Dec 27, 2019 11:14 AM EST
4 Reasons It Pays to Have Multiple Savings Accounts
It can be tempting to think of "savings" as one big entity - there's checking, then there's savings. But treating a single savings account as a catch-all for every dollar you want to stash away for the future can actually make it harder to meet your savings goals and grow your net worth over time.
The good news is that it's pretty simple to open and maintain multiple savings accounts. As they say, "the more the merrier." Here are just four reasons it pays to have several savings accounts rather than a single one containing funds earmarked for all kinds of various causes.
Helps Establish Specific Savings Goals
Truthfully, many people find saving for the sake of saving less than motivating. After all, you're not trying to tuck away money just to see that number on the screen go up; you're saving because you want and need a stronger safety net, a trip to Walt Disney World, a reliable car, a down payment on a house or a holiday fund.
The first thing to do is clearly define and visualize your savings goals. What do you want to achieve and how much money will it take? Then you can open savings accounts specifically meant to facilitate each goal. Anytime you want to check your progress, you'll be able to clearly see how much you've saved for each goal simply by checking the account balance.
A few examples of itemized savings accounts include:
- Emergency fund
- Travel fund
- Personal savings
- Home repair fund
- Health savings account
Another perk is that you'll be able to choose the type of savings account best suited to each goal. If you know you can commit to leaving your money in an account for a set term like six months or a year, you might choose to open a certificate of deposit (CD) with higher interest returns. But if you know you might need to liquidate your cash quickly, like money set aside for an emergency, you'll be better off going with a more flexible traditional account.
You Can Automate Transfers for Each Account
It's helpful to know exactly where your money is going, especially because your priorities will always be changing depending on the timing of your savings goals.
How does this look in action? Andrew Housser, a debt expert who also co-founded Freedom Debt Relief, advises consumers to tuck away extra savings from holiday shopping into a dedicated savings account so they can avoid racking up holiday debt on a credit card. So, if you set up a designated account for holiday spending, it'd be easy to increase your transfers throughout the year - tucking away more money as the spending season approached. Then after the holidays you could cool down on transferring funds into your holiday account, instead rerouting them to your next priority.
Reduces Temptation to Spend General Funds
It's all too easy, and perhaps even tempting, to pull from a general fund - especially if your checking account gets depleted and you need to cover some costs. But pulling money from a specific goal like taking your next vacation or putting a down payment on a house tends to hurt a little worse. It might even make you think twice about siphoning those funds, which can provide some great encouragement to spend wisely and avoid dipping into savings.
You'll Know Where to Withdraw in an Emergency
An unexpected expense - like a broken-down vehicle, a sick pet or a large medical bill - is stressful no matter what. The last thing you want to do is find yourself struggling to withdraw the funds you need quickly. This is why it's advisable to have several months' worth of living expenses tucked away in a highly accessible account at all times.
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