Tips

An Introduction to Online Banking

Online banking has many online benefits and may be one of the best financial moves a student can make. John Schickedanz, a personal banker and consumer lender for MidWestOne Bank in Iowa City, has given his insight and advice when it comes to this new mode of banking. Online banking establishes many benefits. “After you establish your online banking account,” Schickedanz explains, “you can transfer funds between accounts, set up automatic payments and transfers, access Bill Pay, view all statements within the last 18 months, view images of the checks you’ve written, and place a hold on a check you’ve written.” The account holder is able to check their account 24 hours a day. This allows you to better protect yourself against fraud. In his professional opinion, Schickedanz believes this to be one of the best features of online banking.

One common misconception of online banking is that it will be difficult to maneuver. College students, however, tend to find the process extremely easy and usable due to their advanced knowledge of new and different forms of technology. Schickedanz highly recommends online banking to all college students. College students are busy; there is no denying that. Between work, classes, exams, social lives, we can hardly find time to breathe, let alone make it to the bank. “Online banking gives them a resource to review their banking history from the convenience of their own homes,” Schickedanz says. MidWest One bank also offers Mobile Banking Services. Through this program you can view your account through a smart phone as text message, downloadable application, or mobile webpage. This service even has a built in protection plan, allowing you to access your account safely while on the go.

As an avid user of online banking, I discovered just how much I need my online account when my debit card was stolen out of my car three years ago. By checking my online account, I was able to see where my card had been used and how much was spent. After cancelling the card over the phone, the thief was no longer able to use the card and the rest of my money was safe. If I had not had my online banking account, I would not have realized my card had been stolen as soon as I had and would not have been able to take the steps that I did to protect myself.

Through my online account, I take advantage of the automatic withdraw that comes along with online banking. After transferring a specific sum into a new savings account, I set up a monthly $25 withdraw from my checking account into my savings account. I can view the growth of both accounts through my online banking account. This route of savings also comes highly recommended by Schickedanz.

“We have become a society that finds it very difficult to save money. Let’s be honest, we all enjoy going on shopping sprees and don’t have time to come in to the bank to set aside money. By establishing a free, recurring, automatic transfer, you can ensure that money is automatically put aside for a rainy day. In addition, if you establish Bank Your Change at MidWestOne, each transaction made using your debit card is rounded up to the next whole dollar. Then the rounded amount is transferred to your savings free of charge. By creating this type of transfer, you save money without even thinking about it.”

As a college student, my online banking account has not only saved me time, it has also saved me money. It is a feature that all students should look for when choosing and opening a bank account.

What are the Best Jobs for College Students?

Most people understand the importance of going to college; however, upon arrival many students will quickly discover that they are going to need to find a job to cover their living and entertainment expenses. Even the best jobs for college students do not pay a lot of money, but students do not need to make as much money as most of them believe. Even though a lot of these jobs do not pay a lot, many of them offer other benefits to their employees.

Getting a Job

Retail Stores

Many college students discover that working at a retail store, whether it be a grocery store or a clothing store, is relatively easy work. All that the management really expects is for them to have a positive attitude, show up on time and assist the customers. While these jobs typically do not offer commission or any kind of great pay, most of them offer some extra incentives. For example, many clothing stores will allow the employees to buy their stylish clothes for a substantial discount, so the employee will feel like they are making more money. This actually works out better, because the student will not have to pay income tax on the clothes.

Bars and Restaurants

Students who have an out-going personality and enjoy conversing with others should consider applying for a job at a restaurant or bar. Employees will work a little harder in these jobs than they would in a typical, minimum wage job, but the tips can be very good. It is typically easier to get a job serving at a restaurant than it is at a bar, since bartenders typically have more responsibilities, but servers can typically work their way up. Another nice thing about working for a bar or restaurant is that everyone enjoys being in this atmosphere anyway, and this will allow them to get paid to do so.

Sales

College students may also have an opportunity to work in certain sales job, with electronics being the most popular. Students will be able to work around and learn about the technology they love, but they will also have the ability to earn a commission on their sales. A lot of these stores will also give their employees a really good deal on electronics, such as cell phones. Receiving a cell phone and plan for a few dollars per month can make this job an excellent option.

Internet

Students who are really motivated and good at time management could start an online business. One of the most popular options is freelance writing, because it does not require any financial investment. If students want to invest a little money, they could buy some products and sell them online. The possibilities for working on the Internet are endless, but it takes the right personality to be successful.

These are just a few options for college students to choose from. The key thing for students to remember is that they need to determine what type of work sounds the most appealing. It is also important to note that some college towns may not have the same number of choices, so some students may have to take any job they can get.

E-Trade Review

E-Trade is highly recommended in today’s world of Internet and online stock trading. Many business publications have also given E-Trade high marks. Deciding which online brokerage firm to trust with investment money is a decision that should be researched, and chosen according to the broker’s reputation and services.

What E-Trade Offers Investors

Originally, E-Trade was an online stockbroker business that offered discount executed trades, and that was all. Today, it has become a brokerage firm that offers a full line of services to its clients who are looking to invest their money wisely. E-Trade handles the buying or selling of stocks for its customers, offers expert advice, and up-to-the-minute business news relating to stocks, and a varied list of features.

E-Trade For Beginning Traders

While well-suited to the active, experienced investor, E-Trade is also popular with beginning investors who might have only a thousand dollars to risk. The more active an investor becomes, the lower the commission rates. Becoming an investor is relatively simple. It requires an investor open an account, and fund it with at least $1,000. Once the money is credited to the investor’s account, trading is allowed.

How To Make A Trade

Buying and selling stocks, or making a trade, as it is commonly referred to, is in real-time. A first-time investor simply goes to their personal Accounts page, and follows the directions. Commission rates range from $6.99 to $9.99. An investor will be charged for each trade that is placed. Many times, the commission rate varies, depending on the balance of the trading account, and how often the investor places a trading order during a three-month period. The investor is responsible entirely for the buy and sell orders for stock in the investment account, as well as the choice to buy or sell bonds, futures, options or mutual funds

Products and Services of E-Trade

The services that E-Trade offers online are abundant, and comparable to much larger brokerage firms. E-Trade also offers convenient banking transactions, such as secure savings accounts, aside from trading accounts. The company also offers a wealth of references for investment research. Training seminars, and financial planning services are offered free of charge. E-Trade also offers offices in 16 states throughout the United States, if an in-person visit is preferred.

The Positives of E-Trade

While there is always up-sides and a down-sides to choosing a brokerage firm, one of the pros to using E-Trade is the easy access that common, everyday investors have to foreign markets, and the wide range of investment tools available. Also, E-Trade offers 24-hour telephone support for questions or concerns that can arise after markets close. E-Trade apps for smart phones are also reliable and easy to use.

The Negatives of E-Trade

There are also down sides to E-Trade, being that there is no live chat feature available on the website, and there are more features available to active traders than beginning traders. The fees and commissions are also higher the fewer trades an investor makes, encouraging the trader to risk additional money.

Banks vs. Credit Unions

Before starting a savings account, making investments, and making your own financial plan, you have one choice to make. Should you put your trust in a bank or a credit union? From the outside, the two financial institutions appear the same. What you do not know, however, could be the difference between becoming a member of a local bank or the local credit union.

Charles Funk, president and chief executive officer of MidWestOne Bank in Iowa City, Iowa delves into the subject.

“From the outside, banks and credit unions look basically the same,” Funk says of the two financial institutions. However, there is one distinct difference. Credit unions were created with the goal and mission to serve the under served. Taking a quick look at how credit unions have grown into a large brand shows how the original goal has been strayed from.

Banks have common stock and shareholders, whereas credit unions have members instead of shareholders. This also means that, unlike banks, credit unions do not pay income taxes. This allows them to use more of the money the collect for profit.

Banks and credit unions both offer similar services, from checking to savings accounts but how they operate on the inside is not as similar as the outside appears.

When it comes down to it, the choice between using a bank or credit union is up to the student. The thing to remember is to check all available options and find the one that works best for you.

Five Smart Financial Moves to Make before Switching Jobs

When switching jobs, it is important to be pragmatic when evaluating the new opportunity before you. Outlined below are some aspects of the new situation that you can examine carefully to make sure the new switch works out well for you.

Your New Contract

It would be particularly wise to only give in notice at your old job after you have received and carefully examined the contract for the new position you are being offered. Make sure that at the very least you seek a legal opinion on the validity of the contract, and whether the terms as expressed within it are a reflection of your understanding of the document. This includes remuneration, the terms under which you may leave that position, non-disclosure clauses as well as any other terms that may affect your future career and thus, your future financial stability.

Net Income

Ensure that you have correctly understood the calculations by which you arrive at your net income in your new job. This is a discrepancy that a lot of new employees make, and one that some employers do not take the time to point out, which results in your receiving significantly less than you had initially understood you were going to get as your net income.

Benefits

Closely examine the benefits offered by the new position and note how they impact on your lifestyle. Do you have to travel further than you did for your original job? Does the cost-benefit analysis work out? Do you get paid overtime? Do you have the same health benefits? Are aspects important to your performance, like an entertainment allowance for a high-end marketeer, included in your benefits package? Carefully analyze your benefits terms to ensure they do not put you in a losing position.

Employee Schemes

Examine what schemes are on offer at the new job and take advantage of them. These often vary, and can include stock options, saving schemes, and things of that nature which can be vital to ensuring your medium to long term financial stability.

Account Management

It may be wise for you to look into who manages the financial accounts for the firm you are joining, at a banking level. It puts you on friendlier footing if you are banking with the same bank that handles your employer’s accounts, especially if you are joining a stable firm. Credit is significantly easier to access, and transactions are of course much easier to follow up on. Along side this, you would do well to ensure that you continue with any saving activity that you may have been carrying out at your previous position, or at the very least, start this valuable habit. If disbursements from your monthly income were being distributed between an expense and savings account, ensure the same process is maintained when taking on the new job.