Some people find that they cannot resist the temptation to spend money held in a highly liquid bank account such as a checking account. You can deposit your money into a less liquid type of account, although legally your bank cannot prevent you from accessing your money at any time regardless of the kind of account you open. However, the stiff penalty fees that banks impose on withdrawals from certain kinds of accounts do work as a good deterrent.
Certificates of Deposit
Certificates of deposit are time deposits accounts, which means that when you open the account you agree to keep your money in it for a certain period of time. Technically, you can access your money during the CD term but you normally pay a penalty of at least 6 months interest if you make a premature withdrawal. You can open a CD with any term that you want, which means you can time your CD so the CD matures just when you need to have access to your money.
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If you do not trust yourself to stay away from your bank CD, you can buy an even less liquid CD called a "brokerage CD." Despite the name, these CDs are standard bank accounts, and your funds are federally insured. However, you buy brokerage CDs through an investment firm rather than directly from your bank. The CD pays a return based on the performance of an index such as the Standard and Poor's 500. You have to keep your money in the CD for the entire return to have a chance of making any kind of return. If you make a withdrawal before the CD term ends, you have to pay hefty principal penalties that often exceed 10 percent.
Savings accounts are liquid in so far as you can make up to six withdrawals per calendar month, but savings accounts are much less accessible than checking accounts. You do not receive checks when you open a savings, and you can ask the banker opening the account not to link your savings to your debit card, in which case you can only make withdrawals by going to the bank. If you want to make your account even less accessible, open the savings at an out-of-town bank so that you cannot easily access your money.
Bank Account Freeze
You can ask your bank to place a freeze on your bank accounts, in which case you cannot make a withdrawal. However, if you are tempted to withdraw your money, you have the power to remove the freeze and access your money the very next day. Ultimately, your bank cannot prevent you from accessing your own money no matter what kind of account you hold it in, so you have to decide where to put it and then have the self-discipline to leave the money alone.