The Smartest (and Riskiest) Ways to Save in 2023

It probably won’t come as a surprise to learn that Americans are saving money at the lowest rate in nearly two decades. The personal savings rate—a measure of the percentage of disposable income Americans save—was 2.4% in November 2022 according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Many obstacles can make it difficult for people to save money, especially in the current economic climate. Soaring inflation and high household debt (including credit card debt) are two common barriers to saving. Yet if you aren’t able to put away funds as aggressively as you wish you could, saving even a small amount of money can have meaningful benefits.

On a positive note, you can be strategic about the money you save and potentially earn more interest in the process. The smartest ways to save money are options that help you grow your cash reserves at a faster rate without putting your savings at risk. Here are three solid options to cons ider.

High-Yield Savings Accounts

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high rise building

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Traditional savings accounts are a popular place to store cash. However, these types of deposit accounts aren’t always the best places to earn interest on your savings. According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the average annual percentage yield (APY) on a savings account was 0.30% as of December 19, 2022. Meanwhile, it’s not uncommon to earn 3.50% or more with a high-yield savings account (HYSA).

The best high-yield savings accounts not only offer higher interest rates to customers, they often feature other benefits as well. You may be able to find a HYSA from a bank or credit union that charges no monthly fees and has no minimum balance requirements. Other financial institutions may offer new bank bonuses you can earn when you open a new HYSA .

Featured High-Yield Savings Account

UFB Direct Best Savings Account

Open Account

at UFB

  • Our Rating 5/5 Read the review

  • APY4.21% More Info

    UFB Direct breaks balances into five tiers, but, currently, there is only one interest rate.

  • Minimum
    Deposit Required
    N/A

  • Intro Bonus N/A

The UFB Direct Best Savings Account offers one of the highest interest rates available for your money. The UFB APY is up to 4.21% on your balances, the highest interest rate offered by the bank. There are no monthly maintenance fees and no minimum balance to open your account.

Overview

With one of the strongest high-yield savings interest rates on the market, as well as no monthly fees or minimum opening deposit, UFB Direct’s Best Savings Account is an extremely attractive package.

Pros

  • Strong interest rate

  • No maintenance fees or minimum monthly balances

  • Free complimentary ATM card

  • Mobile app and SMS banking

Cons

  • No signup bonus

  • No associated checking account

Money Market Accounts

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stock market

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Money market accounts represent another type of deposit account with the potential to help your savings grow faster. The average APY on a money market account was 0.38% as of December 19, 2022, per the FDIC. Yet the best money market accounts feature interest rates well above this level—potentially 4.0% or higher.

On top of higher potential interest rates, the best online banks provide customers with other valuable perks. No monthly maintenance fees (or the ability to avoid them), no minimum balance requirements, and daily compounding interest are a few benefits you might want to look for if you’re shopping for a new money market account.

Featured Money Market Account

Quontic Bank Money Market Account

Open Account

at Quontic

  • Our Rating 4.5/5

  • APY3.50%

  • Minimum
    Deposit Required
    $100

Quontic Bank’s Money Market Account offers a 3.50% APY, regardless of your balance. And while there is a $100 minimum opening deposit, you don’t need to meet a certain balance requirement to avoid a monthly fee. What’s more, Quontic Bank also doesn’t charge overdraft fees.

Overview

Quontic Bank’s Money Market Account features a solid 3.50% APY for all balances, as well as no monthly fees and overdraft fees. The account also comes with other features, including bill pay, remote deposit, person-to-person transfers, check-writing privileges and even receipt tracking to help improve your money management.

Pros

  • Strong APY

  • No monthly fees

  • No overdraft fees

  • Low minimum opening balance

Cons

  • Excess transaction fees for every transaction over six per statement cycle

Additionally, money market accounts are like a hybrid between a savings account and a checking account. As a result, you may be able to write checks and use debit cards for more convenient access to your funds when you need them. Depending on your wants and needs, these details could help you decide between a money market vs. a savings account if you can’t decide which type of account to op en.

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Certificates of Deposit (CDs)

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roll of money

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Certificates of deposit, better known as CDs, often offer some of the highest returns on savings at many financial institutions. At present, some of the best CD rates feature APYs as high as 4.30% and above.

Of course, CDs do come with a tradeoff in exchange for generous interest rates. When you invest your savings in CDs, you agree to lock away your cash for a set period of time. It’s not impossible to access your money early, but if you decide to do so before your CD reaches maturity, you could face expensive early withdrawal penalties that chip away at your returns.

Featured Certificate of Deposit

CIT Bank Term Certificates of Deposit

Open CD

Member FDIC.

  • Our Rating 3.5/5 Read the review

  • Minimum
    Deposit Required
    $1,000

  • 1 Year APY0.30% More Info

    Annual Percentage Yield is accurate as of January 24, 2023. Interest rates for CIT Bank’s term CDs are variable and subject to change at any time without notice

  • 3 Year APY0.40% More Info

    Annual Percentage Yield is accurate as of January 24, 2023. Interest rates for CIT Bank’s term CDs are variable and subject to change at any time without notice

  • 13-Month APY4.65% More Info

    Annual Percentage Yield is accurate as of January 24, 2023. Interest rates for CIT Bank’s term CDs are variable and subject to change at any time without notice

CIT Bank offers a variety of term CDs ranging from six months to five years. Interest rates vary depending on term length, but generally CIT’s best rates come from slightly unusual term lengths, such as its 13-month CD. See site for details.

Overview

If you’re looking for a dependable way to earn interest on your money in the short-term, CIT Bank’s certificates of deposits may be an excellent choice for you. However, those looking to open a long-term CD may be better off looking elsewhere.

Pros

  • Strong rates for 13 and 18 month terms

  • FDIC insured

Cons

  • Rates for longer terms unimpressive

It’s also important to note that the amount of money you can earn on a CD may vary based on several factors. The financial institution with which you invest your savings plays an important role in your financial returns. The type of CD you choose to open also matters since each option below could have an impact on your earni ngs.

Risky Ways to Invest Your Savings

Bitcoin on a computer
Bitcoin on a computer

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The three options above represent low-risk ways to grow your cash reserves. Yet, it’s understandable that you might want to seek higher returns as well.

In an effort to earn more, many people opt to invest in stocks, bonds or mutual funds. Over the long term, a diversified investment portfolio in the stock market has provided historical annual returns of around 10% according to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). However, not every investor will experience average returns and not every period in the market is average either. As a result, there’s a measure of risk when you invest your money in the stock market.

Some investments, however, are considered high-risk. Such opportunities have the potential to help you earn big returns if all goes well. But there’s a higher chance you could lose money too—perhaps every dollar you invest.

Below are two common high-risk investments. Unless you have a high tolerance for unpredictability and potential loss of savings, you may want to steer clear of these riskier investment opportunities in 2023 .

1. Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency enthusiasts believe that digital currency, like Bitcoin and Ethereum , is the way of the future. Yet at present, investing in crypto assets can be tricky and unpredictable.

Consider Bitcoin as an example. The price of the popular cryptocurrency increased to over $68,000 in November 2021. By the following November, Bitcoin had lost around 75% of its value and was worth less than $18,0 00.

In addition to the frequent fluctuation in cryptocurrency value, the investment vehicle is largely unregulated compared with other types of securities. This lack of regulation leaves the door open for bad actors to take advantage of unsuspecting investors.

If you decide to invest in cryptocurrency, it’s important to understand the risks involved.

2. Individual Stocks

As mentioned above, a diversified investment in the stock market has provided investors with historical annual returns that average around 10%. There’s no guarantee that you’ll experience the same type of return in your investment portfolio (or even that you won’t lose money). But the SEC does note that diversification can improve the chances that you won’t lose money if the market drops or at least reduce your losses compared to what you might have experienced if your investments weren’t diversified.

On the other hand, putting your savings toward the purchase of individual stocks can be a lot more dangerous. There’s a much higher chance that you could lose a large amount of savings (or even all of the money you invest) in this scenario. Trying to predict which stocks will win and outperform others is a gamble, and you should only consider putting money that you wouldn’t mind possibly losing toward this st rate gy.

dollar bill over stock chart
dollar bill over stock chart

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Bottom Line

Financial pressures are mounting for many American families and the majority of households found the past year to be economically difficult. One potential way to reduce this financial pressure is to find ways to grow your savings in 2023. Yet it’s important to understand the risks and rewards involved with different savings and investing strategies and to choose the options that make the most sense for you.

Whether you’re working to build a recession-proof emergency fund or you’re saving cash for something else, consider whether one of the three high-interest deposit accounts above (CDs, high-yield savings accounts and money market accounts) could benefit you. Depending on your situation, a combination of several of these options might make more se nse.