Stop what you’re doing right now. If you have any amount of money not making you money, you need to read this. Whether you’re in the throes of a career, family, and business, or just starting out, your money should be earning more for you. The decisions you make today can make a big difference in the growth of your nest egg – especially when time and compound interest (that’s interest earned on interest) come into play.
Ready for your money to make more money?
1. Take advantage of a high interest checking account.
Don’t be discouraged that the average annual percentage yield of checking accounts was just .06% APY in 2019. Higher returns exist, and you don’t have to become a number at a big bank to find a better account. Your balances can earn well above average with Kasasa Cash checking – and it comes with a community banking advantage.
Just remember, not all high interest checking accounts are created equal. Always look at fine print like the minimum amount to open, balance minimums, and service charges when comparing accounts.
2. Reap the rewards of a cash back checking account.
Interest isn’t the only way to earn money from a checking account. In fact, you can earn cash back and the amount has nothing to do with the balance in your account. Kasasa Cash Back checking will pay you each month for simply using your debit card. Refunds from ATM fees sweeten the deal.
3. Put larger balances to work in a high interest savings account.
You may think “high interest” and “savings account” don’t go hand-in-hand. But find a good money market account and you can earn more than your typical savings account and enjoy easy access to funds – often in the form of limited check-writing ability – should you need it. That’s why a money market can make a great emergency fund. They are a place to keep larger amounts of money while still being protected by FDIC insurance.
4. Automate your savings.
A surefire way to grow savings is to never give your money a chance to be spent. Automatic transfers can do just that. Set up a recurring transfer so that a fixed amount of your income automatically moves from checking to savings each month. This can be done for your general savings, emergency fund, or even health savings account.
Some savings account will get you in this habit right away, like the Kasasa Saver. When linked with a Kasasa checking account, all cash earnings automatically sweep into savings.
5. Let it grow for an allotted time in a high interest CD.
If you wouldn’t miss having access to $500, $1,000, or even $5,000 for a set length of time, consider putting those funds in a Certificate of Deposit. CDs allow interest to compound over the length of the term, which can be as short as 3 months all the way up to longer lengths like 60 months.
Higher interest rates are generally offered for longer terms, but that doesn’t mean long is right for you. Shorter terms may make sense if you’ll want to keep the funds more liquid or if you think rates will rise, in which case you could lock the new rate in when the first term ends.
6. Save for retirement yesterday today.
“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”
This Chinese proverb holds true when it comes to saving for the future. A common misconception is that it’s easier to save when you are older and in a higher paying job. Abide by that thinking and you’ll miss out on years of free money in the form of compound interest.
This example from Nerdwallet shows how compound interest will help your savings snowball over time. In 15 years, a balance of $3,000 turns into nearly $4,000 without ever adding another dime of your own money to the account! Imagine how much more it can grow with regular contributions and additional time.
If your employer offers a retirement program such as a 401(k), sign up and put in at least the minimum contribution to receive any matches they offer. If you do not have access to a work-related retirement program, you can still save for retirement with tax benefits by putting money into an Individual Retirement Account (IRA). If you’re already saving for retirement, consider increasing the amount you save by 1% or more each year.
7. Prepare for medical expenses with a Health Savings Account.
If you need to cover the cost of a prescription or have an unexpected surgery, wouldn’t you prefer to avoid this impacting your monthly budget or dipping into your emergency fund? Enter the HSA – a special savings account to help you stay ahead of medical expenses. HSAs offer fewer restrictions than other plans and even carry over year after year. Available for those with high deductible health plans, HSAs can be funded by you, your employer, or both.
8. Get guidance from a financial planner.
Balancing today’s needs with tomorrow’s dreams is not a simple feat. Enlisting the help of a financial planning professional will help identify your full financial scope and build a plan to achieve your unique goals.
How does one go about choosing a financial planner? Financial planners offer different services depending on many factors including credentials, licenses, and areas of expertise. They also have different approaches. Your financial planner should be a trusted partner who you feel comfortable with and understands your needs.
When interviewing planners, consider whether they hold the certified financial planner (CFP) designation. Anyone can use the title “financial planner” but only those who have fulfilled the requirements by the CFP Board can be called a CFP. This designation represents a high level of competency, ethics, and professionalism, and ensures they are acting in your best interest. According to U.S. News, of the approximately 270,000 financial advisors in the U.S., only about 83,000 are CFPs.
9. Revisit your accounts regularly.
You know regular checkups are important for the health of your body and maintenance of your vehicle. Do you apply the same framework to your finances? Scheduling times to review your accounts is important. Not only will you be able to identify red flags like unwarranted fees or fraudulent charges, you’ll make sure you are getting the most out of the accounts you’re in.
For example, if your checking account has qualifications to get the highest level of interest – like being enrolled in online banking or swiping your debit card a certain number of times each month – make sure you are doing the necessary actions to earn the rewards. If you’re having trouble, don’t be afraid to ask a personal banker for help. They will be glad to walk you through the qualifications or suggest something that better fits your lifestyle. And if they don’t, it might be time to change banks.
You should also ask yourself what changes have happened in your life that may warrant a different or additional account. If you are in the same checking or savings account your parents helped you open in high school, there is likely a different option that will make better sense for this stage of life. Or maybe you recently inherited a monetary gift from a family member. You will want to consider your options to maximize return and security.
10. Make use of credit card rewards.
We would never suggest racking up debt just to earn credit card rewards. But if you spend within your means and pay off your statement balance every month, a credit card that earns cash back can be another tool to build wealth over time.
11. BONUS! Put your money to work in your community.
Did you know the money you deposit at a community bank directly impact your local economy? That’s because your deposits turn into loans for businesses and homeowners. Unlike a big bank, where your money may go to a corporate enterprise across the country, a community bank channels loans to the neighborhoods where depositors live and work. That’s more opportunity for small business owners and your neighbor looking to buy their first home.
It’s worth taking the time to understand your financial options and make adjustments that make sense for your individual situation. When in doubt, consult the expertise of a professional you trust.