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It can sometimes be frustrating as a young adult to try to save and put away money because there just doesn’t seem to be enough. After buying groceries, paying rent and utilities, getting gas, and so many more expenses, there usually isn’t much left. But what counts in the long run is what you actually end up doing with the money that’s left over after your monthly expenses. When you get diligent about putting it away in a rainy day fund, those small amounts really add up quickly, especially if they’re in the right kind of account. As a bank teller, I spend all day watching people struggle to save, but it’s part of my job to look at their accounts, identify their needs, and suggest products and shares that can better their financial situation. Here is my advice for those looking to save for the future:
For those with little leftover after their paycheck goes to bills and such, what you should look for in your primary bank is a savings account with a high dividend rate. If you find that your bank only has savings accounts with rates of 0.01% or 0.05%, the small bits of money you put away won’t even have a chance to grow. Shop around at other banks or even credit unions for a good rate, like Capital One for example - they have regular savings account with a rate of 1.0%. There are also savings accounts with rates and minimum required balances to help you save for specific goals like college, vacation, and holiday shopping. Additionally, many banks have change machines you can dump your buckets on change into or they can provide you with coin wrappers if you ask. Your money could always be earning, so don’t let it sit anywhere but in an account with a high dividend rate. Never let your money just sit in a low-rate account or in a jar at home (even if it’s charming to have). Make sure you choose an account, based on your initial balance and how high you intend to make it, that is tailored to helping you save right.
For those with more leftover in their paycheck after expenses, you have a couple of more choices of accounts that can grow your money. You can open a “money market” which is a type of blend between a savings and a checking account (as you can write checks off of this share) that usually has rates up to 2.5%. This account comes in tiers, starting with a regular tiered money market with a required balance of usually $1,000, up to a tiered money market peak plus that is usually a $250,000 plus requirement. As your balance grows, so does your dividend rate, and the only catch to this account is that it cannot dip below the starting minimum balance (often $1,000).
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Other options for those with more money to put away are certificates. Certificates are accounts that have varying minimum opening balances, rates, and maturity terms - you deposit your funds and then don’t touch them for certain amounts of time as they grow, then when the certificate matures, you can withdraw the money with the added dividends or roll it into a new certificate. They can last from three to 60 months and have rates up to 3.25%, which compounds the dividends as well as your initial deposit. If you don’t need your savings money “liquid” (able to withdraw from) then certificates are a great way to save for the long-term future.
There are so many ways that you can grow your money instead of just letting it sit in a savings account with a low-dividend rate. Do some research and look into your local banks and credit unions to find the best rates and accounts for your saving needs and be active about putting funds away for the future - you’ll thank yourself later.
Sarah DeLena is currently studying for her masters in Publishing and Writing at Emerson College. She hopes to become an editor of YA literature, her favorite genre, own at least two golden retrievers, and further the legacy of the Oxford comma.