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ING APPFINGER 2016 Banner page EN

Normally I do not use this platform to speak about the products and services of ING Luxembourg, but our new version of My ING is so great that I could not help myself.

My ING is the best online banking platform in Luxembourg to manage your finances. We have worked hard for two years to design an application that is smart and easy to use, because at ING we truly believe that banking doesn’t have to be difficult and time consuming. And to ensure that, we keep looking for new ways to make things better. To provide you with relevant information – anytime, anywhere. To make things easier for you so you can stay a step ahead. And if you don’t believe me, here are some insights:

- My ING is one unique platform whether you access it from your smartphone, your tablet or laptop, your desktop at home or in the office. The times of searching through different menus are over! My ING offers you a clean, smooth view of your finances and allows you to do all your transactions, from simple to complex, anytime and anywhere;

- We’ve improved a great many things, including automatically filling in information for you wherever we can (such as a BIC code), improving your search options (you can search a beneficiary by name, account number or even the message you have saved) and refining the information and options of your direct debits;

- You already know about our alerts, unique in Luxembourg - manage them easily in the new My ING;

- My ING has a bunch of shortcuts to make your life easier and less time consuming: because if you’re looking at your overall financial situation, the chances are you’re about to make a transfer or manage your bank cards;

- The advanced ING loan simulators you know and love are at your fingertips with the new My ING to help you understand your choices and make the best financial decisions.

These and more make My ING the BEST online banking app in Luxembourg. Still not convinced? Open a free ING Orange Account and test it for yourself! And feel free to charge up your smartphone and be good at money in one of our connected benches.

 

 

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The Internet is an integral part of our everyday lives. And of the lives of our children, as this video shows

It is crucial to teach children how to use the Internet, in particular social media, and how to be safe. The European Commission initiated some time ago the Safer Internet Day, which is celebrated every year in February.

This year, on 9 February 2016, countries around the world have organised activities and awareness initiatives to spread the word about a safer Internet for us all. In Luxembourg, Bee Secure organised activities for children and young adults aiming at familiarising them with new media, social media, protecting your privacy, online reputation and other related topics.

We all live in a digital environment where technology is an integral part of our lives. The key to a better and safer internet is learning to look for opportunities and positive content, and to recognise and report illegal and harmful content.

In this year's infographic the Safer Internet Day initiative asks of industries to create and promote positive content online. At ING Luxembourg we try to do just that with this column and with our financial blog MyMoney, where we share tips and tricks on passwords, anti-viruses and the like. In our Security Centre we give detailed information on how to do safe online banking and protect your data.

Everyday should be Safer Internet Day. Play your part for a better Internet!

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Every year around the end of January the Autofestival frenzy hits Luxembourg.

Everywhere you go, especially on the radio and mobile apps, all you see are interesting offers for new cars. And my acquaintances ask: how can it be that car dealers offer better financing deals than banks?

Well, sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. And in order to compare them, we need to make sure we’re comparing the same thing.

Apples and oranges

When comparing where you can get the cheapest loan you need to include all the costs related to the loan. Are there any additional fees, now or in the future (for example for delaying one month’s payment or repaying your loan early)? Also make sure you are comparing loans of the same duration – as you can read in this article, generally speaking the longer your loan is the more expensive it will become. Finally, when dealing with your main bank, where you also have your savings and maybe other investments, you might be in a position to negotiate an advantageous rate for your personal loan, as the risk assessment of your financial situation will include these other items.

Total cost of the loan

Car dealers advertise extremely low interest rates of close to 0%. In order to be able to offer consumers this rate, the dealer usually needs to bear part of the cost; which they pass on to the client by limiting the price negotiations of the vehicle. Shoppers can oftentimes get a good deal on a new car if they are ready to pay cash, i.e. if they get a loan from the bank instead. According to a study of the University of Duisburg-Essen in 2011, the price reduction on the most sold car models ranged from 8% to 23.7 % (with an average of 14.6%). If you can lower the total amount you need to borrow from your bank thanks to the reduced price negotiated due partly to the fact that you are paying cash, you might be paying overall less interest rate at a 2% rate than at an almost 0% rate!

Be good at money and do the maths before deciding!

 

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My first post of 2016 is about the winter sales. Sales are currebtly being held in shops across Luxembourg. But, before you go and empty your wallet, check out the helpful tips below. I already shared them here before but they are still valid.

Follow them to be sure you make the most of your money and of your sales!

1. Keep your sales receipts: too small, too big, wrong colour? You never know...

2. Make sure that you are aware of the return policy. Sometimes, during sales periods, there are special conditions – even no return!

3. Compare prices from different shops to get what you want at the best price and check if the applied reduction is correct.

4. The tag has to indicate the old price as well as the reduced price, or the percentage of reduction applied to the item.

5. Evaluate the item's price and quality by having a look at the tag. You'll find everything you need to know about its composition. For example, items in natural fibres are more expensive than synthetic ones.

6. Be careful with reductions above 50%. Often these items are from previous seasons or have defects.

7. Be careful not to overspend just because you’re paying with plastic instead of cash.

8. Pay attention when you look for items on sale: they have to be separated from new collections.

9.  If you have the feeling that you've been cheated, refer to the consumer protection association; in Luxembourg, it is the Union Luxembourgeoise des Consommateurs (ULC) - www.ulc.lu.

10. Even if it may be difficult, be careful at the excitement of shopping: have a look at several shops, compare prices and buy only items that you really need!

I wish you many happy hours of shopping!

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New Year’s Eve is just around the corner and we’re all waiting for the clock to strike midnight on 31 December.

Instead of writing about New Year’s resolutions for this last post of 2015, I decided to have a look at our neighbours’ traditions. As nations and regions differ in culture and history, so do their end-of-year traditions. Here are some examples of how some of us ring in the new year:

- Luxembourg: Besides the traditional fireworks at midnight, end-of year customs revolve mainly around food in the Grand Duchy. Luxembourgers likes to celebrate “Neijoerschdag” with meat, ranging from a simple plate of ham, sausage, cheese and pâté to a meat fondue. This is traditionally followed by a butter cake in the shape of a calendar. The preferred drink to wash it all down is a nice glass of ice-cold crémant.

- Belgium: For 1 January, children in Belgium write so-called “New Year’s letters” to their parents or godparents, containing holiday greetings and good wishes. These are often decorated with roses, angels, cherubs and a ribbon, and read aloud as the clock strikes midnight. Adults mostly stick to eating, drinking and merry-making. 

- France: What could be more French then eating a stack of pancakes, or “crêpes”, to ring in the new year? Chasing them down with some champagne, perhaps... Some also opt for the traditional kiss under the mistletoe at midnight. Oh la la!

- Germany: Our German neighbours consider lead to be auspicious. On New Year’s Eve, they pour molten lead into cold water and the resulting shape is said to predict the future. A heart shape symbolises marriage whereas any round shapes denote good luck. If you get an anchor, you may need some assistance in the upcoming year. All is well as long as you don’t get a cross – this stands for a looming death in the family.

So there you have it: people do crazy things to ring in the new year. Who knows, maybe we have inspired you to try out some of these customs or even start your own end-of-year tradition. Whatever you do, I wish you a Happy New Year!

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In approximatively one year's time, ING Luxembourg will move its headquarters to Place de la Gare in Luxembourg city; construction works are proceeding; workshops and reviews are being undertaken in order to make this new headquarters a great place to work. Let’s have a quick update about the project.

What is Orange Bricks?

Announced in 2010, Orange Bricks is the name given to an ambitious project of ING Luxembourg. The aim of  this project is to centralise and gather all of the Bank’s activities within one symbolic building instead of currently four separate buildings spread out across the city.

Being all together is important for the bank as we are convinced that we will improve ING Luxembourg’s services to customers, its accessibility and visibility. The central location of this new HQ will facilitate access to public transport and will also strengthen our local roots in the Grand-Duchy.

What about the building?

The construction of our new headquarters is on-going. The Orange Bricks team is confident that the “closed shell” phase, which includes the roof slab and installed window frames, will continue until the end of this year, to be thereafter followed by the completion and finishing works.

But the Orange Bricks project goes beyond simple bricks. It’s a project that has existed for 5 years now and that brings together multiple aspects such as infrastructure, organisation, sales, marketing & communications, IT, HR, legal, risk and procurement.

This move is also a great opportunity for ING to re-think the way we have been working - from our working environment to new working habits as well as new tools. So, it will be a real New Way of Working.

It is challenging in a way, but also really unifying for the whole bank! It’s a great way to listen to employees, to understand their needs and to give them the chance to express themselves.

A Proof of Concept was designed to test the diverse aspects of the Orange Bricks programme in order to take relevant decisions and choose the best options, always taking into account different parameters. One department of the bank is thus currently experimenting, among others, with the different working areas, the functionalities of new furniture and equipment, and the organisations.

If you would like to follow the construction of our new building, follow ING Luxembourg on Instagram (see http://instagram.com/explore/tags/ingorangebricks/)

 

ING SOLIDARITY AWARDS 2015-600

In connection with our active policy in the area of Corporate & Social Responsibility and following the successes of the last three years, we organised the ING Solidarity Awards also in 2015. This fourth edition was again a great success.

The objective of the ING Solidarity Awards is to reward and support the Luxembourg community sector, as only associations or foundations can participate, through a competition divided into 2 parts:

- The first part was an online vote competition where the public could vote online for the association of their choice. The 40 associations that received the highest number of online votes were the lucky winners each of €1,000. This year, 125 associations and/or foundations participated in the competition among which 40 associations each received €1,000. We collected more than 30,000 votes. You will find an exhaustive list of the 40 winners of the online vote here.

- The second part was a jury vote on a project competition where associations submitted a project that was assessed by an independent jury, subject to the conditions stipulated in the rules.

This year, 68 projects were submitted and 9 projects were awarded. Among the winners, 4 associations received €6,000 each, 4 others received €3,000 each and a special jury prize of €5,000 was given to a project that especially touched the jury.

You will have an exhaustive list of the 9 winners here.

ING Solidarity Awards‘ key figures for 2015:
• 4th consecutive edition
• An audience of 250 at the awards ceremony on Wednesday 25 November 2015 at the Geesseknaeppchen Forum. To see all pictures, click here (Facebook album)
• 49 ING Solidarity Awards awarded to associations
• €81,000 given to the associations

The major new aspect of this 2015 edition

This year, ING has offered the winners that were selected by the jury for this edition of the awards as well as those of the previous editions, the possibility to participate in a training given by the online crowdfunding platform KissKissBankBank. During this training they will get more information about this fundraising alternative and tips on how to set up an online crowdfunding project for their own projects.

Crowdfunding consists of raising funds by presenting a project directly to internet users, in this case via an online platform that is well known in this area: KissKissBankBank.

We believe that this new aspect of the competition will bring positive impact for all associations and foundations such as:

• More visibility thanks to a broad range of investors
• More funds

We feel the ING Solidarity Awards are well anchored in Luxembourg not only because they provide direct support to many associations, but above all by showcasing the significant value generated by the community sector in Luxembourg. This was clearly reflected by the quality and quantity of projects submitted by the participating associations.

 

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Two weeks ago, I talked about how to approach saving for your pension. Now that you know that establishing a pension plan is a MUST, you can re-assess your basic financials and start saving.

To help you out, I’ll compiled a list of useful tips and tricks that I found on eZonomics.

1. Make it happen

One of the biggest enemies of saving is procrastination – we tend to avoid doing certain tasks for as long as possible. When it comes to saving, it’s important to start early! Cultivate your savings habit by transferring an amount every pay day and don’t put it off!

2. Earn interests on your interest

Don’t underestimate the power of compounding interest. A dividend reinvestment plan is also an attractive option to maximise your return.

3. Do not ignore inflation

Inflation can be helpful for borrowers but eats away at the spending power of savers. Ignoring inflation is dangerous for savers, especially for those planning for the long term.

4. Harness the power of friendship

Use a self-imposed arrangement with someone – why not make a bet with a friend that you’ll save a set amount each month for a year? Even informal agreements such as this channel peer pressure in a positive way and undercut the temptation to skip a month of saving.

5. Don’t get stuck on a number

If you’ve been saving €50 a month and you decide that it’s time to increase the amount, try not to get fixated on the €50 as a reference point. Do an objective evaluation of how much you can save – that way, increasing or even doubling your monthly savings might not seem so daunting.

6. Make a list

The flipside of saving is spending. So controlling one might help control the other. The so-called ‘shopping list’ effect illustrates how impulse buys can be reduced by the simple step of making a list of what you really need before hitting the shops and sticking to that list.

 

 

Monday, 02 November 2015 10:51

Barbara Daroca: 7 Tips for Pension Saving

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As life expectancy increases, planning for your retirement becomes ever more important. Pension plans remain the most popular way to do so; With this in mind, I wanted to bring you these tips for pension planning inspired by an article found on eZonomics. that’s why we decided to share some tips on how to make the most of your retirement savings.

1. The early bird catches the worm.

Our first tip might sound simple, but it makes all the difference: start early! Starting your pension fund as a young professional means that you’ll amass a considerable savings amount as well as reap the benefits of compound interest. Just consider the following example: a 30-year-old putting away €1,000 a year into a pension account earning 5% annual interest will have accumulated €71,000 by the time he/she reaches 60 (if the funds are left untouched). In comparison, a person who waits until the age of 45 to save for retirement has to put aside €3,000 a year (under the same investment conditions) to gather the same amount by the time they turn 60.

2. The power of habit.

To build a nest egg that will allow you to live comfortably once you’re retired, you should not only start early enough but also keep at it! Most people find it easier to make small contributions on a regular basis than to deposit big chunks of money every once in a while. Turning saving into a habit is a sure way to get you results in the long run.

3. Thanks, boss!

Some employers contribute to their workers’ retirement funds by matching their savings. Make sure you’re not missing out on these employee benefits as it is basically free money!

4. Make pension saving less ‘taxing’.

Most governments offer tax advantages to citizens who make regular deposits into designated retirement accounts. In Luxembourg, taxpayers who have concluded a pension contract with a financial institution can deduct their contributions from their tax burden. You can deduct up to €1,200 annually. If you have any doubts, you can always visit www.guichet.lu.

5. Hands off!

While some pension plans allow you to dip into your savings, it’s best to leave your pension account alone. Withdrawing money reduces both your reserves and the earned interest.

6. Forget-me-not

While setting up a pension account is a great first step, it doesn’t stop there. To make the most of your savings, you should review your pension scheme on a regular basis. Have your needs and plans for the future changed? If so, is your retirement plan still in line with your goals? It’s always a good idea to take a step back and re-evaluate your monthly or yearly contributions, the fees you’re paying as well as the risk profile of your investments.

7. Is your retirement plan right for you?

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to pension saving. How much money you will actually need once you’re retired depends heavily on the kind of life you envision yourself leading after leaving work. For instance, if you want to spend the majority of your time at home close to your family and friends, you’ll need less funds then if you plan to travel the world when you retire. As you approach retirement age, it’s useful to calculate your annual expected income from your state and private pension and see how they fit your plans for the future.

 

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The Home and Living Expo is now over and you may have thousand questions in your mind. Should I buy a house? Should I rent a house? Should I buy a house and rent out part of it ? Considering the real estate market in Luxembourg, the last option I mentioned could be an idea to lower your monthly repayments but let’s find out if it is worth it...

Having it all

Let’s assume your mortgage application gets approval. Having a tenant to earn a little extra cash seems sensible on the face of it – but can actually be a bad decision. Unless there’s a pay rise or a windfall to reduce the mortgage debt, a house that has stretched your budget may still cause difficulties. What happens if your tenant doesn’t pay, or leaves without warning? It could be a dream house, but a financial nightmare. You might also worry about paying other home ownership bills – such as maintenance and insurance. Further costs may be added as interest rates rise. You may end up envying your tenants.

Having discipline...and commitment

Alternatively, if you use the rent to turbo-charge your mortgage payments – shrinking your debt more quickly – the strategy might work. Avoid any temptation to use the rental income for other purposes – even if they’re urgent. Set up a separate bank account for the rent received, and make automatic, regular payments from that account to reduce your mortgage debt. This approach uses the thinking trap of mental accounting to your advantage. Commit to this strategy from the very first rent payment. Don’t put it off and procrastinate - it’s one of the worst things you can do when it comes to financial planning.

Work out your goal

To help you stick to the plan and reduce your mortgage debt, figure out what a manageable level of debt would be. Write that number down. This will be your goal. Then ask your bank to send you automatic alerts to remind you as you progress towards the goal.

Devil in the detail

With renting, situations in different countries can vary widely. The laws can be a real minefield. Often, there are many potentially expensive traps – and unexpected obligations – for landlords. It is really important to do your homework here. You may wish to speak with others about their experiences with renting – although it is easy to fall prey to confirmation bias. Guard against the temptation to give more weight to the stories of those who have made a gain. Seek out and learn from people who have had bad experiences as well.

Do all the sums

Your mortgage provider may need to know you want to rent part of the property. This may affect the interest rate charged, taxation and insurance costs as well as other legal obligations and documentation.

It goes without saying that it is important to do your sums carefully. A few small costs can quickly add up. It sounds like you want tenants for a finite period, maybe a couple of years, rather than a permanent arrangement. Remain fully aware of the risk you are taking.

Don’t forget also that house prices fall as well as rise – you can end up with mortgage debts greater than the resale value of your house. Try to avoid feeling the full effect of the winner’s curse of paying over the odds for something you really want, then ending up regretting it.

I found this article on ezonomics.com written by Ian Bright and find it helpful that is why I wanted to share it with you.

 

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