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This credit union is amazing! My wife and I just recently moved into their network to attend school nearby. We have our first child on the way and decided we wanted to start saving for a home and stop renting. We learned about a program with Greater Iowa Credit Union called their "IDA Program." In short, it helps low income families, which we are as lowly college students, save for either a first home, first car, or school. We're obviously taking the option of first home, and should everything work out, Great Iowa Credit Union will match our savings for a down payment up to $4,000. Needless to say, it is an amazing program and we can't wait to take full advantage of it in the next year and finally purchase our first home. For anyone in the Des Moines-Ames region of Iowa, I highly recommend taking advantage or this program if you meet the criteria and looking into getting yourself an account with a fantastic credit union that really cares about their community.
I didn't plan on opening an free checking account with Veridian, but I was forced to because of my living situation at the time. Luckily for me it was a good fit at the time. Many of their branches are located inside Hy-Vee grocery stores, and they are open 7 days a week with late hours most nights allowing me to go in after a shift and make a deposit or cash my check after a long week of work. Since then I have moved on, the branch locations are limited as it's a credit union. I would have liked to continue on with them but work took me elsewhere.
I still love SmartyPig, even though I don't use my account with them anymore. This is now a national bank that is from my homestate. I opened one of their online savings account when their rates were very high, close to 5% for a short time. You opened the account fully online, which was great, and easy, and then enter your local bank's info and start transferring money in. The website was really slick and fun to use, you could even ask you friends and family to help you save for something you had in mind. Unfortunately the economy took a turn for the worse and so did their interest rates. I had better options at my local bank for savings and took advantage. At 1%, it is still a great savings account and I would highly recommend this to parents looking to teach their children about savings. Set up an account for them and they can have access to it anywhere and you can help them reach goals they have. Could be a really fun learning experience.
I didn't know much about this firm until my dad transferred over a money market account to my wife and I as a wedding present. The fund has been doing great since I took it over and I've seen great returns. I truly couldn't be happier with its performance. However, if you're looking for an online investment account that it easy and intuitive, this is not it. The website is poorly thought out, I find myself being mixed up regularly, and even when I know exactly what I want to do, I sometimes still have trouble getting it done. Along those same lines, I've had headaches trying to get this account to link to my money management website of choice Mint.com. Luckily that has been resolved and I do not know on who's side the issue was, but I would lean towards American Century Investment from seeing their internal technology. So if you're looking for good performing funds, you can find them here, no problem. Just be ready to do your research and stumble around their site a little bit. Hopefully they give it a facelift soon.
I've had a T. Rowe Price investment account for about 10 years now. My dad helped me start one when I graduated from high school and got me added to it monthly. It's been a great asset tracker. There are countless tools available on their website for tracking and making informed decisions when it comes to your investments. It's easy to look for the highest returns for the year on a fund and think that is the best option, T. Rowe Price helps you look towards the long-term which most of us want. I transferred over my 401K to them without a hassel when I quit a job recently. It was absolutely painless and I now have them in a much higher performing fund than anything that was provided by the financial firm my employer went through. With quarterly statements that truly breakdown how your investments are doing, it's a great company to work with.
This used to be an amazing account to have when the economy was stronger. Since I first opened it a few years ago, the interest rate as steadily declined. To open the account was amazingly easy; I was able to open a full savings account completely online! It was great. No going to the bank, waiting for people and filling out paperwork. All online! The rates were great like I said when I started, and the money transfer; while slow because they were ACHs, they gave me great returns for just a regular savings and it actually made it much harder to access my money which for me was a plus as it encouraged me to save more and not at spur of the moment dip into it. Ultimately I stopped using my account once the interest rate went under 1%. My local credit unions reward checking accounts give upwards of 4% with easily met conditions. Pros: Ease of use Cons: Returns
I actually used to work at Bank of the West and know in depth what it means to have this account. Firstly, I was required to have an account with Bank of the West as part of my employment. I thought it was awful. The monthly fees kept adding up, and I could never find ATMs in my network that didn't charge me extra to withdrawal my money. Do yourself a favor and seek out your local credit union. They are usually much more fair and understanding with your money and any issues that arise. The one good thing going for the account was that one location nearby me was open 7 days a week and even most holidays. These days I don't need to go into the bank for face-to-face things all that often, but it didn't make it much easier that that branch didn't have "banker's hours."
I've had a renter's policy with State Farm Insurance for about four months now. Luckily, no issues have come up yet that I've had to make claims on, and hopefully I will have none. I searched quite a bit for the best deal out there and State Farm came out on top. For just about $10 a month I'm covered on all my possessions and then some. I went and met with the local agent in my city, he was super helpful and a great person to deal with. I think with State Farm a lot has to do with who your local agent is. Unlike larger faceless companies out there, you actually have someone that you can go back to time and time again; they know who you are and you know them. That personal touch plus great rates make it something special in my eyes and think it will for many others. And you if you are a renter, GET RENTERS INSURANCE! I've had too many friends have unfortunate situations brought upon them that could have been resolved to a great extent had they carried renters insurance. For $10 a month, it is well worth the investment.
I love Progressive! I have been with them since I turned 16, I am now 28 and they have just gotten better and better over time. Obviously when I was 16 I didn't care much about my insurance besides that I had to pay for it and that stunk ;) I've had a pretty good driving record over the past 12 years and it has shown in my premiums. They have steadily gone down year after year, and getting married and turning 25 helped a lot as anyone who knows about insurance will tell you. The greatest thing so far is something pretty new; the SnapShot device. My wife and I just leased a 2013 and newer cars have diagnostic ports under the steering wheel columns where you can plug in this SnapShot device. It tracks when and how much you drive and watches for "hard braking." Based on what information the SnapShot collects on your driving habits you can receive a big discount from Progressive. I'm currently paying $34 a month for two drivers on a 2013 lease! Seems too good to be true.