Money Management

Fixing My Finances: My Various Accounts (Part 3)

This post is part 3 of the “Fixing My Finances” series. Click here to read Part 1 and here to read Part 2.

Two years ago, when I decided to get out of debt, I had two non-retirement personal finance accounts. Now, I have seven accounts.
Checking Account:

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.

Savings 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.)

Roth IRA:

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.

Brokerage Account:

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”.

9 thoughts on “Fixing My Finances: My Various Accounts (Part 3)

  1. Moneymonk… I have a 403b and my wife has a pension plan. I do not include these b/c they are pre-tax. I’ll probably add this info to the post later. Thanks!

  2. Hi NCN,
    Thanks for the article.
    I recently became a father and I am thinking about opening a ESA for my daughter.
    I’m new to the whole personal finance and working hard to get rid of my creditcard debt.
    Although I might wait until my debt is paid to open an ESA account, I’m starting to do some research on it. What are the options in opening an ESA account, any pointers will be very helpful.


  3. Who do you have your Roth IRA with? I am thinking of opening one and I have checked out some of the different companies that do them, but I’m looking for suggestions from people that have one. What do you like about yours? Dislike? Thanks!!!

  4. Hey NCN,
    We’ve had kind of a serious situation going on over at my site: I was going to ask for some help from the personal finance bloggers to spread the work.


    I sent out a press release to notify Canadians of a potential bogus demand letter scam.

    After a few postings on our forum about Deanna Natale and Natale Law Office in Feb-Mar 2007, there were hundreds of visits to our site from others who were presumably receiving the same letters.

    In the press release I’ve included some tips as to what people can do to determine if they’ve actually received a bogus demand letter.

    If you could write a small alert in your main area, it would be much appreciated.

  5. one thing we’ve done and i’d recommend, is to have joint and individual accounts. individual in order to maintain credit histories for both of you, in case something happens to either one of you.

    we have joint savings and checking account, but we have separate checking and brokerage accounts and of course IRA accounts. now the bank we use, USAA, allows you to group individual accounts if you are married in order to meet minimums for things like asset management accounts, which is the best of both worlds in terms of being able to have individual accounts but the benefits of joint (i.e. grouping all deposits to meet minimums).

  6. good job on the roth ira.. i opened one in 2006 as well.. my only regret is not opening one earlier

    my problem now is whether to make contributions monthly / quarterly / or all at once (4k).. that’s the tough part.. not sure which choice will compound the highest for me

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