January Tips

This article was developed as part of First Nebraska Bank’s partnership with EVERFI, Inc.

By now, most people have made their resolutions for self-improvement in the new year. While the most popular resolutions tend to focus on physical health, the start of a new year is also a perfect time to prioritize your financial wellness.

Ready to get started? Read on.

5 Ways to Up Your Money Game in 2019

1. Make a Budget and Stick to it. Budgeting is one of most effective ways to manage your money. Creating and monitoring a budget allows you to track your expenses, adapt to changes, and achieve your financial milestones. Budgeting can also help you save for emergencies and plan for the long run – including retirement.

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2. Build Your Emergency Savings. Unexpected expenses happen more often than we like to think. According to a 2018 Bankrate study, more than half of Americans are not financially prepared to cover the costs that come with emergencies, such as illness, job loss, or even home and auto repairs.

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3. Plan for Your Retirement Now. Less than half of Americans take the steps needed to set themselves up for a secure retirement. While saving for the future is easy to put off in favor of more immediate needs, the earlier you start, the more opportunity you’ll have to grow your savings over time.

There’s no better time than now to start planning for retirement. Learn about options, like IRAs and 401(k) plans, with our free retirement education: https://firstnebraskabank.everfi-next.net/student/dashboard/fnbcustomers/firstnebraskabank-preparing-for-retirement

4. Get Ahead of Your Taxes. Taxes are confusing, and many people get bogged down by complex terms and lengthy paperwork. However, your taxes don’t need to be a source of anxiety. In fact, getting ahead of your taxes can reap many benefits, including lowering stress and having early access to a refund for year-long planning.

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5. Take Control of Your Credit. Your credit score can have significant impacts on your financial security and flexibility. Many people have never had the opportunity to learn what a credit score is, what factors impact a credit score, and what actions they can take to make sure their score is healthy.

Take a few minutes to understand the factors that impact your credit score and you’ll be well on your way to building a more secure financial future: https://firstnebraskabank.everfi-next.net/student/dashboard/fnbcustomers/firstnebraskabank-financial-basics-101

Access our entire library of financial education topics at: https://firstnebraskabank.everfi-next.net/welcome/fnbcustomers

Protect Yourself from Gift Card Scams

Gift cards are certainly a great gift to receive and an easy gift to give. Unfortunately, there are thieves out there who are trying to get the better end of the deal by using gift card scams. By the time their scam is realized, it’s already too late. Here’s what you need to know to protect yourself.

Use your gift card quickly.

That gift card you purchased at the store might be all used up before you even give it to the recipient. The thieves will take the information down from the card and wait for it to be activated at the register. They will check the balance often and once they find it is active, the card is drained of its funds. What can you do? Use the card quickly after purchasing it. If the card has been compromised; keep your receipt and contact the retailer, you may be able to recoup some of your losses.

Inspect the card before you buy it.

Many cards will require a PIN that must be scratched off to reveal a code to be used with the card number. This can delay a thief, but not entirely. The scratch-off area can be easily recovered with a sticker. Cards can often be tampered with. A scammer will record the information, then return it to the store front. What can you do? Inspect the card before purchasing, and avoid taking the card in the front. If the card you choose appears to have been tampered with, pick a different card and alert the retailer.

Only use trusted sites to check balances.

Be on the lookout for fraudulent sites offering to check the balance of your card. Phishing or fraudulent ads may offer a convenient link or phone number to check that gift card balance. As with a credit card, always follow the information on the back of the card, or contact the company offering the card directly to check your balance.