June 14, 2024
There Are 2 Kinds of Savers. Which Are You?


These days, certificates of deposit (CDs), money market accounts, and even high-yield savings accounts are offering really attractive rates to savers from all walks of life. Someone might be easily convinced that it doesn’t matter which you choose, believing they’re all the same anyway.

I, on the other hand, think it matters a great deal, because there are different types of savers. The two main types I’ve encountered are the stoics and the goblins. I’m a goblin, and my friend Anna, well, she’s a stoic. Do you know which one you are and how that affects your savings options?

Different approaches to savings

Stoics approach building cash savings with a deep emotional detachment. It’s just part of their ritual, and once the deposit is made, there’s no more to think about. They know exactly how much money they need to pay bills from a paycheck, and of what remains, they place a set amount in savings, never to hear from it again. This is what Anna does, and she is an incredibly good saver. She’d impress the boots off of Warren Buffett himself.

Goblins, on the other hand, have a lot of good intentions, and they really do try, but sometimes…well, we forget that there’s that one bill that only gets paid once every six months. Or we make the mistake of going to the grocery store hungry, and oops, we blow the budget. One time I went to the market for a loaf of bread and came back with $60 in snacks because there was a sale. (Look, nobody’s perfect.)

Goblins will put what’s left from each check into savings and do their best to keep it there. Even if they do turn it around and are able to save a set amount every week, it’s not a done-and-dusted thing — sometimes miscalculations will lead to having to go back to the savings account to fish out that $60 they accidentally spent on snacks. They still manage to save money, but without the intensity and single-mindedness shown by stoics.

Choose your savings vehicle based on your savings style

Look, I desperately want to be the kind of person who can buy a CD and leave the money in it to grow. But I also know that I’m not. Things happen, and I don’t always have a backup plan that will allow me to leave my CD alone until it matures.

But I also don’t have to use CDs because there are other banking options that pay out just as well. Depending on how stuffed my emergency fund is, I could choose either a money market account or a high-yield savings account. Both are at least semi-liquid, both allow me to withdraw my money without penalty beyond the loss of interest on the money withdrawn, and both are currently producing high yields for savers (around 5% APY).

Right now, my dog is sick with cancer, and I never know if she’s going to need to go to the vet on a moment’s notice, so a money market account makes the most sense for me. You can use a money market account similarly to a checking account — put money in, take money out — and there are no penalties for doing so, if you’re within your transaction limit for the month under Regulation D. Most money market accounts make this easy by issuing a debit card.

Regulation D rules often also apply to a high-yield savings account, but in addition to that limitation on your account, you also are very unlikely to have a debit card for access. So to use your money, you first have to either go to the bank and withdraw it or transfer it to another account.

Both are better options than a CD for a goblin saver, because with a CD, the penalties are harsh if you have to take money out to cover an unplanned expense.

Before you open an account, ask yourself what kind of saver you are

A lot of people read about a savings product and how it helped some random person they don’t know earn a lot of interest on their money, but they very rarely stop to consider if they’re the same kind of saver as the person in the story. If you’re a goblin, it will take an absolute miracle for you to maximize your success with CDs or other long-term static investments. That’s why there are other vehicles, like money market accounts and high-yield savings accounts.

Neither type of saver is better than the other on an ethical or moral basis. Saving is a very personal thing, and we don’t all do it the same way. Some of us, despite our best efforts, can be considered optimistic savers at best, putting money away that we hope can stay in an interest-earning account. Some of us are stoic savers who have absolutely planned for all eventualities and know that their savings will stay where they left it.

These two savers just need different bank accounts. So which are you? Are you a stoic or a goblin? Make your account choices accordingly.

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