Sat07222017

 

ING-UNICEF EN

On Tuesday 21 April 2015, ING and UNICEF celebrated a 10-year partnership in favour of underprivileged children. Both of them want to defend children’s rights that are often violated in poor countries, by acting in the fields of education and health.

UNICEF

The United Nations Children’s Fund is a United Nations Programme, created in 1946, that ensure children’s rights around the world through equality, access to education and health.

ING’s humanitarian actions

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) means a lot for the ING Group that want to act in this direction by helping underprivileged people. Luxembourgers have one of the most important gross domestic product (GDP) in the world, whereas in Zambia they have one of the lowest. That’s why ING Luxembourg decided to support a project in Africa by financing a school for children in Zambia. As children, they are the future and educated people can make things change, change society.

ING Luxembourg with UNICEF

For several years now, ING Luxembourg donates 1 euro cent to UNICEF for each transaction made using a ING Visa card. This action comes from the global development programme created by the ING Group, “ING Chances for Children”, thanks to which UNICEF and the ING Group have given 1 million children access to education. In the case of Luxembourg, the more ING Luxembourgish clients use their Visa card, the more they contribute to helping UNICEF and so underprivileged children in the world.

ING and UNICEF Luxembourgish partnership’s results

In March 2014, ING Luxembourg gave UNICEF Luxembourg a €32,500 cheque, worth more than half of the cost of a school in Zambia and, in March 2015, UNICEF Luxembourg was given a €35,000 cheque. That means a school is about to be built in Zambia. Good job!

To be continued…

Next challenge for the ING Group: after 10 years supporting children’s projects, ING will support UNICEF’s efforts with teenagers, helping to equip young people with the knowledge and skills they need to build a better future for themselves, their families and the society in which they live.

At ING we are proud that through the support from our customers and our employees, the ING-UNICEF partnership has positively affected the lives of so many underprivileged people.

10 years of partnership, it’s just the beginning…

Find this partnership in pictures

 

 

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Once of the most widely-spread urban myths is that it's a hassle to change banks. Well, it isn't. At least not in Luxembourg, where it's both easy and free!

It actually happens in 3 easy steps:

1. Open your new account

The easiest way is probably to do so online from your couch, like the ING Orange Account. In case you are already client of two banks and just want to switch your in- and out-flows, forget this step :-)

2. Transfer your recurring payments

Switch all your (recurrent) in- and out-flows. This is the step that can scare people off when, in fact, it's just a matter of organisation. Set up a list of all your direct debits and standing orders (typically you can see this list in your internet banking access) to establish the minimum reserve you should keep in your old account during the switch. Once you've established that, switch your in-flows (salary, pension, allowances...) to the new account to start building it up. If you had extra cash in your old account, transfer it to the new account and switch all your standing orders (alternatively, wait for the first inflow to come before setting up the new standing orders!). Then draft a sample letter or email with your new account details and inform all of your service providers (direct debits) of the desired change. They might need a few working days to set up your new account details, take it into account before asking your original bank to cancel all of these to avoid penalties. After a few weeks check that there are no more movements in your old account, in case you forgot a direct debit.
 
At ING we make it even easier - we do (almost) everything for you! Our free, online Account Switching Service makes the "big leap" easy by producing the needed letters and contacting your old bank as well as your direct debit creditors to ensure a smooth and worriless account switching.

3. Close your old account

But only after you are absolutely certain you have no outstanding payments linked to this account!

I told you the difficulty of changing your main bank was a myth!!

 

 

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If teaching children about money is crucial while they’re growing up, so is learning about banking. And again here the point is to develop a natural relationship, not a scary experience when they have to open their first account - does anybody remember the scene in Mary Poppins when Jane and Michael visit the bank?

After all, sooner or later they will have to deal with a bank.

Step 1 – explain what is a bank
 
If you’re not sure how (which will probably be the case if you don’t work close enough to the industry – and maybe even if you do), search a bit the internet. Or come by an ING office and ask for “Sam’s book”, available in four languages. Sam is our children’s mascot and we especially developed a little book in 2013 to explain to young children the role of the bank and initial concepts around money, like interest. You can also download the booklet here

Step 2 – actually visit a bank

Make an appointment and explain to your relationship manager the object of your visit, so they are also prepared and can actively support you. If your child has a piggy bank it could be an opportunity to transfer the money to an account that accrues interest. If your child already has an account (maybe one opened at birth) you can discuss the interest earned and the bank can explain what a statement looks like. If you have teenagers that earn (pocket) money, why not set up a savings plan

Step 3 – Introduce Internet banking

Once the children are old enough, allow them access to internet banking in a consultation mode, or at least show them from time to time the balance of their account and other banking products they might own. Money may have become more virtual, but we should still be on top of our finances.

Step 4 – Borrowing money costs money

That borrowing also costs money is a lesson they should learn as early as possible! Use the loan simulator of your bank with a teenager and discuss the different options and costs associated with each option. And when it comes to actually borrowing (studies abroad, scooter or first car) take your teenager with you to the bank so they have a first-hand experience, even if they are not the borrower.

Step 5 – Saving for the future

Before they leave the house, discuss with them the importance of saving (from day 1!) and of preparing for retirement through investment products. If you don’t feel comfortable enough advising them (or you just want an expert opinion to add weight to your arguments) set up an appointment with your relationship manager to discuss different possibilities.

Instead of scary adversary, the bank should be a true partner in our financial life. And children, especially young adults on the verge of independence, should be able to trust this!

 

 

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Last week we celebrated the European Money Week,  a joint initiative by European banking associations to raise public awareness on financial literacy.

Here in Luxembourg, the ABBL rounded up volunteers from banks to discuss with 5th graders in participating schools concepts around buying, budgeting and saving. And of course this raised the question: should we really teach children about money?

The answer is yes. And as early as pre-school! Whether you’re a parent or not, you will relate to this situation: Mother and son arguing in the supermarket about buying a certain item, with the irritated mother trying to end the discussion with a “We cannot buy it because I have no money for it!”. And the naive yet logical 7-year-old answering “Then go the wall and get more!”. Of course, by “the wall” my colleague’s son meant the ATM. In my case, my 3-year-old took my wallet out of my handbag to (what I can only phrase as to) kindly remind me where the money is…

Learning about money – where it comes from, what it takes to earn it, how to spend it and how to save – is very important. It shouldn’t be boring nor scary – money forms part of everyday life; it should be part of the experiences we accumulate while growing up.

That’s what Scott Parker thought too. One day he asked his bank to cash out his account balance of $10,000 in $1 bills – which he took home and dumped on the table for his children to see. Can you imagine their faces? Then Mr. Parker started making piles: what is paid in taxes, food, mortgage… but also soccer and scouting. And what was left wasn’t all that impressive.

His method, while radical, was effective. The key to teaching children about money is openly talking about it. The need to build a healthy relationship with money, to think of money in a rational way, rather than an emotional one. When we don’t give straight answers, children think of money in symbolic terms and might leave them with illusions about the power of money. This doesn’t mean we need to burden our children with money issues we might have, nor share with them our tax return, but as they grow up they can slowly adopt new concepts and begin to understand the real value and use of money. In this age of credit cards, Internet shopping and mobile banking, at some stage a weekly or monthly allowance (pocket money) might come in handy as a source of discussion and first-hand learning experience.

Don’t be afraid when (even young) children ask questions like: Why can’t we buy this? Are we rich? Or even, how much money do you make? Instead of dismissing the question try to understand what prompted the curiosity (“why do you ask?”) and take advantage of the situation to discuss concepts as budgets, in- and out-flows, needs and wants, or how and why money is earned. Next time you plan a trip or a short holiday, why not include them in some of the budgeting discussion? You’d be surprised how much they understand!

I could go on writing forever. There are infinite tips on how to prep our little ones for the future. So I will leave you with this: don’t turn money into a taboo topic!

 

 

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I am one of those people who never have cash with them. Never. And I work just upstairs from two ATMs… literally!

Everything I can solve with a card (debit or credit, as is most appropriate), through a direct debit on my account or through an online transfer (ideally on my mobile), I do. It saves me time and headaches. But are we really moving towards a cashless society? Will we pay our babysitters by bumping our phones? Grandparents will do online or Whatsapp transfers to their grandchildren on their birthdays?

And what does it take to build such a society? Dave Birch, a research fellow at the Centre for the Study of Financial Innovation, has given it some thought and shares his hopes and fears in this short TEDx video. Enjoy!

 

 

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You gotta love the European Central Bank (ECB) for being so inventive! After bringing us the Inflation Island game, or €conomia game, in order to reveal the new security features of the brand new €20 banknote the ECB presents Tetris® New €20

The game, fashioned after the very popular and addictive Tetris®, reveals the four security features as you add pieces and build lines: the hologram, the watermark, the emerald number and the innovative portrait window. So, if you were any good at Tetris® growing up, feel free to try your luck! The 100 best scores will receive a €10 banknote sealed inside a block of transparent acrylic worth €20. The competition is open until 31 March 2015 at 23:59.

The new €20 banknote that will be presented by president of the ECB, Mario Draghi, on 24 February, is the third euro banknote to change its look since the introduction of the euro in 2002. First was the €5 banknote and last autumn the €10 banknote. In fact, the ECB has a programme to upgrade all banknotes in ascending order over several years.
 
Why do we change banknotes? The new banknotes include developments in banknote technology to make them more resistant to counterfeiting, thus reducing the risk of fraud for all of us. Additionally, these new banknotes are better for the environment: they have a protecting coating that makes them more durable, thus having to be replaced less often. This is especially important with banknotes of smaller value, like the €5 and €10 banknotes, as they are widely and intensively used; and more durable banknotes means their reproduction will cost less overall.
 
In case of doubt, the first time you come across a new euro banknote you are not familiar with, it is easy to check manually and visually its security markers. Other than the hologram and watermark, the number changes colour from emerald green to deep blue when tilted. You can see specimens of the different banknotes here.
 
Q. Do I need to go to the bank and change all my banknotes?

A. No. The exact date of circulation of the new €20 banknote hasn’t been announced yet and, in any case, the change doesn’t happen overnight. During a sufficiently long period both new and old banknote will co-exist until such time as the ECB announces the end of the old banknote. It’s been more than a year since the new €5 banknote was introduced and we can still buy goods and services with it. And even after the banknotes are no longer valid in shops, you can exchange them for new banknotes at any of the European central banks, including the Banque Centrale de Luxembourg.

 

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The Autofestival is here once again and for many of us this is the time to get a new car with a great discount.

But how do you decide on what car to take? Of course we all have a certain preference for one brand or another, but even within a brand the differences in purchase prices as well as related costs are huge.

Below I have listed some points you might want to take into consideration before you go on your tour of the country’s car dealers.

Petrol, Diesel, Hybrid or Electric?

It seems that every year there are more types of cars from which to choose. They all have their strong and weak points when it comes to money matters, but it actually all depends on what you need.

Sit down and think about how you are going to use your car. For example, a car running on diesel usually has a higher purchasing price than a car running on petrol. But running a car on diesel is cheaper than running a car on petrol. The challenge is now to try to calculate if you drive enough to earn back the initial higher price of the diesel-engined car, or if you would be better off buying a petrol-engined car.

You can find many articles on the web explaining the pros and cons of different types of cars.

Costs of running your car

After you have figured out how much you can spend on buying a car, you need to be sure you also have the money for driving your car.

Things to think about:

- Fuel costs, which can go up if you are constantly stuck in traffic 

- Maintenance costs (regular maintenance, winter tyres...)

- Insurance costs

- Parking costs (parking a full working week on the Glacis easily comes to €45 per week)

- Registration costs, taxes, etc.

All these costs can add up to an important amount and you surely do not buy your car just to keep it in your garage.

Depreciation of the car

Are you going to drive this car for the next 10 years? Or are you going to switch car every few years? If you want to change car regularly it is good to take a look at the depreciation of the cars on your short-list. Some brands might be more expensive initially, but lose their value much slower than other brands. Like this they could save you some money on your next car.

More reading

These are of course just a few tips. You could read last year’s “6 tips for buying a new car during the Autofestival” for more tips. Or Google your questions for tons of information on this subject.

Happy (car) hunting!

 

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Did you know that among the New Year resolutions, financial resolutions are on top of mind for many?

According to an ING international Survey, in Luxembourg, we are 79% likely to have resolutions for 2015 addressing Financial matters. To help you to do so, you can print this infographic in A4 and hang it on your fridge or beside your desk...

 

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At ING we believe banking doesn’t have to be difficult and time consuming. It’s so crucial for us that it’s the first pillar of our customer promise: to make banking clear and easy. A good example of what we do in this respect is our new online banking alerts, awarded Best Financial Solution of the Year 2014 by the Finance Management Summit. And here’s why.

How often have you wished someone would tell you that your salary has been paid into your account or that your rent has been paid as planned? With ING’s online banking alerts you can get personalised and relevant information on account activity to help you stay on top of your finances, without effort. You can set the alerts you want and have the information delivered to your email account in real time.

1. Save time and money

Quit wondering whether a payment has gone through. Our alerting system sends you an email in case a payment is blocked due to insufficient funds. You can also custom set an alert that will notify you if your balance drops below an amount you decide. Be good at money and avoid unwanted overdrafts.

2. Make the best financial decisions

Alerts about in- and out-flows of your account provide relevant information at the right time, so you can understand your choices and make the best financial decisions. Anytime, anywhere.

3. Be alert yet relaxed

Protect your accounts with default security alerts that inform you when certain changes are made to your online and mobile banking access. And set your custom alerts to be informed of new documents or secured messages with information that will make things easier for you, so you can stay a step ahead in life and in business.

Set your alerts now and stay on top of your finances without effort. At ING we believe you should spend your time on the important things in life.

PS: Stay tuned for new alerts this year!

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When the rush for last-minute presents and the big family gatherings are over, you will sit down, look back at 2014 and start planning what to improve; and, somewhere in our lists, we all want to be good at money.

Before you set a bunch of resolutions that may turn out to be unrealistic, here are 3 tips you should consider for 2015.

Eye on the plastic
We have payment cards which make life easier – but they make overspending easier too! Avoid compulsory purchases when shopping and rethink whether you truly, absolutely, need the latest high-tech device. At ING we have a new service that allows you to be in total control of your finances: Alerts. Set up alerts and spend your time on the more important things in life.

Budgeting
We all know shopping brings joy but remember that unwanted excesses can lead to bad surprises! Budgeting is not only about knowing how you spend your hard-earned money; it is also about thinking about your future, to plan in advance and avoid serious headaches! You have some trouble budgeting? This article should help you: 8 ways on how to create a budget.

Sharing is caring
According to research from Columbia University and Harvard Business School, when you spend money on others rather than yourself, you increase happiness. In 2015, think about giving to charity. And, in Luxembourg, giving to charity does not only increase your happiness, it is also good for your tax declaration. If you give €120 or more to certain agreed NGOs, the total sum of your donations can be deducted from your taxable income ( as long as you do not go over 20% of your net taxable income or €1,000,000).

I hope that these 3 basics will help you to be financially fit in 2015. In the meantime, I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

 

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