Chances are you enjoyed the playground seesaw as a child. Seated across from your best friend on the long narrow board, you pushed up with your feet, and your friend went down. Down, up. Up, down. Over and over. Laughing all the way. Yet as adults, the seesaw effect can hold less appeal — often dizzying — particularly when it comes to interest rates on your deposit accounts. That’s why we pulled together this list of things to know, so you can stay informed and keep a level head during times when interest rates are in decline.
What goes down will come up.
We can all agree it’s much more fun to be on the upside of the seesaw than the down. The same could be said of our economy. If you look back over the course of history or follow current trends, you will find interest increases and decreases over time. However, no one could have predicted COVID-19’s ripple effect. The Federal Reserve made several emergency interest rate cuts — all designed to prevent economic fallout. This has led to lower rates on your deposit accounts, including checking, savings, money market, and CD accounts, resulting in disappointed savers.
Now is not forever.
Deposit rates are generally tied to several economic factors. As the Federal Reserve tries to boost the economy, interest rates generally decrease. Think of it as the circle of life. Low rates encourage businesses and individuals to borrow money. They use that money to buy more goods and services. That creates jobs and reduces unemployment. More wage-earning workers buy more goods and services. And finally, the economy grows and recovers. We’ve seen it happen throughout our nation’s history.
It may seem like the sky is falling. It’s not.
When your friend jumps off the seesaw, it really hurts to land. You could say that’s what’s happening with CD interest rates right now. For the past few years, CDs have been a go-to strategy for savers. The rates are fixed for the term of the CD, which means that the rates won’t go down during the term of the CD. The longer the term, the better the annual percentage yield (APY). However, in a rate-declining environment, those great CD rates are going to lower as well.
What worked yesterday may not work tomorrow.
CDs, the “old reliable,” have been the go-to for savers because of higher interest rates when compared to other deposit account offerings like saving accounts. Right now, with interest rates low across the board on deposit accounts, this “go-to” savings strategy is less appealing now than before.
You may have more options than you think.
In today’s environment, there is very little rate difference between saving accounts, short-term CDs, and long-term CDs. While no one can predict the future, there are other things you can do to help you stay on track with your savings goals.
Approximately 80 percent of Americans are searching for ways to organize and maximize their money. If you’re one of them, the following tips can help you generate meaningful savings, regardless of the interest rate environment. Better yet, they’ll allow you to save faster and smarter.
- Brainstorm your goals: To determine what a strong financial future looks like for you, make a list of your saving priorities. Having trouble getting stated? Begin with one simple question: What makes you happy? Once you determine your savings goals, check out our savings by age guide to determine how much you should have saved.
- Bring it to life: Create and name your own virtual envelopes with buckets, available in our Online Savings Account, for each of your goals and try to give them timelines. Research shows this step increases the likelihood of success. It also allows you to manage your priorities and track your progress.
- Make savings automatic: Schedule a regular transfer from your checking to savings when you normally get your paycheck. It will keep you from being tempted to spend those set-aside funds and get you in the habit of spending less than you make. And the added benefit: Your savings will quietly and painlessly grow. Learn how you can put your savings on autopilot.
- Fire it up: Look for tools that will help you grow your money faster. For example, there are options in our Online Savings Account that identify “safe to save” money based on behavioral patterns in your primary checking account and move that money into savings automatically. Others round up your debit card purchases to the nearest dollar and move the difference directly into savings. These types of boosters accelerate your savings, making it fast and easy to set more money aside. Learn how microsaving a little bit at a time can help you reach your goals.
- Pat yourself on the back: Take time to track your progress and congratulate yourself on what you’ve accomplished regularly — it could be monthly or even quarterly. The name of the game with savings is not necessarily speed but consistency.