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- One expert recommended having at least three bank accounts, or four if you are financially capable.
- Have a high yield savings account and two checking accounts. Then open a brokerage account for long term goals.
- She maintains her accounts in separate banks, both for security reasons and to make overspending more difficult.
- Compare the rates and offers of savings accounts in your area »
How many bank accounts should you have?
Mykail “Le Boujie Budgeter” James, a certified financial education instructor, believes people should have at least three bank accounts – or four if they can.
Not only does James have more than one bank account, but she keeps them in different banks.
She keeps her accounts in separate banks
Some people prefer to keep their savings and checking accounts with the same bank, but James does not.
“You know how the saying goes, ‘Don’t put all your eggs in one basket’,” she said. “You shouldn’t have all your money in one bank.”
His number one reason for dividing accounts is security. If the technology fails at one institution, you have accounts at other banks to lean on.
For example, she said that one of her banks suffered a security breach a few years ago, so she couldn’t use her debit card for a few days. Luckily, she had money in a checking account at another bank to fall back on until everything was fixed.
She also said keeping her bank accounts in separate institutions keeps her from overspending. If she kept the checks and savings in the same bank, she might be tempted to transfer money from savings to checks on a whim, and the money would be available almost immediately. Or she might accidentally overspend and not have enough for the bills.
It usually takes a minimum of 24 hours to transfer money from one bank to another, so separating her money has helped her cut down on her instinctive spending.
Here are the three (or four) bank accounts she recommends:
1. High yield savings account
A high yield savings account pays better interest rates than your typical institution. For example, a regular savings account might pay 0.01% APY, while a high yield savings account might pay 0.50% APY.
“I’m not too picky, as long as it’s a good savings rate,” Mykail said.
often pay the highest interest rates, although your local bank or credit union may have a good high yield option.
When it’s time to transfer money from savings to checks, it will take a while if your accounts are at different banks. So James pays with his credit card, transfers money from his savings to a check, then pays off his credit card when the money arrives in his checking account. That way, she can always access savings in the blink of an eye and earns credit card rewards.
2. Expense account
James keeps his pocket money – like money for going out, buying gifts, or shopping – in his own checking account.
She recommended using a well-known online bank as an expense account. Online banks often make your money accessible, and the bigger ones can give you information about their security measures.
3. Current account for invoices
James keeps his pocket money and bill funds separately
She prefers to use a large national bank for her bill account. She also chose to use a bank that provides a Visa debit card, as Visa cards are widely accepted. She knew she could use it to pay any bill without risking it being turned down because a company wouldn’t accept it.
4.Bonus: brokerage account
You may already have a retirement account, such as a 401 (k), set up by your employer. While employer accounts are great tools for investing and saving for retirement, James recommended having an additional investment account if financially feasible.
Brokerage accounts are types of investment accounts that are not necessarily used for retirement. You can use a brokerage account to grow your savings for a longer-term goal, like buying a house or having a child.
This is where James makes an exception to his rule of “keeping my accounts in different banks”. Her high yield savings account and brokerage account are at the same bank because she likes being able to easily transfer money from her savings to her investment account.
James receives his paychecks in the form of direct deposits. She set up a portion of each paycheck for all four accounts, making automatic budgeting easy.