Is it possible to have too much savings? Or too big an emergency fund? Can you really have too much money in the bank? While everyone’s financial situation is unique, it’s possible you could be missing out on opportunities to grow your money. Other options for where to put your hard-earned cash, like an investment account, could potentially benefit you in the long run, once you’ve reached a certain point in your savings. Here’s a checklist to help you answer for yourself if it’s time to refresh your savings plan.
A liquid savings account — check!
You know that emergency savings is a pillar of financial health, and maybe you’ve made building a solid emergency fund a priority. Whether you have already reached or are incredibly close to saving the recommended three-to-six months’ worth of living expenses (or whatever goal makes sense for you based on your lifestyle), you’re keeping your funds where you can easily access them if needed in an emergency. With your money in a liquid savings account, like our Online Savings Account, you earn interest at a competitive rate and can easily access it should life throw you a curveball.
If the above rings true to you, and your accessible financial safety net is secured to your liking, it could be time to start thinking about alternate options for your money as you continue to save.
High-interest debts are paid — check!
Saving money and paying back debt is a balancing act, and sometimes one might take priority over the other. Once you have an emergency fund protecting you against financial misfortune, it can be smart to focus on eliminating any debt you might be carrying.
Paying off high-interest debt, like that from credit cards, is a good place to start. If a portion of your budget was dedicated to building your emergency fund in the past, you might consider diverting some of those funds to increasing your monthly credit card or other loan payments. That way, if a financial emergency occurs, you’ll be less burdened by piling up interest payments.
Have your high-interest debt under control? It may be time to start stashing away your extra savings where they’ll have the potential to grow — without you even trying.
Next up: Where are you saving for your short-to-mid-term goals?
If your emergency savings account is fully funded, it could be a good time to start planning and saving for short-to-mid-term goals, for example, buying a house or going to school. Since you have more control on timing with these goals, quick access to your money can play less of a role when choosing where to store your cash, which opens the door to a few more options like Certificates of Deposits (CDs).
CDs are, in some ways, like savings accounts, but with key differences. Notably, your money typically isn’t accessible without a penalty for a certain period of time (think: three months to five years). One benefit? CDs may offer higher interest rates than regular savings accounts, and your rate won’t change for the duration of your specified time period — even if national interest rates change.
In a dropping rate environment, CDs can give you the opportunity to lock in a higher interest rate before they go even lower. And when interest rates are high, CDs can be a great option for earning predictable returns while ensuring your money is protected by the FDIC, up to the maximum allowed by law. Remember, it’s important to compare rates and time periods before committing your savings to a CD.
One savings technique called CD laddering allows you to take advantage of the higher interest rates that long-term CDs tend to offer, while providing you access to your money at regular intervals.
Read more: Here’s how to build a CD ladder.
Planning for the Long Run: Investing Extra Emergency Funds
Saving money is smart. And knowing the best place to keep your savings is even smarter. Because, while you can never really save too much money, you can strategize to divvy up your money such that it can work harder for you. If you’ve built a rock-solid emergency fund and have a savings plan in place for your short-to-mid-term goals, you may want to explore the next step for potentially boosting your financials: investing.
Investing inherently incurs more risk than keeping your money in a savings account (market ups and downs could cause your funds to lose value or unexpectedly diminish), but it also has several benefits. Number one? The potential to grow your wealth, thanks to the average rate of return on the stock market before inflation. And even factoring in inflation, your money still grows in the long run.
On the other hand, fluctuating interest rates may not always keep up with the rate of inflation — meaning in a savings account, your money could lose value over time (but it’s important to remember that savings accounts don’t come with the same risks as investing, of course. Peace of mind has value, too!).
If you’ve shied away from investing in the past, whether due to inexperience in the market, worries about volatility, or simply not having the time to manage your investments, you might reconsider. Because these days, you don’t need to be an expert investor or spend hours combing the internet to pick the right securities for your portfolio.
With our Robo Portfolio from Ally Invest, we take all the guesswork and heavy lifting out of investing. Our investment specialists will build you a diversified portfolio based on your risk tolerance, timeline, and goals. Then, our smart robo-advisor technology will continuously manage and monitor your portfolio, rebalancing periodically to ensure your asset allocation stays in line with your preferences. Take note that our cash-enhanced Robo Portfolio has zero advisory fees and holds 30% of your portfolio in cash as a buffer against market volatility.
When it comes to maximizing your savings, building an accessible emergency fund is just the first step. Now, it’s time to try to make the most of every dollar by seeking your options beyond the typical savings account — whether you take advantage of higher interest rates or the potential returns of the market.
Ready to maximize your savings and minimize your stress?