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September 2023 1st Financial Bank USA Financial Goals Scholarship Winner: Molly F.

October 13, 2023

September 2023 1FBUSA Scholarship Winner- Molly F.

We are excited to announce the September 2023 Financial Goals Scholarship winner is Molly! Congratulations!

"I cannot emphasize enough just how incredibly honored I am to be a recipient of the 1st Financial Bank USA scholarship. Truly this makes such a difference in alleviating the financial burden of academia and allowing me to pursue my dream career in psychology and digital design. I would like to deeply thank 1st Financial Bank USA for their commitment to supporting students and sharing fantastic resources for financial responsibility. I am forever grateful to your generosity; thank you so much! " - Molly F.


While you’re in school, you may daydream about the day you finally get to walk across the stage to receive your diploma. Similarly, while you’re managing your budget, you may daydream about graduating college debt-free, starting your own business, or saving a down payment for a home. In her essay, Molly shares a financial goal she's working toward and why it's important to her.

"One of the earliest photos in my phone is a screenshot showing two text messages between my dad and me. My text just says "hey dad". No other context.

His immediate reply reads, "No we can not buy a kitten.”

Growing up, I would often dream about the day that I would be financially stable enough to adopt my own cat. To me, adopting a cat isn't just as simple as being able to pay the adoption fee. I also needed to be able to achieve my financial goals of having a stable income, good credit score, semi-permanent home, and an established emergency fund.

In my Adopt-A-Cat roadmap, obtaining a stable income was the first crucial step. I created a tangible and achievable definition for stable income: having enough money each month to pay rent, bills, groceries, loan payments, and transit fees, with enough left to proportionally disperse between savings, investments, and spending. As a current 2nd year graduate student, I'm working towards this goal indirectly by being involved on campus, focusing on my studies, and engaging in skill-building extracurriculars, so I can cultivate a resume of being an accomplished, stand-out candidate for a well-paying job in my chosen field.

After obtaining a stable income, the next cat requirement is having a stable home. Ever since I was 18 years old, I have moved almost every year (moving off campus, studying abroad, and moving cities for work and graduate school). My future cat deserves a comfortable home free of the stress from frequent moves. To rent a long-term apartment, landlords often require an excellent credit score. I have begun building credit in multiple ways, such as charging groceries on my credit card and paying the costs immediately, and setting up autopay so there is never any reason for an accidental late payment.

The last barrier to my adoption of a cat is finalizing my emergency fund. Recently, I had a health scare where my physician advised a series of medical tests that were necessary, but very costly. This experience especially made me realize how critical having an emergency fund is, especially if I am also caring for an animal. For years I have been adding money into a dedicated “emergencies” category of my budget. I currently work two part-time jobs alongside being a full-time graduate student, and 5% of my biweekly salary goes into this fund. Taking potential emergency situations for both myself and my cat into consideration, the emergency fund will be fully established once it has reached $5,000, which, with the existing funds and future funds, should take around 3 years from now.

I have been dreaming about adopting a cat for as long as I can remember, and I am finally reaching a point in my career where I have been working on these goals for long enough to see the finish line. When I do finally adopt a cat, it will be because I am confident and secure in my financial stability.


Established in the year 1910, 1st Financial Bank USA (1FBUSA) provides quality community banking services in South Dakota, credit card and other financial services to college students and college graduates, and construction lending to builders, developers, and investors from coast to coast. 1FBUSA will award a $2,000 scholarship to a new winner each month. View full rules and eligibility at


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