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About Ken Tumin About Ken Tumin - Founder and Editor

Ken Tumin founded the Bank Deals Blog in 2005 and has been passionately covering the best deposit deals ever since. He is frequently referenced by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and other publications as a top expert, but he is first and foremost a fellow deal seeker and member of the wonderful community of savers that frequents DepositAccounts.

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Forum Highlights: Rate Cuts, Hackers Hit CUs and Unemployment Trends

POSTED ON BY

This is another post to highlight a few noteworthy forum posts. This is intended to help readers who may not regularly read the discussion forum. It will also give me a chance to recognize and give thanks to the DA members for their contributions to the website. I've listed a few recent forum posts on topics that I think may interest DA readers. If you don't see your username mentioned this time, keep posting and you will likely see your forum thread mentioned in my future highlight posts.

  1. Alliant Credit Union Rate Cuts - I reported on the 10-bps rate cuts on Alliant's savings and checking accounts. Alliant had a long history of a competitive savings account. I'm sorry to see that change.
  2. New nationally available 3% $15K reward checking - Thanks to 51hh who first posted on the new Kasasa Cash and Kasasa Saver accounts at First National Bank. I did a blog post review of this account, but several readers have documented their experiences applying for this account in the forum thread.
  3. Credit Unions Being Hit By DDoS Attacks - Large banks aren't the only ones being hit by hackers that use DDoS attacks to make the websites inaccessible. Thanks to pearlbrown who posted on news about Patelco and University Federal Credit Union being hit.
  4. Major deposit withdrawals from the nation’s bank accounts - Another factor that has been suppressing deposit rates is a flood of deposits at the nation's banks. There are signs that may be changing. Thanks to Shorebreak who posted news about a US Federal Reserve report of major deposit withdrawals from the nation’s bank accounts.
  5. Emergency Reserve Fund Planning - DA member 51hh posted some useful guidelines and insights for planning one's emergency fund.
  6. Job Disappearance - A Permanent Trend? - The Fed is waiting on lower unemployment rates before it starts to hike rate. There are factors that could cause the wait to be longer than expected. Thanks to cumulus who posted news on how new technologies are affecting employment.
  7. Check Your Accounts Frequently - DA member lou described how he found out about a $500 unauthorized withdrawal from his bank account. It shows why you need to regularly check your accounts.

Discussion Forum Tutorial

If you like a simple blog format, you can view the forum using this link. This page shows the latest featured threads in an expanded format that shows the first post of each featured thread. Click on the title of the post to view any comments for that post or to leave a comment. Unlike the blog, the forum requires you to log in before you can comment.

You can get to this Featured Threads page by using the forum menu and clicking on the "Featured Threads" link. Then click on the "Posts" link below the menu. I actually prefer the "Threads" view which shows just the title of the posts along with the number of comments or posts for each thread.

I'm the one who gives a thread "featured" status. I try to select those that I think are most interesting. The "Latest Threads" link in the forum menu will show you all of the threads including ones that haven't been marked as featured. The "Latest Posts" link will show you the latest forum comments.

Posting to the Forum

If you find a noteworthy bank deal or some interesting financial news, please consider posting this information in the forum. This can be done in 3 steps:

  1. You have to be logged in to post in the forum. If you have never registered, just click the "Register" link on the top right of a DepositAccounts.com page. Note, you don't have to be logged in before you write your post, but it's required before the post can be submitted.
  2. Find the appropriate subforum. Start at the top of the forum and click on the appropriate topic.
  3. Click the "New Threads" button at the top of the subforum page, and follow the instructions. For the subforums that are specific to a particular bank, you first have to identify the bank. When you get to the message box, you can start typing your information. Note the icons at the top of the message box. These can be used to format your message. The one I use most is the link icon. This isn't active until you highlight the text that you want to convert into a link. Once the link icon is active, you can click on the icon which will open up a box where you can enter the web address.

Viewing and posting are more complicated in the forum than in the blog, but as I mentioned, this helps keep things organized. For more details on using the forum, please refer to my forum announcement post.


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Comments
7 comments.


Comment #2 by ytytyt posted on
ytytyt
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Dear Wanderer (anonymous) - #1,

I used to trade bullian a while ago, but shifted to physically backed ETFs that track gold/silver.  No such ETFs are available yet for platinum, palladium and rhodium. I'll use those if/when they become available.

To (somewhat) protect assets against the inflation I use TIPs.

Yours Truly,
Anonymous

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Comment #4 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
How does one go about buying platinum?

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Comment #5 by ytytyt posted on
ytytyt
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Dear Anonymous - #4,

One can buy platinum in "coin" form or "bar" from brokers.  Some brokers will provide service for "safekeeping" the buiilian at a charge and some will provide delivery service, also at charge.

Another rather convenient way is to use "pool" accounts with broker, where the borker will have the physical stock of the metal but it will be "pooled"" with metal holdings from others.  Broker will maintain how much in the pool is owned by different account holders. This will allow one to trade the metal quite easily.  If/when the pool account holder wants the metal in physical form, the broker will charge fees to segregate the metal for the account holder from the pool, and then to deliver the bullian.

Yours Truly,
Anonymous

2
Comment #6 by Wanderer (anonymous) posted on
Wanderer
You can also buy coins and bars of platinum from almost any gold/silver coin shop and take them home with you, yourself. Or, you can buy them online from Kitco or a myriad of other sources. I took delivery of a lot of 50 ounce platinum bars from NYMEX, by "cashing" in a number of futures contracts I had bought, upon maturity.

I also just sold a few contracts, without taking the physical bars on maturity, taking cash spending money when they matured. The futures contracts I purchased happened to be "in the money" when they matured, but I was ready and willing to pay a few hundred thousand extra "soon-to-be-worthless" US dollars to take the physical metal, if the price had gone down between the time I bought and the time of delivery. When you deal in futures markets, I think, you need to have yourself fully covered by cash "in the bank", if things don't turn out the way you expect. Otherwise, you risk getting fleeced by the Wall Street casino banks, who manipulate the prices. The biggest problem, however, with using futures markets to buy metals is the rampant fraud among futures brokers. Examples include MF Global and PFG Best, which managed to steal huge sums of money from their clients when they went bankrupt.

Another way to invest in platinum is with one of the physical ETFs. There are now two available for American investors. One is the "Sprott" physical platinum/palladium fund, which has its metal stored at the Royal Canadian Mint, and the PPLT (call symbol) which stores its metals at JP Morgan Chase vaults in London and Zurich. I've bought shares of PPLT, at various times in the past, but, frankly, since I don't trust JP Morgan (it is regularly accused of manipulating the gold/silver markets on behalf of its client, the Federal Reserve) to actually have the gold, silver or platinum they say they have, I would buy the Sprott Physical Platinum Trust, now, for short term investments.

The upside of the ETFs are that they are easy to trade, so, if you are looking for an investment you expect to last for anything from a few months to less than 2 years or so, they are a cheap way to buy metal for the short term. The big downside of the ETFs is that they charge about 1/2% per year in maintenance fees. That is far more than you pay to store metals in most privately contracted warehouses like Via Mat or Brinks. It is infinitely more than it costs to keep the metals in your safe deposit box, or at home. You can insure safe deposit kept metals for about $1,500 per year per million in value. Sprott's fund is insured by the good faith and credit of the Royal Canadian Mint, a crown corporation, but PPLT metals are stored at JP Morgan without insurance so, again, another reason to prefer the Sprott fund.

Savers tend to believe that metals are a bad way to save because they don't pay overt interest. However, given the current real inflation rate, which, when coupled with downsized containers, is about 9 % per year, the probability of much higher (possibly triple digit) price inflation in the future as a result of the current 400% monetary inflation from 2008 to now, and the almost zero rates offered by banks, they are much better "stores of value" than CDs.

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Comment #7 by ytytytyt posted on
ytytytyt
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Dear Wanderer (anonymous) - #6,

Thanks for the information.

I've added SPPP (Sprott Physical Platinum and Palldium Trust) and PPLT for Physical Platinum, and PALL for Physical Palladium in the watchlist. I'll trade them at opportune times.

You're right, the expense ratio will be a drag for long-term holding, however I find expense ratio of 0.60% quite reasonable, because exactly as you stated, I intend to make short-term trades. Most likely I'll hold these merely for weeks/months, surely no longer than a quarter.

Yours Truly,
Anonymous

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