As I paid my last credit card bill, I realized that I needed to get all of my eggs out of one basket. I had been using one checking account and one savings account my whole life, but it was time for a change. I know many people that have different accounts for various reasons, but I never took the time to understand these reasons. Once I got my financials in perspective, then I finally started thinking like a smart money person and stopped thinking so one dimensional.
My Account Breakdown
I used to have all of money in just a checking and savings account at BB&T. I have not been at BB&T long due to my move from Wells Fargo. I left Wells Fargo because they bought out Wachovia and made it much worse. I don’t mind taking the time to move money, especially if it can save me fees and headaches. Wachovia was a great bank, but Well Fargo is no good for me. Once I moved my money to BB&T, my wife and I opened a joint checking account. This made it much easier to handle bills, especially with our money both in BB&T checking accounts. Here is a breakdown of my BB&T accounts.
- Personal Checking Account
- Joint Checking Account
- Joint Savings Account
- Personal Savings Account
- eSavings Account for Jeep purchases
This setup has worked for me, until I realized how much I was earning in interest on the savings accounts. As with any large bank, we earned almost nothing on our money. I think it was 0.20% at the highest point, so pretty much nothing.
After realized there were better solutions out there, I decided to open a few more accounts at Alliant Credit Union. They allowed me to open both a higher interest savings account along with an interest bearing checking account. This was a win-win for me. Since it is a credit union, I had to be part of a group that belonged, which I was. Becoming a member at a credit union is much easier than it used to be, so take advantage of them if you can. Here is my breakdown of my Alliant accounts.
- Interest bearing Checking Account
- Interest bearing Savings Account
While I don’t earn a lot of interest at Alliant, I do earn them on both accounts. Currently, my interest rate on my savings account is 0.80% and my interest on my checking account is 0.75%. While I am not earning 4% like we all used to on our savings account, I am still earning more than what BB&T offers.
The best part about Alliant’s checking accounts is that you don’t have to use their debit cards a certain time each month to qualify for the interest. All you have to do is have one electronic transfer per month or direct deposit setup. That was easy enough for me and probably easy for anyone with multiple bank accounts.
My Reason for Multiple Accounts
While some may find it difficult to deal with multiple banking accounts, I find it easy. Each account has a purpose, so budgeting my money is easier than ever. I didn’t get the bank accounts just to make budgeting easier, I also got them because I wanted my money to earn a little more. I don’t consider myself an interest rate hopper, so don’t even think about telling me that I am on.
For those that do not know what interest rate hopping is, then let me quickly explain. This term is used for someone that will switch from bank to bank in order to get the best interest rate. While it can pay off if you do it well, it is usually a large pain. You have to constantly shop around for better rates and then move your money from location to location. I find it easier to find a good bank with a reasonable rate, and then stay there.
Since I work hard to earn my money, as most of you do, then I want it to work for me as well. I don’t want it to just sit there doing nothing, so that is why I have money in interest bearing accounts. At least my money can make a few bucks each month instead of growing nothing.
Another reason why I use different accounts is for security. Since all of my money is not tied up in one account, the likelihood of all of my money getting drained by fraud is low. If a hacker got my debit card number and started to make fraudulent purchases, then I still have another account as a backup. While the bank is working on returning my money, I am not left out in the cold. I can still function normally while the bank works hard to get my money back.
Security is the main reason why I have different accounts and probably one of the best reasons for them. With the explosion of online shopping and RFID card readers, it is only a matter of time before someone gets a hold of your card information. The best thing you can do it protect yourself by diversifying your assets. The small hassle of having multiple accounts far outweighs the hassle of losing all of your money to a hacker.
While you might not want to deal with multiple bank accounts, make sure to ask yourself if you money is doing anything for you. If you are not earning interest of any kind on your money, then it is not working for you. While your money sits in your account, at least it can be helping you and making you more money. If you have money to spare after all of your monthly bills and retirement saving, then think about opening a regular investment account and try to earn more money. I use Betterment for both my IRA as well as a personal investing account. There are many options for anyone looking to increase their wealth, but always remember to never put all of your eggs in one basket.