Audio: 5 ways to beat puny rates on savings

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In today’s low savings-rate environment, consumers are having trouble finding decent yields for their savings. But there are some alternatives to low-yielding savings accounts.

I’m Sheyna Steiner with the personal finance minute.

Savers may have better luck with high-yield checking: Bankrate’s 2010 High-Yield Checking Study found some accounts with rates of 1.5 percent to 4 percent. Typically, they carry monthly account requirements such as direct deposits and frequent debit card use to earn higher rates.

A CD may be an option as well. If you buy a certificate of deposit with a longer term, such as a five-year CD, you’ll find higher interest rates. But many banks charge a penalty for early withdrawal.

For a little bit more risk, higher yields can be found in money market funds. Brokerages and some banks offer money market funds. These will bring better returns, but they are not insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

Savers willing to accept more risk in exchange for fatter yields can consider bond funds, dividend-paying stocks, real estate investment trusts or callable government agency bonds. But the risk of losses is even greater.

For more on this and other personal finance issues, visit I’m Sheyna Steiner.