With the previously posted guidelines in mind, we set out to come up with positive changes to our financial system that would increase our freedom and support the things we truly want to focus on. Here is the link to the previous system.
And without further adieu, here is the map of the updated system :
Note: On some screens the map appears off center, you can click and drag it to center it. Sorry.
As you can see the main change the move from our Wachovia free checking to the paperless ING Electric Orange Checking as our primary checking account. The push was to get the money in our checking account working for us.
- The 4% interest on the checking account balance should bring us an extra $100+ a year.
- The other big benefit is that it streamlines our main finance accounts into one hub of savings, checking, and mortgage.
- Transfers between all of the ING accounts are INSTANT, instead of the normal two do waiting period that it used to take.
- Debit card use is fee free.
- No more stamps for bills.
- Electronic transactions downloaded to Microsoft Money are free.
- They have the reputational capital of a large established financial institution, despite a few recent hiccups.
- The only drawback that I see is that the Electric Orange account does not allow accounts to have an paper checkbook.
The final point will add some inconvenience, but what they do offer is the ability to fill out an online check that will be printed and sent snail mail at their expense. My wife and I talked it through and decided that even though it will be a little added inconvenience at first, it would eventually become habit. Here is why we came to that conclusion:
- I sent e-paper check to myself and it took about three days to get to me. The process was easy enough and was an acceptable speed.
- If needed you should be able to send a check to yourself that is made out to someone else.
- Finally, we will keep our Wachovia checking for access to an occasional check and counter services.
- We will not have to use another stamp on bills again.
I will post a review or two on how we are managing with this account as we get a better handle on the experiential benefits and drawbacks.
As for other changes we decided to make, we are adding an Educational Savings Account(ESA) or other college savings vehicle to the to do list. My son is a top priority, but our finance system was explicitly excluding him. Looking at our finance map reminded us to make him a priority. I will also post my research on which account we will open.
We will close the NJM checking account and have the Happy Rockette’s check deposited into the Electric Orange account. This will simplify the system and allow that money to be working harder for us.
Finally, we will search for a new rewards credit card that matches our spending habits to maximize the returns. Currently we probably get $100-$150 a year cash back, but I know we can do much better than that. Already the Chase Freedom or the Blue Cash card look promising. We may wait for a big $250 signup bonus or triple points, but they come around often enough.
Overall, we are excited about the changes. The fact the the system will be more tailored to our habits, work harder for us, and better support our freedom from finances is invigorating.