Monday 1 March 2010

Net Worth Update: February 2010

Stock portfolio value increased during February, which meant our SMSF account also rose (as our superannuation is largely invested in the stock market via the Vanguard High Growth Index Fund). The gain in the SMSF valuation was also boosted by three months of employer contributions being deposited during the month. Our real estate investments saw a modest rise in valuations compared to the previous month's data, but at this stage it looks like the March figures will show another significant rise in property sale prices in our suburbs.

Assets___________$ Amount______$ Diff_____% Diff
Stocks____________$47,466______$1,080_____2.33 %
Retirement_______$324,693______$6,113_____1.92 %
Home_____________$846,795______$3,643_____0.43 %
Total Assets___$1,218,954_____$10,836_____0.90 %

Debts____________$ Amoount_____$ Diff_____% Diff
Home Mortgage(s)_$364,622_________$85_____0.02 %
Total Debts______$364,622_________$85_____0.02 %

Net Worth________$854,332_____$10,751_____1.27 %

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A Review of ING Everyday Orange savings account

ING's media department recently asked me if I'd like to post an impartial review of their EverydayOrange Savings account product. I was happy to agree as I already have an ING Online Savings Account which I've used for many years and I'm happy with that account's features and service. ING deposited $600 into the new account so I could trial all the available features -- on the condition that I donate the $600 to a charity of my choice at the end of the trial period.

To kick off the process I opened my new EverydayOrange Savings Account online, using the 'My Applications' link within my ING Online Savings Account in order to save having to re-enter my personal details. I chose not to link my existing ING Online Savings Account to the new ING EverydayOrange Savings Account, as I wanted to keep the ability to have automatic savings into the Online Savings Account deducted from my Credit Union account, rather than having automatic savings debited from the ING EverydayOrange Savings Account. During the online application process I had to enter a security code (sent via SMS) to confirm my identity, and this meant the entire application process was completed in a couple of minutes and my BSB and account number were displayed to me on screen. A welcome pack containing my new Visa Debit card was promised to arrive within 5-10 days, and it arrived less than a week after I applied online. The promised $600 deposit from ING arrived in my account on 22/01.

The welcome pack was easy to understand (a one page welcome letter had the Visa debit card attached) and included some information on the major benefits and ways to actually get paid for using the account:
* earn a $20 bonus for having salary directly deposited into the account - I won't be using this feature just yet.
* have ATM fees reimbursed IF you withdraw $200 or more in one transaction - this is a nice feature as I find ATM fees especially annoying. The only problem will be if I have less than $200 in my orange account and urgently need to get $100 cash... which brings us to the next feature
* if you get cash out via EFTPOS (eg. when paying for groceries at the supermarket) there's no fee. And if you withdraw more $200 or more via EFTPOS you'll even be paid a $0.50 bonus.
* if you set up some direct debits from the Orange Everyday account, you get a $20 bonus when the first direct debit is processed. The welcome pack even included a couple of pre-filled 'change of direct debit' forms to send to existing direct debit creditors, and some postage paid envelopes. Couldn't be simpler!

About a week after my welcome pack and Visa card had arrived in the post, I received an SMS reminder to activate my card. Activation was extremely simple - I just logged into my IngDirect online banking as normal, and clicked on the 'Activate Card' button in the 'My Account Details' section. A confirmation code was sent to my registered mobile phone number via SMS, and I simply entered the code to complete the activation process.

On the 14 Feb I used the Visa card to withdraw $200 from a StGeorge ATM (which advised me that a $2 fee would be incurred). When I checked the transaction listing for my Orange Everyday account online the next day there was a $2 fee rebate showing, as promised. So as long as you remember to withdraw cash from an ATM in $200 chunks rather than a little bit each day, you'll never have to worry about having to pay an ATM fee!

Later that day I paid for my grocery shopping at Woolworths using the Visa debit card to pay from my savings account, and took a $200 cash out at the same time. The next day I checked the online transaction listing and it indeed showed the $0.50 bonus payment generated by that transaction.

The ING Orange account doesn't come with a cheque book, but you can still get a cheque if you need one. The process is relatively simple and free of cost, however it requires you to apply for a bank cheque online and ING will mail you a cheque for the requested amount. I can't imagine this feature will be used very much, although it will be extremely handy for anyone who saves up for a large item (such as a car or home deposit) using their ING Orange account and needs a cheque to make payment.

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