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I need some advice
Old 08-10-2017, 01:43 PM   #1
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I need some advice

I need a little advice.
I am closing in on my retirement date. We will be spending the winters at our place in Florida. So, the advice I am looking for is about banking. Our checking account is in a local bank—because they are really close to home.
How easy is internet banking? (My wife pays our bills and is old school. She is really hesitant to go on-line). How important will it be to have a brick and mortar bank down in FLA for any cash needs we might have? Would a debit card work for us? (Never used one before) Our Social Security checks are direct deposited right now. I have not set up the retirement paychecks from our investment accounts, so I could have that money deposited wherever I decide they should go.
All the other ducks seem to be lined up right now. Help me get through these financial questions.
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Old 08-10-2017, 01:54 PM   #2
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I would just set things up online with your current bank, get your credit card bills online, your utilities online, etc.... Easy. I am sure you can link everything to your current bank online. I see no need for a separate bank in Florida. You'll be fine.
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Old 08-10-2017, 01:54 PM   #3
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Rev, a local bank is a convenience, but not a necessity. For cash needs you can go to just about any ATM, as long as you are willing to pay a transaction fee. You can check with your local bank to see if they belong to any ATM network.

If you and your wife prefer to write checks, all you need is to have your mail forwarded and remember to bring along your checkbook when you head south for the winter.

There's no reason you can't have another, local Florida bank account. The biggest issue with banks in secondary states is the fear the state may claim you as a resident, and tax you, but Florida has no income tax. A second, remote bank means more paperwork, another acccount to reconcile, more mail to forward, etc.
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Old 08-10-2017, 02:00 PM   #4
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When we moved to WV from MD after retirement we did open a checking account with a local bank just because they have ATMs all over the place. If you wanted to use a debit card that would address those issues without opening a new account locally. I didn't want a debit card because the consumer protections for a credit card are far better so we use credit cards instead of debit cards. Neither one of us even has a debit card.

My pension is direct deposited to the credit union account that I've had for 30+ years and the SS deposit goes into the local bank checking account here. That way if one has access issues (hasn't happened) I have an alternative. I haven't been inside the credit union office for 14+ years and no issues yet with that arrangement.
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Old 08-10-2017, 02:16 PM   #5
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It is perfectly OK to have multiple banks and multiple checking accounts. But all should have zero fees even if the balance is $0.00.

We have one "work-horse" checking account with free everything at a major national bank and a couple of other checking accounts that have a balance of $0.00 that don't charge us any fees. We have found that small local banks and credit unions just do not have all the free services that our big bank does.

All banks are online now whether they have brick & mortar offices or not. And all have no paperwork if you sign up for e-mailed statements. While my work-horse bank is also the one with a physical office closest to my house, I only go there when walking the dog because the dog enjoys the free dog treats that he gets.

So sign up for another account and test drive it. Make sure your dog gets free treats, too.
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Old 08-10-2017, 02:43 PM   #6
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Dog treats are one of the reasons we like our local bank.
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Old 08-10-2017, 02:50 PM   #7
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Dog treat is one of the reasons we like our local bank.
And the local dry cleaner gives out dog treats. I was walking by and the clerk rushed out to get me to come in so that they could give my dog a treat. I don't have clothes that ever need dry cleaning, but the dog remembers all his feeding spots.
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Old 08-10-2017, 05:01 PM   #8
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If you open a Fidelity checking account, you can link the Elan 2% cash back credit card to it and get deposits to your account monthly. Also an ATM card that reimburses any transaction fees. We've been with them for at least 10 years and have been very satisfied. We do have a local bank where we have a safe deposit box and a line of credit.
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Old 08-10-2017, 05:11 PM   #9
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I have been using online banking since the 90's. I last used an ATM in late January of this year. I keep my day-to-day checking with Chase (since before the online stuff) and they have ATM's everywhere.

I use Everbank for everything else. They have a few branches now in FL, but pretty much are online 99%.

In FL, you'll find a great convenience with Publix (supermarket). And if you're not within 3 miles of a Publix in FL, you're in a pretty remote place. Their ATM Presto network doesn't charge fees (though your bank may, but that's half the battle solved). You can also get cash using your debit card for groceries, for an extra $20 or whatever here and there, again no fee.

Heck, they still even take checks and do check cashing (no fee) iirc.
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Old 08-10-2017, 05:24 PM   #10
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We DID have a separate Florida account when we were snowbirding, but it was not necessary. At the time, it was just a convenience... to have a local checking account, and to get cash as needed.
If you haven't used online banking, it may sound a little bit intimidating. While my DW still likes to pay many of the variable bills, the recurring bills can be paid automatically. If you haven't done this before, you might consider making an appointment with a rep from your current bank, to bring in the different kinds of bills that you receive, and to get help setting up the auto pay. The rep can also take you through the bank's website to make your at home review easier.
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Old 08-10-2017, 05:47 PM   #11
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I did have a separate checking account in Arizona, but I closed it. I just use my Illinois bank debit card whenever and wherever i need cash - maybe once a month.
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Old 08-10-2017, 05:51 PM   #12
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Online banking is very easy, and just as secure as any other method, but I like Imoldernu's suggestion to ask for an orientation session at your bank. I remember doing this years ago when I started a new account at a bank which was giving me a mortgage.

Long distance banking is no problem at all. My accounts are based in Manitoba, where I used to live. I now live in British Columbia, and I can carry out any in-person business at my local branches, including a safety deposit box. I have Private Banking, which means most fees are waived. If I need some major change such as a loan, I just contact my Private Banking team in Manitoba. It all works very smoothly. Of course it helps that this is one of the Big Six banks in Canada, which are all across the country. If your bank in the US is a local one, YMMV.
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Old 08-10-2017, 08:01 PM   #13
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I have several banks, but do most of my banking online.

It may not hurt to have an account at a credit union or bank in FL. Pay bills with auto-pay, or bill pay, and avoid buying any stamps. I used to use 300+ stamps a year, not it is less than 20.
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Old 08-10-2017, 08:50 PM   #14
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...My wife pays our bills and is old school. She is really hesitant to go on-line...
Sit down with your wife at your computer and go to ally.com. Pretty soon a chat box will appear. Ask all your questions and concerns. I bet she'll lose her hesitation.

Personally, I find online banking much more convenient. Also, better rates on checking and savings accounts. It doesn't close at 3 PM. And, ATM usage is free.
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Old 08-10-2017, 09:08 PM   #15
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I have a friend with a home in Florida. He also has very substantial homes in his home town in another state. My friend spends half the year physically, and documents his time in Florida for state income tax reasons.

All bank accounts and addresses on his rather large investment accounts have been moved to Florida. He now has a Florida driver's license and has Florida license plates on the cars garaged there. And he files income taxes with Florida resident addresses.

This is a rather common business arrangement for those who residences and live in Florida even part time. I remember at one time that virtually every truly wealthy person in my home state kept residences in Florida (mostly West Palm Beach) for tax reasons. (I'm not talking about my current home state of Alabama.)
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Old 08-11-2017, 09:04 AM   #16
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We snowbird and found it unnecessary to have a Florida bank account. DW pressed for one but I resisted. One of our local home bank accounts is transaction fee free on the Allpoint ATM network so I just go to Allpoint ATMs and there are a lot of choices. We have a checkbook and credit cards and pay bills out of our home checking account just like we do when we are at home.

Note we are not Florida residents... if we were claiming to be Florida residents then I would have a Florida bank account as out main account
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Old 08-11-2017, 09:57 AM   #17
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We snowbird and our local bank didn't have branches in California. Opened another account with Chase, which seems omnipresent. Very handy (we don't do ATMs either). Nice to have a free notary and a branch to cash a check in. We continue our local bank as well. Also have accounts with several other banks, but the old local and Chase get the day to day. We do do online as well - very smooth that way, and tax interest statements sent to us down south don't get California all excited to call us residents and want taxes.
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Old 08-11-2017, 11:16 AM   #18
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It has to be more than a decade since I've walked into a local bank branch. Totally unnecessary.
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Old 08-11-2017, 07:10 PM   #19
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BB&T for safety deposit box and occasional need to get papers notarized, etc. Have pension payments sent there, pay bills from there and then move excess to Fidelity for financial management.

We do everything online. If your spouse is uncomfortable , you should consider some computer courses for her/him.
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Old 08-12-2017, 01:06 AM   #20
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I use USAA based in Texas, I'm in California nowhere near a branch but they reimburse ATM fees. Haven't had checks with them EVER but have written less than 10 checks from Schwab Bank in the past decade. Now that property taxes & everyone else can be paid online I have no need for paper checks. Put everything on autopay and simplify.
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