Sunday, March 16, 2008

Personal Finance Simplification - Bank Account Consolidation

During March, 2008, I will be working towards consolidating our bank, credit card and brokerage accounts. This past week I have been working primarily on reducing our bank accounts. Here is a summary of the accounts, my analysis, and the decisions:
  • Regional bank 1. I have been using this bank or its predecessors for over 20 years. We have our joint checking and joint savings account at this bank. In the past year, I had added two checking accounts for some business ventures I was investigating.

    We have a good relationship with this bank. In addition, our joint checking account entitles us to a lot of services at no charge - e.g. traveler's checks, domestic and international ATM withdrawals, and notary services.

    We will keep the joint checking and savings account and close out the other accounts, when the minimum time has passed to avoid closing fees.

  • Regional bank 2. I opened this bank account when I started my part time seasonal work. I thought is would be a good idea to have a separate account for direct deposit. Also, this bank handled the internal banking for the company from which I retired and they provided a $75 bonus to open a new account.

    As it turns out, having another account for my part time job wasn't a good idea. It created additional paperwork, with no additional benefits over my current bank. In a couple months, when there is no longer a penalty, I will close out this account.

  • Internet bank. Last year, I opened an account with ING Direct for the higher interest and a $25 bonus. My experience with ING Direct was very good. However, while the interest rate was good, I found it was not worth the effort of making periodic transfers and managing another account. In addition, it didn't have some of the services that Regional Bank 1 provided.

    I closed the ING Direct account last week.

  • Overseas bank. I still have our Japanese bank account from our overseas assignment. I kept it because I believed that the dollar would depreciate against the yen, and was waiting for that event before transferring the money back to the US. In the past week, the dollar just hit a 12 -1/2 year low versus the yen.

    I will be closing out this account in the next month.

  • After the next couple months, I expect to have just two bank accounts, one checking and one saving, with Regional Bank 1. This should significantly reduce the amount of paperwork from our banks.

    For more on New Beginnings, check back every Sunday for the next segment.

    This is not financial advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

    Copyright © 2008 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

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