Showing posts with label Savings account. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Savings account. Show all posts

Monday, December 12, 2022

5 Smart Financial Planning Tips for Success

One of the best ways to secure your future can be to learn about successful financial planning. In fact, doing so can give you peace of mind now and later on. Consider incorporating some or all of these financial planning tips into your life.

1. Learn How to Budget

Firstly, there are plenty of free budgeting resources you can take advantage of online. These can be useful for knowing how much money to save and spend on needs and wants. And regular budgeting can reduce stress so you can sleep better and gain inner peace.

2. Contribute to a Savings Account

Having extra money in a savings account can become a reality when you pay yourself first. If you wait, you likely won't save any money at all. 

For one, you can set a portion of your paycheck to automatically go to your savings account. Further, opening a high-yield savings account increases the money you save.

3. Gain Financial Planning Knowledge

You can learn about important financial planning concepts by reading top finance magazines, books, and blogs. For example, you can get educated about retirement planning, investment planning, and much more. 

The more you understand your finances, the more power you can have over them. Besides this, you can gain inspiration from what you read and stay motivated to achieve your worthwhile financial planning goals.

4. Invest

When you invest, you have the chance to build wealth over time. Of course, you'll need plenty of patience and self-control. But investing can help you stay ahead of inflation, save on taxes, and meet other financial goals. 

One of the first things you'll have to do to be successful at investing is to understand classic investment strategies. Since investment products and companies can be complex, it's vital to understand what you're getting yourself into beforehand. This can help you avoid making costly mistakes you'll regret later.

5. Have a Retirement Plan

Making small, consistent contributions to a retirement plan can add up to significant savings for your future. Making wise decisions with your money in the present can also help you save for your future healthcare needs, among other things. And when you get older, your retirement can be stress-free.

Given these points, financial planning can give you a smart start to a better future. Indeed, learning to take care of your finances in small steps can make it easier to achieve your goals. But it all starts when you take that first step toward financial success.

Monday, February 7, 2022

The Importance of Keeping a Savings Account

Many people choose a checking account as their primary or only banking choice in today's society. However, a savings account is just as beneficial, if not more. Below are some reasons to consider opening and keeping a savings account.

Earn More Money

Building wealth can be easier to do with a savings account because your funds will earn money while in the bank. The interest rates for these accounts are generally higher than checking; however, this will vary amongst financial institutions. 

Regardless of the amount, it is better to earn money that could build your wealth, opposed to spending the funds.


After paying monthly bills and other necessary expenses, it is common for people to purchase additional items or services, regardless of whether they plan to use these things or not. 

Keeping the money in a savings account could prevent unnecessary purchases. As a result, those funds could be spent on future emergencies like roof repair or other expenses, such as buying a new home, taking a much-needed vacation, or starting a business. 

You would be less likely to spend money in a savings account than money stored safely at home or in a checking account due to the accessibility and the fact that there is no debit card – you typically need to make the withdrawal or transfer the funds online.

Reduce the Risk of Debt

By staving off the temptation to spend the money in your savings account, you could lower the odds of going into debt. You will reduce the odds of making unnecessary purchases. 

You can spend the money on necessities in an emergency instead of borrowing from family and friends or taking out loans. The latter option could lead to high-interest rates and cause you to spend more money during repayment. 

Therefore, it is essential to maintain a savings account for unknown expenses, and to make future purchases, instead of using credit options that lead to debt.


Keeping money at home is something most people do for various reasons, such as myths and superstition. The negative aspect of storing cash at home includes being a victim of accidents or theft, causing you to lose your money and not replace it. 

However, by keeping the funds in a savings account, you can have peace of mind knowing the money is safely in the bank and possibly earning interest, which could boost your savings amount.

Opening a savings account is an excellent option when it comes to extra funds or saving up for future purchases. Your money is safely stored, and you are less likely to spend the funds unless there is an emergency.

Thursday, December 23, 2021

How a Credit Union Account Can Help You With Your Money

Once you have made the wise decision of choosing a credit union over a bank, you can start making other decisions that can put you on the right path to your financial journey.

It is up to you to check out what your credit union has to offer and how it can help you achieve specific financial goals. Let's take a look at some of the personal-finance options generally offered by credit unions and how they can work in your favor:

Personal Deposit and Checking Accounts

Your money is safe when it is deposited in a credit union account. Similar to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the National Credit Union Administration has the backing of the United States government to guarantee the safety of your funds up to $250,000. 

This will protect you even if the credit union goes insolvent or falls prey to a major cyber heist, and it is definitely safer than keeping all that cash at home.

Using Credit Union ATM Networks

By virtue of being organized as non-profit financial institutions, credit unions are more likely to offer low-cost access to automated teller machine networks. 

In some cases, credit union ATMs can be used for free; however, you have to check how much the ATM operator will charge you for the transaction, and this is often disclosed upfront.

Improving Your Credit Score

Not all credit unions offer this service, but quite a few of them have been expanding their offerings to include it. In essence, a credit union, for example, one like Credit Union of Denver, may extend you a friendly loan that features a small balance and a very comfortable interest rate. 

When this loan is linked to automatic debit from your account for a term of six months, the reporting made to the national credit bureaus will show that you made timely payments without interruption or tardiness, thus resulting in a nice boost of your personal credit score and history.

Compound Interest Savings Accounts

Putting your credit union money to work can be as easy as opening a high-yield savings account that pays compound interest on a daily basis. 

The interest growth on these accounts turns exponential over time as long as you make regular contributions in the form of deposits. Since credit unions are not looking to profit from their members, these savings accounts generally carry low fees and few penalties.

The personal finance options listed above only scratch the surface of what modern credit unions offer. Be sure to check with your credit union representative about loans and other financial products that can boost your personal worth.

Saturday, June 12, 2021

4 Ways to Bolster Your Savings This Summer

For those who are still keeping their conventional jobs without pay cuts, staying at home means fewer expenses. It is easy to spend when keeping costs low, especially when loaded with offers through your emails and socials. 

However, it’s a more intelligent move to save more so that you can handle the uncertain future.

You have the option to save at a slow and steady pace. Consistency typically pays off when it comes to finances. But, on the other hand, you can also save at a more rapid pace. With hard work and self-confidence, aggression can bring you success as well.

Below are a few ways you can bolster your savings.

Save in a Credit Union

Different from banks, people who put their money in a credit union are members and shareholders. That means members will get back most of the profits, like how shareholders benefit from a corporation.

Credit unions offer better rates for savings accounts and lower interest rates for loans. Moreover, these facilities waive some fees that regular banks enforce. If there are unavoidable fees, these would be much lower than bank fees.

Save in a High-Interest Account

People usually aim to shop for the best products, reading as many reviews as possible. Likewise, it would be best if you also shopped around to find the best savings account

Several comparison sites analyze savings plans detailing comparative statistics. Just like buying other things, there can be a stark difference between products.

Deposit savings in Your Expenses

Careful budget planning can result in some savings in your expenses. Make an effort to deposit every single saving into your savings account. 

For instance, most probably you save gas by staying more at home. Transfer these unexpected savings into your deposit account. Small regular deposits will snowball into huge savings.

Generate Side Income

Less traveling to and from work means more spare time. You could use it to do work on the side. Today there are more online jobs than ever. 

The best thing is that you can work remotely. Working in pajamas may now be the norm in whatever job you’re doing!

In addition to these four main ideas, there are many different ways you can boost your savings. Thorough research can give you several comprehensive options. 

No matter what choices you make, living a frugal life will always give you more savings. Saving slowly and consistently will ensure a steady increase in your fund. 

However, you can also bolster your savings faster by looking at some options in the more aggressive plans.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

401K Stability and How You can Plan Around Inflation

One of the most common steps most people take to prepare for retirement is to invest regularly in their 401k accountHowever, one of the most common concerns investors have relates to inflation and how it impacts the growth of their investments. 

If you are concerned about how inflation may impact your 401k going forward, you are wise to do so. Inflation can have a detrimental effect on value of your account, and the 401k account return needs to exceed the rate of inflation to have true net growth. Choosing the right investments is a necessity if you want to protect and grow the value of your account over time. 


When you make wise stock selections for your 401k account, you will be taking a step to protect your account balance from the effects of inflation over any amount of years. Stock prices may be relatively volatile over a short period of time. 

However, because companies can adjust prices and expenses to compensate for inflation, this is generally a sound long-term investment to consider to protect your growth from the effects of inflation. This is particularly true when you buy stocks in companies that have a solid history of long-term growth and great growth potential. 

Do your research before you find a secure place to invest in. Once you know where the stocks will grow you will have a better chance of finding a secure retirement. Research is the key here to know where you will get the most bang for your buck.

Short-Term Maturity Bonds

English: US CPI inflation (year-on-year) from ...If you are looking for a relatively stable investment vehicle with minimal risk, bonds are a great option. However, a fixed income asset like a bond can be significantly impacted by inflation. The best bet when investing in bonds with inflation in mind is to choose a short term bond. 

These are less impacted by inflation as well as by movements in interest rates. For those approaching retirement age, moving more funds into short-term bonds may be advantageous. Talk to your bank or financial counselor to see what your options are and what will be best in your situation.

Real Estate

There are different ways to invest in real estate through your 401k account. For example, REITs, and stocks in large real estate investment firms provide you with some options. Real estate is largely seen as one of the best investments to make as a hedge against inflation. The value of the best real estate investments typically rise with the rate of inflation. 

Of course, the housing market is cyclical and has its ups and downs. As a long-term investment, however, this is a sound investment to make. It’s best to talk to a professional about where you can get involved and how you can invest in your own property. A company like the Jakob Pek Fund will know the best ways to direct you through real estate investments you decide to make.

Don’t Forget Savings

It’s also important to invest in some regular savings accounts. Whether it’s your emergency fund or just savings account at the bank you should always have some backups in mind to keep money safe for whatever retirement throws your way.

Understanding how inflation affects investment vehicles is necessary when your goal is to minimize the impact of inflation on your retirement account value. By learning about the best investments to make to safeguard your account against inflation, you can create a diversified portfolio with long-term growth in mind. You can have more in your retirement fund than you ever thought possible if you know where to place your money.

Friday, January 24, 2014

5 Ways to Earn More Interest on Your Savings

Interest Rates
Interest Rates (Photo credit: 401(K) 2013)
If you are someone who is committed to having a solid savings account, then there's a pretty good chance that you've taken the financial advice of top experts like Suze Orman, Dave Ramsey and Warren Buffett and put some money aside each month for your savings account. And if that's the case, we think that is simply awesome. But have you ever wondered what you can do in order to earn more interest on the hundreds (or thousands) of dollars that you have inside of it?

If you've been looking for ways to earn more interest on your savings, we have provided you with five of them below:

Look for the best interest rate. There are a lot of people who never consider changing banks simply because they have been with the same financial institution for many years. But if you really want to get more interest on your savings, we recommend you shopping around until you find one that has the highest rating. Although some of the larger banks do not have the best rates, many community banks and credit unions do. Just make sure that whatever institution you choose is insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. or the National Credit Union Administration.

See what incentives that you have to offer. Once you find a financial institution that you are interested in, the next thing that you should do is look for the kinds of incentives that they have to offer. For instance, there are banks that offer a modest monetary amount for opening up a new account and there are plenty of credit unions and internet banks that give bonuses for opening a new checking account with them as well.

Inquire about low-penalty certificates of deposit. Although low-penalty certificates of deposit are basically like "liquid money", one of the reasons why they appeal to many individuals is because they pay higher rates. With them, not only are you able to take money out at any time without a penalty, but you can earn a higher interest rate than a savings account. Plus, it comes with FDIC insurance.

Don't overlook your savings bonds. Something that you might want to speak with a company like about is purchasing a few savings bonds. Although most of us can recall getting them from our grandparents while growing up as children, aside of it being a nostalgic gift, you might be surprise by the interest rating that comes along with them. In fact, a Series I savings bond can currently earn you as much as 1.76 percent. That's a pretty impressive amount.

Open up a money market account. If you're really serious about growing your savings account, something that you can do is open up a money market account. It's basically the same thing as having a savings account. The only difference is that in most cases, you have to have a minimum balance (sometimes as much as $2,500) and you're only allowed to make a withdrawal 3-6 times per month. But the benefit is that you are usually offered a much higher interest rate. For more information on money market accounts, visit your local bank institution.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Six Smart Ways to Grow your Savings Account with Investments

Growing your savings account is very important if you want to establish a significant amount of savings for a rainy day. Not only will that money come handy in emergency situations, but it can be the basis of your retirement fund. Here are six ways to grow your savings account through smart financial decisions and intelligent investments.

Invest in the Stock Market

If you have established a few thousand dollars in your savings account, it may be time to begin investing in the stock market. Research stocks that are doing well, and the types of stocks that may boom over the coming years. Begin by holding a demo account for a few months, where you track the progress of stocks you select. If that goes well, you can begin to use your savings to invest wisely and boost your returns.

Create a Contingency Fund

Set aside a certain amount of money for emergencies. Whether you want to keep this money in your regular savings account, or in a separate one, will depend on your personal preferences. This money should be added to each month, and should only be touched in an emergency situation, or if you find yourself without an income for a few months.

Mutual Funds

Mutual funds are perfect for long term investors who may not want to make every investment decision themselves. Mutual funds will provide you with different options, depending on how aggressive you want them to be with your money. Look at plans that have great returns over a five or ten year period, instead of funds that have a good year or two.

Repay Your Debt

Boosting your savings is not just about adding money to your savings account. If you take steps to eliminate your debt every month, your overall financial position will be a lot higher. Having $2000 in your savings account with $0 debt is better than having $10,000 in the account with $9,000 outstanding loans.

Buy Government Bonds

Government bonds are a great long term solution to boost your savings account. Bonds may not have the return of mutual funds or the stock exchange, but they are reliable, provide solid returns, and come in various terms. Bonds come in 3 or 6 month terms, in addition to 1, 3, 5 and 10 year terms.

Invest in your 401(k)

Investing towards your retirement income is vital, even if you are still in your mid 20s or early 30s. The earlier you start your retirement fund, the larger it will be when you are 60 or 65. Invest intelligently in your 401(k) by studying the money and markets, and you could end up with a significant savings boost every year.

Each of these options varies in the risk, return and steps involved with investment. However, each of the six suggestions will ensure that you are in better financial health, and that the money sitting around in your savings account multiplies over a period of time. Do you research to decide which method or combination of methods is best for you and you will be taking positive steps to a fuller savings account.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Money Management Tips

Budget (Photo credit: Tax Credits)
Buying a home comes with a whole list of new expenses, including a mortgage, insurance, and home maintenance. It’s best to have a working budget firmly in place before purchasing a home in order to avoid financial trouble further down the road.

A solid budget is one that meets both your short term and long term needs and goals. The key to any successful budget is managing money. Every budget looks good on paper, but remember, it’ll only work if you stick to it.

Making a Budget

When making a monthly budget for your household, you need to be sure to include all your expenses, including possible surprises or emergencies. Rent, utilities, car payments and groceries are the basics, but there are other expenses that can really add up. These extra expenses are the things that can really derail a budget if you don’t plan for them. Other expenses include savings, gas, entertainment, medical expenses, clothing, and shoes. Keep track of each expense, add them up at the end of each month, compare them to your income, and make adjustments where necessary.

Building Savings

The key to weathering any financial storm is a savings account. Unexpected expenses are going to come up in life, and there’s no way to stop them. Kids break arms, employees are laid off, roofs need to be replaced, and cars break down at the most inconvenient times. A savings account is the solution to all of these problems. It’s best to have at least 3 months worth of income set aside in savings before buying a home, so you won't have to worry about losing your home every time things get rough. If you can swing it, 6 months is even better.

Covering Your Assets

Insurance premiums seem like a waste of money when you send out the payment each month and receive nothing in return, but they are a real life saver when you need them. Suffering an uninsured loss can lead you to lose your vehicle, all your savings, and even your home. Protect all of your hard work by staying properly insured.

Managing Debt

Debt is a normal part of American life, and it can be healthy for your finances if you manage it properly. Your mortgage, and a couple of well-managed credit cards are great for your credit, but be careful not to get in over your head. If you ever find yourself using credit to make payments on other debts, you know you’ve got a problem. You’re debt should always be kept at a level where your monthly income is enough to cover all of your payments, with plenty leftover for other expenses.

Planning for the Future

All of the budgeting tips listed above will keep your head above water for now, but what about in the future? At some point you’re going to want to retire, and the time to plan for that is now. Meet with an experienced financial advisor to find out what kinds of investments and accounts you should be participating in so you can meet your long-term financial goals.

Author Bio: Tiecen Anderson
In her former life, Tiecen worked in sales and marketing for a large insurance company. Before starting a family, she decided to switch gears and pursue a career that would give her a little more time at home. She finished up her degree from California Sate University in 2008 and started picking up work as a corporate web content writer. She enjoys learning new things every day as she works with a wide variety of clients, like Axiom Financial.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

What You Need to Know Before Opening an ISA

If you are interested in saving for your future, there is a great option you may have heard of. The Individual Savings Account (ISA) is a tax-free way of saving money for your short or long-term goals. It is a way of saving your money under a tax shelter. The concept of an Individual Savings Account is simple to understand, however, there are a few things you should understand before opening an ISA. 

Cash ISA versus Investment ISA

There are two types of ISAs: cash ISAs and investment (stocks and shares) ISAs. In either case, an ISA manager handles your account. You do not have to pay income tax on the interest and the gains are tax-free as well.

The cash ISAs are great for short-term savings accounts. You can place the money into the account at any time or place a lump sum in there up to the annual contribution limit. You can readily pull your money out, and there of course may be penalties for doing so.

An investment ISA allows you to place your stock market investments into a tax-free shelter as well. These are advised to invest in for long-term opportunities. These are a risk and your funds will go up and down. Therefore, if you are depending on the money, it may not be the best option for you. 

Check Out Multiple Bank Offers

Banks operate under different terms and conditions when it comes to their ISA’s. Some banks are more lenient than others are. You may find a bank that allows you access to your money immediately while others go through strenuous paperwork. A bank may pay you a fixed rate if you do not touch your ISA for a full year. You may start with a bonus rate for your initial deposit, but the rate may drop over time. 

Transferring Fees

A bank can charge you transferring fees. That is a major catch and deal breaker for some people. Remember, you cannot withdraw your own ISA without incurring a fee. It must be transferred over. So find a bank that does not charge a fee. You may find a better interest rate later and it will be too late at the end of your term to transfer and receive the advantages.

When transferring, you want to make sure it is simple to do and done correctly. If you have cash and investment ISAs, they both may not be able to transfer to the same bank. An investment management firm such as Nutmeg makes transferring existing ISAs simple. They offer stocks and shares ISAs. They help you build and manage your portfolio. 

Apply Early and Get Your Documentation Ready

The deadline for ISA applications are April 5. Your maximum annual contribution amount for the cash ISA is £11,280 for the 2012-2013 tax year and £11,520 for the 2013-2014 tax years. You will find many people hurrying at the last minute to get them in. Once you have found one you are interested in, hurry and apply. Before that, get your documentation ready such as your identification, address verification, and your National Insurance number.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

3 Reasons a Credit Union May Be a Smart Financial Decision for Your Family

Credit Unions Vs Banks

Although they may seem similar in many respects, banks and credit unions are definitely different. Although credit unions have most or all of the convenience of banks, they also have advantages that banks to not have. For instance, credit unions are often more flexible about approving loans than banks are. Credit unions also frequently have a “down home” feel – tellers and bank officers may greet you by name whenever you visit.

While banks are commercial institutions, credit unions are nonprofit organizations. Most credit unions belong to the National Credit Union Association, or NCUA. While you must be a member of a credit union to open an account, credit union eligibility is often easier to achieve than you think. Churches, companies and even cities have organized credit unions for their members, employees or residents. As a result, the odds are good that you are eligible to join at least one credit union in your area. Depending on your circumstances, opening a credit union checking account may make sense. 

A Stakeholder, Not a Customer

As a member of a credit union, you are a stakeholder in the organization, and not just a customer. Your account represents an ownership interest in the organization. Because credit unions are nonprofit organizations, they often have programs in place to assist their members financially.

For example, many credit unions offer short-term loans to represent alternatives to costly payday loans. Payday loans are often due within one or two weeks and feature interest rates exceeding 300 percent. By contrast, short-term loans offered through credit unions have longer repayment periods, and carry much lower interest rates.

Credit Card and Other Banking Conveniences

Deposits made to a credit union are insured by the NCUA, just like deposits made to banks are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, or FDIC. This means that your money is safe. In addition, many credit unions offer Certificates of Deposit and other investment instruments that carry competitive earning rates.

As a member of a credit union, you can open checking and savings accounts, much as you can with regular banks. If you are a business owner, you can often open business checking and savings accounts through your credit union. You an also obtain personal and business credit cards from a credit union. Credit unions also often offer lower interest rates on credit cards and loans for individuals and businesses than banks

Extensive Free ATM Networks

If you hate ATM fees, joining a credit union is definitely a smart move. Many credit unions belong to nationwide networks that offer free access to ATMs for their members. You can deposit, withdraw and transfer money for no fee at any one of the ATMs that operate within the bank’s network. In addition, if you frequently travel abroad, you may be pleasantly surprised to learn that the debit or credit card issued by your credit union carries no foreign transaction fees. This feature alone can translate into significant savings if you use your card to pay for your hotel or for a car rental.

Charles Talley is a credit union branch manager. He loves to write about the benefits of this type of financial account on personal finance blogs.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Ditch the Ramen: Saving Money by Replacing What You Use

It's the end of the month, you look in the cupboard for something to eat, and Ramen noodles sit staring you in the face. It's back to school time for your kids and you're shopping the thrift stores instead of the mall. What has gone so horribly wrong? Obviously something needs to give. If you're bank account is a deeper shade of red at the end of the month, you have changes to make. Here are just a few items in your home that you can replace to start saving money:

1.Central Air

No one wants to live in a sweat box during the summer. If you are looking to make a change, you may want to consider alternative ways to cool your home. Central air conditioning is an expense that you can do away with quite easily. It does take some getting used to, but turning off your whole-house cooling system can save you a great deal of money each month.

Plant trees outside of the windows that get the most sun during the mid-afternoon. Install light-blocking shades and curtains on these same windows. Put window fans in your windows and run them at night to cool off your home. Install an attic fan to draw up the hot air in your home during the day. Keep your windows closed during the hottest hours of the day and open them wide in the evening.

2.Utility Bills

Can you replace your utility bills? Not necessarily. What you can do, however, is sign up for budget payment plans, effectively replacing your high energy bills. Most utility companies allow their customers to sign up for a budget payment plan based on the customer's monthly consumption.

Paying in this way makes it easier to pay your bills when they are higher in the winter by spreading out your payments into equal monthly installments. For example, what may be $150 bill in the heart of the cold weather season could be an $80 bill on the budget plan. 

3.Premium Cable

It's hard to cut the cable cord, especially for people in rural areas who can't get an over-the-air signal to save their lives. Instead of cutting the cable completely, get rid of what you can. Keep in mind that you can only watch one channel on one television at a time. Also keep in mind that you can watch many of your favorite shows on the Internet, and that a Netflix subscription costs less than $10 per month. What kind of cable are you paying for? If you're like the average cable television subscriber, you are paying over $100 per month for the privilege of watching television. Get rid of your premium channels and sports packages. Whittle your package down to basic and you could save over $50 each month. If you are screaming "But what about my DVR?!" at your computer screen right now, think of it this way: Your DVR will have you eating salty, dried noodles at the end of the month. Wouldn't you rather have a dinner designed for adults?


4.Your Car

Egads! Get rid of your car? That's right. While it's not feasible for everyone, it is feasible for more people than you may think. If you have more than one car in your family, dump the others. If you have access to public transportation, ditch every car that you own. If you simply can't fathom life without a car, you are wrong. Think about how much money you could save if you got rid of your car. No more insurance payments, and no more need for gas. Don't worry if your car is financed; you can easily find someone to buy it for what you still owe. It takes minor adjustments when you don't have a vehicle, but you can still get things done. A subscription to Amazon prime costs under $90 per year. Amazon prime gets you free shipping. This means that you can do your grocery shopping, pet food shopping and clothes shopping online. If you want to go on a vacation, you can rent a car. If you have a medical emergency, you can call an ambulance. Give it some thought.

Will all of these options work for everyone? Of course not. But at least one of these options might work for you. There's no reason to live paycheck to paycheck when you can make changes in your life that will keep your bank account in the black. Talk to family and friends and visit for more money-saving ideas.

Chelsea McCary is an avid finance blogger. If you want to learn more about ways to save money without scrimping, you can follow her at @ChelseaMcCary.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

What to Look for in a Savings Account

More than a quarter of Americans do not have any money in savings, according to research released in June 2013 by And nearing retirement is a big incentive to consider your long-term financial stability. 

If you haven't started saving already, now is the time to open a savings account.

To assist you in the decision-making process of choosing where to open your savings account, here is a guide that emphasizes the importance of low fees, limited restrictions, bank insurance, high-yield interest and other factors. 

· Watch for Fees

Beware of hidden fees. Saving accounts may have fine print that lists costs that will take from the money you are trying to save with maintenance fees, activity fees, monthly fees, withdrawal fees and others. Make sure to ask questions -- like whether there is a minimum balance requirement or if it costs to transfer to the account when your checking is through a different bank -- before handing over your money.

A good bank will allow you to put money aside without hassling you with excessive charges.

· Check for Accessibility

Although this account should not have withdrawals taken at the frequency of a checking account, strict restrictions (which may include fees) on the number of withdrawals is not a good sign. Look for an account that will allow you access to your funds in case of an emergency. You will be saved from turning to credit or taking on extra debt. 

· Earn that Interest recommends finding online savings accounts with interest rates around 0.87 percent or traditional banks with around 0.74 percent. But beware of introductory interest rates that shrink after the first few months.

If you are able to add money to your account on a monthly basis, your bank may offer special rewards like higher interest rates.

· Look into Online Banking

An ad for a promotional savings account in your mail or a solicitation from your bank teller may not give you access to the best savings account available. Shop around, and compare offers from online banks.

Online banks offer special incentives as they try to convert customers used to working with traditional banks. These banks cost less to operate, allowing the banks to offer higher rates of return on savings accounts.

· Research Credibility

The banking industry is not immune to economic fluctuations, and if a bank suffers major losses, your money may be at stake. Before you commit to either an online or traditional bank, do some research into a bank's credibility.

Check to find your bank's Tier 1 capital ratio, which is a measure of strength based on equity and risk. Experts recommend avoiding banks with a Tier 1 ratio of less than 10 percent.

Makes sure your money is insured. FDIC insurance protects up to $250,000 per depositor. If a bank you are looking at does not have this protection, take your business elsewhere.

· Move to the Next Level of Savings

As you learn to put aside a portion of your income for savings, you can move to the next step: opening a savings account that is an investment product. Divide up excess funds into accounts with greater interest rewards and tax benefits.

Financial products to help protect your retirement years include IRAs, 401(k)s and annuities. Once you've saved up a lump sum, an annuity can give you access to regular payments to supplement Social Security payments that might otherwise be your only income during retirement.

Saving money in an envelope at home or letting a balance grow in your checking account may seem like enough to tide you over for the next few years, but truly preparing for the future will require putting in more effort, starting with getting a balance in the right savings account.

Alanna Ritchie is a content writer for, where she writes about personal finance and little smart ways to spend (and save) money. Alanna has an English degree from Rollins College.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Best Methods to Teach Your Grandchildren to Save Money

Too many people in society today live beyond their means. The economy has left people who had a good job trying to juggle their finances while earning a lower wage. People need to learn a new way of making ends meet. As a grandparent, you can help your grandchildren learn to save money. 

Tiny Feet Change the World

Creating a generation of savers can help protect your grandchildren against a future financial crisis. When the economy was growing rapidly, banks were willing to lend money and credit cards were easy to obtain. This led individuals to believe that they could obtain anything they wanted without having to work for it.

Changing the way people think about money and how to handle it can help your grandchildren understand that even if they want something they don’t necessarily have to have it. Sometimes it is important to save for a desired item, while other possessions are out of reach. 

No Longer a Disposable Society

For many years people would replace broken items instead of repairing them. The state of the economy made certain goods inexpensive, and repairs often cost more than buying a new product. With the decrease in wages and increase in prices, goods are often too expensive to replace.

It is important to teach grandchildren the benefits of repairing certain products. Cars are often expensive to replace but can be repaired. With the wide variety of resellers of auto parts, a person can find replacement parts for many different vehicles online and replace them on their own. Whether a person is looking for Ford Mustang parts, Chevrolet parts or foreign auto parts, repairing a car can often be cost effective.

Open a Savings Account

A good way to help teach your grandchildren to save is to open a savings account in their name. If your grandchildren are still minors, you can be custodian of the account. Many banks offer special programs for young children to make saving a fun prospect. If you start them while they are young, saving money may become a habit as they age. 

Reward them for Saving

Positive reinforcement is often a good way to encourage specific behavior. If your grandchildren save consistently you may want to offer a reward for their thrifty ways. Another idea is to set a monetary goal. When your grandchild reaches a specific amount in their savings account you can give them a gift, take them out for a meal, or even let them spend some of their money.

Grandparents are good role models for their grandchildren. If they see that you make saving money a priority they will be more apt to become savers. Encouraging them by open a savings account for them will allow them to have a good vehicle to save money. Rewarding your grandchildren when they save will help reinforce this behavior and create a potential saver.

This is no longer a disposable society, and people need to learn that they can’t buy everything they want. Instructing grandchildren in the benefits of saving will help them when they become adults and are providing for their children and grandchildren.

Adrienne is a blogger with an interest in personal finance. When she’s not blogging, you might find her practicing her French, whipping up some recipes she found on Pinterest, or obsessing over vintage postcards and stamps.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Living and Working in Egypt Provides an Opportunity to Save

English: The Nile River as it flows through th...
English: The Nile River as it flows through the city of Cairo, Egypt. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Anyone moving from the United States to live and work in Egypt will notice almost immediately how the cost of living there is so much lower. Therefore, savings opportunities are easily possible. But, like anything else in life, opportunities have to be grabbed in order to turn them into reality and good savings habits are vital in this respect. For it's just as easy to blow your monthly salary living it up in Cairo as it is in the city of New York. 

It's no big deal opening a savings account in Egypt, providing you've lived in the country for at least a few months. The banks in Cairo or any of the other big cities and towns will certainly be happy to provide you with the same sorts of personal banking services that banks back home do. Thanks to the internet, it's a fairly easy matter to view available current accounts from HSBC, for example, or from any of the other multinational and indigenous banks operating in the country.

Pop into the nearest branch of the bank of your choice and fill in an account opening form. Staff there should be able to advise you about the interest rates offered by various savings accounts. You'll need to take along some official documentation, too, just as you would when opening an account back in the States. The process is fairly similar.

The sorts of documents required include your passport, work visa and your residency certificate. Take along a utility bill, too, to provide evidence of an Egyptian address. A letter from your bank back in the USA, confirming account details and the length of time you've banked with them, will also help with the application process. Some banks may also want to see the last three monthly bank account statements. Finally, take along a couple of passport-size ID photographs which will be used by the Egyptian bank for record purposes.

So how better off are you likely to be living in Cairo instead of New York? For this far from in-depth comparison, let's assume at the very least the salary earned living in either city is about the same. All the comparison figures come from the excellent website Numbeo.

In broad-brush terms, consumer prices in New York are more than twice that of Cairo. Include rent in the figure then the differential rises by over 200%. A straight rent price comparison between the two cities sees the figure jump to nearly 600%. Restaurant prices in New York are about 140% higher and groceries about 125% higher. Opportunities to save? You'd better believe it.

A meal at an inexpensive restaurant in Cairo will likely set you back about $5; the equivalent figure in New York is around $13, a 162% difference. A Coke or a Pepsi will cost you $0.49 in Cairo and $1.50 in New York. There's a 500% difference in the price of an average bottle of water. In Cairo it costs about $0.25, while in New York you'll pay about $1.50.

There's a 200% difference in the cost of a loaf of white bread. A packet of cigarettes costs about $2.10 in Cairo and more than $12 in New York. Local transport costs are also much cheaper, the equivalent monthly pass costing about $13 in Cairo and more than $100 in New York. Basic utilities such as electric, gas and water are also so much cheaper in Cairo. Expect a difference of about 400% between equivalent-sized apartments.

Click here to go to Numbeo.

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