Picking up Nickels

Thursday, May 17, 2012

ING Direct Money Checking Account for Teens

After watching the young Frugalsons accumulate a nice wad of cash from birthday gifts and the like and because I think it is critical for my kids to learn about handling their money responsibly, I opened ING Direct Money "Teen Checking" accounts for each of them a few weeks ago. This is basically a checking account (minus the physical checks) for minors that is structured as a joint account with an adult.

The ING Direct Money account boasts the following features:

  • Mastercard debit card for the teen with free ATM access to the Allpoint ATM Network
  • No fees or minimum balances
  • 0.25% APY interest on balances
  • Eligible for $25 referral bonus
  • Teen account access via computer or smartphone app
  • CheckMate remote deposit service
  • Adult only ACH access
  • Real-time text/email alerts
  • Available for minors starting at age eight

The online application process was pretty straight-forward and I had the new account open and visible from my existing ten year old ING Direct login as well as the kids new logins I created within a few minutes. As always, please note that this account is eligible for a $25 account opening bonus as long as the minor is a new ING Direct customer, so it is worth getting yourself a referral link to help the young saver get an easy twenty five bucks to get started.

While the initial part of the process doesn't take long, be prepared to wait an additional week for the USPS to deliver the debit card and an additional week after that for the ATM/debit pin number to arrive.

Now that we've had the accounts open for a few weeks, I have to say that I like the parental monitoring and control that ING Direct provides. While the kid can independently make debit card purchases and ATM withdrawals, I like the automated emails that I get when my kids have made a debit card purchase that detail the dollar amount and location of the purchase. To quote Ronald Reagan, "trust but verify". :)

Finally, according to ING Direct the $25 bonus is added to the Money account after 35 days as long as one signature or PIN-based transaction is made within 30 days (not sure if this is after opening the account or activating the ATM card).

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Friday, May 11, 2012

May 2012 Financial Asset Roundup

Here are my current financial assets as of the market close on May 10th, 2012:

Asset Apr 2012 May 2012 Change
Checking 2,605 1,419 -1,186
Money Market 44,165 44,998 833
Savings Bonds 65,932 66,143 211
Treasury Bills 0 0 0
CDs 67,691 67,945 254
Brokerage 97,926 94,616 -3,310
401k 101,988 100,961 -1,027
Roth IRA 56,813 56,834 21
SEP IRA 303,121 303,612 491
529 Savings 63,101 64,141 1,040
Total Assets $803,342 $800,669 -$2,673

The downward trend for S&P 500 has continued, falling an additional 0.78% since the last update:

(chart courtesy of msn.com)

On the jobs front, the unemployment rate for April fell to 8.1%, although it was considered a poor number due to the large number of people who dropped out of the workforce. Oil prices have fallen below $100 per barrel to around $96, and I have seen a slight tick down in gasoline prices to go along with it.

On the financial front, I finally surrendered to the constant arrival of pre-approval letters I've received from Chase and signed up for their Chase Freedom Visa for the 5% quarterly bonus categories and the $250 signup cash back bonus prominently printed on the envelopes they've sent me. The current 5% cash back categories are grocery stores and movie theaters, so this card will be my method of payment for grocery purchases until the end of June. I also opened up ING Direct Money checking accounts for "young adults" (i.e. kids age 8 and older) for the young Frugalsons so that they would have a place to keep their savings and birthday money. As a long time ING Direct customer myself, it goes without saying that I've been pretty impressed so far and I'm planning on putting together a dedicated post documenting my thoughts and experience with the account.

And finally, I am now at the twelve week point since I had my arm surgery. I had a minor setback with some pain earlier this week, but I'm progressively getting better and am looking forward to getting this injury behind me and going about living my life and getting back to "normal" (whatever that is :D).