The number of savings accounts someone should have depends on a person’s financial situation. Most people will benefit from having an emergency fund and at least one other savings account. However, there are good reasons to have multiple savings accounts, depending on your personal savings goals.
If you’ve been wondering how many savings accounts you should have, here is a look at some savings goals that might benefit from a dedicated account, reasons for considering multiple accounts and the types of accounts that are best for different savings goals.
Why Should You Have Multiple Savings Accounts?
To determine how many savings accounts you should have, you should first determine your savings goals, evaluate how well you manage money and understand the benefits that come with having multiple accounts.
Some Funds Might Need a Separate Savings Account
Here are three types of savings that might benefit from being in a dedicated savings account.
An emergency fund is savings set aside expressly for financial emergencies or unexpected expenses. Common examples include unemployment, home or auto repairs and medical expenses. Financial experts recommend having three to six months of monthly expenses in an emergency fund.
Whereas an emergency fund is for unplanned expenses, a sinking fund is for planned significant expenditures that are not part of the regular monthly budget. Examples include property taxes, insurance premiums and holiday gifts. The idea of a sinking fund is to put a small amount of money away each month for these future expenses so you have the money when the bill is due and you can avoid incurring debt to pay it.
Other Savings Goals
Any time you set a new savings goal — especially a significant one — you might want to consider keeping it in a dedicated account. Savings goals may include anything for which you might want to save, such as a home or auto down payment, vacations, college or home improvements.
Protect Your Savings From Your Spending
One of the primary reasons to have multiple savings accounts is to protect your savings from your spending. Using an online bank account or opening a savings account at a different bank than your checking account makes it more difficult to access your money since it can take multiple days to transfer money back to your checking account. This can help reduce impulse spending or the temptation to use the funds for a purpose other than your goal while still giving you access when needed.
Keep Your Finances Separate
While it might be easier to set up an automatic transfer to just one account each month, your savings goals might be challenging to track when the money is all in the same account. Having separate accounts — such as one for an emergency fund and another for a down payment on a home — makes tracking your goals easier and keeps your other funds safe should an emergency arise.
Also, it might make sense to keep short-term savings in one type of account (such as a high-yield savings account) and long-term savings in another (such as a certificate of deposit).
Take Advantage of FDIC Insurance
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. will cover up to $250,000 in combined account totals in the same ownership category for the same depositor. If you have more than that in a CD, savings account or a money market account at the same bank, you should move some of that money to another bank to ensure that it’s protected.
How Many Savings Accounts Should I Have?
It’s best to keep your savings in fee-free, high-interest accounts whenever possible. Once you have an idea of your financial goals, you should consider whether you’d benefit from any (or all) of the following savings account types.
High-Yield Savings Account
A high-yield savings account has a higher interest rate than what you would find for a traditional savings account. High-yield savings accounts are ideal for short-term savings goals since you can easily access the money when necessary.
Money Market Account
A money market account may feature a higher interest rate than most traditional savings accounts, but it also may require a larger minimum balance. However, if you do find a money market account with a minimum balance requirement you can meet, it might be another good option for short-term savings.
Certificate of Deposit
A CD typically offers a higher interest rate than a traditional savings account. Still, you lock the money into the account for a set period and generally face a penalty for early withdrawal. A CD is a good option for long-term savings that you know you will not need immediately, such as a home down payment or emergency fund savings beyond the initial three months’ worth.
Having multiple savings accounts requires more work, but it could be a helpful way to limit spending and stay on track to save for various financial goals simultaneously. You’ll have a better idea of how much you’ve saved for each goal, and you can often take advantage of higher interest rates.
If you decide that having multiple savings accounts makes sense for your finances, consider fees, APYs and balance requirements before selecting a financial institution and an account.
FAQHere are quick answers to common questions about savings accounts.
- Is it a good idea to have multiple savings accounts?
- Having multiple savings accounts has many benefits. If you don't always stay on top of your budget, keeping savings for individual financial goals — especially emergency savings — in separate accounts can help ensure you don't use the money for other purposes.
- Is there a downside to having multiple savings accounts?
- Managing multiple savings accounts can be trickier than managing one account since it takes time to monitor each individually and watch for inaccuracies, fraudulent transactions and fees.
- How much in savings does the average person have?
- The 2022 Planning & Progress Study by Northwestern Mutual puts the average personal savings at $62,000, down 15% from its 2021 study.
- Should I keep all of my money in one bank?
- Anyone whose qualifying account balances exceed the FDIC's $250,000 per ownership category, per institution insurance limits might wish to utilize more than one bank to ensure complete FDIC protection.
Barri Segal contributed to the reporting for this article.