Posts Tagged ‘bank accounts’
I’m single and have no real possessions. Do I need a will?
Although you may not need a will, you should be thinking about your estate plan. Here are some areas you’ll want to consider.
- Investments and cash accounts. Add a TOD (sometimes called POD….”transfer/payable on death”) to your checking, money market and investment accounts. This gives someone your money when you pass away without it being hung up in court. IRA plans and 401k’s allow you to name specific beneficiaries on the account. Check these during open enrollment times to ensure you’ve picked the right people.
- Health care patient advocate. Let’s pretend you have an accident and can’t talk to the doctors. Who will you allow to speak with medical professionals on your behalf? In most states, this person is called your “patient advocate.” Although it’s possible for a court to assign someone later, it’s a better idea to have this prepared in advance by an attorney.
- Workplace life insurance. Even if you don’t have insurance outside of work, most companies give employees free insurance. Pick beneficiaries so this “free money” doesn’t go to waste.
While I’d say a will might be overkill, an estate plan covers all of these areas.
I have to admit, I’m a perfectionist about planning my business. While making dinner, my mind races through lists of ways to perfect my craft. When folding laundry, I’m usually strategizing about my next potential project. My mind seems to always be at work on the next “better” idea, even when daily mundane tasks rule the moment.
I was reading management guru Tom Peters recently, who stated that balance is baloney. Top people in any field don’t have balance. They obsess. They strategize non-stop. They’re always looking for the better idea, the perfect “new thing.”
As a bit of an obsessor myself, I mostly agreed with his statement, except in one area. You shouldn’t obsess about your money.
It’s actually easier to obsess about business if you’ve done a good job of setting up a sound financial structure. By taking care of some small details today, you’ll be able to focus all of your energy on your craft. (more…)
So you’ve finally checked your bank statement to discover that you’re getting nearly no interest from your savings account. Should you check out online bank accounts or are those risky?
Internet banking isn’t for everyone. I could never tell my mother to open an online account because she wouldn’t know how to withdraw funds and would worry that she couldn’t run down to the corner to take it out. That said, usually your best interest rates are going to be found with large, reliable banks online.
There are two considerations –
- Are you internet savvy and comfortable saving online? If so, explore away! Websites such as www.bankrate.com will help you compare interest rates when deciding where to invest. You should also check out bankrate’s list of star rankings when determining which firm to trust with your money. All banks aren’t created equal.
If you aren’t internet savvy, it’s better to stay close to home. Check to see if you’re eligible for a credit union. You may be surprised to find very competitive interest rates, which are often better than those at the bank.
- How quickly can you remove the funds? Remember that a savings account pays a low interest rate because it offers quick liquidity. If you’re saving online but don’t have an easy method to access funds, you may defeat the purpose.
You may also want to check other account types at your bank. Often, banks offer higher interest money market accounts with higher rates as long as you promise not to touch them often.
I’m setting up my emergency fund at the bank. What type of interest rate would you call “good” on a savings account?
Let’s focus on how to find the best rate, because bank rates change quickly. Interest rates have been extremely low lately, so it’s going to be impossible to find anything that looks like a great rate.
The best rates are usually found with money market accounts. These are still FDIC insured but have limited access. Ask first about money markets at your bank, then try competing banks in the area. Finally, check out credit unions. These institutions often offer higher rates because they’re designed specifically for their members instead of shareholders.
By the way Rita, congratulations on getting started! Although it may not feel like a big step, to me it may be the most crucial one. Taking action to create and move toward financial security is a real leap toward abundance!
Should I set up a separate business account for the small amount I earn from my craft? It seems like overkill because I make so little.
Keeping craft money separate from household funds is important for many reasons. Here are a few:
- Separate funds create a scorecard. Many artists want to track how they’re performing financially from their art. By keeping it separate, you’ll have a gauge of how far you’ve come. You’ll also know how far you need to go, which can be an important motivator.
- Supplies for your craft should come from craft income whenever possible. This helps you become a better business person and make decisions based on profits and losses. By keeping purchases in line with income you’ll avoid investing hard-won money into a “hobby” and remember to make sound decisions whenever possible.
If the dollars you earn are very small, and you’re also not spending much money on your craft, you can start by setting up a personal savings account with your current bank. You won’t need a business account until you have a steady stream of income and/or expenses.
Check out Artist’s Prosperity 101 for clear and simple instruction on the financial separation of your business life from your personal life. AND, don’t forget to register for The Power of Prosperity – a completely FREE teleseminar/webcast coming up on Thursday, July 21st. I’ll address your question in more detail and share lots of tips to help you powerfully manage your money as a Creative Soul!
PHILOSOPHER GEORGE SANTAYANA SAID, “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” That’s why, at the end of the year, I like to study the past twelve months and ask myself, what is it that I learned? Some years the answers to the question are easy, like in 2000, when the obvious moral was that the stock market doesn’t always skyrocket. In 2002, we were lucky to learn that the inverse, stock markets don’t always plummet, was true. Other years are more difficult, but if you dig, each twelve months you’ll find plenty of learning nuggets buried in the headlines that you can carry into the next year and beyond. 2010 is no exception. Although it wasn’t a year with brilliantly shining financial stories, there is plenty to remember.
Here are my top five 2010 lessons, in descending order:
5) Home ownership is difficult (still). According to RealtyTrac, one out of every 389 homes received a foreclosure notice in the month of October. Banks are still uneasy about loaning money to people for home purchases, and with good reason. If you own a home, having a good cash reserve, a low amount of debt, and a consistent income stream are all vital to maintain your mortgage.
Mommmm! I dropped my Social in the barbed wire again!
Today I read that the FBI reports internet crime more than doubled last year. People who normally lock their car doors buy frequently online, complete all their banking over the web and pay bills routinely using their keyboard. Internet transactions are an easy way for crooks to steal bank account numbers, credit card information and other personal data. Maybe it’s time to sit back and think for a moment about protecting yourself while you’re banking and shopping on the internet.
My goal isn’t to frighten anyone away from online transactions. Truthfully, in this busy world it would seem silly to avoid shopping or banking online. In many ways, online transactions help people with fiscal responsibility. It’s easier to stay within your spending plan. You have time to carefully consider transactions without a sales clerk pressuring you to purchase before “the sale ends.” You can easily monitor financial activities and spot trends. Working online isn’t the enemy. Completing financial transactions without thinking about protecting yourself is the problem. It’s like walking around the mall with a wad of cash hanging from your back pocket. There’s only a matter of time until someone steals from you.
Choosing your bank isn't child's play. Unless it can turn into a helicopter, which is just awesome.
Keeping two bank accounts is a key part of your money plan. One account you use to deposit paychecks. The other is your everyday account you’ll use to pay expenses. Your plan works if your paycheck account is difficult to reach and the expense account is accessible and easy to operate.What should you look for in a bank? How do you open these accounts?
Maybe you’ve seen Clint Eastwood’s 1966 film The Good, The Bad and the Ugly. Unfortunately, banks generally skip the good, and your choices are between bad and ugly. Still, customer service has become a bigger focus as Congress has forced banks to discontinue outrageous fees for ATM overdrafts and to clearly state terms on credit statements. Banking has a long way to go, but I’ll admit it’s much better than six months ago.
To find the right bank account, don’t rely on what the account executive offers. They don’t know your goals. Here’s a list of questions you should ask to ensure you’ll open the right account for your plan:
We warned you... Go to Six Flags and you're bound to lose some dough.
Some of us like a good roller coaster ride. That feeling in your stomach as you look down the big hill. The realization that you’re voluntarily about to do something really, really stupid. It gives you a rush unlike many others.
However, I don’t think anyone wants that exciting, seat-of-your-pants rush with your paycheck.
Sadly, roller coaster income seems to come with the territory for many of us. How do you control your income stream when it’s difficult to predict what money is going to come in next week? How do you maintain a budget when you aren’t sure what the next pay day will bring?
Much like quality acting demands discipline and preparation to create a performance that appears spontaneous, maintaining your sanity with gyrating income requires you to perform a few steps so that your money can work on autopilot. With your money system in place, you’ll be better able to ride the ups and downs of pay days without having that pit in your stomach that the rent is due and you’re not sure where the money is going to come from.
Here are the basics…