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I Now Have 16 Accounts at ONE Place. Is that bad? ;)

by J. Money on Tuesday, July 12, 2011

USAA - i love youYup, already opened up a new IRA so my 401(k) will have a home! Sprinted right over to USAA and opened up my 16th account with them ;) You know I don’t waste any time with my money! Haha… It’s gonna be a crazy one too when all that $180,000 gets transferred over like that… gonna be the BIGGEST one of my life! (That’s what she said!)

But for the first time in a while, I actually paused for a good hour or so before deciding on going with USAA again. Not that I don’t trust them or anything (obviously) but because there are a ton of OTHER great institutions out there that are known for handling big amounts like this too – especially when it comes to retirement funds (Vanguard and Fidelity being the best from what I hear – at least from the financial blogging community ;)). And for the past 5-6 years or so, I thought I WOULD actually go with one of those guys when it finally came down to it.

But something else was growing in importance too this whole time – the main desire for SIMPLICITY. While I appreciate high interest rates and growing my money as much as the next guy, I’m starting to have a MUCH more appreciation for simple, streamlined operations these days. Even if it means not having the “best of the best” accounts spread across town (I liken it to rate chasers -  there’s always a better deal around the corner, but the idea of switching and moving your funds every other week is just exhausting).

I’ve realized that I am much more happier having everything in one spot than I am when I have multiple accounts opened all over. Even if financially, or rationally it’s smarter (like the rate chasing again).  So while the old me would have gone over to Fidelity or Vanguard in this same situation, I decided to keep it easy and continue going with the one place that’s been the best to me over the years.  Adding to my previous 15 accounts and making me USAA’s biggest Super Fan yet! :)

It sounds insane, I know (and you’re right! Haha…) but it’s seriously the sexiest thing ever. I’ve knocked away yet another website out there and now have almost *everything* under one roof. With the only exception of my 1st mortgage (arghhh…. the biggest one!).

In case you’re wondering how it’s possible, here’s how it breaks down:

  • I have a total of 8 “personal” accounts: Checking, savings, Roth IRA, SEP IRA, my new Traditional IRA (woo!), my credit card, auto insurance, and life insurance ;)
  • And then a total of 8 “joint” accounts:  Our “house” checking account, “house” savings account, “house” credit card, money market fund, personal property insurance, homeowners insurance, another life insurance policy (for the wifey, which is under my account), and then lastly our stupid 2nd mortgage loan (a maxed out HELOC).

Wild, huh?  I kinda wanted to keep USAA outta the picture on today’s post since we’re concentrating on multiple accounts in *ANY* financial institution, but then it occurred to me that I don’t even KNOW of any other institutions that allows for this? Do you? A place that has banking and credit and insurance all under one roof?  I’ve never heard of one myself, but I’m curious to know. Though we have yet to determine whether this whole thing is still a good idea or not, haha… ;)

So let’s list out some pros and cons here, shall we? Make this one my longest post ever?

Pros to banking all at one spot:

  • That everything’s under one spot! Which means I don’t have to log into 10 billion websites to check my balances every single day (which is what I do cuz I’m addicted!), and I can get a snapshot view in one sitting. Errr.. screen opening.
  • It’s SUPER easy to xfer funds back and forth!
  • I have only ONE number I ever need to call no matter what area I need help with. (Making customer service KEY in this department)
  • I have both SAVINGS and DEBT related accounts there! So if anything goes KABOOM! and all that is USAA disappears into thin air (Ack!), wouldn’t all my debt do the same?? ;)
  • UPDATE: I also have more leverage! Hard to not help someone when they have 16 accounts with you ;) (Good one No Debt MBA)
  • UPDATE: Roger came up with another awesome pro – If something should happen to me, it’ll makes it easier for Mrs. BudgetsAreSexy to access and manage everything!  Very very true!

Scary Cons to banking in one spot:

  • If our relationship turns bad, so does my relationship with my entire finances (until I xfered everything out — which would be a PAIN)
  • If I get hacked, well, I’d be F’d. Unless someone went in to pay off my loans? ;) (Though No Debt MBA brought up a good point that even with separate accounts they’d all be tied through ACH anyways. So this threat still remains either way unfortunately…)
  • I don’t get the best of the best rates in each department.  Sure USAA rocks and has some pretty killer deals (particularly w/ insurance), but are they the best in *every* category?  No way. The “smart” route to take is to open up accounts where all the strengths are in each institution.  Keeping everything in one spot def. limits your choices, which is probably the biggest con here. Besides being hacked, of course ;)
  • If I had more than $250,000 in an account, it wouldn’t be FDIC insured. Nothing to worry about now, but one day I’ll have to!
  • If the site goes down, I have no access to ANY of my accounts.  Not the worst thing in the world, but def. frustrating.

I think that hits most of the areas? Am I missing anything glaring? Would YOU put everything into one place if you could? Sometimes I get so stuck into my own little world that I forget to come up and look around ;)

But yup, that’s the new word over here in BudgetVille. Closing accounts and taking names! It’ll be weird not having a 401(k) any more after all these years, but perhaps we’ll meet again!

———-
UPDATE: I totally forgot about my business accounts! Those are not at USAA either, but through no fault of my own (*ahem*). Last time I checked, they said they can’t offer them due to the way they’re set up… and they get asked every single day. Though it’s probably for the best – you most def. want to separate business with pleasure! Errr…. personal!

UPDATE #2: All of my investments have now moved over to Vanguard! Here’s why I love them so much :)


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{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Money Beagle July 11, 2011 at 8:06 am

At first glance, that seems overly complicated, but I guess if I were to add up all the different accounts I have, it would probably seem complicated as well. I guess the important thing is that if it works for you, go with it.

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2 No Debt MBA July 11, 2011 at 8:12 am

Having all of your accounts in one place makes great sense. A lot of the weaknesses of it are still there when you use multiple banks – if one gets hacked your other accounts might still be vulnerable through ACH and such. Plus, keeping all your money in one place gives you more leverage with the bank – I have 16 accounts with $XXX,000 in deposits with you, you should waive that fee. Not that you need that with USAA ;)

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3 Maria Nedeva July 12, 2011 at 7:46 am

After the really bad behaviour of the banks (and bankers) here in ‘good old’ England my answer to your question will be ‘no’. But then again, I never saw the point in having so many accounts to begin with; particualrly keeping the private accounts separate. Hence, we have four shared accounts (current, ‘worth it’, savings, loan) and hubby has a business acount. Pensions, however, are organised differently.

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4 John July 12, 2011 at 8:07 am

I feel like I am experiencing deja vu, I read a very similar article yesterday. :-)

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5 Trinnie July 12, 2011 at 8:43 am

you SHOULD know my comment to this, J…gonna leave it at that *wink*

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6 Lizzy G July 12, 2011 at 9:20 am

I like that USAA let’s you scan your hard copy of your check into your account, and they deposit the money IMMEDIATELY! What other bank does that?!

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7 J. Money July 12, 2011 at 10:25 am

@Money Beagle – Yeah, it felt complicated writing it all out too ;) But you’re right – most of us have a lot of these accounts already, just separated into different institutions. It works for me incredibly well, which is why I sometimes have that ounce of “Is this too good to be true?” jitters running through me. Luckily that only happens every now and then though ;)
@No Debt MBA – OOOH good point!! Yes, even w/ other accounts they’d still be linked together – never thought about that before, good one :) same with the leverage, you have your thinking pants on today! Haha… or, yesterday when I accidentally posted this up – d’oh.
@Maria Nedeva – Ah okay, yeah UK has some differences over there but interesting to know, thanks :)
@John – Haha, did you? Are you sure it’s not Groundhog’s Day? Yeah, I made a rookie mistake and posted 2 articles on the same day… sometimes I get overly excited ;)
@Trinnie – Split some with Bank of America? (Hah!)
@Lizzy G – YES! I just did that the other day actually — right through my iPhone ;) One of the big perks of USAA!

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8 Crystal July 12, 2011 at 10:39 am

I’d love to say that we spread our money out a ton, but really, we keep our retirement accounts at Fidelity, our stocks with Scottrade, and most of our actual cash with ING. And I too have 8-9 subaccounts with ING…it’s an addiction I think…

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9 Brian July 12, 2011 at 11:42 am

It would be very nice to have all my money in one place, but at this point moving some of it around would be more hassle than it is worth. But NoDebtMBA brings up a great point with the ACH transfers and the leverage. Sometimes is it good to be a “big” fish.

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10 Yana July 12, 2011 at 12:07 pm

No way would I put all my eggs in one basket. No financial institution is fully trustworthy, and stuff happens. I just closed ING due to the Capital One thing, and closed another local bank because my free checking account of 17 years is no longer offered without jumping through hoops to keep it free (opening other accounts with them). I don’t like a bank telling me requirements that I must meet. We opened 2 other accounts to replace the closed ones, but since we have multiple baskets, we didn’t actually have to do that. We already had places to run ;)

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11 Jenna July 12, 2011 at 1:33 pm

I use Mint and see all my accounts in one place anyway, so the only downside I experience to having accounts in different places is that transfers take a few days. However, I don’t do much transferring except at the end of the month, so that’s not a huge problem.

If I move accounts at some point in the future, I would consider getting my checking & savings in the same place. However, the rates on both would need to be competitive and it would have to be enough of a bump over what I’m earning now to make up for the hassle.

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12 Andrea July 12, 2011 at 2:30 pm

I’ve thought about having only USAA but we do open an account to have a “local” bank wherever we move…not that it’s “necessary” but it makes us feel better

PS the graphic made me literally LOL

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13 Ginger July 12, 2011 at 3:25 pm

I guess I am just not that trusting and I like finding the best deals for each account.Count me in the group that has multiple banks.

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14 Jen @ Master the Art of Saving July 12, 2011 at 4:08 pm

I think that as long as you’re okay w/ the cons and realize their impact way down the road then you should do whatever works best for you. Scattered accounts everywhere can be overwhelming at times; maybe it just isn’t worth the hassle for you. You seem to be a pretty busy guy already & that’s with your accounts in one place. ;-)

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15 Roger July 12, 2011 at 6:15 pm

There is another benefit to having things all in one place. If something should happen to you, it makes it easier for your spouse to access and manage accounts.

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16 Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager July 12, 2011 at 7:34 pm

I’m not sure I’d ever have that many accounts. Although I like banking at the same bank and having the ease of transferring money. Plus, I use Adaptu.

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17 steve swinehart July 13, 2011 at 6:42 am

I can understand wanting to simplify.

However, I currently have 12 RCA’s with about $270k in them. I am retired, so the time to manage them is of little concern.

Sure, it’s a bit of a hassle, but I spend the same amounts that I would if I did it anyother way AND I make $900.00 (was $1300+ a year ago) a month in interest. FREE MONEY, as I see it.

Things may change in the future – but for now, the hassle is worth it.

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18 rainbowfish July 13, 2011 at 9:16 am

I manage the day to day finances and all the accounts are at USAA, 1 checking, 2 savings, credit card, and our child’s checking and savings. It is so nice to have it all in one place, transfers have always been easy and you add the mobile app and it is top notch. Deposit by phone, with immediate access to funds… why wouldn’t you bank there!!!

As for the chance of them changing their fees. I don’t see it happening. The are a military company at heart. All the perks are there because they honor the military. I do not see any reason for them to start charging the people they value fees.

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19 J. Money July 13, 2011 at 10:53 am

@Crystal – Haha, those sub-accounts ARE addicting! Every one I know who banks there has a ton of them :) But they’re sexy as hell!!
@Brian – Yeah, you’d have to do it slowly over time, or when you find yourself in the mood. That’s what I did in the beginning – I probably had like 6 other banks that I just slowly shut down and xfered when I was feeling productive :)
@Yana – There’s definitely an up side to it! Thanks for sharing how you all do it over there, cool to see :)
@Jenna – Right. That’s the downfall of 1 place — they’re not gonna be the best place for rates and every thing else they offer. (Or everyone would be there! Haha…) So if convenience wasn’t as high a priority, it doesn’t make sense to go all under one roof.
@Andrea – Hehe, it’s a graphic I made back when I first started blogging :) I always change the wording cuz I think it’s hilarious too! And I totally understand having a local bank by you all the time – I used to do that too. There’s something about brick and morter banks that just feel good, esp when they’re nearby and you can walk in whenever. If it weren’t for my business accounts (Oooh! More accounts I forgot about, d’oh!) I’d really miss banks. But I go to them twice a week so I get my fill ;)
@Ginger – Not a bad plan :) Thanks!
@Jen @ Master the Art of Saving – Haha, how true that is my friend. How true that is..
@Roger – YES!!!! Damn that is a good one, thank you. Updating the list now to include it :)
@Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager – I’d like to get away a few of them myself. Namely my 2 mortgages!! Haha… All my investments are a-okay in my book ;)
@steve swinehart – Not sure what RCA’s are (Canadian thing?) but it seems like you’ve figured out a great plan!! That’s awesome man, glad you’re rockin’ it in your retirement :)
@rainbowfish – For sure, I don’t think they’d start messing around w/ fees either. I just know they’re rates aren’t the best of the best when compared to some of the other guys out there, but everything else (in my opinion) makes up for it. ESPECIALLY the phone app :) I deposit checks through it at least once a week or two — love it!

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20 Edward Antrobus July 14, 2011 at 3:34 pm

I have accounts with three banks. My IRA is with e*trade. I don’t know of any compelling reason why it has to be at e*trade, beyond the fact that it is where I opened it in 2009. But I don’t know how I would transfer it to an account with another bank if I wanted to consolidate and I don’t know of a compelling enough reason to go through the effort of moving it.
I also have a checking account at a completely different bank than my main accounts. This is done on purpose, because it is the account I pay debt obligations with, and I want to make it as difficult as humanly possible for those companies to know that I have a single penny more than what I paid them that month.

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21 J. Money July 14, 2011 at 6:34 pm

haha, now THAT is a convincing argument ;) if creditors come a knockin, much harder to find all your accounts if spread out — though hopefully we never have that sorta problem!!

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22 Sean July 17, 2011 at 8:36 am

I love USAA. I’ve been with them for about 5 years now and have no plan of going elsewhere. I don’t do everything with them though.

My retirement is through TSP because the TSP has been great to me. When I get out of the USAF if I don’t go to another gov job I’ll probably transfer it to a USAA Roth IRA.

My auto/renters insurance is through Allstate because they are wayyyyyy cheaper than USAA for some reason.

Savings through Ally because its money market savings account is almost a full percentage point above USAA.

Stocks through sharebuilder because of their rates and automatic investments.

I still keep all my checking and loans through USAA though. I have several checking accounts that automatically move money around on pay day. Then all my bills get automatically paid. This really helps when I deploy without warning… which happens… a lot. If USAA would step it up a bit in those other categories I would have no reason to go elsewhere.

-Sean

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23 J. Money July 17, 2011 at 12:54 pm

Haha, I hear that. That is pretty crazy that Allstate is so much cheaper, esp in THAT department – the bread and butter of USAA! But yeah, I had my accounts scattered like that too a few years ago. I just got tired of keeping track with it all and wanted one main place I felt safe and secure with. So I guess I pay a little for convenience ;)

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24 jmsbravo August 3, 2011 at 9:28 pm

The other day it took me a total 2 minutes to deposit my paycheck with my iPhone on USAA mobile…. Just to think a couple years ago it would have taken me 10 minutes to get to a bank (each way… during business hours mind you) then wait in line… then fight traffic back. So, yeah, I’ll stick to USAA for banking since i don’t see the need of talking to someone face to face ever again… Regarding insurance, i found out that the more products you have with USAA the better your insurance rates are!!! Go figure.. so i have Auto/Propery/Life with them! Oh and by the way, their reps are always nice when you call… truly top notch!

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25 PoorManIAm August 5, 2011 at 12:01 pm

16 Accounts in USAA. Sounds OK but:

Yea. Have been with USAA for ages. Years after, I starded to diversify a bit. Put mine and spouses IRA with Fidelity. Bought some Vanguard funds years ago (mid 80′s) . The 4 Vaguard funds I bought made me tons. I still hold them. They have gone down but always recovered nicely plus all the reinvested dividents over time which are the real money makers. Also good if you have long time frame. Had 10 good stocks in USAA like Leeman Brothers, Gen Electric, Dow, etc-phew!! In 07-08 lost my butt and never recovered to today.

OK enouph of that. Just to make a point (Not USAA’s Fault for losses) for some diversity. Consider that back when it was difficuld to buy Vanguard or other funds from a Fidelity or USAA account and if you did it cost arm and a leg. Now it’s different, you can buy many funds from any fund Families like American Century, Vangard and other brokerages and most you can buy without a fee load.

About USAA Brokerage: I just sent them an email two days ago,(I do periodically) telling them to come out of the Jeurassic (sp) age into the 21st Century.

The investment site is just plain bad. It lacks full flexibility of investing accross markets and their tracking tools are just auful. By comparison I trade mostly trough Fidelity and use their streaming Fidelity Trader Pro platform to do instantaneous trades. Helped me last couple days sell some stocks and funds and shift investments around – like to bond funds. Of course to qualify for use of Trader Pro you have to have certein amounts in Fedelity and do a certain number of trades per rolling 12 months period. But even their regular trading and research tools are far superior to those of USAA.

Just wanted to give the other side of the story about USAA Investments and about the lack of flexibility. Not a dad Idea to consolidate accounts but not at expense of flexibility and deversity.

Currently I am with Fidelity (main Broker) Vanguard and USAA. Vanguard because it has the best funds research and USAA because I have USAA banking abd othe great services such as auto and home insurance etc. for which USAA if famous. But not as famous as it was 20 0r 30 years ago (reduced benefits and increased prices, less protection for members higher fees and penalties on credit cards, etc.) and has become very beaurecratic as it has gotten bigger to the point where in some areas it is now undistinquishable from regular for profit “civilian” firms.

Believe me, with over 60 years membership in USAA I have watched with anxiety and regret that USAA has become what it has become. But having said all this it is still a great organization for us military active duty or retired like myself.

Hope this has been helpfull to you and all USAA mambers that read this. My purpose is not to bash USAA but to tell you how I see it today and through time and some advantages of accounts outside USAA.

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26 PoorManIAm August 5, 2011 at 7:51 pm

Sean

After the Military I worked Cvil Svcfor about 10 years and when they started TSP I joined. Best deal ever I believe. Even proportinately better than military retirement pension. At age 70 1/2 I started IRA MRD (Minimum Required Distrib) from TSP. I have been brawing the distrbution for several years now and the my TSP balance is double what it was when I began drawing. Unbeliveble!! It is extremely well managed is one of the reasons I would stay with it.

Let me say that I believe TSP is a great deal and I would never take the money out for any reason. With good luck and long life you can draw MRD all your life and contrary ro belief you can still have money in the account that you can pass on to your wife or children tax free regardless of actuarians. I have brokerages, IRA’s (Me and spouse) and other investments but I consider TSP The best deal of all. The Treasuries are also special edition with garanteed return. Can’t get that from Fidelity or USAA!!

But the feature I like best is the ease of managing the account. As you know the money is in five sub accounts: Garanteed treasuries, fixed income, S&P 500 type fund , small stock index, and overseas index funds.

At first indication of downturn in stock markets I move all money into bonds. I try to err on the side of caution and safety and not worry if I miss some upside. When markets and economy start to pick up again I move it back into stock funds. the tranfear couldn’t be easier and can be done on line in one minute or two after log in. on 2 August I did just that and that alone saved me $ 6,000 to $ 7,000 in two days during “BlacK Thursday” and today “Wild Friday.” I do the same with Fidelity Standard IRA but it is little more complicated to do.

There is a lot more of this info on line at http://www.tsp.gov
You might want to check that out if youhaven’t yet.

My advise: would never convert the TSP it’s best deal in town even if you have to pay taxes when you withdraw.

Best wishes. and good luck! DV

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27 J. Money August 14, 2011 at 9:29 pm

@jmsbravo – I know, right? I use my iPhone to deposit checks every week – I love it! Though I do wish there was a physical bank in town as well – I like seeing people face to face when I choose to :)
@PoorManIAm – Wowwww, you def. beat me in USAA membership years! Haha… that’s dope man, I appreciate you stopping by and sharing with us :) Even though I’m a bit late on commenting back here (sorry). One of my fave parts about blogging is the feedback from the readers here, so THANK YOU for taking the time and sharing the opposite sides to it all – it really helps. And you’re right, I def. think the investment side is lacking as far as website flexibility, but since I don’t care as much about that stuff, luckily it works out ;) At least for now… I may switch to Vanguard or Fidelity all depending down the road.

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