direct deposit http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/9354/all en-US Score $240 a Year Doing This One Thing http://www.wisebread.com/score-240-a-year-doing-this-one-thing <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/score-240-a-year-doing-this-one-thing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_holding_cash_000023736258.jpg" alt="Learning how to score $240 a year doing one thing" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Zzzzzz. Oh, excuse me. I just made $240 in my sleep. What did I do &mdash; and what do <em>you </em>have to do? Here's the deal and my official disclaimer:</p> <p>Deal: Open up an account with Santander Bank and they will pay you $20 a month ($240 a year).</p> <p>Disclaimer: I am NOT an employee or a paid shill for Santander Bank. Just a frugalista who likes a good deal.</p> <h2>Get Your $20 a Month Bonus</h2> <h3>1. Open an extra20 Account</h3> <p>Santander Bank has a lot of account options, so be sure that you choose the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.santanderbank.com/us/personal/banking/checking/extra20-checking">extra20 account</a> to be eligible for the $20 monthly bonus. You'll be opening a checking account with just the necessary $25 deposit, and you get the bonus by enrolling in their direct deposit and BillPay options each month.</p> <h3>2. Use Their Automatic Direct Deposit and BillPay Feature Each Month</h3> <p>This is the core of the program &mdash; the reason you'll be earning your $20 bonus each month. You will receive $10 when you receive employer direct deposits totaling $1500 or more a month, and an additional $10 a month when you pay two monthly bills using their BillPay &mdash; for a total of $20 in passive income every month, or $240 a year. What counts as a direct deposit? From their website:</p> <p>&quot;Direct deposits include deposits made by the customer's employer or a federal or state government agency or retirement benefits administrator and generally payments made by corporations or other organizations. Direct deposits do not include deposits to an account that are made by an individual using online banking or an Internet payment provider such as PayPal.&quot;</p> <h3>3. Link an extra20 Savings Account to Your Checking Account</h3> <p>This actually happens automatically when you open your extra20 checking account because this is where Santander will deposit your bonus each month. The good news is that the amount to open and maintain it is low. All you need to open an extra20 savings account is $10 dollars.</p> <h2>Is It a Good Deal?</h2> <p>Personally, I think it's an awesome deal because my husband and I can fulfill the requirements without stressing about it, but everyone needs to examine their own situation to decide. If you can do it, I say go for it because where else can you basically get what amounts to $240 in interest a year from a bank? Not only that, while there is only one account allowed per person, there can be more than one account per household. That could mean $480 a year. Or if one person doesn't meet the deposit requirement, move it the other way. Open a joint account and have direct deposits going in from two people to get the bonus. It'll take a little bit of effort to set everything up initially, but either way, after that it's easy money.</p> <h2>Can It Really Be That Simple?</h2> <p>One person's simple can be another person's complicated, so having gone through the process, what I can say is that I found it to be straightforward. As long as you understand the bonus requirements, can follow directions (and keep all of the paperwork), and follow through on the requirements, you shouldn't have any problems. Here are some things to keep in mind.</p> <h3>1. You Can Open the Account Online or at a Physical Branch</h3> <p>I've opened accounts online before, but because I wasn't familiar with this bank, I appreciated being able to walk into a local branch and talk with someone about this deal. They have physical locations in Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island.</p> <h3>2. Know Your Fees and Penalties</h3> <p>There is a $10 monthly fee which is waived as long as you direct deposit the minimum $1500 a month. There is no ATM fee as long as you use a Santander machine within the 50 states, D.C., and Puerto Rico. Non Santander ATM usage will cost you $3 per transaction. If you close your account within the first 90 days you will be charged a $25 early termination fee.</p> <h3>3. Know What Level of Customer Service You Want and Need</h3> <p>I've read some comments about poor <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-customer-service-battles-you-just-cant-win">customer service</a>, but no more or less than the other big banks. If you need or want a lot of attention, maybe this isn't the ideal bank for you. For me it's fine as it is not my primary financial institution and it's easy to move money between the two, but each person has to decide.</p> <h3>4. It's Not a Limited Time Offer</h3> <p>Though I'm just getting around to it, this offer has been available for a few years and is not one of those limited time deals. This made me feel more comfortable finally pulling the trigger and going for it.</p> <p>So there you have it, one easy way to make $240 a year in your sleep.</p> <p><strong>Disclosure</strong>: This is an honest review and recommendation. Neither I nor Wise Bread was paid for this placement &mdash; the link provided to Santander Bank is not an affiliate link.</p> <p><em>Have you signed up for an account? If so, are you glad you did? Let me know about your experience in the comments.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kim-owens">Kim Owens</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/score-240-a-year-doing-this-one-thing">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-your-savings-account-may-be-costing-you">8 Ways Your Savings Account May Be Costing You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-investment-accounts-all-30-somethings-should-have">7 Investment Accounts All 30-Somethings Should Have</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-signs-its-time-to-find-a-new-bank">5 Signs It&#039;s Time to Find a New Bank</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/discover-bank-review-you-know-the-card-but-what-about-the-bank">Discover Bank Review: You Know the Card, but What About the Bank?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-things-to-consider-before-you-open-an-online-savings-account">4 Things to Consider Before You Open an Online Savings Account</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Banking Extra Income bonuses direct deposit incentives interest santander bank savings accounts Wed, 14 Oct 2015 11:00:40 +0000 Kim Owens 1586507 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Turn $25 a Week Into Almost $7000 in 5 Years http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-turn-25-a-week-into-almost-7000-in-5-years <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-turn-25-a-week-into-almost-7000-in-5-years" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/investment-consultant-181985834-small.jpg" alt="investment consultant" title="investment consultant" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>According to Bankrate, certificates of deposit with a 5-year maturity (as of 7/18/14) offer a meager 1.74% growth rate &mdash; hardly anything to brag to your friends about. What do you do if you want to make your money grow even more? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4000-8000-or-even-453500-in-5-years-a-low-risk-investment-plan">A Low Risk Investment Plan</a>)</p> <p>One option could be to invest in the stock market. But with such a short time frame as five years, stocks may not be your best option.</p> <p>Instead, a more suitable investment would be to invest in bonds.</p> <p>Specifically, to invest in <em>bond funds</em>.</p> <h2>Why Bond Funds?</h2> <p>Bonds are a more suitable investment than stocks for a shorter period (like five years) because they don't usually fluctuate in value as much as stocks in the short term. They're more conservative, but they won't crater your savings in the short term, either.</p> <p>All of this means that you have a smaller chance of losing your money, and a greater chance of growing your money steadily.</p> <p>So how much could your money grow by investing in bonds? (Bonds are just loans to the government or a company, where you get regular interest payments and the return of your money after a period of time.)</p> <p>According to author and Chartered Financial Analyst <a href="http://www.portfoliosolutions.com/portfolio-solutions-30-year-market-forecast-for-investment-planning-2014-edition/">Rick Ferri</a>, bonds are expected to grow at a rate of 5% over the next 30 years. <a href="http://pages.stern.nyu.edu/~adamodar/New_Home_Page/datafile/histretSP.html">Historically</a>, they've grown at a rate of about 5% as well.</p> <p>With those figures in mind, by investing $25 every week for 5 years &mdash; at a growth rate of 5% &mdash; your money <a href="http://www.treasurydirect.gov/BC/SBCGrw">will grow to $6,694.84</a> ($194.84 more than if you'd just stuffed it in a mattress) and more if you take the advice below to invest via a Roth IRA.</p> <h2>Choosing Your Bond</h2> <p>The first step is to find an investment company to partner with.</p> <p>These days, there are many companies to choose from. But with minimum requirements often ranging from $1,000 to $3,000, not many will let you invest with a relatively small amount of money.</p> <p>Fortunately, there is one that does, and that company is Schwab. Here's how you can get started investing with them.</p> <h3>Buying Bonds Through Schwab</h3> <p>The first step is to open an <a href="http://www.schwab.com/public/schwab/investing/accounts_products/accounts">investment account</a>. You can open your account online, or have someone help you through the process by calling an 800 number.</p> <p>If you're eligible, choose a <a href="http://www.irs.gov/Retirement-Plans/Plan-Participant,-Employee/Amount-of-Roth-IRA-Contributions-That-You-Can-Make-for-2014">Roth IRA</a>. That's because bonds are best held in a tax-advantaged account such as a Roth. (Check out the &quot;Tax efficiency of bonds&quot; section of this article on <a href="http://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Principles_of_tax-efficient_fund_placement">fund investing</a> for a more in-depth explanation as to why). Doing so will allow your earnings to escape Federal tax and grow to $6,928.94.</p> <p>After you've opened up an account, your next step is to choose the bond fund. Although there are many to choose from, this one is probably your best bet: <a href="http://www.schwab.com/public/schwab/investing/investment_help/investment_research/mutual_fund_research/mutual_funds.html?path=%2FProspect%2FResearch%2Fmutualfunds%2Fsummary.asp%3Fsymbol%3DSWLBX">Schwab Total Bond Market Fund</a></p> <p>This portfolio provides the proper asset allocation and diversification needed to build long-term wealth. It's the same fund recommended by the many Bogleheads who invest using a <a href="http://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Three-fund_portfolio#Other_than_Vanguard.2C_Boglehead-style">Three Fund Portfolio</a>. The Bogleheads are a community of people dedicated to helping others achieve returns far greater than those achieved by the average investor.</p> <p>Now that you have both an account and an investment, the next step is to add money to it.</p> <h2>How Much to Invest</h2> <p>To invest in the bond fund, you need to start with $100. And to continue growing your money, each additional investment needs to be a minimum of $100.</p> <p>Here's how to do it.</p> <p>First, save $25 each week. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/101-ways-to-save-money-around-the-house">101 Ways to Save Money Around the House</a>)</p> <p>Need ideas on how to do this? Consider these:</p> <ul> <li>Buy your groceries in bulk and split the food costs with your friends.</li> <li>Rent a video instead of going to the movies.</li> <li>Carpool/walk/bike to work.</li> <li>Bring your own lunch.</li> <li>Make your own coffee.</li> </ul> <p>After one month, you'll have saved $100. Using this money, open your account, choose the bond fund, and start investing with that $100.</p> <p>The next step is to make this automatic, so that you no longer need to think about it. Set up an automatic monthly transfer of $100 (from the $25 you're saving each week). You can make this happen easily through direct deposit, using their Automatic Investment Plan.</p> <p>After your automatic system is set up, all you need to do is sit back and watch your money grow.</p> <p><em>So what would you do with $7,000 in five years? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/darren-wu">Darren Wu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-turn-25-a-week-into-almost-7000-in-5-years">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-stocks-and-bonds-that-will-profit-from-the-fed-rate-hike">10 Stocks and Bonds That Will Profit From the Fed Rate Hike</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/laddering-for-higher-more-stable-returns">Laddering for higher, more stable returns</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-crucial-things-you-should-know-about-bonds">5 Crucial Things You Should Know About Bonds</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-investors-with-better-returns-than-warren-buffett">5 Investors With Better Returns Than Warren Buffett</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-lincoln-guide-to-personal-finance">The Lincoln Guide to Personal Finance</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Banking Investment bonds direct deposit investing Thu, 07 Aug 2014 13:00:06 +0000 Darren Wu 1177364 at http://www.wisebread.com Jobless Americans Paying Fees for Unemployment Benefits http://www.wisebread.com/jobless-americans-paying-fees-for-unemployment-benefits <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/jobless-americans-paying-fees-for-unemployment-benefits" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/empty-piggy-bank-iStock_000015508140Small.jpg" alt="empty piggy bank" title="empty piggy bank" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>OK, brace yourself because I'm about to get on my soapbox again. This time, I'm very annoyed that unemployed workers are receiving their benefits on prepaid cards.</p> <p>The problem is that they have to pay fees to use the cards. There are fees for using out-of-network ATMs, withdrawals at a teller window, balance inquiries, talking to a customer service rep, and more. If you'd like to see what fees are applicable in your state, you can see the report here: <a href="http://www.nclc.org/images/pdf/pr-reports/state-by-state-highlights-2013.pdf">2013 State-by-State Highlights of Unemployment Compensation Prepaid Card Programs</a>.</p> <p>I'm sure it's very convenient (and cheap) for state governments to issue unemployment benefits on prepaid cards. But the reason the unemployed need the benefits is because they're hurting for cash. It doesn't seem fair to make them pay fees &mdash; even small fees &mdash; to access this money. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beware-celebrities-bearing-prepaid-cards">Beware Celebrities Bearing Prepaid Cards</a>)</p> <h2>At Least the Fees Have Gone Down</h2> <p>A recent survey by the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) showed that the fees aren't nearly as bad as they were in 2011, when the NCLC did their initial survey about this.</p> <p>In 2011, workers were paying a ridiculous amount of fees to access their benefits, including overdraft fees. Now, overdraft fees are gone, and according to the new survey, workers are paying less in fees than they did in 2011. It's good to hear that the prepaid cards have improved, but it's still crazy that the jobless have to pay fees at all.</p> <p>California, according to the NCLC survey, has the best prepaid card. Still, workers there paid nearly $1.8 million in fees in the past year. And that doesn't include ATM surcharges!</p> <h2>Five States Are Breaking the Law</h2> <p>California may have the best prepaid card when it comes to fees, but the state is violating the law by requiring workers to receive benefits via prepaid cards. Kansas, Indiana, Maryland, and Nevada are also breaking the law by requiring that the unemployed receive benefits on prepaid cards. According to the NCLC report, &quot;Workers in five states incur prepaid card fees unnecessarily as those states violate federal law and require use of the prepaid card, without offering the choice of direct deposit to the worker&rsquo;s own account.&quot;</p> <p>At least in California, Kansas, and Maryland, workers can get an automatic transfer from the prepaid cards into their own bank accounts. But only 21% to 25% do this, and I'm guessing it's due to timing issues. If they set up the transfer, it can delay their access to the funds anywhere from one to four days. If you're unemployed, I can imagine you'd need every penny as quickly as possible.</p> <p>I'm wondering why this is allowed to continue. I mean, these five states are very publicly breaking the law. So why isn't something being done? I don't get it.</p> <h2>What's the Answer?</h2> <p>The obvious answer, pointed out in the NCLC report, is to allow direct deposit into the worker's bank account. And for heaven's sake, don't turn it into a tedious exercise. This gives workers the money they need as quickly as possible.</p> <p>To be fair, some states do encourage this as the preferred choice when a worker decides how to receive the benefits. But some states have made it difficult to choose direct deposit as the primary option without jumping through hoops.</p> <p>Here are the recommendations from the NCLC report:</p> <ul> <li>Offer direct deposit to the worker's own account first at the time of application. And make the sign-up easy.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Offer a minimum of one free ATM and teller withdrawal for each deposit.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-annoying-bank-fees-and-how-to-avoid-them">Eliminate fees</a> for balance inquiries, customer service calls, and denied transactions.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Monitor fees and involve workers and advocates to address the costs.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Publicize ways to get fee-free cash access and give information about the location of free ATMs.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Offer complete and accurate fee information on the state website. And display it prominently.</li> </ul> <p>The last two bullet points are crucial, especially for those who don't have bank accounts because the prepaid card is their only option. One of the issues I've always had with prepaid cards is that, too often, the fees aren't easy to find. And certainly, it's up to the consumer to read the fine print, so I'm not absolving people from responsibility. But I do know the legal jargon and lack of clarity makes the fine print difficult to understand.</p> <p>So, what do you think about this? I'd love to hear your thoughts. And yes, even if you disagree with me!</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beverly-harzog">Beverly Harzog</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jobless-americans-paying-fees-for-unemployment-benefits">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/pay-yourself-first-what-it-means-and-how-to-do-it">Pay Yourself First: What It Means, and How to Do It</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-technology-can-streamline-financial-management">8 Ways Technology Can Streamline Financial Management</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-financial-moves-you-will-always-regret">9 Financial Moves You Will Always Regret</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-opportunity-funds-are-the-new-emergency-funds">Why &quot;Opportunity&quot; Funds Are the New Emergency Funds</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-writing-a-will">What You Need to Know About Writing a Will</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance direct deposit prepaid cards unemployment benefits Mon, 25 Feb 2013 11:36:35 +0000 Beverly Harzog 968063 at http://www.wisebread.com Pay Yourself First: What It Means, and How to Do It http://www.wisebread.com/pay-yourself-first-what-it-means-and-how-to-do-it <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/pay-yourself-first-what-it-means-and-how-to-do-it" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/6793826885_d3b6befb99_z.jpg" alt="piggy bank on dollars" title="piggy bank on dollars" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you have ever read a retirement planning brochure or any website about investing, there&rsquo;s a good chance you have read the phrase &ldquo;pay yourself first.&rdquo; Some financial experts refer to this as the Golden Rule of Personal Finance! But what does it mean to pay yourself first, and how exactly do you do it? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-comprehensive-guide-to-the-debt-snowball-method-0">A Comprehensive Guide to the Debt Snowball Method</a>)</p> <h3>Pay Yourself First:&nbsp;What Does It Mean?</h3> <p>This commonly used phrase refers to the practice of automatically making a savings contribution or investment with your income before it can reach your wallet. You &ldquo;pay yourself first&rdquo; when you contribute a percentage of your income to your retirement plan or savings account each pay period. The transfer to your savings or investment account is done automatically, before you receive the rest of your income for paying your monthly living expenses. When you pay yourself first, you ensure the specified amount of money you want to save really does make it into your savings account or investment, since it happens before you have the opportunity to use the money for something else.</p> <p>If you don&rsquo;t pay yourself first, you will probably find yourself at the end of each pay period or month without any money left over to save or invest. If you plan to save what you have after you pay your rent, groceries, loan payments, credit cards, and entertainment costs, there is a very good chance that there will be no money left after your expenses and discretionary spending. Making the decision to pay yourself first removes the temptation to skip a planned contribution and keeps your savings and investment goals on track.</p> <p>Creating a system for paying yourself first establishes a priority for your savings and helps you develop strong financial habits. People who spend their money in the reverse order &mdash; paying everything else before saving &mdash; generally reach their retirement years without a nest egg.</p> <h3>Setting Up Automatic Savings Plans</h3> <p>The easiest way to make sure you save a percentage of your income each and every pay period is to pay yourself first with an automatic savings or investment plan. Consider your savings or investment another expense that you must pay, and set it up just as you would any other <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-set-up-automatic-payments">automatic payment</a> made to one of your creditors. Then you can forget about it. The money is invisible to you, and you will learn to adjust the rest of your spending habits to the income you have after your savings or investments are made.</p> <p>If you receive a paycheck from an employer, you can usually designate a certain percentage of each pay period to your employer&rsquo;s 401(k) plan or to a savings account. Some employers will allow you to have more than one direct deposit created, which means you could contribute a specific dollar amount or percentage of each paycheck into your 401(k) plan, and a specific dollar amount or percentage of each paycheck into your savings account.</p> <p>If you are self-employed or receive income sporadically, you can still take advantage of the &ldquo;pay yourself first&rdquo; strategy. Each and every time you receive income, deposit a specific percentage in a designated savings or investment account before you use the money for anything else. This requires more financial discipline than having your employer deposit the money before you get paid, but if you make it a habit, you can still pay yourself first and benefit.</p> <h3>Additional Tips for Paying Yourself First</h3> <p>The biggest challenge of paying yourself first seems to be the mentality of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-common-excuses-for-not-saving-money">not making enough to save</a> and finding it hard to get started. If you feel like you aren&rsquo;t making enough money to save, try starting with a very small amount, such as 1% of your income. From every paycheck or income received, simply save 1% of the amount, each and every time. You will not miss this amount, and over time, you will have saved some money.</p> <p>When you pay off existing debts and find yourself with more discretionary income each month, or when your income increases due to a pay raise or promotion, you should increase your savings percentage.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/debbie-dragon">Debbie Dragon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/pay-yourself-first-what-it-means-and-how-to-do-it">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-moves-to-make-when-you-get-a-new-job">7 Money Moves to Make When You Get a New Job</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-step-by-step-guide-to-creating-your-emergency-fund">A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Your Emergency Fund</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-technology-can-streamline-financial-management">8 Ways Technology Can Streamline Financial Management</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jobless-americans-paying-fees-for-unemployment-benefits">Jobless Americans Paying Fees for Unemployment Benefits</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-financial-moves-you-will-always-regret">9 Financial Moves You Will Always Regret</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance automatic savings direct deposit pay yourself first Wed, 28 Mar 2012 10:24:29 +0000 Debbie Dragon 913197 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Ways Technology Can Streamline Financial Management http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-technology-can-streamline-financial-management <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-ways-technology-can-streamline-financial-management" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000006694376Small.jpg" alt="Computer with money" title="Computer with money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="222" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are so many financial tools we take for granted today that weren't possible just 10 short years ago. Here are a few features many people use daily that, if you haven't tried yet, you should.</p> <h3>1. Bill Pay</h3> <p>I still remember my mom showing me how she paid her bills by writing a check, putting it in an envelope, adding a stamp, and mailing it off. These days, you can have all this done for you with a few clicks online. If you really want to save time, you can even have everything automatically deducted from your account. There's no mess, and you're saving yourself from buying all those stamps too.</p> <h3>2. Receipt Storage and Tracking</h3> <p>If you are a business that needs to keep track of your receipts, then it's time to scan everything with a receipt scanner and store it online with a service such as <a href="http://evernote.com">Evernote</a>. It's much more organized, it saves a ton of space, and in the event that you need to access the information, you can actually find something!</p> <h3>3. Online Savings Accounts</h3> <p>When even the bank employees secretly tell you that they use online savings accounts instead of using their own bank's saving products, you know you should follow. Yields are terrible everywhere, but it doesn't mean you should accept a rate of 0.11% when you can get 10 times the interest online!</p> <h3>4. Direct Deposit</h3> <p>I take comfort in knowing that almost everybody in the United States receives pay through direct deposit, but if you still haven't switched for whatever reason, please do. You can even get your company to deposit it into a savings account, earning you more precious interest while you have money sitting there.</p> <h3>5. Up-to-Date Financial Pictures</h3> <p>Most people know that they can get up-to-the second account balances these days, but few people actually them to manage their finances. There should not be any reason for people to overdraft their accounts or spend too much on their credit cards. Use your access, and you will find that many of the careless fees that you regularly accumulate will magically go away.</p> <h3>6. Financial Management Anytime</h3> <p>All right, I'm not advocating that you should do everything late at night. But if you are one of those people who always remembers items on your to-do list at the worst times (while driving, at work, when out with friends, late at night, etc.), then you absolutely need to try using new technology to your advantage. Whether it's asset allocation, logging your expenses, or looking for online coupons, you can do it anywhere, anytime. Even with investment decisions, you can plan your strategy in advance and have the computer schedule the whole execution without your supervision. No more excuses.</p> <h3>7. Researching Products, Services, and Ideas</h3> <p>Before you make any decisions these days, the standard procedure should be to research online and see what others have said. This works with deciding on a financial planner, a brokerage account, or even an investment strategy. Chances are good that after you read a bunch of reviews on other people's experiences, you will get a much better feel of which direction to take.</p> <h3>8. Reading About Common Investor Mistakes</h3> <p>With the increased exposure to free information, we can better deal with our emotions when it comes to investing. After the 99th time of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-common-investing-mistakes">hearing about people paying through the nose</a> with load funds, I'm sure anyone will start look for low-cost alternatives.</p> <p>Technology can be a curse, but it also opens doors for you to radically improve and streamline money matters,&nbsp;saving you a ton of time and helping you make, save, and keep more money.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/david-ning">David Ning</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-technology-can-streamline-financial-management">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-5-apps-will-help-you-finally-organize-your-money">These 5 Apps Will Help You Finally Organize Your Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/pay-yourself-first-what-it-means-and-how-to-do-it">Pay Yourself First: What It Means, and How to Do It</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-pros-and-cons-of-autopay">The Pros and Cons of Autopay</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-innovative-but-obscure-sites-that-put-money-in-your-pocket">10 Innovative But Obscure Sites That Put Money In Your Pocket</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-modern-life-skills-everyone-should-master">15 Modern Life Skills Everyone Should Master</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Technology direct deposit online banking online savings accounts receipts Thu, 27 Jan 2011 14:36:32 +0000 David Ning 479728 at http://www.wisebread.com Making direct deposit safe for the garnished http://www.wisebread.com/making-direct-deposit-safe-for-the-garnished <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/making-direct-deposit-safe-for-the-garnished" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/frozen.jpg" alt="Pine needles covered in ice" title="Frozen Account (I mean, needles)" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="196" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The US Treasury pays more money to more people than just about anybody in the world.&nbsp; Last year it disbursed more than $1.6 trillion in 982 million individual payments.&nbsp; As you can imagine, they save a lot of money when they can make direct deposits instead of printing paper checks.&nbsp; So they're always trying to figure out what makes people reject direct deposit.&nbsp; One such thing is garnishment.</p> <p>Social Security and other &quot;lifeline&quot; payments from the federal government such as veterans benefits, are supposed to be safe from garnishment--they can't be taken away just because you've lost a lawsuit or are behind on your bills.&nbsp; As a practical matter, though, if the recipient lets the money be direct deposited into his or her checking account, access to the money can easily be lost.&nbsp; Even bank accounts that hold only exempt money can be temporarily frozen while the bank sorts out the facts--and if the account has also received money from other sources, some or all of it can be seized.&nbsp; That makes a paper check awfully attractive to people facing garnishment--they can cash their check and get their money, even if their account is frozen.</p> <p>One solution that the Treasury has come up with for this issue is the <a href="http://www.fms.treas.gov/directexpresscard/index.html">Direct Express</a> card.&nbsp; It's a debit MasterCard, set up to receive payments from Social Security and other federal payment systems, that can be used to make ordinary purchases and one cash withdrawal per month for free. &nbsp;</p> <p>It's primary purpose is to make direct deposit available to people who don't have a bank account.&nbsp; (People in the financial industry call them &quot;the unbanked.&quot;)&nbsp; The sweetener for them is that they don't have to pay the fee that a check-cashing place would charge.&nbsp; But the Treasury is also going after people besides the unbanked, such as those worried about garnishment.</p> <p>With almost 20% of payments still not being made electronically, the Treasury has a strong incentive to figure out what problems are keeping people from choosing direct deposit--and solve them.</p> <p>I've mentioned before that one of the advantages of having some of your assets in <a href="/your-401-k-is-not-an-investment">legal compartments</a> such as IRAs and 401(k)s is that they are somewhat protected against being seized if you get over your head in debt, lose a lawsuit, make a mistake on your taxes, get divorced, or otherwise have someone out there with some sort of legal claim on your money.</p> <p>These different kinds of compartments (and similar ones like pensions, annuities, trusts, insurance, etc.) get these protections by law.&nbsp; The laws differ in specific details, which suggests to me that it makes sense to use more than one kind of special compartment, just in case your particular situation leaves one kind of compartment more exposed than another.</p> <p>This Direct Express card is another special compartment, not subject to garnishment in most circumstances, and available to anyone receiving federal benefits. &nbsp;</p> <p>Although it's cheaper than printing paper checks, it's still not as cheap for the Treasury as direct deposit to your regular bank account, so the Treasury is looking to solve the garnishment problem for ordinary bank accounts as well.&nbsp; Among other things, they're working to &quot;provide guidance to financial institutions on how to discern if there are exempt funds in an account and what amount of funds should not be frozen.&quot;&nbsp; (That according to Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fiscal Operations and Policy Gary Grippo, testifying yesterday to a House subcommittee.)</p> <p>If you receive federal benefits, and are subject to garnishment, the Treasury is looking out for you.&nbsp; And, if you're not, the Treasury is trying to save a few dollars of taxpayer money.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/making-direct-deposit-safe-for-the-garnished">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-we-really-need-help-in-getting-more-debt">Do we really need help with getting more debt?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/download-the-451-page-bailout-proposal">Download the 451-page bailout proposal</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/new-tools-for-the-unbanked">New Tools for the Unbanked</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/netspend-the-story-of-the-visa-debit-card-we-did-not-apply-for">netSpend: The Story of the Visa Debit Card We Did Not Apply For</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/debit-or-credit-which-one-should-you-choose-at-the-checkout">Debit Or Credit? Which One Should You Choose At The Checkout?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Banking Consumer Affairs Credit Cards asset protection direct deposit garnish garnishee garnishment government government benefits social security unbanked Wed, 25 Jun 2008 12:26:52 +0000 Philip Brewer 2196 at http://www.wisebread.com