Know When to Upgrade a Savings Account

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Despite the generally dire economic situation we're in collectively, we're also doing surprisingly well in one aspect of our finances: Americans are saving more. (Our anxious brains may be helping more than we think.) It's good to make a habit of socking away a little here and there, but at a certain point, a savings account might not be much better than stuffing cash in a mattress.

One way to help solidify your financial base and grow your assets is to check some numbers. Financial experts at CNBC recommend keeping only three to six months' worth of personal expenses in the average savings account. That includes rent, utilities, groceries, and anything else you normally spend, according to your budget and your reverse-engineered costs. This money should be easy to access, in case of emergencies.

The rest of your assets, however, could do you a lot more good in a brokerage account. The reason for this is that keeping too much of your savings in a savings account can actually depress the value of your cash the longer you keep it there. If you're only earning 1 percent interest by parking your funds in a normal savings account, it won't keep up with inflation, which averages around 3 percent.

You don't have to pour your life savings into a risky stock portfolio, but consider looking into a money market account or a similar diversified fund. If your research leads you to a solution that outpaces inflation, even a little, with as much risk as you can tolerate, your future self might thank you.