Our Experts' Best Banking Advice of 2020

Many or all of the products here are from our partners that compensate us. It’s how we make money. But our editorial integrity ensures our experts’ opinions aren’t influenced by compensation. Terms may apply to offers listed on this page. APY = Annual Percentage Yield. APYs are subject to change at any time without notice.

As this challenging year draws to a close, here are some of the most important financial lessons we can take away.

There's no denying 2020 has been a tough year for most of us, not only because of the pandemic itself, but also because of the nationwide lockdowns' economic effects on workers and their families. Knowing how to effectively manage our money is key to navigating these challenging times, and it'll continue to be essential as we get back to normal.

To that end, I've put together this list of some of The Ascent's most valuable banking advice from this year that we can all take into 2021.

Many Americans saw their incomes fall significantly this year, but for others, living off $20,000 was always the norm. While a low income poses significant financial challenges, there are steps you can take to help your dollars stretch further.

Our Picks for the Best High-Yield Savings Accounts of 2024

APY
up to 4.60%
Rate info Circle with letter I in it. You can earn the maximum APY by having Direct Deposit (no minimum amount required) or by making $5,000 or more in Qualifying Deposits every 30 days. See SoFi Checking and Savings rate sheet at: https://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet.
Min. to earn
$0
APY
4.75%
Rate info Circle with letter I in it. Our Disclosure: Annual Percentage Yields (APY) is subject to change at any time without notice. Offer applies to personal accounts only. Fees may reduce earnings. For High Yield Savings accounts, the rate may change after the account is opened. Visit synchronybank.com for current rates, terms and account requirements. Member FDIC
Min. to earn
$0
APY
4.25%
Rate info Circle with letter I in it. See Capital One website for most up-to-date rates. Advertised Annual Percentage Yield (APY) is variable and accurate as of April 11, 2024. Rates are subject to change at any time before or after account opening.
Min. to earn
$0

Our article goes into detail about how low-income households can save on housing, utilities, food, and transportation, as well as how they can overcome debt that might keep them from improving their financial situations.

Surviving is one thing, but to move beyond living paycheck-to-paycheck, you have to build your financial security. That means coming up with a strategy for tackling any debts, as well as identifying your financial goals and working toward them.

While everyone's situation is different, this article does a great job covering some of the basics. It explains everything from budgeting and emergency funds to debt repayment and investing.

This year, a lot of people have redone their budgets or made one for the first time. Some people find this process intimidating, especially if their income and expenses fluctuate from month to month, but it's not as complicated as it first appears.

Though this article was originally aimed at those temporarily or permanently laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic, its advice is sound for building a budget any time. And with a new year approaching, now's the perfect time to review your budget and follow these steps to create a new one for 2021.

We often talk about the importance of saving, but we don't always know how to tell whether we have enough put away or what to do with the money we've got. The answers are unique to every person, but there are a few general principles we should all bear in mind.

This article examines how best to prioritize savings goals and which types of accounts work best for each type of savings. Whether your goal is to be better prepared for emergencies, to save enough for a comfortable retirement, or to provide for your children's education, you'll find valuable information here.

  • Why You Should Build a CD Ladder Now -- and How to Do It

Savings account APYs have taken a huge hit this year, leaving many looking for alternative places to stash their cash without exposing themselves to too much risk. A certificate of deposit (CD) or a CD ladder -- several CDs with different term lengths -- is one solid option right now, though there are a few things to know before you build one.

This article goes over the basics of a CD ladder, some pros and cons of putting your money in a CD vs. a savings account, and how to choose your CDs to maximize the benefits and minimize potential pitfalls.

Want even more great banking content? Then check out all our latest banking articles for advice on everything from budgeting and holiday shopping to choosing the best place to stash your cash and more.

These savings accounts are FDIC insured and could earn you 11x your bank

Many people are missing out on guaranteed returns as their money languishes in a big bank savings account earning next to no interest. Our picks of the best online savings accounts could earn you 11x the national average savings account rate. Click here to uncover the best-in-class accounts that landed a spot on our short list of the best savings accounts for 2024.

Two of our top online savings account picks:

Rates as of Jun 16, 2024 Ratings Methodology
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SoFi Checking and Savings Capital One 360 Performance Savings
Member FDIC. Member FDIC.
Rating image, 4.50 out of 5 stars.
4.50/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
= Poor
Rating image, 4.00 out of 5 stars.
4.00/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
= Poor

APY: up to 4.60%

APY: 4.25%

Min. to earn APY: $0

Min. to earn APY: $0

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