Today’s low interest rates may have you scrambling to refinance your home, but when it comes to savings and checking, those rates are nearly zero. In order to built up a substantial savings at those rates, you’ll need to make some cuts in your lifestyle to reduce your standard of living. It can be done, and here are five ways to do it.
- Shop around for rates. You want to look for higher yields on bank accounts and CDs of at least a quarter higher than most you’re seeing. Even accounting for that research, this doesn’t represent an effective enough solution to yield cash flow. Try a CD or savings bonds if you’re a short-term saver, such as for your kids’ college.
- If you won’t be needing the cash in the short term, try an investment portfolio that combines a healthy mix of stocks, bonds, market hedges and even precious metals for a solid return, Many financial planners call this an all-weather portfolio. It’s always smart not to keep all your eggs in one basket.
- Take on some risk. Savers who want to get a higher yield and aren’t afraid of a little risk can turn to bond funds, dividend-paying stocks, real estate investment trusts or callable government agency bonds from Fannie Mae and Fannie Mac, suggests Bankrate. You get the promise of higher returns, but the risk is also greater since they’re not insured by the FDIC.
- Stop spending. Obviously, you’ll need the essentials but nix all the extras and sock those dollar away. There are two reasons you should save rather than spend: today’s dollars will be more valuable tomorrow and any money you spend today can’t be invested for greater returns in the future.
- Spend where you should – specifically, pay down high-interest credit cards debt, then refinance your mortgage to cut back on your monthly payments. Build up your emergency fund in case your car breaks down or your roof springs a leak.
As a committed saver, you see the big picture, and you know that all those dollars invested now will pay off down the line. The earlier you start saving, the better. If you’re 20 years old and save $200 a month until retirement age at 6%, you could be looking at a nest egg of $550,000. Not too shabby! Dedication to the future is necessary if you’re gong to be a committed saver, so make a plan and stick with it. A big part of this is to have a financial plan or broker on your side who can help guide you in your investments. For those brokers who don’t end up being on your side, you’ll need a securities fraud attorney.