One of the hardest parts of adulting is dealing with your finances. Sure, I can think of a few people who are good at it, but do they like it? No. If they didn’t have to do it, would they? Nope.In our family, Jason is the saver and I’m the spender. He is SO good at need vs. want, and me, well if I want it then I need it. So I’m lucky to have him to keep us financially fit.
Growing up, I always had a traditional savings account. My allowance went in it, as did my birthday and Christmas money. What I didn’t realize, is that my parents would actually then take the money from the savings account (that barely made any interest) and invest it. Eventually that money was used to help pay for my college degree. (Thanks, mom & dad!)
So, while many of us grew up with the idea of always having a savings account, when it comes to your long term savings, a traditional savings account isn’t necessarily the best way to earn return on your cash. Sure, it’s good to have some cash easily available in case of emergency, but when it comes to larger sums of money, saving it in a higher yielding money market fund could be a smart move for your family.
For example, if you hold $10,000 in cash, you could earn about $170 in a year, at the current average yields of money market mutual funds. In a bank savings account, you’d only make about $10. That’s a difference of $160!*
Being able to have fun, meaningful experiences as a family is at the core of why it is important for us to prioritize being financially responsible. It’s definitely a balancing act for all of us. And I’m learning to be a better saver right alongside my kids, as Blaire is understanding we can either go do something fun as a family, or buy that random toy she saw at the Target checkout.
While $160 may not seem like “that much” money, look at what fun my family can experience together for $160.
- Breakfast ($21)
- Kid’s Workshop at Home Depot ($0)
- Family Museum ($36)
- Lunch ($24)
Date Night for mom & dad
- Dinner ($48)
- Movie ($31)
My kids are both hit or miss on whether they’re going to eat 2 bites of their meals or eat all of it and want more. We let Blaire pick out where we went to breakfast, and she picked our favorite restaurant down by the farmer’s market. They have the BEST pancakes and the best iced coffee. I ordered 4 pancakes, two for me and one for each of them. They each ate two… haha! Thankfully they cook them quickly and have the best service. The first Saturday of the month, Jason typically takes Blaire to Home Depot for their Children’s Workshop. The November project was a helicopter. Ben and I ran a few errands and then wandered the store while we waited for them to finish. From there we headed over to the family museum since it’s already SO cold outside.
Blaire and Ben both love the children’s/family museum. They both like to head in their own directions and then eventually run into each other and play together. We are always so busy running around and playing that I forget to pull out my phone and take pictures. Sometimes, that’s the best! Then we grabbed lunch and headed home for nap time.
Jason and I rarely have a date night. So having dinner and then a movie just the two of us is magical! Not having to explain the movie to a four-year-old, not having to cut up food for an 18-month-old, being able to talk without being interrupted. We definitely need date nights more often!
Having the freedom to get out and treat our kids to fun things is so meaningful to us.
Are you overwhelmed by the thought of how to get started? Learn more about Vanguard.
Over time, the additional interest you earn from investing in a MMF instead of a traditional savings account can really add up. While $160 may not seem like “that much” money, think of what it could turn in to. Your dream vacation? Your dream home?
*This illustration uses 1.69% average yield for money market mutual funds and 0.09% national average yield for bank savings, both as of 9/30/2018, according to cranedata.com and bankrate.com. These rates are not guaranteed.
**Vanguard is owned by its funds, which in turn are owned by their investors.
All investing is subject to risk, including the possible loss of the money you invest. Bank deposits are guaranteed (within limits) as to principal and interest by an agency of the federal government. There may be other material differences between products that should be considered before investing.