Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Online Banking

Early in college I learned some very difficult financial lessons regarding late fees. While I considered myself knowledgeable regarding financial transactions I consistently found myself paying late fees for every bill around. I adopted early to online bill payments as a means of avoiding these sapping charges.

Currently the only bill I manually pay is the monthly transfer of funds from Checking to pay my credit card (a transaction I like to oversee). Mortgage, car insurance, cell phones, student loans, etc. all manage themselves. Here are a few benefits of online bill pay for my personal life:
  1. Avoid Fees - Many services charge $15-$30 for delayed payments
  2. Reduce Stress - How much energy do you devote to thinking when bills are due? For what purpose? Assuming your are financially solvent are you really not going to pay your electric bill?
  3. Maximize Interest- The time value of money is a simple concept: hold on to your money for as long as possible to maximize your return given a positive interest rate. Online payments allow you to set a payment date as close as possible to the due date leaving your funds earning interest until the last possible second.
  4. Access - Information is only as your ability to access it.
  5. Reduce clutter - You don't really need to save that electric bill, why clutter your mailbox? I don't have a home office and living in the city I certainly don't have room for boxes of bills and used checks.
I highly recommend my bank for anyone interested in online banking. I have also read very positive reviews of PNC's Virtual Wallet.

Monday, January 19, 2009

$10,638,425,746,293.80 - US National Debt

I just read an interesting article over at Emerginvest

The US national debt has reach a record $10.6 Trillion dollars with an estimated $1.2 Trillion annual budget deficit to dig the hole deeper. Divided by the nearly 204 Million Americans ages 15-64 that equals a $52,152 bill for each of us growing daily.

The majority of economist (and myself) believe that we must spend our way out of the current recession. Hopefully Keynesian economic theories hold true and greener pastors are ahead for our wonderful nation.

The greatest struggle will not be weathering the current recession; but rather the ability of individuals and our leaders to show fiscal restraint once the US economy rights itself through stimulus. Unless we can master this act we are doing nothing but re-inflating a bubble for future generations to pop with ever greater consequences.

In the meantime looks like $14,000,000,000,000.00 is a number we will all have to attempt to comprehend.