A Finance Suggestion Of INGDirect

A while back, my buddy and I decided to sell a website we had been working on for a couple years. At the time, the traffic was incredibly high and the ranking was in the top 80,000 sites on the internet. (That number may sound large but it’s quite hard to do.)

We listed the site on a high-end webmaster marketplace and by the end of two weeks we had sold it for much, much higher than we had ever imagined. It was a nice reward for working so hard on it. We split the money down the middle and went about in riotous living. Of course, riotous living in our colleges years would have meant bigger motorcycles and faster women. But at this time in our life it meant pay off all school/car loans and then invest the rest. Crazy I know.

At first I took my remaining earnings and just put it in my Wells Fargo Savings account. Candace and I rarely touched it and we hoped that we could just use the money to earn more money and we’d have cushion to fall back on if times got bad.

After a few months, I realized that the money was growing very slowly. As it turns out, brick and mortar savings does little for interest and growth. I thought I’d write about it now that I’ve found a much better option.

I decided to take a majority of the savings and move it to INGDirect. INGDirect is an online bank. It’s been around for years and it has a very good record of being consumer friendly and offering great interest rates. They are able to offer the higher interest rates because they don’t have the costs of buildings and branches.

The signup process is simple. We opened a Orange Savings Account that is paired with our checking account at Wells Fargo. This savings account has no fees, no minimum balances, no service charges and no hidden costs. And the best part is that the interest is high. At the time of this writing the rate is 4.5% compared to the Wells Fargo rate I had of .5%. This might not seem like much but it certainly adds up.

Let’s take an example. If you deposited $20k with Wells Fargo and came back a year later you would earn $100.23 in interest. That same amount with ING Direct would bring $918.80 in interest. Quite a difference.

Transferring money between ING Direct and Wells Fargo is simple and free because your accounts would be paired with each other. The only caveat is that it takes a couple days to move the money.

This is how we have it set and it has worked perfect.

  • Wells Fargo Checking: At the beginning of the month I deposit enough money in this account for all our bills, shopping and entertainment for that month. It’s hard to beat the convenience of ATM’s and checks with Wells Fargo. If there is any money left at the end of the month we transfer it to our Savings with ING Direct automatically.
  • Wells Fargo Savings: This account just keeps a balance of $2,000 at any time. I don’t view this as an interest yielding account. It is just there if it is needed in an emergency and needs to be quickly put into Checking for a car repair or something.
  • ING Direct Savings: This account holds all the marbles. Anytime I can transfer anything here, I do it. (It’s becomg a bit of an addiction really.) The high interest adds up but the money is still accessible without any fees if we needed to dip in for a larger emergency or for a planned family trip.

One more thing to mention about ING Direct. Because it doesn’t have a minimum fee, you can start small. You can have $20 automatically go from your checking to your Orange Savings each month. You won’t even miss it and it adds up faster than you think.

I understand that some people have hesitancies to put money into an online bank. I think we’re at a point where it’s quite safe. It is insured in the same way as a brick and mortar bank. In fact, did you know that only 10% of money in the United States is paper currency. The rest is just digital money anyway.

I’d be happy to answer any questions if you want to know more. If you look into it and decide it’s something you want to do, I can give you a member referral and you’d even get a little extra money bonus for signing up. And before you ask, that’s not why I wrote this post. I’m just surprised at how much more you can earn by putting your money in the right place and thought you’d want to know as well.

Hope that helps.