. Pay bills online, preferably using your bank’s Bill Payment service. You won’t need to write a check, pay for postage, or send a check in the mail.
b. Use a debit card for purchases.
c. Setup automatic payments for regular bills.
d. Setup alerts on your account. Many banks provide customers with the ability to setup alerts for when transactions occur. You can get alerts for all withdrawals, limit it to withdrawals over a dollar threshold, and for when your account drops below a certain balance.
What do I do if I have been a victim of check fraud?
If you think you’ve been targeted, or are a victim of check fraud, reach out to the bank where your checking account is located. They may suggest you place additional stop payments on other checks or check ranges. You may also be directed to close the affected account and open a new account. You should also contact any of your creditors that may have been impacted by the fraud. Lastly, file a police report, and monitor your credit.
If you think you may be a victim of mail theft-related check fraud, you should also report it to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service at 1-877-876-2455 orhttps://www.uspis.gov/report
Does My Teenager Need a Checking Account?
You might be wondering if it is a good idea to open a checking account for your teen. Maybe they have asked or maybe ....
Does My Teenager Need a Checking Account?
You might be wondering if it is a good idea to open a checking account for your teen. Maybe they have asked or maybe you want to start teaching them about managing their money. Many people in the Gen X and Gen Z groups lament their financial mishaps and mistakes. Personal finance just wasn’t taught to a lot of kids falling into these generations, and in many schools, it still isn’t taught. So, what’s a parent to do?
Why should your teen have a checking account?
It’s all about showing your teen how to manage money, set financial goals, and budget. Opening a student checking account with your child can be a great “first step” in helping them learn good money management skills. They can use the account to manage the allowance they earn, monetary gifts they receive, or they can use it to learn how to manage money earned from their first job.
Choosing the right account is critical!
Before you open a checking account for your teenager, you’ll want to consider which features are most important for you and your child. Managing a checking account comes with responsibility, so you’ll want your teen’s checking account to have features that set them up for success. After all, we still call it a checking account, but it is possible your teen will never even write a “check”. Consider things like:
• Low minimum balance requirements
• Debit card availability and ATM fee waivers
• Mobile app availability
• Mobile deposit
• Text alerts
• Parental controls
Look for “extra” features, like card controls, spending insights, Apple Pay®, and Round Up – where teens can round debit card purchases up to the nearest dollar and have the extra funds transferred into a savings account (we call this a Goal Savings Account).
So, what are parental controls?
Parental controls can vary by bank or account, so focus on the ones that are a top priority for you. Some examples may include, joint ownership of the funds, shared online banking access, the ability to set specific debit card controls on things like spending limits, merchant types, location and so on. Get account specific alerts you create on things like balance and account activity.
A path to a responsible financial foundation.
Teaching your child to manage their own money via a checking account is just one more way to usher in the responsibility that your child will need to have when they venture out on their own.
By the time they’re 18 they’ll be set up to have a good handle on money management skills, and that can lead them to greater financial success as an adult.
If you’re interested in showing your teen how to manage money, set financial goals, and budget. Learn more about our Student Checking Account.
Life Insurance: For Anyone Who Loves
Do you love someone? If the answer is clear, then so is the answer to whether you need life insurance. Because the truth is, life insurance ....
Life Insurance: For Anyone Who Loves
Do you love someone? If the answer is clear, then so is the answer to whether you need life insurance. Because the truth is, life insurance is for anyone who loves. Whether you love your spouse or partner, your children or grandchildren, your parents or a favorite charity, life insurance means they're protected financially if something happens to you. Getting life insurance is a simple and affordable way for consumers to protect the ones they love, financially.
For Love and Money
Did you know that financial security is one of the most attractive traits to have in a partner. The way American couples look at finances in their relationships is changing. A 2022 consumer survey by Life Happens, included these key findings:
- 59% of people would feel more secure in their relationship if they discussed getting life insurance with their partner.
- Half of respondents would talk about wills and life insurance before marriage.
- Men are more likely than women to say that purchasing a life insurance policy is a financial way to demonstrate your love (40% vs 33%).
Real Reasons to Consider Life Insurance
To most people, life insurance is a scary and intimidating thing. Life insurance covers more than the inevitable (to help pay for funeral and other end-of-life expenses). It is designed to provide the ultimate peace of mind to those you love, if something unexpected happens. Here are some real reasons to consider buying life insurance.
- It can provide a lump-sum payment to help your family meet their financial needs and continue paying bills.
- It can be used to help fund a college education or other expenses for your children or grandchildren.
- It can help loved ones pay off a mortgage or other debt, so they can stay in the family home.
- It can help pay for childcare, or elder care, if the main breadwinner of the family passes away.
- It can help provide income, so your family has time to grieve.
Next Steps to Getting Insured
The next step involves the critical part of deciding which life insurance product provides the best solution for you and your family. A common misconception is that if your employer offers a Group Life Insurance Plan you are adequately covered. This may only be a portion of what is needed. It is usually not portable – meaning if you are no longer an employee you are no longer covered under a group plan.
Here are 3 things you should consider:
- Assess your insurance needs. What is your contribution to the family income and how many are dependent on you financially? A good Agent will help you decide how much coverage you need.
- Compare insurance policies. The two basic types of life insurance are term insurance and whole-life insurance. Your choice should depend on your needs, both immediate and future.
- Choose a coverage that you can afford. After assessing your life insurance needs, determine how much it will cost you in terms of annual premiums. The first goal of insurance should be protection.
Contact First Fed Insurance Agency today to speak with one of our knowledgeable and professional Agents. After all, the basic motivation behind buying life insurance is love.
INSURANCE PRODUCTS AND SERVICES OFFERED THROUGH FIRST FED INSURANCE AGENCY, INC. are not insured by the FDIC *are not a deposit or other obligation of, or guaranteed by, the bank *are subject to Investment risks, including possible loss of the principal amount invested.