Banking 
13
comments

Use Your Financial Map to Architect Bank Account Changes

Last November, Citibank announced that anyone without an average balance of at least $1,500, by February 1st, in their combined accounts would have to pay a monthly fee or be subject to per-check charges. That didn’t sit well with people who had just signed up for EZ Checking, which is supposed to be free. Well it turns out that it also didn’t sit well with the New York State attorney general because on February 1st they reached a settlement with Citi. Anyone who opened an EZ Checking account, in any state, between Jan. 1 and Nov. 5, 2009 would not be subject to any of the new fees until Jan. 31, 2011.

What if you’re one of the million customers getting a one year reprieve? Now might be a time to map out your approach to changing your bank. There are plenty of free checking accounts without $1,500 balance requirements and it should be trivial for you to change.

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 Banking 
25
comments

Diversify Your Online Bank Accounts

For the last ten minutes I’ve been trying to access ING Direct, to no avail (it’s now available, but it was slow for about half an hour). While I’m certain my funds are safe and nothing is wrong, it certain solidifies the notion that you should be diversifying your bank accounts.

Websites go down. In fact, websites go down pretty often and usually it’s not a big deal. However, if the website is your only interface with a bank, then it becomes a very big deal. That’s why I always recommend that you diversify your online savings accounts in the event something like this happens. I’m not a good example, because I recently told you about how I had a dozen savings accounts, but if all of your savings are in one bank, you might want to spread it out a little. (here are some high yield savings options)

If you don’t feel like dealing with more than one bank, here’s another suggestion. Make sure that you can withdraw funds from your online savings account through your main checking account. If you remember my financial network map, my main checking account has no awareness of my savings accounts.

I can’t go to my checking account and try to transfer funds from my ING Direct. That’s bad. If I could, then INGDirect.com going down wouldn’t bother me as much. Try to have that in place if you can.

Remember that nothing happens in real time with online savings accounts, so being down for an hour doesn’t really hurt anything. However, hours have a funny way of stretching into days whenever you least desire it.

Just a thought!


 Personal Finance 
15
comments

How to Hard Reset Your Financial Life

We have twelve bank accounts.

You read that correctly, we have twelve accounts.

Ally Bank, FNBO Direct, ING Direct, HSBC Direct, Bank of America, M&T Bank, … the list goes on.

We also have a dozen credit cards. Citi, Discover, Capital One, … again, the list goes on.

We have so many accounts because we’ve slowly acquired them over the course of the last ten years. Our financial network map is an intricated mess despite our best efforts to simplify our personal finances.

That’s why we need to hit the reset button on our financial life.

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 Personal Finance 
6
comments

See Some Other Financial Network Maps

When I first drew up our financial network map, then subsequently wrote about and did a video about financial network maps, I had no idea it would become a popular idea.

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 Personal Finance 
9
comments

BVC #7 – Financial Network Map [VIDEO]

It’s very important that you draw a financial network map and in this video, I briefly discuss why it’s important and some pointers on how you should be drawing this map.

Remember, this map should be designed to give you and your loved ones a clear picture of how your finances are set up and interconnected. You can use whatever conventions you feel are most intuitive and remember to provide a legend!


 Personal Finance 
14
comments

Your Financial Network Map

Have you ever drawn a financial network map?

A financial network map is a one-page diagram that shows the links and relationships between each of your financial accounts, which include but are not limited to bank, brokerage, mutual fund, retirement, credit card, and service accounts.

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