What I Do With Money

Banking

Right now, I have accounts at Chase bank simply because they have locations all over the place. I’ll be graduating in a year and no that anywhere I end up living, my chase account will be close. Also, i still have an account at my hometown bank. This account was started when I was very young. Because of that, my parents have access to my savings account. I like the safety in knowing that if I get into a jam, my parents have the ability to put money into my account. Also, if any checks get sent to my house, they can deposit them without me having to come home. So right now, it’s all about convenience and mobility.

Tracking

I use Mint.com to track all of my finances. I linked my chase accounts and my paypal account and Mint simply tracks them for me. It makes establishing a budget, tracking different accounts, and it even finds deals for you. However, the problem with mint is that it takes a day or two to update (this is because it takes a day or so to process credit card/debit card transactions). Because of this, I’m just starting to use a legal pad to track my expenses. At the end of each day, I’ll sit down with a trusty legal pad and monitor my spending. I won’t use this to establish a budget, but it simply keeps me up to date with my finances.

Investing

While the market is crap right now (great time to buy, right?), I’m starting to research and familiarize myself with the stock market and other investment opportunities. I am a member on UpDown.com. On Updown, they give you a million dollars to invest with (don’t freak out, it’s not real money). You take that money, invest in whatever and see what happens. If you do well or provide great analyzes of stocks, you earn real money (I earned $.04 last month, but hope to do better as time goes on). Also, I’m a member of LendingClub. Basically, LendingClub provides loans at lower rates by cutting out the middle man, banks. Instead, it allows users to lend (minimum $25) and allows the lender to select the level of risk and to which individual loan they would like to lend to. By joining with other lenders, risk is lowered and one can lend smaller amounts of money. The average return in about 10-14%. Not bad. I’m just experimenting with it now.

Future

In the future, I hope to move my banking online. Chase offers pretty great online usage, but my savings account returns very very little. I’ll probably move my account (maybe all my accounts) to ING. ING allows for a better return on savings and – from what I’ve heard – they have a really user-friendly interface. Also, I hope to get debt free as soon as possible upon graduation.

Resources

Blogs. Here are some of the blogs on finance that I subscribe to (using Google Reader).

Books. Some books that I plan on reading upon graduation. I’ve heard that these books have been pretty transformational in some people’s life. And that they illustrate a great attitude towards finances.

Help!?!?!

I am very open to any suggestions. I’m a 22 year-old who was raised to be pretty horrible with money. Any advice? Anything you see wrong with what I’m doing?


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7 responses to this post.

  1. Nice writing style. I will come back to read more posts from you.

    Susan Kishner

    Reply

  2. Posted by ahubbard13 on March 11, 2008 at 7:36 pm

    Hey man,

    You should try MSN Caps. You go to MSN and to the money section (then all the way down to where it says CAPS)where you play a game and try to beat the market. Right now I am ranked about 14000 out of 40000 people. It really helps to understand stock market lingo and trends and stuff like that. I am anxious to see what this UpDown thing is all about.

    Within the last year I have taken what I research on CAPS and I have been investing about 30 dollars a month into the real stock market using Sharebuilder.com. They are owned by ING so they have the same friendly interface and service. It is fun and I am getting what I consider to be some pretty good buys right now because the market truely does suck at the moment.

    I love the Simple Dollar as well. I am going to out to lunch with Trent on Tuesday. I live three hours from him but we are going near his hometown to pick up some furniture. I can’t wait to get a picture with him and have him sign one of his $2 books for me.

    I am also going to switch our banking over to ING as soon as we get married. There is no reason that savings accounts like the one I have right now should only yield 0.25%. That is just ridiculous.

    Reply

  3. Since you asked for suggestions, I’ll make just a few. The most important thing is that you actually think about managing your money. Most 20 year olds could give a flip, so kudos to you.

    My first suggestion would be to sit down and decide what your goals are. Write down short term and long term goals in regard to your finances. It’s never too late to start thinking about retirement, but it’s never too early to get out of debt. Once you figure out what your goals are you can start developing a plan of action to make sure you reach them.

    My second suggestion is to devise a plan. If you want to get out of debt, then you need to figure out how that’s going to happen. You mentioned a couple of books you’d like to read and both are excellent suggestions. I highly recommend the Dave Ramsey book because he offers one of the best get-out-of-debt plans around. Some argue about the numbers but in the end, no one can argue with the results. And that’s exactly what his plan delivers.

    Thirdly, determine your retirement aspirations. Do you want to retire early, maybe 45 or 50? Or are you willing to wait until you’re 59 1/2 or 65? Understanding this will help you devise a course of action to take in terms of your investment opportunities. Also, do you want to do single stocks, mutual funds, annuities, bonds, cd’s, or even real estate. These are all feasible investments but not all will help you meet your goals. Some are more risky than others, like single stocks.

    These are just a few of the things that came to mind as I thought about your question. Hope that helps and good luck.

    Reply

  4. Thanks for the comments and help. Please, keep em comin.

    Reply

  5. At 22, you’re way ahead of the game compared to your peers. If either Her or I had enough foresight to start getting our acts together at 22, we’d be in a much more favorable financial position now.

    If anything, my advice: keep on keepin’ on, but make sure to include fun in your financial plan as well.

    Reply

  6. Posted by Alex on March 14, 2008 at 9:20 pm

    I use ING’s Electric Orange account for my banking, and it is great. It is a little frustrating in that you have to mail in your checks when you need to make deposits (unless you want to keep another local bank account open on the side), and the ATMs are less common than most big banks. But otherwise, it’s hard to beat free bill pay and earning a couple points of interest on your checking account.

    I would also recommend checking out Prosper.com in addition to LendingClub. Same concept, older and more established company.

    Reply

  7. Yeah, i’ve wondered this about ING. Is it that difficult to deposit your money?

    Reply

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