When it comes to your Social Security check, the easiest ways to increase it are to earn more during your working years and defer payments as long as possible. Beyond that, saving and investing on your own are the best ways to supplement your retirement income. Choosing the right bank — one that offers no-fee accounts, high yields, solid investment options and tax-free retirement accounts — is an important step in helping to build your nest egg. Once you actually retire, these same banking products and services can help maximize the Social Security payouts you receive. Here’s a list of five banks that can help you prepare for a secure retirement and maximize your returns if you’re already drawing Social Security benefits.
Axos Bank is a completely online institution. While this might deter some traditional banking customers at first, the benefits you receive from banking with Axos are extensive. Here are just some of the highlights that make the bank a good option for seniors looking to stretch the value of their Social Security:
- $0 monthly maintenance fees
- $0 overdraft fees
- Unlimited ATM reimbursements
- $0 minimum balance requirement
- $0 opening deposit requirement
- Early direct deposit
- Free incoming wires
- Free Visa debit card
- Free checks upon opening account
With essentially no fees for most basic banking services, Axos Bank won’t be a drag on your Social Security income. Axos also offers a special Golden Checking account for seniors ages 55 and older that pays a 0.10% APY. However, that account does have a $250 minimum to open the account, and ATM reimbursements are limited to $8 per month.
On top of the checking account options, Axos Bank offers a no-fee, high-yield savings account that pays a high 0.61% APY on balances of less than $25,000, along with a high-yield money market account paying a 0.25% APY on all balances. Axos Bank also has a Premier Banking division that caters to the VIP needs of higher net-worth individuals, including a Dedicated Relationship Manager and private client benefits, like international services. To help grow your wealth, Axos Bank also offers $0 commission self-directed trading of stocks and ETFs, in addition to an Axos Elite program that provides research and additional services for $10 per month.
Ally Bank shares much with its online competitor Axos Bank, including no fees and high yields. The Ally Bank savings and checking accounts have no fees and pay 0.50% and up to 0.25%, respectively. Ally Bank offers $0 commission online trading of stocks and ETFs, in addition to a wide range of other investment options, from bonds and mutual funds to options and forex. If you don’t want to run your own investment account, Ally Bank also offers a robo-advisor that charges no management fees and requires just a $100 minimum investment. Ally Bank is a completely online bank and it’s generally better suited to those that are self-sufficient when it comes to their banking needs. That being said, Ally also offers a wide range of financial solutions, from retirement accounts to investments to loans and more, so it can be a good choice for those looking for low fees and high rates.
If you have accumulated significant assets as you approach or enter retirement, a premium banking package from a full-service, international institution might be what you need. If that’s the case, the Citigold account from Citibank might tick all the boxes for you. Although the account requires a minimum of $200,000 on deposit with Citi, most of your accounts and services will be free. For example, you won’t pay any monthly maintenance fees or fees for wire transfers, and you’ll receive unlimited rebates on ATM fees. You’ll also pay $0 for online trades of stock and ETFs. You’ll also have access to a Citigold Relationship Manager to help you with all of your day-to-day banking needs. If you live in one of the states that offers the Citi Accelerate savings account, you can also enjoy a 0.60% APY, which is quite high for a traditional bank. All of these advantages might make Citi the right choice for certain high net worth individuals.
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Sallie Mae Bank
Sometimes, the best way to maximize your Social Security and retirement income is to simply earn the highest available yields. On top of your monthly Social Security check, earning high regular dividends from savings accounts and CDs might be all that you need to cover your retirement expenses. If you find yourself in this category, Sallie Mae Bank may be the answer. The bank’s no-fee SmartyPig savings account pays a very high 0.70% rate on balances of up to $10,000, with a still-good 0.45% APY on higher balances. The bank’s 12-month CD rate is also among the highest available, currently at a 0.70% APY. If you can keep your retirement nest egg in these types of investments, you’ll earn some of the highest rates available on savings and CD accounts.
Consumers Credit Union
Consumers Credit Union is a bit under the radar, but it offers an exceptional checking account yield for those willing to jump through a few hoops. The credit union’s Rewards Checking account pays a whopping 4.09% APY if you meet some banking requirements, specifically:
- Make at least 12 debit card purchases per month
- Receive monthly direct deposits of at least $500
- Spend $1,000 monthly in CCU credit card transactions
You can still earn a 3.09% APY if you only make $500 in credit card transactions monthly, or a 2.09% APY if you make no credit card transactions at all. These are very high rates for a checking account and can help boost your retirement income significantly on your free cash. Additionally, this checking account has no fees and offers unlimited rebates of all ATM fees. All in all, the account offers extremely high yields and no fees, the perfect combination for maximizing savings and protecting funds in retirement.
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