Saving up extra money is a great idea, whether you’re putting it away for a rainy day or for a pre-planned purchase. But with so many options available for savings accounts and investing, it’s difficult to determine the best place to keep your money. Explore your options and find one that makes you comfortable to maximize your savings while minimizing risks.
Traditional Savings Accounts
While low interest rates are great for borrowers, they don’t do many favors for people saving cash. Most traditional accounts offer minimal interest rates, limiting the amount your nest egg earns. However, there is little to no risk involved in most of these accounts, making them a responsible option for someone wary of taking on a more aggressive savings goal. These are also good options for emergency savings, since withdrawing funds is penalty-free.
- Traditional Financial Institutions: Brick and mortar banks and credit unions offer some of the lowest interest rates. However, by selecting a bank with a local branch, you can easily access your funds through a teller window or ATM.
- Online Banks: There are plenty of options for online savings accounts, many of which have slightly higher interest rates than traditional banks. Just be sure that the bank you choose is FDIC-insured. You can also search online customer reviews to make sure they are reliable and service-oriented.
Financial institutions offer a range of investment options for consumers who want to earn a higher return on their savings. However, each of these options comes with a varying degree of risk, so it’s important to weigh your comfort level when researching your choices. Here is a brief overview of some of the most common investment tools for savings that carry the lowest amount of risk.
- No-Penalty CDs: A no-penalty certificate of deposit (CD) gives you access to your money with a slightly higher rate of return than a regular savings account because you agree to keep your money in the account for a predetermined length of time. Keep in mind that the shorter term you agree to the lower your interest rate will be. While this may not be the best option for an emergency fund, it could be a good choice if you’re saving up for something within a specific timeline.
- Money Market Accounts: MMAs offer higher interest rates but generally also require a higher minimum balance. You can withdraw money similar to a checking account but the amount will likely be limited. The risk associated with an MMA is still considered low, with financial institutions typically investing the money in CDs and government securities.
All of these options are low-risk and offer relatively easy access to your savings. However, it’s best to consider your personal finances when making a decision, and finding the best rates that allow you to access your funds as you need them.