Being a father of three, I know what little effect preaching can have. Sighs and rolling eyes are all too common in the Beyers household.

So, in this latest column in an endless string about saving for your future, I'll cut the preaching and give you a visual. Here's what you might have after 10 years, 20 years, and 30 years if you start saving $100 a month right now:






















Notice how a seemingly small difference in interest rate can become huge with time. Obviously, where you save is nearly as important as what you save.

Who needs stocks?
I'm not talking about stocks. Investing in high-risk securities like Sirius Satellite Radio (NASDAQ:SIRI), Overstock (NASDAQ:OSTK), or Rule Breakers pick Under Armour (NYSE:UA) could earn you a lot more than 5%. Then again, you could also lose money.

Banks eliminate that risky trade-off while offering lower returns. Well, most banks, that is.

Web-based moneychangers are increasingly offering high rates for savings accounts. One in particular, from broker E*TRADE Financial (NASDAQ:ETFC), pays 5.05% and promises a $25 bonus on a $1 (!) minimum deposit. Talk about a steal. I plan to take advantage of this offer today to establish a custodial account for our oldest son.

When there are bills to pay
And if you don't want to move your cash back and forth between accounts? No problem. Have a look at these high-yield checking accounts:

Bank (Account Name)



Salem Five Direct ("eOne")

5.00% and up

Offers 6.10% on balances over $100,000. ATM fees reimbursed up to $15 per statement cycle. $25 deposit bonus within 90 days of establishing direct deposit.

ebank ("ePremium Checking")


Unlimited ATM usage. Free checks. One-quarter-point discount on personal loans when payments are debited from ebank checking. $10 fee if balance falls below $2,500.

Schwab Bank ("Investor Checking")


Must also have a brokerage account. No branch deposits. Free bill pay. ATM fees reimbursed.

ING Direct ("Electric Orange")

4.00% and up

No minimum balance. Balances between $50,000 and $100,000 earn 5.25%. Balances over $100,000 earn 5.30%. Paper checks only available upon request.

Sources: company websites and the Bank Deals blog.

Follow the money
There's a reason Albert Einstein called compound interest the most powerful force in the universe. Get it working in your favor with the accounts you use most. And, please, don't settle for 1% when good banks will offer you far more than that for a fraction of the risk you'll take buying stocks. (End of sermon.)

Want more money advice? Get 30 days of free access to our Motley Fool Green Light personal finance service right now. You'll find more than $1,000 worth of tips in the June issue and there's no obligation to subscribe.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers writes weekly about personal finance and investing basics. Have a Foolish money tip? Tell him. Tim didn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article at the time of publication. Tim's portfolio holdings can be found at his Fool profile. His thoughts on personal finance, Foolishness, and investing in general may be found in his blog. The Motley Fool's disclosure policy prefers to earn interest rather than pay it.