Financial Words Parents Should Teach Their Children

Cute little girl is playing with paper money - dollars, isolated over white

Savings: Age 4+
Saving is one of the best topics to introduce at a young age. It’s easy for kids to grasp and can have a huge impact on those who embrace it early. There are plenty of examples parents can use to illustrate, here’s one: Start by giving your child two small pieces of candy during the day. Let them eat one right away and save the other until after dinner. Then each day for a week, give them two pieces but have them save one in a special place. When the week is over, they’ll be excited to have a bag full of candy. Explain that saving money works the same way — when you regularly put a little bit aside, in time it will add up to something big.

Budget: Age 8
A budget is plan that you make to keep track of your money and where it is going. One great way that a lot of parents teach kids how to budget is with “give, save, spend jars.” Whenever the child earns money they divide it between the jars. The “save” jar is money that’s intended for a longer-term goal; money in the “spend” jar can be used any time for smaller purchases; the “give” jar is money that will go to a charity of their choosing. The give jar, in particular, is great for getting kids to think about helping others while allowing them the freedom to choose where to donate their money.

Loan: Age 8
A loan is something that is borrowed, often money, which has to be paid back with interest. Most kids get the basic concept of a loan because chances are, at one time or another, they’ve lent something to a friend or sibling and expected to get it back.

Start by explaining some of the reasons people take out loans. For instance, because it costs a lot of money to buy a house most people borrow money (take out a mortgage) to pay for it. Even kids know that $300,000 is a lot of money, so when they hear that’s the average price of a house they can understand why most people borrow money to cover it. Car loans and student loans are also good ones to discuss.

While taking out a loan isn’t a bad thing, parents need to stress that when you do take on a loan, it’s your responsibility to pay it back.

Debt: Age 8
Loans and debt can be explained together. Like a loan, a debt is money that you owe someone that needs to be paid back. Once again, a mortgage can be a good way to illustrate how debt works.

Interest: Age 8-10
Interest has two sides: it’s either something you pay when someone lends you money or something that you earn when you lend money to someone else. You could explain interest to your child by telling them they could earn interest if, for example, “your sister runs out of her allowance but needs money this weekend. You could lend her $20 but charge her $2 in interest, which she will have to pay you back next week.”  You can also make it into a game to illustrate how it works: Ask to borrow a few dollars from your child’s piggy bank and then set up a schedule to pay it back over the next month with interest.

Explain to older kids how you pay a financial institution interest on a car loan or mortgage each month. Also point out that the financial institution pays interest on deposits you keep in your accounts there.

When kids are older and can calculate simple percentages, have them do some math to see how interest adds up. Show them a credit card agreement that charges 15% interest and have them figure out how much extra money you would have to pay to carry a balance of $5,000 or $10,000 on your credit card, versus if you paid it off right away.

Credit Card: Age 8-10
Credit lets you buy something without having to pay for it right away. For example, if you use a credit card to buy a new bike that costs $200, the money doesn’t come out of your bank account. Instead the credit card company pays for the bike. Then they send you a bill and you have to pay them back the $200. If you don’t pay them back right away, they will charge you extra money (interest).  The longer it takes you to pay back, the more money you will owe in the end. While credit cards are necessary to have — kids need to understand that they should only be used to buy things that they can afford to pay off right away.

Parents should also explain how a debit card is different as it takes money directly from your checking account. When you’re at the store and you slide the debit card, explain that the card is taking the money right out of your account at that very moment.

Taxes: Age 10-12
Chances are most kids know the word but few understand what taxes are. Here’s the explanation: Taxes are payments that go to the government for the work that it does, such as improving schools and fixing roads. They’re taken right from your paycheck and the amount you pay depends on how much money you make.

You can also explain to older kids that doing certain things, which have a positive impact such as donating money to charity or installing solar panels on your house, can lower your taxes.

Investment: Age 10-12
An investment is something that you spend money on, which you believe will earn you even more money (a profit) down the line. Kids should know, however, that although people invest in things that they hope will make them more money, it doesn’t always happen that way. That’s why it’s never a good idea to put all of your money in a risky investment, because if you do and the investment fails, you could loose it all.

Stock: Age 12+
A stock is a piece of a company. When you own stock in a company, you own a small piece of its business. Every stock has a price and that price can go up or down, depending on what’s happening at the company.

Stock movements are best illustrated to kids with an example of a company they know. For instance, say you bought one share of Apple AAPL -0.16% stock for $5 . If the company sold a ton of iPhones, which is good for the company, it could make the stock price go up to $8, meaning you would have earned $3 on your investment. On the other hand, if Apple didn’t sell a lot of iPhones and the stock fell to $2, you would have lost $3. Most people don’t own a single piece of a stock (a share) – but tens, hundreds or thousands of shares. And most people also own stock in several different companies. The “stock market” is where people buy and sell (trade) their stocks. There is an actual place where stocks are traded but it can also be done over the Internet.

Learning about stocks can be particularly fun as kids get older. There are a lot of online games and apps they can use to create virtual stock portfolios, which can show them how stock prices move and how much money they would have made or lost if they been dealing with real money.

401(K): 14+
As kids enter the teenage years, it’s a good time to begin preparing them for some of the things they will likely encounter once they enter the workforce, one of which is a 401(k) plan. A 401(k) is a savings account for retirement offered by your employer. The money that you put into a 401(k) is taken out directly from your paycheck, and is intended solely for retirement. You can’t withdraw it until age 59½.

The money that’s put into a 401(k) gets put into different investments. The ideas is that the investments will increase over time, so the money in the 401(k) will grow as well.

Credit Score: Age 15+
Once you plan to give your child use of a credit card, you must explain what a credit score is. Here’s how to explain it: There are three credit bureaus, which calculate your “credit score” or how you use your money. The goal is to have a high credit score. The way to receive a high score  is to have a long history of paying your bills on time. When you don’t pay your bills on time or you have too much debt, your score gets lowered.

It’s important to emphasize that a good credit score will help in the future if you want to borrow money to buy a house or a car. Meanwhile a bad credit score can make it difficult for you to borrow money.

Article Source: Jennifer Ryan Woods for 

Things to Do on a Budget in Monmouth & Ocean Counties this October 2015

halloween-family-traditionsIt’s going to be a “spook-tacular” month! Get the family ready for an action-packed month filled with fun fall and Halloween activities. Check out the events below for free or inexpensive events happening in a town near you.

Friday, October 2 – Sunday, November 1: iPlay America (Freehold) will transform this October to Spooky Spooktacular Halloween! All month long experience a Halloween event like no other in Central NJ. This family friendly event features OVER 50 live show performances, Trick or Treat Trail, decorations and Halloween themed activities for all. This Halloween experience is one you don’t want to miss! For more information, call 732-577-8200.

Friday, October 2 & Saturday, October 3: Spend “An Evening with Edgar Allan Poe” at Historic Allaire Village (Farmingdale). A spookily delightful evening with the Master of Macabre himself: Mr. Poe, presented by Helen McKenna-Uff. Advanced purchase required at just $20 a person. For more information, call 732-919-3500.

Saturday, October 3: The feel-good spirit of Highlands’ Oktoberfest is modeled on the traditional Munich, Germany Oktoberfest with an emphasis on eating, drinking, and dancing while providing something for everyone. The park is festive, the food is great, and the varieties of German beers are even better. This event will be held from 2pm-9pm and guests can enjoy free admission and parking! For more information, call 732-291-4713.

Friday, October 9 & Saturday, October 10: You’re in for a special treat – Historic Allaire Village (Farmingdale) will be holding a reading of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” with Neill Hartley. Enjoy an interactive retelling of the classic american folk tale with your family and friends. Advanced purchase is required at just $20 a person. For more information, call 732-919-3500.

Sunday, October 11: Once again, Allaire Village (Farmingdale) is hosting a 19th Annual Century All Hallow’s Eve event! What IS the origin of the Jack O’Lantern? Why do we trick or treat? Ever wonder what makes Halloween “Halloween?” Find out all about the early traditions that make up Halloween today!  There will be free pumpkins (limited), storytelling, children’s games, tractor and wagon rides and so much more! There will also be a costume parade with prizes for children under 12 (three different age categories). For more information, call 732-919-3500.

Sunday, October 18: Asbury Park has conjured up some noteworthy ghosts – a few famous, most lesser-known-to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War for the 7th Annual Historic Ghost Walk. Hear first-hand tales of the battlefield and home-front from ghosts with New Jersey connections. The actors portraying ghosts include talented amateurs (students) and a few professionals. They have studied the history they “channel” and deliver performances that entertain and inform. Some are stationed outside; others perform at a reception for President and Mrs. Lincoln inside the Library’s Terner Gallery. Guests can even walk outside and stroll along the path east of the Museum, encountering ghosts. Head over to the Eden Wooley House grounds (703 Deal Rd, Asbury Park) at 5:30pm. For more information, call 732-531-2136.

Wednesday, October 21: Save the date! The Monmouth Museum presents a Paranormal Expedition & Luncheon at Our House Restaurant (a known haunting) in Farmingdale from 11:30am-2:30pm. The luncheon will be guided by paranormalist, Kathy Kelly. A medium will be present to help connect to the dearly departed and share her experiences. Reserve your seat today! For more information, call 732-224-1993.

Saturday, October 24th: The Highlands will be hosting their 1st Annual Zombie Parade and Pub Crawl! Shamble down Bay Avenue with fellow zombies – makeup artists will be available at 10am and those interested must register for the parade. The pub crawl registration includes limo bus and great discounts at local establishments. For more information, call 732-291-4713.

Halloween Parades:

Happy Halloween, everyone! 

First Financial Foundation Offers Classroom Grants to Local Educators

Classroom Grant Pic

To submit an entry, please email no later than 11:59pm on October 30th. All grant recipients will be notified by the First Financial Foundation on our about November 13th, 2015.

Good Luck!

*To apply, please email the essay or the link to your YouTube video to the First Financial Foundation at by 11:59pm on 10/30/15. Please be sure to include your name, position, school name, school address, school phone number and email address so we can contact the grant recipients. The six (6) winners will be notified by the First Financial Foundation on or about 11/13/15.

6 Things You Can Do to Ward Off ID Theft

magnifier_finger1. Be vigilant with your online information.

Only log into your online banking and financial institution sites from home or a secured location. This may seem simple, but it can be easy to forget.

2. Don’t use a debit card for online purchases.

A debit card is directly connected to your checking or savings account, so if there is fraud, your account can be drained — ouch!

A credit card is just that, credit. If there are purchases you don’t recognize, you can dispute them without your funds having already been withdrawn from your account. Consider having one credit card specifically for that purpose.

3. Monitor your accounts monthly.

When you go “paperless,” it can be easier to neglect checking your statements.  Be sure to review your bank accounts and credit card statements regularly to make sure they are correct and to watch for unauthorized purchases.

4. Simplify your financial information.

When you have multiple accounts and can fan out your credit cards like a deck of playing cards, it’s a challenge to stay on top of things. Consider paring down your accounts in order to better stay on top of them.

Also consider using an aggregation service, such as, so all of your accounts and daily transactions are viewable with one single sign-in. This can help you easily stay on top of your account activity.

5. Check your credit information regularly and take advantage of free (or low-cost) credit monitoring services.

One problem with identity theft is that you may not know what you don’t know. If someone opens an account in your name and changes your address, you are left in the dark.

Subscribe to a credit monitoring service, like ID Theft Protection from First Financial. 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!**

6. If you see something, report it right away.

If you suspect that your identity has been compromised, you can place a fraud alert on your credit file by calling any one of the three major credit reporting agencies shown below. A fraud alert is a notation on your credit file to warn credit issuers that there may be a problem. The credit issuer is asked to contact you at the telephone number that you supply to validate that you are the person applying for the credit.

TransUnion: 1.800.916.8800

Experian: 1.888.397.3742

Equifax: 1.800.685.1111

In accordance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act, it is permissible for consumers to request a free copy of their credit report once every 12 months from each of the three major credit reporting agencies (TransUnion, Experian and Equifax).

To order a free credit report:

*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. 

Article Source: Nancy Anderson for,


Maximize Your Most Valuable Resource: Time

“You can get more money, but you cannot get more time.” – Jim Rohn

By now, you’ve been enjoying the perks of longer days: better weather, a happier mood and a little more time to get things done! You may have heard the phrase “time is more valuable than money,” but no matter how long the sun lingers in the sky, most of us sti1-free-timell find ourselves wishing for one more hour in the day. We’re a busy society, and the demands on our time often pull us in many directions at once.

Are you feeling like the clock runs out too soon on your daily plans? Check out these tips for maximizing your time and extracting more value out of those extra daylight hours.

Planning Your Time = A Smart Use of Time

Reserve 15 minutes each morning to plan how you would like to spend the time in your day. Start with free-form lists for family, work, and yourself and then prioritize. If you prefer using your phone to organize tasks, there are plenty of amazing apps to help master your daily to-do list.

Don’t measure your success based on finishing an entire list: get to your most important items, then use 15 minutes at night to review your progress and begin thinking about the next day. By instituting these “bookends” on your day, you’ll relieve the stress of feeling like you’re not in control of your time and go to bed feeling a real sense of accomplishment.

Supercharge Your Time Effectiveness

You already consider the cost-effectiveness of your purchases. How about considering the time-effectiveness of your actions? Before taking on a task, consider if you’re using your time well: Are you adding too many steps? Could you delegate or ask for assistance? Is this task contributing to your priorities?

Once you’ve determined your time-effectiveness, consider using the “one-touch rule.” Popular among productivity experts, the one-touch rule means you must finish a task completely once you start it. No switching to a new task or giving in to distractions. If your task is on your computer, try Freedom, software that disconnects your computer from the Internet to keep you from browsing the web. The one-touch rule allows you to complete, say, three big tasks by the end of the day instead of having ten incomplete projects on your hands. Try it out – and don’t be hard on yourself if life sometimes gets in the way!

Take Advantage of Wait Times

A not-so-fun irony: the busier we get, the more downtime we face waiting! Whether it’s at the doctor’s office, in the grocery store line or waiting for the train, small wait times can add up to considerable hours wasted. Always keep a notebook or tablet on hand to brainstorm for a project that needs your attention, catch up on emails or check in on your household budget. Your phone is great, too. Sometimes you’re the most productive when you have no other options competing for your attention!

Respect Your Energy

You can certainly fill every available second of your day with tasks, but if you don’t have the energy to complete them, what’s the point? Respect your finite amount of energy and try to find times throughout the day for fun, rest and re-charging – whether it’s a walk around the block, some extra quality time with your children or even five minutes of quiet time on the couch. And always give yourself downtime between tasks! You’ll be more focused, present and diligent when you take the time for self-care.

Here at First Financial, we respect your time and strive to provide convenient banking solutions everyday. Click on the links below to learn more about a few services we offer to help make your life a little easier:

Article courtesy of MintLife Blog.