Savings Accounts Guide
Are you letting money stand in the way of your goals? There are smarter ways of achieving your dreams, including working with your money and using a good savings account to increase your savings with accumulated interest. Unlike an everyday transaction account, savings accounts offer higher interest rates and a greater range of features to help you reach your savings goal.
Whether you are opening a savings account for your child, saving for a wedding, or just putting money away for a rainy day, our savings account guide will gently guide you down the road to achieving your financial goals.
The first step is to determine your motivation for wanting to open a savings account. Whatever the reason, there is bound to be a savings account out there that can help you save more and increase your wealth – which is one goal we all share.
Reaching a savings goal
Saving with a goal in mind can be a great motivator for disciplined savers. Some people save for their dream holiday, a new car or even for the latest techy gadgets. Whatever you’re saving for, make sure you set yourself a time frame and consider a high interest online account, with low or no fees, to help you achieve you savings goal.
Saving for the long term
Some people have no specific saving goals, but instead put some of their money away for those ‘just in case’ moments. Whatever your motivation, saving some of your hard-earned money is often a smart move, and can help you achieve your goals for the future. This type of saver might benefit from an online savings account that has a direct salary credit facility, so a portion of their salary can be transferred straight to their savings.
Saving for a first home
One of the most common reasons for people to start getting serious about saving is so they can buy their first home. Saving up the required deposit is no easy feat, so setting up a first home savers account could be a wise move to help you achieve your home ownership dream sooner.
Choosing a savings account that will align with your goals and needs will come down to understanding your own requirements. Savings accounts offer a range of different features, so knowing your savings needs and goals will help you determine which features will benefit you most.
Here are some of the common savings account characteristics to consider:
Bonus interest rate
Many online savings accounts offer a bonus rate on top of the base interest rate to help you grow your savings. To get the bonus rate, most institutions require you to fulfil certain conditions, such as making a minimum deposit and a limited number of withdrawals each month. Be aware that sometimes these bonus rates may only apply for a limited time before the rate will revert to the base rate, so make sure you check the terms and conditions before you apply.
Promotional interest rate
Promotional interest rates are usually one-off offers for new customers. The main difference between a promotional and bonus interest rate is that a promotional rate is generally for a limited period of time, but usually doesn’t come with restrictions.
Minimum opening deposit
While it may seem absurd to require savings to begin a savings account, some financial institutions will require an opening deposit before letting you open a savings account. This could be the deciding factor when choosing a savings account, so make sure to check if there’s a minimum amount you will be required to deposit, as well as a maximum amount you can deposit or withdraw on a monthly or daily basis.
Some savings accounts set age restrictions on who can open the account. There are some children’s accounts that parents can open on their child’s behalf or on behalf of beneficiaries to an estate, such as a cash management account or cash management trust, and there are some other accounts that stipulate you must be 18 or over in order to open the account.
Accessing and depositing your savings
While the internet has made financial transactions a lot easier, there are some people that still like picking up the phone or walking into a bank. Most financial institutions offer online accounts which allow you to access your account information and process transactions online. Some saving accounts will still also offer the option of phone banking facilities and branch access so you can find out your balance and transfer money over the phone and in person.
Automatic salary deposits
Don’t trust yourself to regularly transfer a portion of your income into your savings account? Fortunately, some savings accounts allow direct crediting, which means you can opt for a portion of your salary to be automatically transferred from your employer to your savings account.
Most online savings accounts discourage you from withdrawing money, as you are trying to save money, not spend it. As a result, not all savings account have ATM options, meaning you may need to transfer money back to your linked transaction account to access it. If you want the convenience of being able to access your savings when you need it, then look for a savings account that will allow you access to an ATM.
If you have a good idea of what you need your savings account for, and what features you’re interested in, it’s time to look into the different savings accounts that are available:
Online savings account
The fewer obstacles that stand in the way of your savings goals, the greater your likelihood of achieving them. For this reason, online savings accounts can offer a great way to save, as you can make savings deposits from the comfort of your lounge room or while riding the bus to work. Another bonus to online saving accounts is higher interest rates. Because the overheads are lower with online-based institutions, their online savings accounts are usually some of the most competitive, with higher rates of interest. Some institutions may have branches that you can visit as well.
Encouraging your children to start saving early on in life can help them develop some great financial habits in their future. There are a variety of children’s accounts available so kids can learn about savings early on. Most have age restrictions for opening the account, so a parent or guardian may have to open the account on their behalf.
Cash management accounts
If you have a large initial outlay that you want to deposit, usually of $5000 or more, then a cash management account might suit you. With this type of account, you can earn a high interest rate and access your money as you need it. They still may not offer the highest rates, so it pays to compare.
Superannuation and retirement accounts
These accounts have been set up to help people manage their own superannuation by investing their money into a savings account to earn interest, while keeping the funds accessible if required.
Christmas has a way of sneaking up on us all, and once over, leaves most of us with empty pockets and over-used credit cards. Christmas saving accounts can help you beat the spending madness by allowing you to plan ahead and make regular payments that are stored away for the festive season. They as great forced savings accounts as you are generally unable to withdraw the money until Christmas. One downside is that Christmas saving accounts might not offer interest rates as high as some other savings accounts.
Following these steps can help you narrow down which savings account options may help you reach your savings goals.
1. Set yourself a savings goal
Setting goals is a great motivator for achieving what you want from life. So, what DO you want from life? Once you know your goal is a trip to Alaska, a grand wedding or a pampered pooch, you can then start working out how much money you need to reach these goals and start setting the wheels in motion.
2. Set up a savings plan
Knowing your goal and what is required to achieve it will help you stay on course. The first step is to work out a budget of how much you can afford to deposit into your savings account each month. For help determining how long it will take you to achieve your goals, use our online savings calculator to see how much you will have to deposit and how often in order to reach your goals.
3. Find an account which will suit your goals
When choosing a savings account, make sure to consider whether your goals are short-term or long-term. If they are short-term, look for a savings account with a higher bonus rate for a certain length of time. If your savings goals are longer-term, you will still require a high rate of interest, but you should also consider what the revert rate will be after the promotional period expires.
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4. Open the account
So, you’ve found a savings account that is going to bring you that bit closer to living your dreams? It’s important not to overlook the fine print so make sure you read and understand the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS). Then, you can open the account and deposit whatever savings you may have. One idea is to set up automatic transfers from your transaction account each month, or whenever you require. Then all you have to do is sit back and watch your money grow and your goals get closer.