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Types of Savings Accounts

Each type of savings account has different advantages, time requirements, and interest rates. It is important to research your options and choose the type of savings account that meets your needs. Below you will find descriptions of the most common types of savings accounts.

Savings Account

Savings Account

A basic, "no-frills" savings account may pay a lower interest rate than other savings products, but usually has no minimum balance requirement or monthly fee. There are no time requirements, so you can withdraw money when you need it, which makes it a good choice for your emergency fund or vacation fund. Savings accounts allow access in person and through an ATM, but they do not allow checks or merchant card swipes. Most banks charge a small fee if you exceed a stated number of withdrawals per month.

High-Yield Savings Account

High-Yield Savings Account

High-yield savings accounts are similar to basic savings accounts, but generally offer higher interest rates and contain a minimum balance requirement. There may be a fee if your balance falls below the stated minimum or if you exceed a stated maximum number of monthly withdrawals. A high-yield savings account is a good choice if you want to earn a higher interest rate on large balances and need the option of immediate access to your money.

Money Market Account

Money Market Account

Money market accounts generally pay a higher interest rate, require a minimum balance, and include limited features of a checking account. You can access the account in person, with an ATM card, and write a limited number of checks. Banks are required to limit withdrawals on money market accounts to six per month. A fee may be charged if your account falls below the minimum required balance or if you exceed the limited number of monthly withdrawals.

Certificate of Deposit (CD)

Certificate of Deposit (CD)

Certificates of deposit (CDs) are ideal for long term savings goals, such as a down payment on a home or a college education. Depositing money in a CD is a commitment to leave your money in the account for a specific time period, such as six months, one year, or five years. This period is called the "term" of the CD. The date on which the stated term ends is called the "maturity date." Typically, the longer the term selected, the higher the interest rate.

It's important to leave your money in the CD until the maturity date, because early withdrawals may be subject to an "early withdrawal penalty," including loss of some or all interest. Many CDs automatically renew, so when your CD reaches the maturity date, you have a short time (typically 10-15 days) to withdraw your money or allow it to roll into a new term. 

Individual Retirement Account (IRA)

Individual Retirement Account (IRA)

An individual retirement account, commonly referred to as an IRA, is a tax-deferred investment account for wage earners to set aside money for retirement. An IRA can be established at a bank, credit union, brokerage or mutual fund company. It can be invested in certificates of deposit, money market funds, stocks, bonds or other securities.

The Internal Revenue Service provides tax benefits on IRA contributions and earnings, according to certain guidelines. Individuals are allowed to make annual IRA contributions up to a maximum dollar amount, based on the year and the individual's age, as set by the Internal Revenue Service.

There are two types of IRAs: traditional and Roth, each serving a different tax-planning purpose. Qualifying contributions to a traditional IRA are tax deductible in the year made, and distributions at retirement are taxable. Roth IRA contributions receive no tax benefit, but distributions during retirement are tax-free.

It is important to deposit only money you will not need prior to retirement. If you withdraw money from a qualified IRA before the age of 59 ½, you may be subject to income tax, plus a 10 percent early distribution tax.

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