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3 smart places to put your money today

Little piggy banks on ascending stacks of coins
If you aren't putting your money in these accounts right now, you're probably missing out on some big benefits. Getty Images

When it comes to creating a solid financial plan, there are a range of factors to consider. For starters, you need to ensure that you have a working budget so you know exactly where your money is going. And, you need to ensure that the money you earmark for investments is working as well as possible for you.

But one area you may be overlooking in your financial plan is your savings. Or, more specifically, where to put your savings. Selecting the right place to park your money is a crucial part of any financial plan — but many people simply open a regular savings account instead of considering all of their options first. 

That's usually the wrong move. After all, most regular savings accounts offer rates that aren't even keeping up with inflation, so if you're letting your savings sit in one of these accounts, you're effectively losing money. Plus, there are better places to put your money — and by utilizing one or more of those options, your money will be working a lot harder for you. 

It's time to pur your money to work with a top savings rate. Find out how much more you could be earning here.

3 smart places to put your money today

While there are any number of options for places to store your money, these three options could be the right move, right now:

High-yield savings accounts

In a landscape of low-interest savings accounts, high-yield savings accounts stand out. These accounts offer notably better interest rates than other types of savings accounts, allowing your money to grow more effectively compared to traditional savings options. High-yield savings accounts also provide a safe and accessible place for your emergency fund or short-term savings goals, while still earning you more in return.

And, because of the Federal Reserve's recent rate hikes, many of these accounts are currently offering high rates now. With a little research, it's possible to find a high-yield savings account offering interest rates of 4.5% or more — and many of these are no- or low-fee accounts

That said, it's important to note that the rates on high-yield savings accounts are variable, so there's a chance that the rates could fluctuate up or down in the future. Still, the current rates are high compared to what they were even last year, so it's a great time to take advantage of what they offer.

Something else worth noting is that high-yield savings accounts are offered by a number of financial institutions, including online banks, credit unions and some traditional banks. However, online banks tend to offer the highest rates because of their low overhead costs compared to brick-and-mortar banks. As such, it can make sense to start by comparing those options.

Explore the rates you could be earning on your savings here now.

Certificates of deposit 

Certificates of deposit (CDs) are another option worth considering today if you want to put your money in a secure account that earns a high rate of interest. While the rates are comparable to what high-yield savings accounts are offering right now, CDs work a little differently.

When you put your money in a CD, you're locking away your money for an agreed-upon term, which typically ranges from a few months to a few years. In return, you earn a fixed rate of interest for the entire term. What does that mean? If rates decline in the future, your money will continue to earn at the higher rate. 

The main downside is that CDs require you to commit your funds for a specific duration. If you need that money before the term is up, you'll typically pay a penalty equal to some or all of the earned interest.

But they can still be a great fit for the right person — and result in lucrative returns on your money. Many CDs are offering interest rates of 5% or more currently, and that includes many short-term CD options. Having the option to commit to a three to 6 month term instead of a three to 5 year term can make it a little easier to find a CD that fits your money strategy. 

And, as with high-yield savings accounts, CDs are offered by a wide range of financial institutions. But online banks tend to offer the highest CD rates because of the low overhead, so it can be helpful to look at what those financial institutions are offering first.

Retirement account 

Investing in your future is incredibly important, and retirement accounts provide an excellent platform to do so. Contributions to retirement accounts, such as a 401(k) or IRA, offer tax advantages and the potential for long-term growth. 

When you invest in an IRA, your money can be put into a range of assets, from stocks to mutual funds, to ensure its growth over time. In some cases, you can even add gold to your IRA. Having the option to invest in different assets can lead to potentially higher returns on your money over the long term — especially compared to the other account options.

And, if you have the benefit of employer-matched contributions, you can get even more out of your retirement account. Plus, many of these retirement account options offer added tax benefits, which can be a big plus if you're looking for ways to offset what you owe on other income.

The bottom line

In your pursuit of financial stability and growth, these three options — high-yield savings accounts, CDs and retirement accounts — can be solid pillars. Each option provides distinct advantages that cater to different financial goals. Whether you're safeguarding an emergency fund, ensuring your funds grow steadily or securing your retirement, these strategic places offer you the opportunity to make the most of your hard-earned money.

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