How To Talk Money With Your College Student

Your child is a college student, and you’ve successfully packed them up, moved them in, made several trips to Bed Bath & Beyond, and they’ve settled into their class schedule for the new year – you can finally breathe a sigh of relief, you’ve covered it all.  Or have you?  How about the skills necessary not to blow whatever budgetary limits that have been set for the first semester?

It’s not an easy maneuver to accomplish. The skills your child probably has to manage their own money are most likely the ones you’ve (hopefully) taught them.  And they may not have picked up as much as you think.  75% of parents say they’re having regular conversations with their kids about money, but only about 60% of kids say the same.

With that in mind, here’s a quick checklist of items to discuss with your son or daughter living at the college dorm:

  • Spending Limits

Some colleges will provide you with guidelines of how much spending money to give your kids. Northwestern University, for example, says about $2,000 will be sufficient for the 2014-2015 academic year, while the University of Arizona says $1,800 (not including books). Stretching those dollars, however, will be hard for kids who aren’t used to paying for their own pizza, let alone laundry and shampoo. It’s important to develop a basic list of what money will likely be used for – and how much those things cost,  to make sure actual expenditures fall in line with these estimates. Richard Barrington, senior financial analyst for MoneyRates.com, also suggests doling the money out slowly – say a month at a time — and for specific purposes.

  • The ID Card

The student ID card gets you into the library and the dining hall. And it’s essentially a prepaid debit card, as well. Parents can put money on an account and students use that money for food, copies or whatever other campus services they need. What’s good about these cards is that you (and your student) have the ability to check what the balance is at any time. And, because the amount on tap is capped, there’s not the same risk you’d have if you handed your child a credit card (more on that in a moment). Talk about the card with your child so they can prevent spending all the money on the card right away.

  • Picking the Right Financial Institution

Although it may seem more convenient to have your child bank at the same institution you do – so that you can transfer funds into his or her account in the event of a shortfall – it may also prove to be more expensive. The Achilles heel of the college student when it comes to banking is the $3 a pop (or more) ATM fee at the campus or other local ATM. Unless your child has an account and card with one of those, these ATM charges can add up.  Be sure to investigate the banking situation – does your current institution offer Online Banking with a mobile app and remote deposit?  This may be another great, easy alternative for your student at college.

First Financial’s has a great Student Checking Account available for 14 to 23 year old students, which includes:

  1. A free first box of checks, and an allowance of the first mistake being free+.
  2. Free phone transfers to the account by parents.
  3. No per-check charges – unlimited check writing without getting charged after writing a certain amount of checks.
  4. No minimum balance requirements.
  5. No monthly service charge for having the account.
  6. A personalized Debit Card issued instantly in one of our Monmouth or Ocean County branches.
  7. Free Online Banking with Bill Pay++.
  8. Unlimited in-branch transactions.
  • A Credit Card for Emergencies

Since the passage of The Credit CARD Act in 2009, kids under 21 are not supposed to be issued credit cards of their own unless they have either income to support their spending or a co-signer. But the credit scores of millennials have also suffered as a result.  If you want your child to have credit on hand for either emergencies or regular usage and/or build a credit history while in college, the best way to go about it is to add your child to one of your accounts as an authorized user. Make sure the card you choose actually will report on the child’s behalf to the credit bureaus. Nearly 25% of college students now also have prepaid cards in their wallets. This might solve the budgeting/emergency problem, but not the credit score issue – as prepaid card history isn’t reported to the credit bureaus.

  • Talk to Your Child About Getting a Part-Time Job

The money they’re undoubtedly going to spend on a college campus – like anywhere else – looks far more valuable when they’ve actually earned it.  If there’s room in your child’s schedule, it might be a good idea to investigate a part-time job that’s manageable.

*Article Source Courtesy of Fortune.com by Jean Chatzky

*A $5 deposit in a base savings account is required for credit union membership prior to opening any other account. All personal memberships are part of the Rewards First program and a $5 per month non-participation fee is charged to the base savings account for memberships not meeting the minimum requirements of the Bronze Tier. Click here to view full Rewards First program details, and here to view the Tier Level Comparison Chart. Accounts for children age 13 and under are excluded from this program.

FREE Online Banking, Bill Pay, Mobile App & Online Safety and Security Seminar this September 2014

650_X_300_interior_couple_mobile_phoneIn a society of rapidly evolving technology, many financial institutions – including First Financial – now offer new ways to manage your finances, including online banking, bill pay, and smartphone apps.  However, these services will be of little help to you if you don’t know how to use them or what their features and benefits are! The experts at First Financial will show you how to use these services, their main features and benefits, provide you with some online safety tips, as well as online safety and security precautions at our FREE online banking seminar.

At this seminar, you will learn:

  • Step-by-step instructions on how to use our services
  • Main features and benefits of these products
  • Online safety tips to protect yourself

Join us on Tuesday, September 30th at 6:00pm for our free consumer seminar titled, Online Banking, Bill Pay, Mobile App and Online Safety & Security, presented by the professionals at First Financial. The seminar will be held at our Wall Office located at 1800 Route 34 North, Building 3, Suite 302. We invite you to bring a guest but space is limited, so make sure you sign up today!

Register Now!

You Could Win a Visa Gift Card in Our “Fall” Into Your Financial Dreams Contest 2014

New contest picWe look forward to hearing about your financial dreams and goals. Good luck!

*To enter, comment on this post before the deadline and completely answer the question to qualify. Post your comment on or before 9/19/14 at 5pm. Must be 18 years or older to enter. The winner will be randomly selected from the entries received and notified by the Marketing Department on or about 9/22/14. Winner will be able to pick up their gift card in a First Financial branch or receive it via mail. No purchase necessary to enter or claim prize.

A Message for Members Regarding Account Security Following Home Depot Data Breach

??????????????Home Depot is officially the latest big retailer to suffer a payment data breach, the company confirmed on 9/8/14. It’s unclear how many customers were affected, but Home Depot said the breach could have hit customers who used debit or credit cards at its U.S. and Canadian stores from April 2014 forward.

The company released few other details in its statement as it continues to determine the full scope, scale and impact of the breach. At this point there is no evidence that debit PIN numbers were compromised, and the breach doesn’t appear to have affected physical stores in Mexico or HomeDepot.com.

Naturally, this latest data breach has created inquiry from First Financial members regarding the security of their credit and debit card accounts.

We want to assure members that your accounts with us are monitored 24/7 by an experienced team of security professionals for any suspicious or potentially fraudulent activity. First Financial employs the most advanced fraud detection and prevention technology to guard members’ credit and debit accounts against unauthorized access and use. Here’s a quick update for your peace of mind:

  • If our security team observes any unusual activity on member accounts, we will contact members immediately to determine whether the transaction activity is legitimate and authorized.
  • It is also a good practice for members to keep a watchful eye on their accounts and transactions and look for any unauthorized activity or purchases.

Don’t wait until it’s too late! Check out First Financial’s ID Theft Protection products – with our Fully Managed Identity Recovery services, you don’t need to worry. A professional Recovery Advocate will do the work on your behalf, based on a plan that you approve. Should you experience an Identity Theft incident, your Recovery Advocate will stick with you all along the way – and will be there for you until your good name is restored and you can try it FREE for 90 days!*

Our ID Theft Protection options may include some of the following services, based on the package you choose to enroll in: Lost Document Replacement, Credit Bureau Monitoring, Score Tracker, and Three-Generation Family Benefit. To learn more about our ID Theft Protection products, click here and enroll today!**

*Available for new enrollments only. After the free trial of 90 days, the member must contact the Credit Union to opt-out of ID Theft Protection or the monthly fee of $4.95 will automatically be deducted out of the base savings account or $8.95 will be deducted out of the First Protection Checking account (depending upon the coverage option selected), on a monthly basis or until the member opts out of the program. **Identity Theft insurance underwritten by subsidiaries or affiliates of Chartis Inc. The description herein is a summary and intended for informational purposes only and does not include all terms, conditions and exclusions of the policies described. Please refer to the actual policies for terms, conditions, and exclusions of coverage. Coverage may not be available in all jurisdictions.

We will continue to monitor all members’ accounts for suspicious activity. If you have any additional questions or concerns, please give us a call at 866.750.0100 or email us at info@firstffcu.com. Thank you for being a valued member of First Financial.

Article Source: http://www.nbcnews.com/tech/security/home-depot-confirms-credit-card-data-breach-n198621

 

Things to Do on a Budget in Monmouth and Ocean Counties This September 2014

Family-fall-leavesAs the summer quickly comes to a close and your children prepare to go back to school, it’s important to make time for family activities. This September, there are so many things to do that are fun and low cost  for everyone.  Check out these budget friendly activities that are going on locally, and make some memories with your family and friends!

Saturday, August 30 – Start your day with the Spring Lake Labor Day End of Summer Celebration & Sale/Art Walk. This all day event takes place on Third Ave from 8 am – 5 pm. For more information, call 732-449-0037.

Monday, September 1 – Kick off September with a night out at Show Place Ice Cream Parlour (Beach Haven, LBI).  Enjoy a show and dessert as you become part of the entertainment. Watch the talented staff perform Cabaret, show tunes, and improvisation. For more information, call 609-492-0018.

Saturday, September 6 – The Jersey Shore Irish Festival will be held rain or shine from 10am-6pm at the Sea Girt National Guard Armory. Enjoy music, vendors, Irish food, and rides for children with family and friends! Admission is $7 per adult ticket purchased in advance, and $10 at the door. Children 12 and under are free.

Sunday, September 7 – Go fly a kite at the Belmar Kite Festival! Professional kite flyers will demonstrate their skills between the Second and Third Avenue Beaches. Families and individuals can fly their kites from the Fourth Avenue Beach southward. There is no cost to enter. Setup time begins at 10am, and the event takes place between 11am-4pm.

Wednesday, September 10 – What better way to start fall off then a Farmers Market! Come to Downtown Toms River from 11am – 5pm for a fabulous day at the market. Check out fresh produce, baked goods, honey, herbs, nuts, and prepared foods. You can enjoy a yummy lunch under the tents with your family and friends on this beautiful day. Parking is also FREE! For more information, contact Huddy Park at 732-341-8783.

Saturday, September 13 – Take your children to Jenkinson’s Aquarium (Pt. Pleasant) for a behind the scenes tour. Ages 5 and up are permitted to join for a fun morning to learn about what goes on in the Aquarium. Prices are $10.00 for children and $14.00 for Adults. For more information, contact Jenkinson’s at 732-899-1659.

Sunday, September 14 – 5K Race or 1 Mile Fun Run for the 9/11 Heroes 2014 (Wall Township) will take place starting at 8am at the Wall Municipal Complex on Allaire Rd. For more details visit wall@911heroesrun.org or click here.

Wednesday, September 17- Have a Girls Night Out at Laurita Winery (New Egypt)! Laurita calls out all ladies and their friends to enjoy a night of yoga, wine, and relaxation from 6-9 pm. Admission is free. Finish the night off with the sounds of live music and good laughs. For more information, call 609-752-0200.

Saturday, September 20 – Support scholarships and classroom grants in Monmouth and Ocean Counties by attending the First Financial Foundation’s Food Truck & Restaurant Bash at our Toms River Branch from 1-5pm! Join us for a fun day of food truck/restaurant vendors, games, entertainment, prizes and more. Entry donation is $5 per person (kids 12 and under are free!) and advanced tickets pay be purchased in any First Financial Branch or online using Credit/Debit/PayPal. We hope to see you there!

Sunday, September 21 – Come out to Freehold and check out the Circus at iPlayAmerica. The one and only Michael Dubois is the featured performer for the day. Bring your children, parents, and friends for a 40 minute show filled with magic, juggling, slack wire, and sideshow stunts! This is one event you certainly DO NOT want to miss! First show starts at 12pm and the second starts at 3pm. Tickets are under $20.00.  For more information, call 732-577-8200.

Saturday, September 27 – Join Allaire Village for a fun-filled day at the 1830’s Fall Harvest (Wall)!  Explore what life was like during the 1830’s with villagers as they cook food over the hearth, make apple cider, and play historic games. Kids can take part in arts and crafts and go on wagon rides around the village. Don’t miss the exciting demonstrations with ax and knife throwing, and fire starting. Admission is $5.00 for adults and $3.00 for children ages 5-12. For more information, call 732-919-3500.

Have a great start to your fall season!