Don’t know what you’re earning on your savings? Time to pay attention


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You’d be forgiven if you haven’t been paying too much attention to yields on savings accounts over the past few years.

But as interest rates move higher compared with the ultra-low rates of recent years, you should take notice.

According to a recent Bankrate survey, more than 1 in 4 Americans either don’t know the interest rate on their short-term savings or refused to say.

With some savings accounts currently paying more than 2 percent APY, it’s time to get excited about saving again.

“In the last little while … things have started to heat up again,” says Charlie Bolognino, ChFC, CFP, and owner of Side-by-Side Financial Planning LLC in Plymouth, Minnesota.

Survey: What Americans are earning on their short-term savings?

Compare accounts to see if you can earn more

Before banks started raising interest rates on savings products, rates weren’t that exciting to watch.

“There just wasn’t a whole lot of incentive to be managing between a 0.1 percent and a 0.2 percent of interest on a savings account,” Bolognino says.

Rate increases should yield more consumer attention. As the incentives increase, it’s now more worth your while to see what you’re currently earning and whether you can do better.

The benefits are there for people who want to maximize their savings accounts. The national average for yields on savings accounts is 0.09 percent, but the highest-yielding savings account currently on Bankrate is paying more than 23 times that amount.

With some savings accounts currently paying more than 2 percent APY, it’s time to get excited about saving again.

You’ll typically find higher rates at online-only banks, or direct banks. Online-only banks don’t carry the same overhead costs compared with brick-and-mortar institutions, and can pass that savings to customers.

“I think in general, there are a lot of good FDIC-insured online options available — more than there probably ever has been,” Bolognino says.

But if you don’t know your current rate, you won’t be able to determine whether these higher APY accounts make sense for you.

Pay yourself!

You don’t necessarily need a side hustle to earn some extra money. A quick switch of accounts could be a good use of your time.

“If an hour earns you an extra $150 of interest, that’s a pretty good hourly rate,” Bolognino says. “And it’s going to continue to pay dividends in the years to come as you spend a little bit of time managing that going forward.”

Changing to a higher APY savings account is a good move whether you have $20 or $20,000, so don’t feel that you don’t have enough money for the change to make a difference in your life. However, find out what the minimum balance requirement is before choosing an account. Some accounts have no requirements or a small one, while others require you to have up to $10,000 to earn the highest yield.

A higher-yielding account is going to make saving money more fun, as you’ll see a larger amount of interest credited to your account. This account can help you save for an emergency, or for any other occasion that you are trying to prepare for.

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