FREE $50 ING Direct Bonus!

September 27, 2007

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I just saw this at FatWallet. It’s a $50 bonus for opening an Orange Savings account with ING Direct with a $250 minimum. Normally they only pay out $25 so this is a great deal and an easy 20% instant return on your money. Just go to the special New York Times ING Direct page and enter the code NY3. But hurry up because this expires 9/30/2007.

The interest rate right now is about 4.3% which is still better than most banks! And apparently the $50 bonus posts right away! You don’t even have to wait for it! Also there is no credit check or hard pull when opening this account.

**This is no longer valid but you can still get the regular $25 bonus with a deposit of $250. That’s an instant 10% return! All you have to do is contact me!

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Since the Fed lowered the discount rate (the rate at which it lends money to banks), many online savings accounts have followed and have lowered their rates. FNBO Direct was offering a 6% promotion but is now offering a still-respectable 5.05%. Here is an interest rate round-up from around the web:

ING Direct: 4.5% to 4.3%

ING Electric Orange: 4% to 3.5%

HSBC Direct: 5.05% to 4.5%

FNBO Direct: 6% to 5.05%

Emigrant Direct: 5.05% to 4.75%.

Bankrate has some more interest rates from online savings accounts and more. Check it out.

Expect other banks to follow. Also as of right now, Washington Mutual’s online savings is still at 5%. So your emergency funds will be earning a little less interest but loans should be cheaper. Money market accounts may seem like a better alternative if you want higher rates but some aren’t FDIC-insured. I’m still not quite sure what I going to do with my emergency fund right now. I may keep it at FNBO but I’ll keep my options open. I’m going to wait a little bit while all the banks catch up and lower rates and then see who has the best rate.

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11 He who tills his land will be satisfied with bread,

But he who follows frivolity is devoid of understanding.

Proverbs 12:11 (NKJV)

11 A hard worker has plenty of food,

but a person who chases fantasies has no sense.

Proverbs 12:11 (NLT)

Proverbs is one of my favorite books in the Bible. It is so full of wisdom and knowledge! This verse is not an absolute. There will be some exceptions. Sometimes, bad things happen to good people. But if you follow the advice laid out in the Bible, you can be rest assured that God will provide for your needs. As long as you do your part, God will do His.

From the Nelson Study Bible:

tills his land: Many proverbs contrast hard work with laziness. Wise people work hard while fools waste their time.

emigrantdirect

Remember when my checking account got broken into? Well, I had to close down my main checking account at Washington Mutual because of a security issue. This was the account that I had linked with all my online savings, brokerage, etc. accounts. Well, EmigrantDirect happened to be one of them. Now, I really didn’t have too much money there because I can get a much better rate elsewhere, but I kept it open just in case they offered a promo rate.

Since the original linked account with Emigrant was now closed, I had to link a new account to it. So I went to EmigrantDirect online and clicked on “Add Funding Account”. I figured I could enter the details online like every single other online account that I have and then do trial deposits. However, this is not the case. EmigrantDirect is the only “online” bank out of the many online accounts that I have that requires me sending a voided check via “snail mail”. Not only that, I also have to fill out an “Account Verification Form”, then take it to my bank to fill out their section. Then I have to sign it. If that’s not enough, I can’t even fax this information in. I called customer support and emailed and the answer was the same; I can’t fax it or complete it online. It must be mailed. So much for being an “online” bank.

So that’s why I’m closing my account and requesting a check for a whole $2.56 sent to my address. Because if they try to send it to my now closed linked account, it will just be denied and returned to them.

So EmigrantDirect, please stop misinforming your customers by calling yourselves an “online bank”. That is false advertising. I will be moving my money to your many competitors who, by the way, let me add multiple linked accounts without mailing anything anywhere and offer me a better rate. This is the online age. Please get with the program. Thanks.

Mortgage Crisis Numbers

September 11, 2007

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$571 billion:

The aggregate value of adjustable-rate home mortgages that will reset, or switch from a low fixed rate to a higher variable rate, through the end of 2008. After living large off introductory rates as low as 1% (or zero, in the case of interest-only ARMs), Americans will pay an extra $42 billion in mortgage payments next year.

$1,018:

Average increase in monthly payments for reset mortgages. That includes even responsible prime borrowers, who will pay an average of about $450 more. But it’s the “teaser” borrowers – the big spenders who patted themselves on the back in 2003 and 2004 for that initial less-than-2% rate – who will get the strongest dose of reality: an average increase of $1825, way more than double their initial payments.

(From September 17, 2007 issue of Fortune Magazine)

The mortgage crisis of today is a great lesson on why not to take out “creative” or “exotic” mortgages like adjustable rate mortgages and interest-only mortgages. That’s why I’ve always recommended 30-year fixed rate mortgages, and even better, 15-year fixed. If you can’t afford a house with a traditional, 30-year fixed rate mortgage, then you can’t afford that house. Either look for a cheaper house or save up some more for a down payment so the loan amount decreases. But do not take out an adjustable rate mortgage at any cost. It will end up biting you in the butt later.

As foreclosure rates hit all-time highs, and many people around the country are losing their homes, it’s good wisdom not to buy anything you can’t afford. If you take out an ARM (adjustable-rate mortgage) the interest rate is fixed for a certain term (one, two, three etc. years) and then it converts into a much higher variable rate that can go up or down, affecting your payment. So just avoid it altogether!

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9 For they all were trying to make us afraid, saying, “Their hands will be weakened in the work, and it will not be done.” Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands.

Nehemiah 6:9 (NKJV)

When the first sign of trouble comes, don’t look for a way out. Pray like Nehemiah and ask God to strengthen you. It may seem difficult or like there’s no way out, but thank God He answers prayer! Prayer is a mighty weapon. No matter the situation, God will turn it around for you!

From the Life Application Bible:

When opposition builds up against you or God’s work, it is tempting to pray, “God, get me out of this situation.” But Nehemiah prayed for strength. He showed tremendous determination and character to remain steadfast in his responsibility. When we pray for strength, God always answers.

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35 ‘You shall do no injustice in judgment, in measurement of length, weight, or volume. 36 You shall have honest scales, honest weights, an honest ephah, and an honest hin: I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt.

Leviticus 19:35-36 (NKJV)

We need to be honest in all of our business and personal dealings. The Bible teaches us to use honest scales. In other words, don’t cheat people by misleading them or lying about the condition of an item. If you’re selling your car and you know the transmission is about to die any minute, make sure you let the buyer know. Not telling them is lying by default. Be honest in all your dealings and transactions. Lying has a tendency to bite you later on.

From the Nelson Study Bible:

Injustice in judgment is injustice in legal transactions (vv.11, 12, 15-18). Injustice…in measurement is one kind of injustice in business transactions. ephah: About five gallons. hin: A little less than a gallon. Once again, the fact that God had brought the Israelites out of the land of Egypt is cited as reason to believe He would provide for all of their needs. God had treated the Israelites generously. They could afford to treat each other fairly in their business dealings.