Where to Put Your Cash Now for Every Income Level - Kanebridge News
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Where to Put Your Cash Now for Every Income Level

Rising rates may mean it’s time to put more money in savings accounts, certificates of deposit and Treasury bills

By OYIN ADEDOYIN
Thu, Sep 7, 2023 8:38amGrey Clock 4 min

Stop dwelling on what you’ve lost thanks to rising interest rates and take advantage of the opportunities they present.

High rates are expected to linger for a while and they are having a corrosive impact on some parts of our finances. Taking out a $500,000 mortgage to buy a home today will cost you about $400 more a month than it would have a year ago in a standard 30-year mortgage. That is not to mention higher rates on credit cards, personal loans and other products for borrowers.

The high-rate periods can also bring juicy, high yields on savings accounts, certificates of deposit and Treasury bills—that is, banks are paying you to let your money sit there. And anyone can take advantage, regardless of income.

Dena Bashri opened a SoFi savings account last fall. It now yields 4.5% a year. She wanted a higher return than she was getting at her local credit union.

Bashri, 25 years old, is a senior director at a fundraising firm and makes roughly $92,500 a year. She saves money on rent by living with her parents in Virginia so she’s able to contribute about $4,900 each month to her savings account. She’s already earned close to a few hundred dollars in interest and hopes to continue building her rainy-day fund, she said.

“Emergency savings offers me the flexibility to take risks but also financially anticipate any life changes that may happen,” Bashri said.

Here’s a financial road map for making the most of great yields while staying on track with your short- and long-term money goals.

Level 1: Nothing to spare

Living paycheck to paycheck is now the norm for most Americans.

Financial advisers urge those holding large amounts of debt to first pay down high-interest balances. About half of people carrying credit-card debt allow those balances to roll over into the next month, according to a recent Bankrate survey.

Credit-card interest rates are at record highs, making that debt even more expensive to maintain. Putting money in a savings account with a 4.5% rate will help little if you haven’t paid down your Visa balance with the current average rate of 22.16%.

“Although you may be able to set aside a certain amount of money in a savings account, if you’re potentially offsetting that with not paying off higher debt, that’s an important consumer consideration,” said Courtney Mitchell, head of consumer deposits, products and payments at TD Bank.

For avid debit-card users, high-yield checking accounts are worth consideration, financial advisers say. These accounts can be found at credit unions and online banks and are yielding up to 6%. That interest can then be linked to a high-yield savings account. This is a good option for debit-card users who want to get a start on their emergency fund.

But try not to keep more than one month’s worth of expenses sitting in a checking account, said Rob Williams, managing director of financial planning and wealth management at Charles Schwab. Research shows money sitting in a checking account is more likely to be spent than money in a savings account.

Level 2: $0—$1,000

For those who can sock away at least a little bit each month, even putting $25 in a high-yield account can make a difference, said Mitchell.

If you contribute $25 a month to a savings account yielding 4.5%, you will have roughly $300 in a year including interest.

Putting that money toward emergency savings? Liquidity is key so that when something unexpected happens, like a flat tire, you can get the money quickly. High-yield savings accounts are the best places for emergency savings because they allow easy withdrawals, financial advisers say.

“You really need emergency savings to be in something you can get at as soon as possible and also without a penalty,” said Mark Hamrik, senior economic analyst at Bankrate.

Financial advisers recommend building up six months to one year of expenses in an emergency-savings account. Homeowners should save a little more for unexpected repairs.

Level 3: $1,000+

Once you’re comfortable with your emergency savings, you can set aside money for holiday gifts, vacations and other short-term goals such as a down payment on a car.

The run of interest rate increases has made certificates of deposit popular again. If you are comfortable locking money away for a period of time, consider a CD for some of these short-term goals. Many six-month to one-year CDs are offering yields above 5%.

It can be helpful to divvy up your high-yield savings for coming expenses.

Erin Confortini, 24, is a freelance marketing consultant based in Pennsylvania who made about $120,000 last year. She has three high-yield savings accounts for her short-term savings goals.

Each month, Confortini puts $150 aside for car insurance, $300 for coming vacations and $200 toward Christmas and birthday gifts, she said.

“It’s really great that now that rates are increasing, we do have an option to earn a little bit of money,” Confortini said.

Level 4: Investing for long term

You’ve got at least one month of expenses in your checking account, you’ve beefed up emergency savings and you’ve set aside buckets of money for anticipated expenses.

Maybe it’s time to get more money out of high-yield savings. Keeping all of your money in savings isn’t a strategy for wealth building because the interest gained on high-yield accounts likely won’t outpace inflation in the long run, said Kyle McBrien, a certified financial planner at Betterment.

One simple way to take advantage of rates and get out of high-yield savings is Treasurys.

Take Victor Cipolla, a 33-year-old entrepreneur in New York.

Cipolla moved $30,000 from his high-yield savings account into a Treasury bill after he noticed that rates were going up. The bill currently yields more than 4% and he reinvests the money in another Treasury bill every six months when it matures, he said. The average yield on a six-month Treasury bill is 5.3%.

“We’ve always had this low interest rate environment, so this is a new area to navigate,” said Cipolla.



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These stocks are getting hit for a reason. Instead, focus on stocks that show ‘relative strength.’ Here’s how.

By KEN SHREVE
Wed, Jun 12, 2024 4 min

A lot of investors get stock-picking wrong before they even get started: Instead of targeting the top-performing stocks in the market, they focus on the laggards—widely known companies that look as if they are on sale after a period of stock-price weakness.

But these weak performers usually are going down for good reasons, such as for deteriorating sales and earnings, market-share losses or mutual-fund managers who are unwinding positions.

Decades of Investor’s Business Daily research shows these aren’t the stocks that tend to become stock-market leaders. The stocks that reward investors with handsome gains for months or years are more often  already  the strongest price performers, usually because of outstanding earnings and sales growth and increasing fund ownership.

Of course, many investors already chase performance and pour money into winning stocks. So how can a discerning investor find the winning stocks that have more room to run?

Enter “relative strength”—the notion that strength begets more strength. Relative strength measures stocks’ recent performance relative to the overall market. Investing in stocks with high relative strength means going with the winners, rather than picking stocks in hopes of a rebound. Why bet on a last-place team when you can wager on the leader?

One of the easiest ways to identify the strongest price performers is with IBD’s Relative Strength Rating. Ranked on a scale of 1-99, a stock with an RS rating of 99 has outperformed 99% of all stocks based on 12-month price performance.

How to use the metric

To capitalise on relative strength, an investor’s search should be focused on stocks with RS ratings of at least 80.

But beware: While the goal is to buy stocks that are performing better than the overall market, stocks with the highest RS ratings aren’t  always  the best to buy. No doubt, some stocks extend rallies for years. But others will be too far into their price run-up and ready to start a longer-term price decline.

Thus, there is a limit to chasing performance. To avoid this pitfall, investors should focus on stocks that have strong relative strength but have seen a moderate price decline and are just coming out of weeks or months of trading within a limited range. This range will vary by stock, but IBD research shows that most good trading patterns can show declines of up to one-third.

Here, a relative strength line on a chart may be helpful for confirming an RS rating’s buy signal. Offered on some stock-charting tools, including IBD’s, the line is a way to visualise relative strength by comparing a stock’s price performance relative to the movement of the S&P 500 or other benchmark.

When the line is sloping upward, it means the stock is outperforming the benchmark. When it is sloping downward, the stock is lagging behind the benchmark. One reason the RS line is helpful is that the line can rise even when a stock price is falling, meaning its value is falling at a slower pace than the benchmark.

A case study

The value of relative strength could be seen in Google parent Alphabet in January 2020, when its RS rating was 89 before it started a 10-month run when the stock rose 64%. Meta Platforms ’ RS rating was 96 before the Facebook parent hit new highs in March 2023 and ran up 65% in four months. Abercrombie & Fitch , one of 2023’s best-performing stocks, had a 94 rating before it soared 342% in nine months starting in June 2023.

Those stocks weren’t flukes. In a study of the biggest stock-market winners from the early 1950s through 2008, the average RS rating of the best performers before they began their major price runs was 87.

To see relative strength in action, consider Nvidia . The chip stock was an established leader, having shot up 365% from its October 2022 low to its high of $504.48 in late August 2023.

But then it spent the next four months rangebound—giving up some ground, then gaining some back. Through this period, shares held between $392.30 and the August peak, declining no more than 22% from top to bottom.

On Jan. 8, Nvidia broke out of its trading range to new highs. The previous session, Nvidia’s RS rating was 97. And that week, the stock’s relative strength line hit new highs. The catalyst: Investors cheered the company’s update on its latest advancements in artificial intelligence.

Nvidia then rose 16% on Feb. 22 after the company said earnings for the January-ended quarter soared 486% year over year to $5.16 a share. Revenue more than tripled to $22.1 billion. It also significantly raised its earnings and revenue guidance for the quarter that was to end in April. In all, Nvidia climbed 89% from Jan. 5 to its March 7 close.

And the stock has continued to run up, surging past $1,000 a share in late May after the company exceeded that guidance for the April-ended quarter and delivered record revenue of $26 billion and record net profit of $14.88 billion.

Ken Shreve  is a senior markets writer at Investor’s Business Daily. Follow him on X  @IBD_KShreve  for more stock-market analysis and insights, or contact him at  ken.shreve@investors.com .