Well, my friends, I need your help. I had been planning to research online savings accounts for an upcoming series of articles, but not for several weeks yet. Things have changed.
I recently received a $35,000 lump sum — I hesitate to call it a windfall for reasons that will be clear in a moment — and now I'd like to put it somewhere that I can earn more than 0.01% on my money! I want to find a good high-interest savings account.
But where? In 2019, which online savings account is best? Am I asking the right question? Is an online savings account the best place to put a mound of money like this?
First, let me explain why I'm even interested in finding a new savings account.
A Brief Tale of Heartbreaking Loss
As I've hinted a few times during the past month, in 2017 and 2018 I made three $50,000 investments in start-up companies. I dabbled in “angel investing”.
One of those investments, as I revealed last week, was in the retirement planning tool called NewRetirement. I also invested in the Financial Gym, an NYC-based financial advice company that takes a “fitness-inspired” approach to offering money advice to real people. (This concept is very similar to a business idea I had: a store that sells financial advice to everyday people. My friend Shannon had a better concept and she's created a killer business.)
Early last year, I made a third investment. I have a friend who is whip-smart and ultra-successful. She's started a couple of profitable companies in the past. She and her husband thought they had a great idea for a third, and although this particular concept was outside my area of expertise, I agreed to invest $50,000 in their company.
Well, things didn't go well. The company failed. I was afraid that with that failure, I'd lost all of my money. Fortunately, I hadn't. Earlier this month, I received a wire transfer for $34,869.73. After transferring $5000 to my business account (to help pay bills for this site!), I'm left with about $30,000 that I'd like to sock away somewhere that pays more than pennies. But where?
Seeking the Best Savings Account
The last time I went looking for the best savings account was in March 2007. At that time, banks were offering rates over five percent! Look at this screencap from GRS 1.0:
Based on reader feedback from that article — over 1000 responses! — I opened an online savings account with ING Direct. They didn't have the best interest rates the time, but their rates were very good and GRS readers loved them.
As you probably know, things have changed in the past decade. Interest rates are lower. Banks have folded or merged or been bought out.
That ING Direct savings account long ago became a Capital One 360 savings account. I still have it, but it's been a while since I used it actively:
As you can see, I'm earning 0.99% on my money. That's a lot compared to, say, a standard savings account at a brick-and-mortar bank. (I was mortified to learn recently that the family business has over $200,000 earning only 0.01% at a major national bank. Holy cats!) But 0.99% seems low for an online savings account. It's certainly not the best interest rate that's out there.
The company that used to own this website — with whom I still have a business relationship — has a handy tool that allows folks to look at a lot of today's top online savings accounts. Naturally, this is going to be a starting point for my search.
Here are a few of their current top offers:
Those rates are much better than my current 0.99% interest rate at Capital One 360. But I don't know anything about these banks (except HSBC). I haven't heard personal reviews from friends, colleagues, or readers. Plus, I don't know if these are the best interest rates available.
Seeking Your Help
I want to use this $30,000 to fund the next few months of my life. (I'd love to say that this money will last me a year, but it'll be more like six to nine months.) And now that I'm working again, I'd like to explore various saving options.
Naturally, I'm going to conduct research of my own. Most of my colleagues maintain lists of current bank rates. I'll do a deep Google dive to discover more obscure banks and credit unions. I'll investigate those “fusion” accounts that pay high interest rates if you jump through hoops.
My girlfriend is a huge fan of Ally Bank, and she proselytizes for them whenever she can. (I am not joking.) I see they're currently offering a 2.30% 11-month no-penalty certificate of deposit. (Their savings account interest rate is 2.20%.) I'll certainly check them out, but in the meantime I'm polling the GRS community.
I have no doubt that many of you money bosses actively watch bank rates and features. I suspect you have favorite online savings accounts. Or money market accounts. Or certificates of deposit. Or whatever. I'm hoping you can help me!
Which online savings account is best right now? Which online savings account to you use? Which should I use — and why?
Based on your responses here (plus the responses I get on Twitter, in the GRS Facebook community, and from the GRS email list), I'll look at a variety of different options. And have no fear. I'll report back in a week or two to share my decision and I'll collate a list of the best savings accounts according to you folks.
Author: J.D. Roth
In 2006, J.D. founded Get Rich Slowly to document his quest to get out of debt. Over time, he learned how to save and how to invest. Today, he's managed to reach early retirement! He wants to help you master your money — and your life. No scams. No gimmicks. Just smart money advice to help you reach your goals.