ableBanking -> Save more. Give more.

ableBanking review

If you’re looking for a banking option that allows you to get higher interest rates and do some good in the community, then you should check out ableBanking.

ableBanking is now Open to All ableBanking review

In case you haven’t heard of them, ableBanking is an online banking division of Northeast Bank, a community bank based in Maine and founded in 1872. While you needed and invite code to join them before, they just announced this week that the accounts are open to everyone.

That’s great news as another option has become available for savers looking to earn a bit on their stockpile. As an added bonus, ableBanking allows depositors to give back to their charitable causes.

Save More

Like other online banks, ableBanking takes the money it saves from not having brick and mortar banks directs that towards having higher interest rates than traditional banks. Currently the rates the offer are:

  • Money Market Savings: .85%
  • 6 Month CD: .80%
  • 1 Year CD: 1.00%
  • 2 year CD: 1.15%
  • 3 Year CD: 1.30%
  • 4 Year CD: 1.50%

money market rates able banking

It should also be mentioned that there are no monthly maintenance fees – that means your money stays yours.

Giving More

A unique feature that ableBanking loves to highlight (and rightly so in my opinion) is that along with saving more, it helps its customers to give to causes close to their hearts. They give money to any 501c3 charity that you choose.

When you sign up to be an ableBanking customer, you get a $25 bonus for giving and every year on your ableAnniversary, you have .25% of your average balance can be distributed to your charity. It’s a win-win.

Want to Join?

If you’re looking to open an account, you can sign up for one online or on the phone (1-888-I AM-ABLE). While you don’t need a brick and mortar bank to open the account you do need another bank or credit union to fund your savings.

There is a $1,000 minimum deposit requirement for the money market account and a $500 minimum deposit requirement for the Certificate of Deposit accounts. ableBanking is focusing on serving customers instrested in growing their money and their communities, so the minimum balance is kind of a determent for rate chasers.

Enrollment is fairly straightforward. Besides entering your personal data including your Social Security Number, ableBanking verifies your identification with a questionnaire pulled from public records.

Customers then will get an email regarding a micro-depsoit between their funding bank and their ableBanking account. Once confirmed, the account is opened and the rest of the transfer is completed.

Within 48 hours they should receive their ableDollars that can be used for charities.

Thoughts ableBanking

I’d love to hear from you about banks. What you want from your bank? Do you think you’d sign up for ableBanking?

Operation Refinance is Underway

refinance house

I have a project this summer that I’m excited about- it combines personal finances with helping someone out. I had a great conversation with a dear friend about mortgages and refinances and they asked if I would assist them. They never done one before and they’d like to take advantage of lower rates as it can decrease their payments so they can redirect their money towards other goals, including retirement.

I get to track their progress and the process as long as I keep their personal information anonymous. I think it’s a great idea as many people are in a similar boat and are looking at refinancing their homes.

Reasons to Refinance refinance house

Everyone has their own reasons to refinance and many instances it’s a combination of a few. Some popular ones include:

  • Lower Interest Rates: Having lower interest rates means that homeowners can save tens of thousands of dollars or more over the life of their mortgage.
  • Lower Monthly Payment: For those on a tight budget, they may be looking to give themselves a bit more breathing room by refinances. Please keep in mind that there are closing costs to consider (though it’s possible with some lenders to roll them into the new loan). For those with 20% or more equity, you may want to refinance to not only save money on interest, but to also get the PMI remove. You don’t have to refinance to get the PMI removed though.
  • Pay off the mortgage sooner: Cutting down on the length of the mortgage can also save you a ton of money. The trade off is that you may have to pay just a bit more each month.

For my buddy their reason to refinance as I mention before has to do with cash flow. Thankfully when they bought their house years ago, they made a good down payment and have been putting extra on it as much as they could over the years. That means even with this economy they have some equity in their home. That also means they don’t feel like they have to rush their the refinance process.

Current Mortgage

For those curious about the starting point, here are the numbers. The balance and the appraisals have been rounded a bit, but it gives you a ballpark figure for later estimates.

  • Total Loan Balance: $65,000
  • Interest Rate: 6.00%
  • Loan Term: 30 years, fixed rate
  • Appraised Value: $115,00
I’m compiling a list of rates from different lenders and we’ll start talking to them later this week or the beginning of next. Hopefully the process will go smoothly, but whatever happens I’ll be taking notes for updates here on the blog.

Thoughts on Refinancing

I’m curious – how many of you are think about refinancing in the near future? Photo Credit

Life Insurance for Single Parents

Parents have many responsibilities and being a multitasker and a planner is a huge part of it, especially when it comes to finances. Looking back, I’m constantly amazed at how well my mom handled raising us.  Being a single parent often means having to be more aware of one’s finances, including how to prepare should something unexpected happens. 

Losing a parent is devastating already, but losing one’s only parent can be extremely tumultuous. Preparing now can help alleviate some of the pain and help the family rebuild itself.

Planning for the Unexpected

First off, choosing guardians/ a guardian for your child(Ren) should be your focus. When we were deciding whom to ask to be guardians for our baby we created a list based on what was important to us. They included:

  • Religious/moral beliefs – Would you like to have your values passed down? To us this was extremely important. Our child will have to make her own decision as to who she wants to be; we just want her to have a solid foundation and be raised with love.
  • Child-rearing philosophy– Does the guardian have similar ideas when it comes to raising kids?
  • Personality – Is your child familiar with them and get along with them? Will there be constant clashes or will they be able to work it out?
  • Location – Will your child have to move?
  • Health – Will the guardian(s) be physically able to handle the responsibilities? Are they in reasonably good health now?

Getting Life Insurance

Another area to be extra concerned with planning is life insurance. Getting the right insurance coverage can give some peace of mind. Besides handling the day to day with us, my mom also focused on planning for the long term and for unexpected  events. She signed up for an insurance policy to protect us in case she passed away. We’re extremely grateful it hasn’t been needed, but we also appreciate that she took the time to get a policy as a safety net.

Factors to Consider When Calculating Life Insurance Coverage

When calculating what amount is right for you, it takes some time to mull over the details. There is no one rule that fits all families with life insurance.

  • Budget: It does no good for a single parent to get an insurance policy if the premiums are a strain on the budget. If you have a limited budget, then get a smaller policy that you can consistently pay on.
  • Final Expenses:  As uncomfortable as it is, thinking ahead about your final wishes now will make it easier on your loved ones.
  • Helping out guardians: If you want to leave something for guardians to assist them with raising your child(Ren) run the numbers to find something you’re comfortable with.
  • A gift for your child(ren):  Some parents would like to leave a financial gift for their kids when they become an adult.

Don’t feel bad if your current budget allows you to meet all of your goals. You can also get another life insurance policy later as your income increases. Just do what you can for now and build from there.

For us, we have gotten term life insurance policies. It allows us to get more coverage for a smaller premium that we would get with whole life insurance.

Thoughts on Life Insurance for Single Parents

For single parents who’ve already purchased their policies, what was the process like for you? How did you decide how much was right for you and your family?

Disclosure: Posts includes information sourced from Genworth Financial

Photo Credit

The Couple’s Guide to Life Insurance

counting my money

If you’re married or engaged, learning to share your personal finances is part of the experience of sharing your lives.

Being in a serious relationship usually means you not only depend on each other for emotional support, but financial support as well. If you’re sharing a mortgage or a rent payment, if you have a joint checking account, or if the two of you are planning for the future together and aligning your saving goals and spending priorities, then you also need to think about buying life insurance as part of your financial goals.

No one likes to think about death and dying, and most of us don’t feel as though we’ll die at a young age, but you really never know when it can happen. Any happy couple can be separated by an untimely accident or illness. What if one of you was to pass away? With your loved one’s passing comes not only the grief of their death, but the danger of your current lifestyle vanishing. Without that other person’s income to help pay the bills, you might find yourself slipping into financial peril.

This is why life insurance is so important, for couples of all ages. Buying life insurance gives you the ability to plan for the most catastrophic loss of all – the untimely death of your life partner. If you own a life insurance policy, your surviving loved ones will receive a significant amount of money that can help them pay the bills and move forward with life in financial comfort.

Many people are reluctant to research life insurance, or don’t know where to go for help. Life insurance can often sound like a rather bland, boring, and downright confusing topic if you’re not an expert in the field. So here are a few quick basic questions and answers that any couple should know about life insurance:

What kind of life insurance is best, term life insurance or whole life insurance?

In general, we recommend that people buy term life insurance. Term life insurance is offered for a specific “term” of years – for example, 10 years, 20 years or 30 years. That means if you buy a 30 year term life insurance policy at age 30, you will be covered until you are 60 years old – if you die at any time during the term, your family will receive the benefits of the policy. Whole life insurance can be useful for some specific situations, but most people will get a higher amount of coverage at a cheaper price if they buy term life insurance.

How much does life insurance cost?

It depends on the term, the amount of coverage, and the health of the person being covered. For example, if you’re 25 years old, in good health, a non-smoker, and you want $250,000 of coverage for a 20-year-term, you might only have to pay $30 a month (or less). If you want more coverage, for example, a $500,000 payout, or a longer 30-year term, the cost of the insurance will increase accordingly.

How much life insurance coverage do I need?

This is a hard question to answer because every person’s financial situation is different. In general, a rule of thumb is that you should have term life insurance coverage that is at least 5 times your annual salary. For example, if you earn $50,000 a year, you should buy a $250,000 term life insurance policy. However, if you need to provide for a large family, you might want to buy more. If you have young children, you might want to buy more life insurance with a long enough term to cover your family until your kids are fully grown. It all depends on your present-day income and long-range goals.

Should I get life insurance for my stay-at-home spouse?

If you are in a one-income household where only one spouse works outside the home, you should still buy life insurance for both spouses. The reason is, even if your non-income earning spouse were to die, there would still be expenses involved with replacing the unpaid labor that he/she provides for the household. If you have a stay-at-home mom raising the kids, or a stay-at-home dad doing chores around the house, you would need to hire someone else to provide child care or do the other work that is being done by the stay-at-home spouse.

Buying life insurance is not always “fun” but it’s a necessary part of strengthening your financial relationship with your partner. Fortunately, it’s easier than ever before to find affordable term life insurance that can fit the needs of any couple, at any stage of life.

About MyInsuranceExpert.com
MyInsuranceExpert.com is one of the top 10 life insurance brokerages in America. We help people find the right life insurance policy at the right price – often saving up to 75% on the cost of life insurance premiums.

We work with several major life insurance companies, but we are independent in making recommendations – we always work on the customer’s behalf to make sure that our customers get the best deal. Talk to the expert advisers at MyInsuranceExpert.com for a free quote on term life insurance.