We’ve officially entered into a new year and welcomed the start of a new decade.
Now’s a good time to improve your life and get rid of some of the bad habits that have been a problem for the past year — or 10.
Getting your financial life in order should be a top priority, and managing your money well begins with keeping it in the right places.
If it’s been a while since you shopped around for a savings account, this could be the right time to look for a replacement. With 2020 finally here, decide whether your bank still meets your needs.
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Signs it’s time for a new savings account
The Federal Reserve isn’t planning to lift its benchmark interest rate any time soon. That means there’s a good chance that savings account yields won’t see a lot of movement in 2020. The best savings account rates available nationwide will likely remain around 2 percent APY for most of the year before moving up to 2.25 percent APY, says Greg McBride, CFA, Bankrate chief financial analyst.
If you’re earning far below the 2 percent threshold, that’s a good reason to consider making a change and comparing rates.
“Any day is a good day to improve the rate of return, particularly if your money’s sitting in an account with a non-competitive yield,” McBride says.
Another indication that it’s time for a new savings account is if it’s costing you more money than you can afford in the form of fees.
“What people should really be looking for are no-fee, low-opening balance accounts,” says George Barany, director of America Saves, a campaign aiming to help low- to moderate-income households improve their financial situation.
Choosing a new savings account
Finding the right savings account will likely require some effort. The easiest route to take may be opening a new savings account at your existing bank. But it might not offer the product that’s the best fit for you, Barany says.
Besides fees, interest rates and balance requirements, other factors to take into account include:
- Branch access
- Customer service
- Digital tools and features
- App ratings
- Sign-up bonuses
Before picking a bank that’ll pay you a bonus just for opening a new savings account, make sure you read the terms and conditions. You’ll often have to meet a minimum deposit threshold and set up direct deposit to get the bonus.
Just one savings account may not be enough for you. If you have multiple goals or you would prefer to separate your funds into different buckets, consider looking for online banks that make it easy to open and name many accounts at once.
Grow your savings
Though the Fed has its forecast, there’s no telling what could be in store for us in 2020.
Now’s the time to work on padding your savings account with plenty of cash for emergencies, McBride says. “Unemployment’s at a 50-year, low household income has been rising and this is the chance to boost that emergency savings and give yourself some peace of mind regardless of what the future economic environment may hold.”
If saving money is difficult, make it a resolution in 2020 to fix that. Go through your budget and find opportunities to save. Automate your savings so that a portion of each paycheck goes straight into a high-yield savings account. And if needed, speak with a financial adviser who can help you figure out where your money goes every month, says Wendy Terrill, founder and CEO of Assurance & Guarantee, an insurance firm in Burlington, North Carolina.
“Make yourself a good New Year’s resolution and say this year I’m going to get together with somebody that’s going to help me actually attain my goal that I’ve wanted to do for years and have never been able to do and that is to start setting money aside,” Terrill says.