Banking

Joint Finances: Why I Share My Money With My Husband

When I met my husband in 2004, he was sharing an apartment with two roommates and I was a poor student with a low-wage job and not much else. The fact that I almost owned my biggest asset — my car — was balanced out by the fact that my husband (then boyfriend) carried around …

Can Cash-Back Rewards Beat Your Savings Account?

Are you tired of earning less than 1% on your savings? You’re not alone. With interest rates hovering near record lows for the past few years, the average savings account in the U.S. is currently bringing in around 0.17% APY, according to GoBankingRate data. In other words, most people are earning next to nothing on their liquid savings. And you …

How to Find the Best Free Checking Account in 2015

The Internet has made it easy for banks to offer a free checking account to almost anyone who qualifies. Fortunately, the government mandates that a checking account can’t be marketed as “free” if the consumer could potentially be charged a maintenance or activity fee. So what does “free” actually entail? The term “free” is debatable …

Categories: Banking, Saving Money

How ‘Letting Your Money Work for You’ Really Works

Let your money work for you. All of us have heard that saying at some point, but what does it really mean? For some of us, the idea of compound interest makes natural sense. If you put away money for a long time, it’s going to grow slowly at first, but over time it will …

Guide to Student Checking Accounts

If you’re in college, the idea of a checking account could be brand new to you. After all, this may be the first time you’ve been responsible for paying your own cell phone bill, rent, or utilities. Whether you’re just getting started or have been researching your options, here’s what you should know when looking …

Categories: Banking, Education

Cyber Insurance and Personal Data

Imagine if complete strangers could look inside your head and see your every thought and know everything about you. Imagine if they could use that information any way they wanted to. What sort of damage could they do to your life? Strangers can’t get into your head to root around for information to exploit, but …

How to Use Technology to Start Saving More

The numbers on who is saving money in America — or more commonly, who isn’t — may shock you. According to a survey by Bankrate, 76% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. The survey unfortunately reports that 50% of Americans have less than a 3-month cushion in their savings account and 27% have no savings account …

Best Money Market Account for 2015

Money market accounts (MMAs) can be a great low-risk investment for building that emergency fund or storing extra cash. They offer better interest rates than personal savings accounts but are more liquid than certificates of deposit (CDs). Unfortunately, even the best money market accounts haven’t been immune to sinking interest rates. According to Bankrate, the …

Categories: Banking, Money, Saving Money

How to Find the Best Mortgage Rates in 2015

If you’re searching for the best mortgage rates, you aren’t alone by any stretch. Even after the subprime mortgage crisis, homeownership remains a dream for many Americans. You may be wondering how you can make that dream a little bit more affordable with a mortgage rate that will keep your payments as low as possible. …

The Financially Underserved and Second Chance Banking

On June 4, Spent: Looking for Change premiered on Youtube. It’s a powerful documentary on the financially underserved in the United States – people without credit and without bank accounts – and the ends they have to go to in order to survive. Here, watch the full thing yourself. There are many reasons why people …

Categories: Banking

The Future of Banking and Credit Cards

If you’re a fan of plastic payments, it may be difficult to imagine a world without credit cards. It’s no wonder they are such an ingrained part of society. Credit cards have been around for nearly a century! Credit cards were first introduced in the 1920s by merchants offering customers an alternative payment method at …

Categories: Banking, Credit Cards

Credit Unions vs. Banks: Understanding What Works for You

From a street view, a credit union looks just like a bank: rows of teller windows, convenient drive-through lanes and attractive lobbies. But hidden within those walls are some key differences that clearly separate credit unions from banks. Yet credit unions still remain a mystery to many American consumers. That seems to be changing. Ever …

Categories: Banking

Does a “Savings Club” Account Work?

Carol writes in: My local bank offers an interesting account each year. It starts on the first Saturday in January and the deal is that if you deposit the same amount each week for 49 weeks, they will make the 50th deposit for you and give you the money at the end of the year …

Categories: Banking, Investing

Banks Are Not Your Friends

I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. – Thomas Jefferson Thanks to William Grootonk for the image. Yesterday, I was stunned to read a news report about how Freddie Mac denied people the ability to refinance, then made investments that earn them more money if people are unable …

Categories: Banking

Some Thoughts on Bank of America’s Debit Card Fee Plan

I woke up to several emails this morning about Bank of America’s new plan to charge a $5 monthly fee to debit card users if they use those cards for purchases: Bank of America will begin charging a $5 monthly fee at the beginning of next year for customers who make debit card purchases. Whether …

Categories: Banking

Online Banking and Contingency Plans

A few weeks ago, I put out a call on Twitter and on Facebook for detailed posts that people would like to see. I got enough great responses that I’m going to fill the entire month of July – one post per day – addressing these ideas. On Facebook, Patsy asked about “Online Banking… Paperless …

Can You Actually Make Money Chasing Rates?

One common tactic I see on personal finance blogs is what I like to call “rate chasing.” This tactic usually involves carefully watching the yield rates on savings accounts over at Bankrate.com (or a similar service), always signing up for one of the top accounts, and transferring their savings to that highest-yield bank. For me, …

Categories: Banking

Personal Finance 101: An Online Banking Primer

Understanding Online Banking and Finding the Right One for You Katie writes in: I was wondering if you could do an article on how to set up an online savings account? I remember you mentioned using them and getting a high return on interest, and I think I’d like to switch my savings account over …

Where Does All of Our Money Go?

Kimberly writes in: A few months ago (yep, one of those New Years Resolutions!) I pledged to get a better grip on my finances. I found some personal finance blogs to read and decided to start off by simply tracking where our money went. But it’s impossible!! Every time I sit down with our bank …

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