Until the end of this month (Dec 2011) ING Direct Canada is running an awesome holiday promo – if you open a new account with at least $100, they’ll give you a $50 bonus. Normally the bonus is $25, which is still pretty great.
To get this bonus, you need to use an orange key. I’d like to volunteer mine, not because I’m a good samaritan, but because ING gives the $50 new account bonus to both you and me if you use my orange key So here it is: 35355532S1
I’ve been using ING savings accounts for a few months now, and so far I think they’re excellent. I’m currently using 10 ING savings accounts – 4 joint ISA accounts with hubby, 1 ISA, and 5 TFSAs.
In addition to the “no fees” awesomeness, there are 3 features that really make ING savings accounts great (and it’s not interest rates – those suck everywhere these days):
1. You can name your accounts.
The ability to name your accounts sounds simple but it makes such a huge difference. A list of meaningless account numbers makes banking more complicated than it needs to be – you’ve got to be really careful when transferring funds because all the accounts look the same. Naming your accounts not only solves this problem, it also makes your savings more tangible, and I think that helps keep savings from burning a hole in your pocket. For example, my emergency fund isn’t just a string of numbers with a balance, that money is clearly labelled “emergency fund”. As in, don’t even think about touching this money because it’s earmarked for an emergency!
2. Once you’ve opened one account, it’s a breeze to open additional accounts.
The ability to have multiple accounts and give them all names makes the ING savings accounts great for budgeting and saving up for specific items. E.g., we have an account named “veterinary fund” which we use to pay vet bills. We have it set up to automatically transfer funds in every 2 weeks, and we’re slowly growing a little cushion in case the dogs get sick or injured. If they don’t have any calamitous accidents, we’ll have enough savings in there to throw them a lavish funeral when they die of old age (hopefully I’m joking about that). We also have a “vacation fund”, a “house fund”, and a “transportation fund” to budget for car rentals (we don’t own a car). In my own accounts, I’m saving up for thesis tuition, taxes, a trip with my mom, and a new computer; and of course there is the ubiquitous emergency fund.
3. The “goal getter” feature.
ING has a goal calculator that will tell you how long it will take to reach your savings goal / how much you’ll have to save at regular intervals to reach your goal by a specific date. You can calculate all of that yourself of course, but it’s nice to see your progress visually with a little savings-o-meter every time you log in. My macbook is 4 years old, and I’m determined to save up for a new one instead of just putting it on my line of credit like I did for the last two computers. Every payday $50 transfers to my “computer fund” account, and when I reach my goal, I am free to go buy a macbook if I want to – after checking macrumors of course
Two other things help this system function nicely. Automatic transfers are essential. Follow The Wealthy Barber‘s advice to “pay yourself first” and set up automatic transfers for the day after payday, and you don’t even have to think about saving. The bank does it for you. Also, it probably helps that ING isn’t my “primary bank”. My/our chequing accounts are elsewhere, so the savings are to out of sight, out of mind. Although they’re not really…saving this way is very motivating, so I check the balances regularly (the ING iPhone app is great for that).
Anyway, if you like the idea of using savings accounts to budget or save for specific things, I definitely recommend checking out the ING savings accounts. And don’t forget the orange key