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On this blog, I’ve been transparent about the credit cards I sign up for in order to earn big miles and points bonuses for travel. It’s a fun “hobby” for me that takes time and organization, but it’s also been very lucrative (see my recent posts about using miles and points for business class seats to Paris and back).
However, for many miles and points hobbyists, there is another hobby that goes hand-in-hand with credit cards. That complementary hobby is bank and brokerage bonuses. The idea is similar: move money to new accounts that offer incentives (usually cash) for new money deposited.
But unlike credit card bonuses where you can simply charge your monthly bills that you were going to spend anyway, this hobby requires extra money on top of your bills money to some degree. Sure, some bank bonuses require small deposits, but the bigger ones often require a big stash of cash.
Until now, I’ve sat on the sidelines and watched others blog about it and actually do it. But now that I’m debt-free and trying to build wealth for an early retirement, I’ve decided to get my feet wet.
How to Find Bank and Brokerage Bonuses
Just like credit card bonuses, bank and brokerage bonuses come and go and vary in size. Personally, I find it difficult to keep up, so I don’t even try. I recommend checking out links on Doctor of Credit. That blog maintains a list of bank and brokerage promotions that is updated regularly.
Keep in mind that many of the bonuses have strings attached. Some require a certain number of direct deposits, and some have monthly fees that eat up the value of the bonus. Be aware that certain bank accounts also trigger a hard credit inquiry that can affect your credit score.
My Objective and Choice
My first priority is to consolidate my 401ks/IRAs. I have a few accounts from different employers all in different places. It’s hard for me to keep track of where they are.
I also want to begin investing in a non-retirement brokerage account. And I want to manage that money in the same place with my IRAs.
After looking through the brokerage bonuses, I decided to open a new E*TRADE account. My husband already has an account that he uses for work stock grants, so I was already somewhat familiar with it.
E*TRADE currently has a tiered promotion offer (see here for details, this is not an affiliate link). I like that the promotion includes retirement funds (some bonuses only count non-retirement funds). I should be getting a $600 bonus after my transfers go through. No, it’s not huge and yes, I will have to pay taxes on it.
But it’s better than nothing. And, now I can see all of my investments in one platform for easier tracking and management.
Not Done Yet
We have an emergency fund that’s been in the same online bank for many years. It gets a decent interest rate (considering the low interest rates right now). But, it’s money I can play with a move to another bank to get a bonus.
I’m still contemplating my move with this money and weighing my options. I don’t see myself constantly moving money for ongoing bank bonuses, but who knows. Maybe it will grow on me, just like miles and points credit cards.
Do you dabble with bank and brokerage bonuses?
Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids. Her favorite vacations include the beach, cruising and everything Disney.