Time flies. It wasn’t long ago when I was trying to figure out where Synchrony Bank came from since the firm came out with an online banking offering. Fast forward a few years and an IPO later, the company not only has a solid online savings product but they are also the largest private label credit card provider in the U.S. based on purchase volume and receivables.

Synchrony Financial grew out of GE Capital, the financial arm of General Electric. It used to be called GE Capital Bank but they rebranded themselves to Synchrony in 2014 to decouple from GE Capital’s battered image during the financial crisis. As a consumer though, none of this would matter all that much because after all, the CDs and savings accounts are FDIC insured up to the limit.

What really matters is how the bank performs on a day to day basis. Here’s my review.

The No Minimum is Nice

There’s absolutely no minimum to have an account with Synchrony Bank. Many of you won’t care much since there’s no point to having an account if there is no minimums, but having no minimums is great because it allows me to have the account open and just hop to whichever bank has the highest rate. What I do now is just have accounts open at a few online banks and just ACH the money to whoever has the highest rate at the time. It’s easy, convenient and earns me some chump change for almost no work at all.

Mobile Banking Works Fine But There’s No App Yet

Synchrony Bank obviously lets you bank with your smartphone but there are no indications that there will be a dedicated app from them anytime soon. I’ve tested the website on my phone and everything works fine but I also don’t really bank much on my phone. This is something to take a note of if you bank heavily on your smartphone and want the convenience of an app.

Get an ATM Card If You Must

I would never get an ATM card for saving accounts because I don’t want to access my cash that easily, but the option is there for those who want one. Note though that you are still limited to six withdrawals a month because of Federal Regulation D (FRB 12 CFR 204.2 (d)(2)). Synchrony doesn’t charge a fee for consumers who go over the limit, but they will probably close the account if you repeatedly violate the rule.

I Love Mobile Deposit!

I really have to thank the online banks for this innovation because the lack of branches is pretty much what prompt all major banks to develop mobile check deposit technology. Anyway, Synchrony Bank currently allows $5,000 per day to be deposited into its accounts and you can bypass the ACH setup if you just use mobile deposits. You can probably also fund the account a little bit faster if you just fund the account at the beginning using a check too, but we are again talking about a few days difference.

Trust Accounts and IRAs are Accepted

Unlike Goldman Sachs Bank which we discussed earlier, you can setup trust accounts with Synchrony Bank. IRAs, whether it’s a Traditional IRA or a Roth IRA, are also of course accepted.

Editor’s Note: Just to be clear, Goldman Sachs Bank also allows IRAs. It’s just trust accounts that aren’t supported at this time.

They also offer CDs and a money market account, available in trust and IRA account types. The rates are competitive there too.

Think of the Benefits Before You Sign Up

Yes, applying is easy and there’s essentially no hurdles to get everything up and running, but make sure you are fully aware of why you want to get an account in the first place. Is it to get a higher rate? Do you just want to switch because you dislike who you currently use for liquid savings? Are you hitting the FDIC insurance limits or do you just want to diversify a bit in the rare case that something goes wrong? Getting another account won’t cause that much of pain, but just make sure you will actually make use of it because more accounts equal more time to keep track of them all.

For those who still want to sign up, (or want to explore the details further), then click here to go to SynchronyBank.com. They are, after all, a solid choice for those who need some place to park their cash.

So… what do you think of Synchrony? Are you a customer? Will you sign up?

Gutter cleaning is one of those dutiful bi-yearly tasks that comes with homeownership. To protect your house from water damage, the common recommendation is to clean your gutters at least twice a year to remove leaves and debris, and even more frequently if you live in an area with many trees or high annual rainfall. Now that it’s time for a spring clean-out, which option are you going to choose: to do it yourself, or hire a contractor?

At first glance, it makes sense that it should be cheaper to do it yourself, but there are several reasons it might not be as much of a difference as you’d think. Before you set yourself to this unpleasant task for the sake of saving money, let’s compare the financial costs (and risks) of cleaning those nasty gutters out yourself versus hiring a handyman or gutter contractor.
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We don’t always know when the unexpected will happen. That doesn’t mean we can’t plan for it though.

In fact, one of the best things you can do for your finances is to look ahead and prepare for the inevitable emergency. Here are four tips you can use for your plan:

1. Start with Your Rainy Day Fund

It’s old news, but the reality is that many Americans still don’t have the resources to handle a $500 emergency. That means you probably need to beef up your rainy day fund.

Get started even if you feel like you can’t set aside a ton. Every little bit helps. Set aside money each week that can be used for a rainy day.

This also includes paying attention to what’s happening with your expenses. While things do happen unexpectedly, the truth is that we often get clues that something is about to break down. The washing machine behaves erratically, or you notice something about the fridge. Once those signs appear, start setting money aside.
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Student loan debt is second only to home loans as the highest form of consumer debt in the United States. That’s scary, especially if you’re a college student who’s just starting or only part-way through this expensive career-before-your-career.

Paying off college expenses as you go is the best way to avoid a massive pile of debt when you graduate, but that’s easier said than done, especially if you’re carrying a full-time course load. Taking classes and studying is enough work for anyone, even before taking on a full time or part time job.

Meanwhile, college surveys report that students spend 8 to 10 hours a day on the web. That’s a lot of (let’s face it – often wasted) time that could be used to earn money. Regardless of whether you spend too much time online, the point is that you’re online anyway – why not make money from it?

Here are four ways college students can earn extra money to keep on top of their student loans by doing what they do best – spending time on the web.
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One of the very real fears people have is that of spending money.

This is especially true after you have been in a frugal mindset for a long period of time.

When you are so used to pinching every penny, it’s common to become scared to start spending more money. While this isn’t always a bad thing, it can contribute to a scarcity mindset and prevent you from taking full advantage of your financial resources.

Retirees Aren’t Spending What They Could

A study published in the Journal of Financial Planning found that many retirees who get to their golden years aren’t actually spending money in a way that draws down their assets.
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Painting is a popular spring do-it-yourself project, especially since it’s one the easiest ways to refresh the appearance of your home. If you’re trying to sell, new paint can also improve your home’s appeal to potential buyers. Depending on the size of your project, primer, paint, and supplies can get expensive fast. To help you stay on budget, here are a few tips to help you choose paint, find good deals, and ultimately get the greatest return on the time and money you invest in your spring painting projects.

1. When choosing paint brands, compare key qualities.

There are scores of paint brands to choose from these days, ranging in price from $8 per gallon to more than $30. The price of some brands corresponds with their quality, but that’s not always the case. To choose the best paint for your project, you need to look at more than just the price tag. Here are five key qualities to look for:

  • Coverage: Many higher-end paints have built-in primers and get the job done in fewer coats than economy brands.
  • Stain resistance: Depending on what you’re painting, you may want to choose a paint with better stain resistance (for instance, high-traffic living areas).
  • Scrub resistance: Some paints dull when you scrub them, so if you’ll be using extra elbow grease on the walls, prioritize this quality.
  • Paint pros say acrylic latex paints are more resistant to the effects of temperature and moisture over time than oil-based alternatives.
  • Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are the solvents paint releases into the air as it dries. A typical paint has about 150 grams of VOCs per liter; low-VOC paint has 50 g/l or less. If you’re concerned about paint fumes, this is something to pay attention to.

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