Ally Bank Review

My husband and I had been loyal ING customers for years when Capital One bought them out. I didn’t want to make any rash decisions although I wasn’t the biggest fan of Capital One due to issues with our Capital One credit cards. I figured we would give them a try, and we did. However, I recently heard Ally Bank was offering 2.2% for their savings accounts with no minimum balance, etc. Capital One offers 1% unless you have their money market account, which pays 2%. Who knows how much money we’ve lost over the years.

I decided that I had enough of Capital One and their lower rates, and opened new accounts over at Ally for all of our savings account needs. We have sinking funds for car insurance, electricity (I budget a set amount each month and transfer the money to this account so we “pay” the same each month), and our escrow account. I also moved our emergency fund over. The process was very simple, and so far I love their website! It is so much more user friendly than Capital One’s. I hate how Capital One’s has the accounts in huge blocks and it isn’t always the easiest to figure out how to transfer money.

I did call Ally’s customer service for a question, and they were very helpful with their answer and they did inform me that they do perform a soft credit check when accounts are opened. I’m not the biggest fan of that, but not like there’s anything I can do about it, so it’s fine. I’m hoping we won’t need to use our credit for anything in the near future, so that’s good!

I love that Ally’s savings accounts pay 2.20% with no minimum balance and no maintenance fees. Like any savings account, you are limited to six withdrawals a month. It all seems so simple, and we’ve had our savings system set in place for so many years that I think we will love Ally and they will serve our needs well. I’ll be sure to let you all know if anything changes, but my biggest regret is that I didn’t do this many years ago!

Where do you keep your savings account?

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2019 Goals

In past years, I’ve set financial and life goals for our family. Here are 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, and 2017. Apparently last year I just didn’t feel like doing it. Ha! This year, I’m going to try to set realistic and attainable goals. Those are the best ones! Here are some things I would like to work on in 2019.

Mr. Money to get a job in his new career field.  For the past couple years, my husband has been studying software development languages (front end, JavaScript, CSS, HTML, and C#/.NET) and actually completed a local coding bootcamp. He is on the job hunt currently and we are hoping that he will land a new job by April. No specific reason for April, that just sounds like ample time and a good, reasonable expectation.

Sinking Funds. We want to set up various sinking funds for home improvement, car replacements, birthdays, and vacations. I want to be prepared when the time comes to replace appliances or vehicles, and would also like for us to be able to visit my husband’s family in the summer/fall if possible. We will do our best, and see how this goes!

Retirement. I really want to save 10% of our gross income towards retirement this year. I think this is an achievable goal. I would love to be able to do 15%, but we will see! 10% is a doable amount, so that’s what I’m going to officially aim for!

College education. I would like to save more for future college expenses. However, if our daughter decides she doesn’t want to go to college, that’s fine too, and we will support her through her choices. Of course, we would really like her to be able to attend if that’s what she chooses, so the more money we have saved, the better! We also would like her to contribute to her educational expenses. I know when you’ve got the responsibility on you, you take things more seriously so we will ask that she does contribute to her education.

Debt Free/no new debt. We still owe a dentist around $600 I believe, and we should have that paid off in 5 or so months. It’s at zero percent interest, so we aren’t in a terrible hurry to pay that off but it would be really nice to not have to think about making that payment each month. It also would be nice to have that monthly payment freed up to put towards retirement.

Mortgage. This is the last goal, and for a good reason. I don’t think we are going to kill ourselves to throw tons of extra money at our mortgage. We have a low interest rate, and mortgage rates have risen a lot since we refinanced. We will continue to pay a little extra each month (we round up a little) so we are shaving time off our mortgage. We do talk about moving to a little bit bigger house with more property, so who knows what the future will hold. We are open to new things!

What are your goals for 2019?

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How a Family Budget Leads to Financially Savvy Kids

Ever wondered how you raise your children to be financially responsible and independent? The answer may not be endless lectures and lessons on Google. Children learn from the examples that their parents set. That means that the more you expose your children to information about cash and how you spend, the more they’ll learn from your behavior.

Although it’s tempting to shield your children from complicated things like debts, and budgeting for as long as possible, the truth is that the sooner they start learning, the better off they’ll be in the long term. While 71% of parents say that they are reluctant to discuss finances with their kids, the truth is that ignoring money means that your kids may feel uncomfortable coming to you to ask questions.

Here’s how you can boost your chances of raising financially savvy children.

  1. Make Budgeting a Family Activity

The first and most important way to bring your kids into the financial conversation is to invite them to join you for the monthly budget conversation. You don’t necessarily need to get into the loans and interest rates part of things with them, but you can show them how much money you have coming in each month, and how much you have going out, so that they can see how everything adds up.

Make talking about cash an everyday occurrence for your family and encourage your youngsters to get involved in looking for ways to save money if possible. For instance, show them how paying less for a store-brand box of cereal means that you have money left over to buy them a treat at the end of the month.

  1. Avoid Impulse Spending

We all wish we could give our children everything. Unfortunately, telling your children that you’re going shopping for groceries one day, and then buying them a treat at the counter could mean that they struggle to understand why you can’t do the same every time you go shopping. Impulse spending is fun to begin with, but it’s better to show your children that you need to plan your spending.

For instance, let them know that they can have a candy bar when you’ve finished shopping if together, you can find a way to reduce your bill by around $3. That way, you can take looking for a bargain and make it into a game.

  1. Don’t Reveal Everything Too Fast

While it’s important to give your children plenty of information that they can use to better understand money, try not to overwhelm them with too much data too fast. Your kids don’t need to know that you have different savings accounts for different cash, or that you owe certain money to specific loans. Instead, introduce them to the basic things at first.

For instance, you can tell them how much money you have each week, after you’ve put cash in your savings and paid your debts, then show them how that money gets broken up into bills, money for food, and other expenses.

  1. Show Them Why Credit Cards a Bad Idea

Ideally, you should avoid using credit cads in front of younger children who can’t understand why you can’t simply use the same piece of card to “buy” anything that you want. However, as your kids get a little older, you might decide to teach them how credit cards work, and why it’s important that they don’t use them too often. For instance, show them how much an item costs when you buy it on a credit card, then show them how much it adds up to later when you add the interest payments on.

This is a good introduction to the way that interest works, and it will help your kids to see that sometimes instant gratification isn’t a good idea if it means that they have to give up on other things later.

  1. Help your Kids Learn from your Mistakes

Finally, when your children are old enough to take on some responsibility, give them a weekly or monthly allowance and let them know that they can spend it how they choose. However, if that child decides to spend all of their money straight away on candy, then they decide that they want a game instead, don’t just give them extra cash. Let them know that they’ll have to start saving again the next time they get their allowance.

It may be difficult at first to say no to your children, but it’s important if you want them to start understanding the true value of money. The more you say no to them, the more they’ll understand that they have to be patient to get what they want sometimes.

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