Interest rates are expected to rise more than once in 2022, which means it will cost more to borrow money. Unlike in normal years, pricier loans probably won’t come with the tradeoff of higher savings yields this time around either
So, if you want to grow your bank account in 2022, you can’t rely on your bank account to do it for you. The good news though, is there’s plenty you can do on your own to help your funds put on a little extra weight this year — and keep it on this time.
Start With the Basics: Budget and Automate
You can’t do your bank account any favors until you take inventory of what’s coming in and what’s going out of your financial life.
“Create a budget,” said Blaine Thiederman, a CFP and the founder of Progress Wealth Management. “An easy way to do this is by signing up for a free budgeting tool online like Mint.com or creating your own budget with spreadsheet software like Excel or Google Sheets. Why? Awareness of how much you’re spending and where your money is going makes it easier to adjust the way you spend.”
Like many experts, Thiederman recommends automating your savings — but he offers a unique strategy that could be especially useful for cash-strapped families that can’t find room in their tight budgets to save money.
“Create a separate bank account that you have limited access to, log into your payroll account through your employer, and adjust your deposit to put 1% into the new bank account,” said Thiederman. “Spend whatever’s deposited into your normal account — not the external one. Once it feels easy to live on what’s left, increase that 1% to 2%, 2% to 3%, etc. I’ve had a lot of my clients utilize this method and they’ve all experienced success.”
Make Sure You’re Banking at the Right Bank
If it’s been a while since you’ve taken a look at your current bank’s competition, now is an excellent time to see what else is out there.
“One of the best ways to grow your bank accounts in 2022 is to review your current bank’s interest rates and any fees and charges related to your accounts, then shop around to see where you can get a better deal,” said Karen Condor, a finance expert with US Insurance Agents. “This is a great time to comparison shop banks. In the wake of Bank of America and Wells Fargo slashing and ending fees for overdraft accounts, those moves are pressuring other banks to take similar steps. Remember that you don’t necessarily have to select one financial institution for all of your accounts. You can pick one bank that’s best for the type of checking account you need and another bank for the best type of savings account that you want.”
It’s true that you need to have a cushion of savings to stand between you and financial catastrophe. Once you achieve that, however, you should commit every other dollar you can spare to severing the ball and chain that’s holding you back.
“First and foremost, the best way to grow your bank account is to pay off your debt,” said Katelynn Sortino, a freelance financial writer and owner of the site Cross Culture Love.
“I know this sounds counterintuitive, but over time you’re going to waste so much time and money paying high interest rates. Don’t even bother having more than a simple emergency savings until you have all of your debts paid off because you’re just working against your long-term financial health when all of your money is going towards interest payments. Do yourself a favor — pay off your debt first and then save. It’s my belief that you don’t actually have savings when you have debt.”
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Or at Least Consolidate It
Eliminating debt is an easy thing to suggest and a hard thing to do. In 2022, you can start by gathering your high-interest debt — from your credit cards, if you’re like most people — into one loan that costs less to finance over time.
“Try to apply for a lower-interest loan to pay off your consolidated debt,” said Jeffrey Zhou, co-founder and CEO of Fig Loans. “You’ll reduce the interest you have to pay and you’ll be debt-free much sooner.”
The average interest rate for a personal loan is 9.09%, according to the Fed’s most recent data. That’s hardly free money, but considering the average credit card rate is 16.44%, consolidation might let you steer a whole lot of cash that you would have spent on finance charges into your bank account instead.
Create a CD Ladder to Boost Yields Without Tying Up Cash
Savings rates are so low that yields are barely noticeable even if you have thousands of dollars in your account. The big gains are in stocks, but many experts expect the market to cool this year as interest rates rise. In between are savings vehicles like CDs, which generally deliver the highest guaranteed returns a bank can offer.
“Certificates of deposit are interest-bearing savings accounts that can be held for a period of time,” said Jared Bauman, co-founder and CEO of 201 Creative. “You’re allowing your money to grow while in this account until the CD matures. If you want to keep your original deposit and the interest it has accrued, you can do so, or you can transfer it to another CD.”
One strategy for maximizing gains while increasing access to cash you might nee is to create a “CD ladder,” which puts money into CDs with different term lengths and frequently renews short-term CDs to CDs with longer terms and higher rates.
“With rising interest rates in mind, you could transfer maturing CDs with lower rates into CDs with a better annual percentage yield,” said Bauman. “In the meantime, even if interest rates fall, you can still benefit from the higher rates on your older CDs until they mature.”
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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: The 5 Fastest Ways To Grow Your Bank Account, According To Experts