Taking Advantage of Savings Account Interest Rates: Maximize Your Money and Reach Financial Goals

Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

First off, if you’re reading this, congratulations! You’re actively interested in making smarter decisions about your money. Not everyone has this level of awareness or even the thirst to better their financial well-being. But here’s the thing: where you park your money matters as much as how you earn it, and if you’ve been using a checking account as the primary residence for your hard-earned cash, it’s time for a change. Why? Because savings account interest rates are typically higher than checking accounts. Let’s investigate the nuances and help you decide on your money’s future.

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Understanding the Basic Difference Between Checking and Savings Accounts

The Role They Play

At their core, checking and savings accounts serve two different purposes. A checking account is designed for frequent transactions, such as paying bills or grocery shopping, while a savings account is designed for—you guessed it—saving money.

Interest Rates: The Undeniable Gap

Savings accounts generally offer higher interest rates than checking accounts. This is because banks can use the money you deposit into a savings account to loan out to others, earning them interest. The bank then shares a small portion of this profit with you as interest.

Illustrative Example: Imagine two scenarios where you have $10,000. In a checking account with an interest rate of 0.05%, your money would grow by a mere $5 in one year. On the other hand, a savings account with an interest rate of 1.0% would earn you $100. It might not seem like a huge difference, but remember: compound interest is your friend regarding long-term savings.

Savings Account Interest Rates Higher Than Checking Account

The Advantages of Higher Interest Rates in Savings Accounts

Compound Interest: The Eighth Wonder of the World

Albert Einstein allegedly called compound interest the eighth wonder of the world. Why? Because the interest you earn on your initial deposit also starts earning interest, creating a snowball effect.

Illustrative Example: If you were to deposit $10,000 in a savings account with a 2% annual interest rate and let it sit for 20 years, you’d have approximately $14,859. That’s almost $5,000 earned without lifting a finger.

Financial Goals: Closer Than They Appear

Whether buying a home, planning a wedding, or saving for retirement, higher interest rates can get you closer to your financial goals faster.

Illustrative Example If your dream is to have a $20,000 fund for world travel and you can save $500 a month, a travel savings account with a 1.5% interest rate will get you there in approximately 32 months. A checking account at 0.05% would take 34 months. Those two months could mean extra time exploring your dream destinations.

Savings Vs Checking

The Right Time to Move Money from Checking to Savings

Keep Sufficient Funds for Daily Expenses

A common rule is the 50/30/20 budgeting principle. Allocate 50% of your income for necessities, 30% for discretionary spending, and 20% for savings. This last chunk is what you can move to a savings account.

Be Aware of the Limitations

Savings accounts have withdrawal limits, usually six per month in the U.S. Make sure you won’t need to dip into these funds frequently before transferring.

Savings Interest Rates

Next Steps

Simply put, if you’re keeping more money in a checking account than necessary, you’re missing out on the benefits of compound interest that a savings account can offer. Savings accounts typically offer more interest than checking accounts because they’re structured to make your money work for you. Your finances are essential to your life; don’t you think they deserve a better home? So, the next time you ponder, “Savings accounts typically offer more interest than what type of account?”—you’ll have your answer. And more importantly, you’ll know exactly what to do about it.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Does a CD earn more interest than a savings account?

A Certificate of Deposit (CD) typically offers a higher interest rate than a regular savings account. This is because you agree to lock in your money for a period ranging from a few months to several years. In exchange for this commitment, banks usually provide a better rate. However, accessing funds before the term ends often results in penalties. Always compare rates and terms to find the best fit for your needs.

How much interest will $1000 earn in 20 years?

The interest earned from $1,000 in 20 years depends on the interest rate and compounding frequency. For example, at a 5% annual interest rate compounded yearly, you’d have approximately $2,653 after 20 years. Use the formula A = P(1 + r/n)nt where where A is the amount, P is the principal, r is the rate, n is the number of times compounded per year, and t is the time in years, to calculate for specific conditions.

How can I double my money without risk?

Doubling your money without risk is virtually impossible. All investments carry some level of risk, including the loss of principal. “Guaranteed” schemes are often scams and should be avoided. Even “safe” investments like government bonds or FDIC-insured savings accounts carry inflation risk. Always do your due diligence and consider the risk-return trade-off.

Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

I’m a licensed financial professional focusing on annuities and insurance for more than a decade. My former role was training financial advisors, including for a Fortune Global 500 insurance company. I’ve been featured in Time Magazine, Yahoo! Finance, MSN, SmartAsset, Entrepreneur, Bloomberg, The Simple Dollar, U.S. News and World Report, and Women’s Health Magazine.

The Annuity Expert is an online insurance agency servicing consumers across the United States. My goal is to help you take the guesswork out of retirement planning or find the best insurance coverage at the cheapest rates for you. 

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