Part 1: Fidelity
For the last month or two I have been researching the best way to access money in Peru. Since we will be paid in US dollars, having money to spend becomes much more complicated than transferring money to a Peruvian bank (this usually comes with a $25-40 fee). The only other option is to withdraw cash from ATMs and banks paying a 1% currency exchange fee plus a $3-4 ATM fee (for those of you who are thinking just use a credit card - triple the currency exchange fee and few stores accept them).
Yesterday I resigned to staying with Wachovia and accepting the ATM and currency fee, but today is a new day. Welcome to Fidelity's mySmart Cash Account (which is new and won't be available till Aug 3rd or so). I still pay the 1% currency fee, but they reimburse ALL ATM fees in the US as well as internationally. On top of this, the checking account requires no minimum balance and a has 3.5% interest rate (higher than a Wachovia Money Market account with a balance over $500,000). Also since our investments are with Fidelity, finally all of our finances will be with one company!
Part 2: National Christian Foundation
Anyone who's ever heard me mention this, is aware of my passion for it. A year ago Randy (see Fink-Think) and I were talking about the problem of wanting to give money, not knowing where to give and therefore just spending it instead. A couple weeks later he suggested starting MY own personal foundation to set aside money to give later. At first it may sound strange and unnecessary, but let me give a few reasons you may want to consider it:
- All giving goes directly through NCF. No more keeping track of receipts - just view the statement at tax time
- All contributions to the fund are IMMEDIATE tax write offs
- Easily track how much you have given
- Set aside money in anticipation of giving (this helps to set and meet giving goals)
- Give stocks and investments rather than cash (this can help to diversify investments)
- Encourages and motives you to give MORE!
- Send gifts online
- Your money earns interest while in the account
- IT'S FREE, and since you have a fund within the foundation, there's NO PAPERWORK!