Have you ever stopped and counted where all your financial accounts are? Could you list them out on a sheet of paper if needed? (PS: A pop quiz is coming at the end of this ;))
I was reading this article on simplifying your money, and in it they asked four simple questions:
- How many credit cards do you have?
- How many bank accounts do you have?
- How many retirement accounts do you have?
- How many investment accounts do you have?
I was proud to answer 1-2 for almost all of them. And do you know why? Because my damn has my life been so much easier to manage when I condensed all my financial accounts! There’s a saying out there that goes something like “a simple life is a happy life,”and it couldn’t be more true for your money as well. The less you have to worry about where everything is, the more time you have to grow your wealth or collect garbage pale kids or play backgammon or do whatever else it is you fine folks like to do with your free time ;)
It also made me realize that it’s been a long time since I’ve updated y’all on what accounts I use for everything, so I’m popping up and quizzing myself up in this piece and listing them all out for you. Should take a mere 30 seconds ‘cuz they’re only in a few places!
Here’s where all my financial accounts are:
- Checking: USAA
- Savings: USAA
- Credit Card: USAA World MasterCard
- Investing (SEP Ira): Vanguard
- Investing (ROTH Ira): Vanguard
- College Savings (529) Virginia 529 (which allows for Vanguard investing!)
- Mortgage #1 (Fixed): Chase
- Mortgage #2 (HELOC): USAA
- Insurance (Car): USAA
- Insurance (Life): USAA
- Insurance (Personal Property): USAA
- Insurance (Landlord): USAA
- Insurance (Umbrella): USAA
- Insurance (Health): Anthem BCBS (via eHealthInsurance.com)
UPDATE: Forgot about my kids’ accounts! :)
You’ll notice 9 of the 16 accounts up there are all under one roof – USAA’s. We talked before about the pros and cons of housing a ton of accounts in one spot, but doomsdays aside I can’t tell you how immensely HELPFUL it’s been being able to log into one site and get my $hit done. Yeah they have excellent customer service and a pretty killer online portal too (they were the first to pioneer depositing checks via smart phone btw!), but the streamlining of everything is by far the best benefit they offer in my opinion. Though their car insurance rates are pretty pimp too.
Next on the list you’ll see a lot of Vanguard. That’s because I moved – and merged – every last one of my investment accounts I had over to them earlier this year due to their crazy low fees. And the fact I was tired dicking around with dozens of stocks and funds and yada yada yada… I xfered all my accounts over, cashed everything out, and then invested every last dollar into one simple index fund: VTSAX. Hardcore? Probably. Ease of mind? Ohh yeah, baby! And if you thought USAA fans were rabid, you should hang out with Bogleheads!
The rest of the institutions listed were either out of my control (our mortgage got sold to Chase) or because USAA didn’t offer what I needed. Like with business accounts. They say they’re always considering it, but my inside sources say not to hold my breath, so… But Capital One ain’t bad (it’s free, at least?) and I’m digging American Express as well. They’re rock stars at fixing erroneous charges when dumb companies try to screw you (*ahem* U.S. Airlines), as well as offering great additional insurance when renting cars and the like.
What’s left here… Our Virginia 529 college savings – that’s mainly because they offer state tax deductions when you pour in the money (yipee!) as well as letting you invest into Vanguard funds (double yipee!), and then since I’m self-employed I have to get my own dang health insurance so for that I go through eHealthInsurance.com to find whatever’s best. Which is currently BCBS for us, but changes depending on where we live.
So lots of accounts open for sure, but 6 of them are insurance related (man we pay a lot for stuff we hope never occurs…). Overall I’d say we’re doing pretty good in condensing, would you agree?
*There are some cons to simplifying though*
When things are simple and streamlined you often give up things like rate chasing and credit card churning. The last thing you want to do is open up a dozen more accounts or credit cards, so you end up missing out on some of the sexiness that many a finance blogs will have you drooling over. And for good measure – who doesn’t want better interest rates or free plane tickets?? Does USAA or another bank have the best of *everything* at their company? Of course not. So you’re left to either stay put and keep the convenience, or hopping from one place to another to get the next best deal. And I, for one, am way too
old stubborn cool to play that game anymore.
So there you have it. My entire financial setup all on one page! What do you think? Easy? Dumb? Too simple? I’m sure I’ll refine things as life and circumstances change (like w/ the recent USAA to Vanguard switch when I realized that it would save me tens of thousands over my lifetime), but for now I’m sitting in peace and quiet and loving it. No fuss, no drama!
What about you? How many accounts are you rockin’ these days? Do you have your own list of accounts somewhere safe and secure at home? Might be a good thing to do over the weekend… Or perhaps right now before your boss catches you reading this ;)
PS: If your boss really does catch you reading this, just retort with, “It’s okay! I’m actually trying to save our company tons of money!” Works like a charm every time…*
*That’s a lie
[Photo by Paul Lowry, Tweaked by J$]