Monday, August 24, 2009

ING Direct $25 Referral Bonus

I've written before about my experiences with ING Direct. I actually attribute much of the credit for my financial turn-around to ING, since it was their no-fee, high-interest savings account that gave me "somewhere else" to put my money. This is what got me started with partitioning my money in order to develop an emergency cushion and shrink my debts. In 2007, I wrote a series of three posts on the subject:
The end result of this analysis was that, in terms of features and user experience, ING was a winner. Its interest rates are currently middle-of-the-pack, but they are a pleasure to do business with, and offer a full suite of savings products (including RRSP and TFSA options, as well as GIC and mutual fund accounts). Transferring funds is simple and fast, with a one-day turnaround in either direction. I can't say enough good things about ING, and they will always hold a special place for me as the first tool in my financial toolbox.

If you're looking for a no-fee savings account to add to your portfolio, I have a referral code that you can use to get started with a $25 sign-up bonus. Here's what you have to do:
  1. Fill out the online application for a new account.

  2. In the "Orange Key" field on the application form, enter my referral code: 17093935S1

  3. Send ING a cheque, made out to yourself, for at least $100. This accomplishes two things:
    • It creates a link between ING and your chequing account, so that you can move funds back and forth between institutions

    • It qualifies you for the $25 bonus, since you need to make an initial deposit of at least $100 to qualify
Note that existing ING customers can not use the Orange Key to get the $25 bonus; this offer is only available to new clients.

The great thing about savings accounts is that there's no downside to opening them up and trying them out. Getting started with a $25 bonus just sweetens the deal, since ING is a great bank to deal with.

Disclosure: Since I'm providing the Orange Key, I will also receive a bonus for every new customer who signs up with an initial deposit of $100 or more.

Monday, August 10, 2009

July update: In which our blogger takes his sweet time posting

Happy August. Sorry to be posting this so late (theoretically, it should have gone up over a week ago). At any rate, I hope you enjoyed Civic Holiday last Monday. Toronto residents should also be enjoying the fresh air now that the CUPE strike is over, and basking in the afterglow of Caribana and Taste of the Danforth.

As we head into the home stretch of our Canadian "summer", let's see how I did last month:
  • Reduced my revolving debt to $11,511.39 - Good, solid progress here. We had no real unexpected expenses in July, so I was able to stick to my debt reduction schedule.

  • Emergency Fund grew to $1,730.07 - After the cash outlay for car repairs in June, I'm back on-track with forward motion in my Emergency Fund. $2,000 by year-end still looks achievable.

  • Wedding Fund grew to $3,662.86 - July was a strong month on the nuptial front, getting us back in the black with our wedding savings. We're also starting to finalize some of the details of next summer's affair, and we should be able to hit the $6,500 target by year-end.

    NOTE: Since this money is earmarked to be spent on our wedding next year, any valid wedding expense that we pay for from this account will not reduce my progress on this goal. This may seem like funny accounting, but the real goal here is to pay cash for the wedding, so I don't plan to penalize myself for using these funds as intended.

  • Reduced our mortgage to $295,673.67 - Make no mistake; this is still a freaking big amount of money to owe. The important thing to note, though, is that this is a drop of $1,135.84 from a month ago. Compare that to the $794.73 in monthly principal reduction that we've been averaging over the last two years, and you can see why I'm happy. The new rate on our mortgage has everything to do with this jump. When we renewed in June, we basically cut our interest rate in half, but kept our payments the same. This sends a lot more of our payment toward principal on the loan, and represents the first time that we've really been "ahead" on the mortgage. In three years, when it's time to renew again, we will have made some very strong progress.
Now, on to my month-end update:

Online Savings - $1,863.81
Self-Directed RSP - $42,719.10
Employer Group RSP - $17,607.69

Revolving Debt - $11,511.39
Student Loans - $18,643.62

Net Investable Assets: $32,035.59
Net Liquid Assets: ($28,291.20)

This is getting repetitive, but I won't complain. Once again, my RRSP was buoyed by market growth. Liquid savings were basically flat, for a net increase of $3,505.19 in my investable assets, accompanied by a $1,242.07 drop in my non-mortgage debt.

Overall, my net investable assets increased by $4,747.26, and my net liquid assets increased by $1,164.64. My NetworthIQ profile has also been updated (including loose cash, home, car and mortgage).

More milestones this month, as my net investable assets cracked $30,000, and my net worth crossed the $80,000 mark. Things may not always move forward as quickly as I'd like, but I've made tremendous progress over the last two years, and I'm looking forward to the day in the not-so-distant future when my only debt is our mortgage.