Saving $10,000 is a huge milestone, and it’s worth celebrating. That kind of money can solve a lot of problems. But it also raises some important questions, like where’s the best place to keep that kind of cash?
A savings account might seem like the obvious option, but it’s not always the best move. Here’s what you need to know to decide if it’s right for your money.
Benefits of keeping your $10,000 in a savings account
First things first: There’s nothing wrong with keeping $10,000 in a savings account. If you’re working with a reputable bank, your money will have Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) insurance up to $250,000 per person per account ($500,000 for joint accounts). This protects your money even if the bank fails. So there’s no risk of loss as long as you protect your personal and banking information.
Keeping your money in a savings account can also help you earn interest over time. Interest rates vary depending on economic conditions. Currently, they’re pretty high, with some of the best high-yield savings accounts offering rates exceeding 4.50%. That could earn you $450 or more in a year with a $10,000 initial deposit.
Using a savings account keeps your money accessible as well. This is extremely important if that $10,000 is part of your emergency fund or is for a large purchase you plan to make in the next couple of years. You usually don’t want to invest this money because markets can be unpredictable in the short term. If you need to withdraw your cash when your investments are down, you’d have to settle for a loss. A savings account enables you to withdraw your money worry-free at any time.
The drawback to keeping your $10,000 in a savings account
Though savings account interest rates are high right now, they aren’t guaranteed to stay that way. And even the best savings accounts probably won’t earn you as much as investing would over the long term.
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A certificate of deposit (CD) might be a better choice if you’re worried about savings account interest rates falling throughout 2024. CDs give you a guaranteed interest rate for the entire term, which could be anywhere from a few months to several years, depending on the CD you choose. If you lock in a high CD rate now, you could potentially earn more in interest with one of these accounts than you could with a savings account over the next few years.
But you should note that you typically cannot touch money in a CD until the end of the CD term. If you access yours early, you’ll usually pay a penalty equal to several months of lost interest. So it’s not the right place for your emergency fund or cash you plan to use before the CD term ends.
Investing your savings is another option, but as mentioned above, market volatility makes this a poor choice for the money you plan to use soon. It can be a great option, though, for money you don’t expect to use for years. The S&P 500 — one of the most popular market indexes — has a compound average annual growth rate of 10.7% over the past 30 years.
If you invested your $10,000 and it earned about 10% per year over the next 10 years, you’d wind up with close to $26,000. No savings account will earn you that much over that time.
It doesn’t have to be all or nothing
There are pros and cons to all of the above options. If you’re not comfortable putting all your eggs in one basket, consider spreading your money around. Keep some in a savings account and put the rest in a CD, brokerage account, or retirement account. This can help you earn higher yields while also keeping some of your cash readily accessible. Think through all your options and go with the approach that you’re most comfortable with.
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