Two years ago, when I decided to get out of debt, I had two non-retirement personal finance accounts. Now, I have seven accounts.
I have a primary and secondary checking account, both with the same financial institution. Both are free accounts, with free online bill pay and free ATM/Debit cards. I pay bills out of the primary checking account. My wife uses the secondary checking account for day to day expenses. I use online bill pay to pay my bills. I only write 3 or 4 checks per month. I am currently considering moving my primary checking to ING Direct’s Electric Orange Checking. My current checking account does not pay interest. I cannot imagine managing my personal finances without having a checking account.
I have a single, joint-savings account with ING Direct. My savings account is “connected” to my primary checking. If I want to add money to my savings account, I simply login to ING Direct and schedule a withdrawal from my primary checking account. If I want to withdraw money from my savings account, I login to ING Direct and schedule a transfer to my primary checking account. My savings account does not have check-writing privileges. I have deposited my Emergency Funds into my savings account. (Many people use “Money Market” accounts. I prefer a standard, online savings account. I do not need the check-writing privileges that Money Market accounts offer.)
I have a Roth IRA. My wife has a Roth IRA. The maximum Roth IRA contribution for 2007 is $4000. I can make deposits to my Roth in one of two ways. I can login to my brokerage and initiate a withdrawal from my primary checking OR I can schedule an online bill payment and simply send a check from my primary checking to my Roth IRA account.
Education Savings Account (ESA):
I have setup and Education Savings Account for my daughter. The maximum ESA contribution for 2007 is $2000. I send a check from my primary checking account whenever I want to fund her ESA.
I have a basic, taxed brokerage account. I use this account to purchase single-stocks. Currently, I have less than $1000 in my brokerage account. I stink at picking individual stocks and I am focusing on tax-advantaged investing, so this account is basically “inactive”.