Finding Your Best Bank – It’s Worth It

Ray’s Take: There’s a perception that all banks are the same and offer the same services and have the same fees. That may have been true at one time, but in today’s world, it pays to investigate a broad range of financial institutions to find the one that has the best products and services geared toward your individual needs.

For many, your bank is the hub of your financial life. It’s where your paycheck is deposited, where bills are paid and where savings are directed to other accounts. It’s also where you work toward some of your most important short-term financial goals like building an emergency fund and saving for a down payment for a car or home.

Look closely at fees vs. interest rates. If you’ve got your emergency fund or your fund for a down payment on a home in a bank that charges more per year in fees than you are making in interest, you’re actually losing money rather than growing it.

Look closely at maintenance fees, out-of-network ATM fees and overdraft fees. Most fees are avoidable these days if you know where to look. How about requirements? Some banks require you to keep a certain balance in your account or make a certain number of transactions each month to avoid paying a fee. That is probably something that will not serve you well over time. Do you prefer to do your banking online or via your phone? A bank with a user-friendly and safe environment for that is a must. Cybersecurity is a growing need in today’s world.

Be sure to include online banks and credit unions in your search to find the best options for yourself. Varying rewards are up for grabs. The world and our financial needs are changing quickly. The bottom line is you’re your money is always working; the question is for whom.

You probably interact with your bank more than any other financial institution. You should put in the time to find one that is the best fit for your plans and rewards you for using them.

Dana’s Take: When it comes to choosing where to do business, we all have different wants and needs.

For some, it’s nice to feel personally valued at a business where people call them by name. For others, that’s not a priority and the more arms-length way of doing business online works best for those folks – no warm fuzzies are necessary.

There’s no right or wrong way to feel comfortable in the way you conduct your business. Your banking needs are unique, so take your time to think about what’s most important to you, then find the bank that offers it.

Managing Money is a Marathon, Not a Sprint
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