Archive for July, 2011

Top 10 Savings Accounts for 2011

Shopping for the best savings accounts? Well, finding the best savings account in the nation takes more than just looking at the yields. It takes particular research and scouting to weigh whether the interest rates will be enough to cover the potential fees most banks charge. Usually, online banks can give better rates with lower fees because they have little transaction costs as compared to brick and mortar banks.

Although savings rates have been at historic lows at the start of the year, things seem to be looking up with improved rates. Below is a list of the top 10 savings account for this year.

1. Ultima Bank – Rate of 2.00%, APY of 2.02%. Minimum deposit is at $0. Their SMART Savings account is good for young people aged 18 or younger. However, early withdrawals (before their 18th birthday) may lead to penalties.

2. Dollar Bank Federal Savings Bank – APY or 2.00%. Minimum deposit of $0. Rate apply for balances below $20,000. This account is called the FreeMONEY Savings. A FreeMONEY Checking account must be maintained to earn the rate. Available in Ohio and Pennsylvania areas.

3. Washington Savings Bank – 1.50% Rate, with 1.51% APY. Minimum deposit of $0. Account is called Saver Rewards where tiered rates apply. The APY is only valid for balances between $0-$15,000. This is only for online accounts and it requires a checing account with at least 5 direct deposits or 5 debit card transactions per month.

4. Palladian Private Savings Bank – 1.49% rate with 1.50% APY. Minimum deposit of $10,000. Rates are available only for current customers.

5. Gogebic Range Bank – 1.34% Rate with 1.35% APY. Minimum deposit of $100,000. Account must be opened in person. Available only in Michigan market area.

6. AMTrust Direct – 1.24% rate with 1.25% APY> Minimum deposit of $10,000. Rate applies for premium e-Money market account on earned balances of up to $24,999.99 new money only.

7. Mountain View Bank of Commerce – 1.21% rate with 1.22% APY. Minimum Deposit of $1,000. Savings account for minors available only in Colorado market area.

8. Discover Bank – 1.14% rate with 1.15% APY. Minimum deposit of $0. Account may be held in individual or joint ownership with up to 6 preauthorized transfers from the online savings account per statement cycle.

9. Capital One Bank – 1.09% rate with 1.10% APY. Minimum deposit is $1,000. Product is called InterestPlus Online Savings with a 10% bonus on interest earned with a $10,000 monthly balance. 10% interest may also be earned with the use of Capital One credit card at least once a month.

10. Colorado Federal Savings Bank – 1.09% rate with 1.10% APY. Minimum balance is $2,500. This is an online savings account with up to six withdrawal transactions per month without a service fee.

Colleges that Give the Highest Salaries

We all know that everyone who wants to get a good college education is bound to apply for a student loan. After all, not everyone has rich daddies who are willing to shell out for your education. However, the problem with student loans is that, will you be able to pay them off early on in your career or will it continue to haunt you for the rest of your days?

Although there is no clear cut answer to that question, it pays to know whether the college you’re planning to go to will actually help in making your salary higher. Although salaries will ultimately depend on the type of job, there are some institutions who would gladly pay more for a graduate from the nation’s top universities. So which ones is it?

1. Princeton University – With a starting median salary of $56,900, students can expect to pay off their loans early. Mid-career median salary is at $130,000. Princeton is located in New Jersey and the latest tuition rate as of 2010-2011 is at $36,640. Acceptance rate is at 10.1%, with national college rank of 2.

2. California Institute of Technology (Caltech) – Starting median salary is even higher than Princeton, with $69,600. Mid-career median salary is at $123,000. This university is located in Pasadena California, with the latest tuition at $36,282. National college rank is 7.

3. Harvey Mudd College – Harvey Mud College can give off a starting median salary at $64,400. Mid-career median salary is at $121,000. Tuition for 2010-2011 is currently at $40,390 and this college is located at Claremont California. It ranks 18 among the Liberal Arts.

4. Harvard University – Probably one of the most popular universities in the United States, Harvard can give a starting median salary of $54,100. A mid-career median salary would be at $116,000. Located in Cambridge Massachusetts, Harvard is at the number 1 national ranking. Acceptance rate is only at 7.5% though, and if you’re in, consider yourself as one of the lucky few.

5. Massachusetts Institute of Technology – Another one from Massachusetts, MIT can give a starting median salary of $69,700, the highest one yet. Mid-career median salary is at $115,000. 2010-2011 tuiton is at $39,212 and acceptance rate is also at a low 10.7%. National college ranking is at 7.

Having an education in these colleges can somewhat assure you of a bright future ahead. Student loans can surely be a heavy weight to bear but with salaries that can cover you within the first few years of working, loans shouldn’t be a problem. Just be sure to get accepted, and graduate of course, and you’ll be off to a good start.

No ATM Fees! – Checking Account Feature from Ally Bank

Do you get tired of getting charged every time you use an ATM? Don’t you always wish that ATM services will come for free, after all, ATMs are meant to be there for convenience sake, but yet it’s sometimes so hard to find your bank’s ATM just when you need it.

It’s time to break free of ATM charges with Ally Bank’s Interest Checking Account. Not only do you get no ATM fees at any ATM, but Ally Bank will also reimburse other bank’s ATM’s nationwide. Another great advantage of this checking account is that you will get an interest rate similar to your savings account. It’s like maximizing the use of your money while breaking free of ridiculous fees.

This interest checking account has $0 opening balance and no minimum balance to maintain. It has no monthly maintenance fees, and there are no other fees such as returned deposit items and outgoing wires. You can also get free online banking services, bill pay and pop money.

This interest checking account will provide you a free Mastercard debit card, checks, and unlimited check writing. Plus you can even earn cash back rewards with Ally Perks by shopping with your Ally Bank debit card.

Finally, for security sake, this interest checking account is FDIC insured, keeping your money safe up until $250,000.

Since Ally Bank is a direct bank, it’s possible to access your interest checking account via online, phone, or ATM. This allows Ally Bank to save on operating costs, giving them the liberty to give back to you in the form of better rates. Recently Ally Bank has also been known for giving out a certificate of deposit that has no penalty charges for early withdrawal.

Ally Bank is one of the oldest banks in the USA, serving the country and its citizens for over 90 years.

Cashflow 101 – A Game That Teaches Investing

One of the most classic board games that people will never forget is Monopoly. It’s the first of its kind where the player wins by being the richest in the group, and getting the other players bankrupt. Today, there is a new board game that attempts to upstage Monopoly, and strives to teach people financial literacy.

It may seem puzzling at first how a board game can be the key to financial success, especially when the a cardboard game, some paper money and tokens cost $200 in all. But those who begin to understand the principles of the game can really attest to the way the game opens your mind to the world of personal finance and investing.

Cashflow 101 was created by millionaire Robert Kiyosaki, the author of Rich Dad Poor Dad, and the Rich Dad series. His mission “to elevate the financial knowledge of humanity” came alive upon the popularization of this board game. So what exactly is in it?

The game consists of a board, paper money, 4 pads of game cards, occupation cards, tokens, playing dice, and an instruction manual. So how can all of this amount to $200?

Basically, it’s not the added cost of the materials that gave the board game its price, it’s the education it gives. Think about going to a finance seminar with a well-known financial guru, how much will that cost? Probably way more than $200.

The Cashflow 101 game encourages its players to keep track of their financial statements, make investment decisions regarding small and big deals, and even keep up with extraordinary life events such as having a baby and losing your job. The beauty about the game is that it exposes you to things that could happen to your life. Whether you make the wrong decisions or the right ones, it’s just a game! And when it happens in real life, you’ll know what to do.

It is said that every time the Cashflow game is played, players get different life and finance lessons, and it’s advised to keep on playing the game until you’re ready to apply the lessons for real. Opportunities include investing in the stock market, buying real estate properties, entering into a limited partnership, starting a company, and even buying gold. You’ll also be faced with unusual circumstances such as when your sister-in-law borrows money.

Cashflow 101 is a game that brings to light the rat race that we are all stuck in. The goal of the game is to get out of the rat race and into the fast track. The way to do it is by increasing your passive income, and making it bigger than your expenses.

Though the game could be considered as “expensive”, just remember that it costs a whole lot more to be financially ignorant. Get yourself in the game, and find out if you’re living in the rat race and what you can do to get out of it.

4.326% Mortgage Rate From Nations Choice Mortgage

It’s almost the end of July and we’re all anticipating what August can offer. However, before we look ahead to the start of a new month, let’s not forget that there’s still a few more days left of July.

At the end of July the lowest mortgage rate is at 4.326%. This is much lower than last June’s rate of 4.488% by Today, Aimloan’s rate is at 4.350%, which comes second after the 4.326% rate offered by Nations Choice Mortgage. This lender has recently been dubbed by the Wallstreet Journal as one of the lenders who can offer the most “competitive rates”.

Nations Choice Mortgage has been around since 1994, serving homebuyers, real estate professionals and and builders. Considered to be a medium sized to large sized mortgage banker, Nations Choice is consistently generating over $1 Billion annually in residential mortgage paper. This is being done while serving and consulting with clients with residential needs.

Nations Choice Mortgage is purely a mortgage bank, meaning they don’t have services such as savings, checking, money market and certificates of deposit. In this way, their services are more focused for the consumers who are looking to buy a home. Not only do they offer loans for home purchases, they can also provide you with your home refinancing needs.

Refinancing your home with Nations Choice can help you potentially lower your existing mortgage payments, consolidate your debt, get money out of your mortgage, and keep your payments stable with a fixed rate loan.

Nations Choice Mortgage also makes the process easy, they have a quick quote option which allows you to input your details regarding your loan type, property type, loan amount and property value. This makes analyzing your potential amortization so much easier.

Nations Choice Mortgage representatives can be contacted via phone or email. They also have a loan specialist available and ready to talk with you.

Bank of Internet USA Gives Highest CD Rate at 1.33%

The highest CD rates for this month of July goes to Bank of Internet USA with a 1-year CD rate of 1.33%. This rate is higher than the usual contenders, Ally Bank and Aurora Bank. Following closely at second is AloStar Bank of Commerce with a CD rate of 1.270%. This rate is compounded daily with a $1,000 minimum deposit. Coming at third is E-LOAN with a rate of 1.26% and a minimum deposit of $10,000.

Bank of Internet USA gives a competitive rate plus a daily compounding feature which gives your money the best potential for growth. Also, the minimum deposit is only $1,000.

Other rates from Bank of Internet is their 3 month CD at 0.350%, 6 month CD at 1.150%, 24 month CD at 1.50%, 36 month CD at 1.860%, 48 month CD at 2.110%, and 60 month CD at 2.490%.

Other features of this account includes free electronic transfer of interest, auto renewal within a 10 day grace period, available living trust account ownerships and FDIC Insurance.

The bank’s name is exactly what it represents. Bank of Internet USA offers the usual banking experience entirely through the comfort of your home and your computer. In this way, Bank of Internet has lower transaction costs, allowing them to give back to their clients with higher interest rates.

Bank of Internet USA is FDIC insured meaning depositors with amounts of $250,000 and less can sleep easy without fear of losing their money if ever the bank gets into trouble and closes.

With headquarters in San Diego, California Bank of Internet USA has been in service for 12 years, starting their business in 1999.

Some general things to remember about CD accounts though is that each term serves as a lock in period. Whenever you feel the need to withdraw your money before the term is up, you could be charged with penalties and fees. Also, auto renewal can get you an extra term you don’t really want to have. Penalties for early withdrawal are not stated in the Bank of Internet website. This information could be obtained by calling customer support.

Why First Time Home Buyers Should Get A Real Estate Agent

First time home buyers don’t really know what they’re looking for. Sure they have an idea as to what they like (condition and appearance-wise), but they usually don’t really know about the other details that come with buying a house. Here’s why home buyers should consult with a real estate agent:

1. Helps In Seeing the True Value of Homes – Experienced real estate agents who know their market can tell you about the prices of comparable homes without having to bat an eyelash. They know which houses are being sold, and at what price, giving you an idea of how much the house you plan to buy should really be selling for.

2. Points Out Potential Resale Points – Most first time home buyers may not really settle in that house for the rest of their lives. That is why it would be wise to think about the resale price before even purchasing the home. Real estate agents can give an insight about what are the advantages or disadvantages of the home such as being placed on a busy street, or if there are any issues with the homeowners association.

3. Ability to Negotiate – Good real estate agents can help the buyer negotiate a better price with the seller. Since they know the facts and potential negotiation points, they can help get a better deal without just blurting out a price out of the blue.

4. Give Priceless Advice – Although real estate agents are not lawyers, appraisers, contractors or the like, they have much experience with home dealing that they already know each aspect of the home buying process. They can point you to the right direction, and give you the correct questions to ask.

Real estate agents may have a professional fee, but this can be offset by the amount of service that they can give and the advice they can offer. When dealing with a real estate agent, look for the most experienced ones, and those who are truly honest in their dealings. Look for referrals, and see which ones provide you with the real value you should be getting.

Graduates Rejoice! – Student Loans at Historic Lows Starting July

July 1 will probably be the happiest day for both college graduates and parents. For all those who are eligible, federal student loans will be changing their interest rates, and dropping it to an all time low.

Now is the time for student loan consolidation because former students who are in the process of repaying their variable rate federal loans will be able to get a low rate of 2.50%. Aside from that, the interest rates for graduates in the grace period is 2.00%. Parents who have also taken PLUS loans are allowed to consolidate at only 3.38%

These rates are new, and these rates are low. But of course there will be some limitations. Students who have already consolidated their loans will not be able to do so again at this lower rate. These rates are only valid for loans that were taken before July 1, 2006. And finally, borrowers who are still in school do not qualify for the consolidation.

Aside from these low new rates, the federal government is even adding more reasons for students to breathe a sigh of relief.

New Student Loan Rates
– Stafford student loans is taking on a new rate of 5.6% if the first disbursement is obtained from July 1,2009 to June 30, 2010.

Income-based repayment – When a graduate is not earning enough to cover monthly payments, he can apply for an income based repayment. In this case, the lender can lengthen the loan term plus lower the payments to only 15% of your income.

Student loan forgiveness
– This will probably be the best incentive yet. Students who work for the government or for non-profit companies will be able to qualify for student loan pardon. After 120 payments (which amounts to ten years), the government will eliminate any loan balance.

These new developments could just be the savings grace of students whose loans are too heavy to bear. It’s a refreshing thing to see the government actively taking part in releasing the burden of student loans, and making the load lighter for the new workforce.

How To Save Your Money

People are often faced with the burdening dilemma of not having enough money, or worse, getting into debt. No matter how much money comes their way, for some reason another, it just ends up somewhere in oblivion.

So what is a surefire way to save money, without killing yourself over it? Here’s the answer: percentage.

Every time you receive money, divide this into fixed percentages. The book, “The Richest Man In Babylon”, says that a man who keeps at least 10% of his earnings is surely on the path to wealth. This method is also endorsed by millionaire author, T. Harv Eker, in his book, “Secrets of the Millionaire Mind”.

So here’s what you need to do: think about your income, and immediately subtract 10% of it for your savings. If you can live comfortably with the 90%, then good for you! IF not, then try to see where you can but back on expenses. Be careful not to compromise with yourself by saving only 5%, because you just need to have that new pair of boots, or that gadget on sale. However, if saving 10% just isn’t realistic for you (or you don’t have the discipline for it yet), begin by saving 5%, or even 1%! The important thing is to start, and to never miss a “payment”.

Once you’ve established your 10% saving habit, you can also divide your income some more, such as another 10% for financial education. 10% for investments, and so on. challenge yourself to lessen the percentage of your living expenses. If this isn’t possible, make the effort to increase your income.

Financial freedom is all about the process of learning, saving, and definitely investing. Just know that one of the first steps to wealth is accumulating enough cash that you can use for future opportunities. Saving isn’t difficult, it’s just a matter of making a system and sticking to it.

Win $10,000 By Saving With CitiBank

Want to win $10,000? All you have to do is save. Citibank offers an interesting deal of giving you a chance to either win $1,000 weekly, or the grand prize of $10,000.

First, you must have both a checking and a savings account or money market account with Citibank. Once you have both, you’re ready to proceed with the following steps:

1. Set up their AutoSave service. It’s a free service that helps you save even without thinking or doing anything. It sets up recurring transfers from your checking account to your savings or money market account.

2. In order to set up the AutoSave service, click on “Transfers”

3. Select “Set Up A Recurring Transfer”

4. Choose the accounts you want to transfer money to and from

5. Choose the duration and frequency of the transfers. At any time, you have the capacity to change the duration and how much you plan to save, including the frequency of transfers)

6. Now that you have your AutoSave feature turned on, transfer at least $25 to your savings account or money market account in order to be granted one raffle ticket.

It’s that simple! Not only can you automatically save up, but you can also get the chance to win $10,000 without doing much.

Now, if you’re not a CitiBank customer and you already have a savings and checking account in another bank, guess what, you’re still eligible to join. Apparently, CitiBank has included non Citibank customers in their fine print.

Eligible participants (18 years old and above, and a citizen of one of the 50 states), may enter without becoming a Citibank customer or using the Autosave feature by sending in their entries via mail. Hand print your complete full name, complete address, phone number, email address, and date of birth on a 3″ by 5″ envelope and mail it to Citibank. Be sure to include a postage stamp with that. One mail is one entry.

This promotion started last July 1, 2011 and will end on September 9, 2011. If this seems fairly easy to do, go right ahead and do it. Without even thinking about saving, you could already start planning what to do when your $10,000 arrives.

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