Savings Accounts: Making Simple Sense of Your Options

Feb 22, 2019
Savings

Whether you’re focused on a specific financial goal or just need to start building an emergency fund, there are several viable options to consider when determining the best place to put your savings. But choosing which savings vehicle makes the most sense for you or your family members need not be difficult. Each type of savings account offers unique advantages that are fairly straightforward, although you may decide that your best option involves a mix of the various kinds. To help you assess how they each align with your particular preferences and needs, here’s an overview of how they compare to one another.

Basic Savings Accounts: The simplest place to stash your savings, this account allows you convenient access to your money while enabling you to earn a small return. It’s also a good place to build the recommended financial cushion of funds for 3-6 months of living expenses. Personal finance experts generally agree that this amount can provide peace of mind and security in the event of an emergency, job loss, major car or home repairs, large or unexpected medical bills, a death in the family, etc.

Although you can’t write checks on your savings account, you can often link it to your checking account for quick transfers and overdraft protection. Federal laws generally limit the number of withdrawals or transfers you can make from your savings account to six per month, but most savings accounts don’t have a limit on how much you can deposit.

SFPCU Savings Accounts feature no monthly fees, a low minimum balance for earning dividends and only $25 to open an account. In addition, we offer a Tiered Savings Account that provides a higher rate of return depending on how much money is kept on deposit. You can open a Tiered Savings Account at SFPCU with only $500. And if you’re seeking a basic account that can help you make the holidays more fun and rewarding, consider opening a Holiday Savings Account. By planning ahead with this simple way to save throughout the year, you’ll also avoid the usual stress and post-holiday debt. All savings accounts at SFPCU provide a wide range of online and mobile banking options as well as access to more than 5,000 shared branch locations and nearly 30,000 surcharge-free ATMs worldwide.

Youth Accounts: As behavior experts continually tell us, a strong grasp of the concept of money reinforced by real-world financial skills at a young age is directly connected to financial success in life. And one of the most important ways to help your kids learn to manage money responsibly is to get them motivated to start saving. We make this easy at SFPCU with age-appropriate savings options that keeps parents involved. This includes online access for reviewing account transactions and transferring funds to your child’s account. What’s more, kids have the opportunity to win prizes for their deposits, and can easily keep track of their money with our signature Deposit Stamp Card. Our Youth Accounts also provide kids with access to our Looney Tunes and OnScene Teen programs, activities and games that teach them the basics of money management and are tailored to different age ranges.

Certificates: As an alternative to a basic savings account, a Certificate offers a higher rate of return but more restrictions pertaining to when you can access your funds. It’s best used for investing money you won’t need for a set period of time (e.g. 3-18 months), usually at a guaranteed fixed-interest rate. When you deposit money into a Certificate account, you’re required to leave it there for a specified amount of time, which is referred to as its maturity date. If you withdraw money early, you’ll have to pay a penalty. For this reason, it can also be a good option for those who are saving for a specific life goal, such as a down payment on a house, but are concerned about tapping into this money too easily.

Along with competitive rates and terms that range from 3 months to 5 years, SFPCU provides the option to apply a “ladder” strategy to create your savings using our Certificates. With this feature, your Certificates’ terms mature every month to provide extra income if you need it, or allow you to re-invest if you don’t. What’s more, February is an ideal month to put your money into a Certificate at SFPCU with our special limited-time offer. For a minimum deposit of $500, you can take advantage of our 2.631% APY* Certificate Rate. *APY= Annual Percentage Yield. Be aware that this promotional offer is available at the time of this publication (February 22, 2019) but may be discontinued at any time at the Credit Union’s sole discretion without notice. For full terms and restrictions, visit http://bit.ly/18MonthSpecialCertificateRateSFPCU.

Money Market Accounts: This liquid asset offers more flexibility than a Certificate, and it generally provides a higher rate of return than a basic savings account. Unlike a traditional savings account, you can write a designated number of checks against a money market account. However, these accounts tend to require a higher minimum deposit than other types of savings accounts, and you’ll have to meet specific requirements in order to benefit from its dividends. Interest rates paid on a money market account fluctuate with the economy, and are tiered according to how much money is held in the account (more money on deposit will allow you to earn a higher rate of return up to a specific amount). 

A money market is an excellent option for an emergency fund, or for short or medium-range goals when you still need instant access to your cash. When you open an SFPCU Money Market account, you’ll pay no monthly service fees or charges, so your money can grow at higher rates the more you deposit. Find details at http://bit.ly/MoneyMarketAccountsForLawEnforcement.

Have a handle on the different types of savings accounts but need some help in setting day-to-day strategies for building your savings? Check out our blog post, “Six Financial Tips for the New Year,” which provides easy ways to instill good money-saving habits, from automating monthly transfers to setting realistic goals.