Which Banking Services to Use at Different Stages of Life
As you enter different stages of life, ensure that your bank and the services it offers are equipped to meet your needs when you're ready.
Our health care needs evolve significantly as we get older, a fact that's obvious to most of us. Our regular physical exams tend to change quite a bit between childhood, adulthood and old age. We might even seek out supplemental services depending on our own unique needs. However, this same attitude toward aging rarely carries over to our financial life. Even though the ways in which we use money change dramatically over time, we don't always make a point of performing a financial checkup.
As you enter different stages of life, ensure that your bank and the services it offers are equipped to meet your needs when you're ready. Here are a few examples of how banking services can adapt to the money matters of people at various phases of life:
College students and young adults
Students beginning their undergraduate studies are often getting their first taste of independent living at the same time. That usually means opening a bank account in their own name to manage paychecks, savings and everyday expenses. At the very least, these students will want to ensure they have checking and savings accounts with terms that make sense for their financial needs.
As they search for the right bank for them, college students should keep an eye on key account details and services including:
- Location: Keep in mind how close a bank's branches and ATMs are to school or work, and prioritize those that are easily accessible.
- Service or maintenance fees: Most checking accounts will be free to use as long as account holders meet minimum deposit requirements. Ensure those minimums make sense for the income you expect.
- Overdraft fees: Banks often charge an overdraft fee when customers withdraw more cash than they have deposited. However, local and regional banks tend to have lower overdraft fees than average, as well as ways to alert customers if their balance is running low.
Homeowners and families
Saving for the future is crucial at any point in life, but it takes on new forms as we get older. Compared to younger college students, people with careers and families need to be mindful of how they are resourcing their money for emergencies, retirement, housing costs and much more.
Building up a rainy day fund for the next few months or years is much easier with a savings account. That's particularly true when you can find a savings account with a high interest rate, which will provide a little extra boost to your rainy day fund. When you open a savings account at a bank that's a member of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, as most U.S. banks are, any interest you earn is essentially risk-free.
Like checking accounts, savings accounts come with their own limits and restrictions as well. You might have a limit on how much you can deposit or withdraw each month, or you may need to maintain a minimum account balance. Make sure you're clear on each of these rules before signing up.