Apparently Goldman Sachs is rethinking their banking partnership with Apple; apparently they didn’t understand that consumer banking was hard, and stuff. There’s no telling how they’re going to exit the partnership, or who is going to take it over from here, but all of the executives who were originally in charge of it have bailed out, according to the WSJ. I’ve been nothing but happy with my Apple Card, and paying it is easier than checking Instagram. My savings account keyed to this card is earning 4.15% APR, which is better than any other bank account I’ve had in my life. I really hope they’re able to keep it running smoothly; as of August they had over $10B in deposits.

Date posted: November 28, 2023 | Filed under apple, money, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

Following up on my post about Mint closing down, The Verge did an article about alternative financial planning services; some are apps, some are superpowers spreadsheets, and some are online services. I don’t know if I trust anyone to steward my financial information anymore, but I figure everyone has already mined that information for all the money possible anyway.

Date posted: November 15, 2023 | Filed under money, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

I’ve been an on-again, off-again user of Mint since it first started, and I found it really helpful for providing an overall picture of how well our spending/saving/debt picture looked as a household. They made it easy to hook into the APIs of each banking institution, bypassing all of the platform-specific stuff and presenting the information in a clear interface. They got bought by Intuit a while back—you know, the company that makes tax preparation software falsely advertised as free and actively lobbying to stop Americans being able to file taxes for freewho have now announced they’re shutting it down. They’re pushing people to some new paid service called Credit Karma, which I’m sure will offer half the services and suck really badly. The enshittification continues.

(previously, previously)

Date posted: November 6, 2023 | Filed under money | Leave a Comment »

While we were waiting in the TSA screening line in Puerto Rico, I noticed a sign that mentioned fliers could use a digital ID on their phone in place of a physical card, and remembered that Apple was offering this service through the Wallet app. I’d tried to set it up months ago but got stuck in a loop, so I made a note to set it up when we returned home.

The process was pretty simple; you shoot a photo of the front and back of your ID and send it through their system for verification, and a few days later get an email that notifies you of approval. Apparently you can bring the ID up and tap it on a smart device to verify your identity. I’d imagine the number of these smart devices is small, but my guess is that this is another look into the future.

On a somewhat related subject, I used my Apple Card to pay for all of the charges for the trip and this new laptop, and through the cash back feature of that account, I’m seeing the balance in my savings account there slowly creep upwards. I’m going to experiment with adding some additional cash into that savings account, as it’s the highest yield account I have (fuck off, Bank of America) and see how things go.

Date posted: August 19, 2023 | Filed under apple, money | Leave a Comment »

I get infrequent updates from the Maryland 529 Plan about Finn’s college fund, usually in the form of an email that contains a link to a “secure” PDF I have to download to read. I’m still puzzling over this farkakte security strategy; the school district does the same thing. It’s sort of like hitching a team of oxen up to your car to drive out to the store. Anyway, there has been a bunch of controversy over the earnings rate of Prepaid Trust accounts, which is what we set up for Finn. Somehow the administration of the accounts got all fucked up and they’re in the middle of sorting that mess out, and have predictably been doing an abysmal job of communicating about it, going so far as to re-hiring the guy who oversaw the train wreck to continue overseeing it. The message I got yesterday from the state treasurer was attached to a 40-page document outlining the beginnings of the program, a timeline of issues, decisions, and events that led up to the current situation, and a not-so-intuitive explanation of what they’re doing moving forward. I’m still processing all the information to try and make an informed decision as to what we’ll do with Finn’s account (keep it in the Prepaid plan, or roll it over into a standard 529 plan), and I requested a manual calculation of our current balance with  interest based on this new number.

Date posted: July 27, 2023 | Filed under finn, money | Leave a Comment »

The Maryland 529 plan seems to still be in turmoil; apparently they did some miscalculating and are claiming that some people have too much money in their accounts.

Maryland 529 told families two years ago they would earn 6 percent on balances held before Oct. 31, 2021, because of excess earnings from the trust. But the agency said it erroneously applied the formula in a way that inflated the values of accounts between November 2021 and April 2022.

There isn’t a whole lot of information coming from the Plan, which has made some lawmakers very upset.

A spokesperson for the AG’s office said it was “currently advising the 529 plan in addressing the challenges they are facing.” State auditors were already set to examine whether the agency had addressed management problems raised in a 2019 report, and said the latest calculation issue would also be part of the review.

Date posted: January 30, 2023 | Filed under money, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

Fucking fantastic. We have a chunk of savings set aside for Finn’s education in something called the Maryland Prepaid College Trust. It’s a vehicle that lets us lock tuition costs in at the time of contribution, with the state basically assuming any risk of inflation. Sounds good, right?

Turns out there’s been some shenanigans with the system, and a bunch of people haven’t been able to access their funds:

According to the Maryland Prepaid College Trust, trouble in the prepaid plan surfaced shortly after the trust transitioned program management from an in-house team to a third-party vendor, Intuition College Savings Solutions, in November 2021.

They held a board meeting that went extremely poorly last night, where they were required by law to tell the public and let us attend, but basically called roll and then went into a closed session without providing any update. They’ve been evasive and shitty about this for months, apparently, and this erodes all of the trust I have in the program. I had to look at our account two weeks ago for something unrelated, and all of the money we invested was there at that point, but fuck’s sake, this is scary. That money is a sizeable investment for our family. If it were to disappear for some reason, that would set us back years.

Date posted: December 21, 2022 | Filed under money | Leave a Comment »

In today’s day and age, it’s nice to see rich white crooks going to jail. Elizebeth Holmes, the crook who swindled millions from other rich people, was sentenced to 11 years in the slammer.

Her partner Billy Evans, in his sentencing memo to the court, told the judge that he fears for “a future in which my son grows up with a relationship with his mother on the other side of glass armed by guards”.

Yup, nobody wants that, but it happens every day to non-white people in America who don’t have the casual ability to just drop out of Stanford to start a company and defraud investors.

Date posted: November 18, 2022 | Filed under money, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

Thanks to Seth Godin, this is the is the first reasonable explanation of NFTs that I’ve read so far; all of the mainstream coverage I’ve seen has been the confused dad/clickbait headline variety, much like coverage of Bitcoin continues to be. Yet another scam, made by people trying to sell scarcity.

Date posted: March 24, 2021 | Filed under money, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

“In my mind, it’s been in maintenance mode the last eight years,” says Aaron Patzer, the founder of Mint who accepted Intuit’s offer, found himself tasked with improving Quicken, and then left the company in 2012.

I used Mint for several years and found it super-helpful for a top-level overview of finances and money flows. Fast Company does a little shallow digging into why it’s stalled out.

Date posted: January 23, 2020 | Filed under money, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »