Having a family means lots of financial considerations — and sometimes, lots of bank accounts. The average household has 15 bank accounts, according to a Personal Capital survey. But how many does your family need?
As few as possible, Nancy Anderson recently suggested in Forbes.
One huge drawback to having multiple accounts is that spreading your money around may prevent you from qualifying for higher rates that banks sometimes award to higher balances. And keeping multiple, unused accounts can cause confusion when it’s time to review your monthly finances, she notes.
Having more bank accounts than you need can also lead to inactivity or overdraft fees, and can increase your risk of identity theft, according to Bankrate.
Both Bankrate and Anderson agree that most people need a checking account, but the optimal number of savings accounts varies by household. Anderson writes that she has two savings accounts — one for her emergency fund and another for anything else – like vacations.
Anderson also advises consolidating retirement accounts, so you can monitor your savings more closely and end up with less financial clutter. She recommends rolling over old 401(k)s to your current employer’s retirement plan, or to an IRA.
Bankrate suggests keeping separate savings accounts for any initiative that receives special tax benefits, such as education, health care or retirement. The site also notes that it’s wise to keep a separate savings account for a small business your family may own, and a different account held jointly by a parent and child, to help teach your kids about money and monitor their financial habits.
How many bank accounts do you have in your household? Do you keep any accounts for specific expenses?