Sunday, November 05, 2006

Fidelity saga - real progress at last

I have finally made some real progress at transitioning to my Fidelity brokerage account as my main "bank" checking account. In fact, although a few tasks remain, I am essentially "there."

I have successfully used a check and had it paid from the Fidelity account. I paid my rent from my traditional bank account this month, but from now on all of my checks will be from my Fidelity checking.

I just received the PIN for the debit card, but I called to change it, so I'll have to wait a couple of days to try it out in an ATM. My intention is to continue to keep a small amount of cash in my traditional bank account for fee-free withdrawal of cash from ATMs, but I would like to know that I have Fidelity available as a backup for cash.

I keep meaning to check whether I can get "cash back" using my Fidelity debut card in the grocery store without incurring any fees. I'll try that next weekend. That would eliminate much of my need to use a bank ATM.

I switched most of my company payroll direct deposit to my Fidelity account, with a small amount still directed to my traditional bank account for fee-free ATM withdrawal. I'll know in 10 days whether this is working out.

I paid a couple more utility bills using the Fidelity checking routing and account numbers. I still have a couple of utility-type bills to switch over over the coming month.

I was able to transfer some cash into my Fidelity account from my ShareBuilder account via the Fidelity checking account.

My ShareBuilder account will now debit my Fidelity checking for the modest monthly investment plan I have with ShareBuilder. This should work, but I won't know for another 10 days.

Google was successful at initiating a small payment to me via the Fidelity checking account, so my next Google AdSense payment (in December or January) should go direct to my Fidelity account.

I still need to switch my Amazon account to Fidelity.

I switched my EFTPS account to make my installment plan payments for back taxes to the IRS via my Fidelity checking account. It should now be all set to go, but I won't be trying it until I get my next paycheck on the 15th.

One of the few remaining items is TreasuryDirect for managing T-bill investments. I should be able to use the routing and account numbers for my Fidelity checking fine, but I need to get a form signed by a bank officer before money can be disbursed to my checking account. I don't know how to do this yet since I don't deal with the real bank that Fidelity uses for checking (UMB in Missouri). Also, I may be able to do T-bill investments directly through Fidelity. I'm in no hurry to resolve this issue since it works fine in the old bank account and is such a small amount of money at present. I'll simply transfer any excess cash from the bank to Fidelity as it accumulates.

The next big step is to simply wait and watch and see that everything happens smoothly over the next month.

A minor task is the calculate how much excess cash to keep in "core" cash, which unfortunately pays a lower interest rate, so that bills can be paid, including occasional travel without having to shuffle money around from higher-yielding accounts. Whether $1,000 or $500 or $250, it wants to be enough to avoid inconvenience, but not so much that I have to "pay" a noticeable amount in lost interest. Since I now have a normal credit card with a high enough credit limit to cover most travel that I might expect, keeping excess cash in higher-yielding accounts and manually transferring it on odd occasions seems to make sense for me. Actually, Fidelity did tell me that they will sell from my higher-yield money market fund in order to avoid a check or debit bouncing, but they said that is a "courtesy" that isn't intended to be used too frequently. Given my limited traveling and purchasing, maybe that "auto-sell" will work out well for me and I'll be able to keep excess cash in the higher-yielding money market fund.

Finally, as we passed the end of a month, I actually earning a little interest on my "core" cash and my Fidelity Cash Reserves (FDRXX) fund. The good news is that the interest on a money market fund automatically gets reinvested in that same fund rather than kicked off as "cash" in the "core" account where it would earn a lower interest rate.

More to come as the saga continues. I'm sure there are some loose ends that I have overlooked.

-- Jack Krupansky

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home