Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Getting the Most Out of Your Emergency Fund

Having an emergency fund is important. You probably already know this. However, one of the most depressing things about an emergency fund is the slow rate at which your interest earnings build up. Emergency funds are often kept more traditional savings accounts, since they are easy to access. This is one of the reasons the yield is so low. Because of the safety of cash savings (if kept in a FDIC-insured bank or NCUA-insured credit union), and because of their liquidity, it is difficult to get a good yield on your emergency fund savings. You can, however, get a little more out of your emergency fund with a little rate shopping and some planning.

Looking for Better Interest Rates

Different cash products are offered by a variety of banks and credit unions, and the competition for your deposit might help you find some better savings account rates than what you would get on a more traditional savings account. Look online for rates in other states, as well as consider the offerings from online banks. You can find a number of options if you are looking for a better yield.

Be warned, though: You might have to maintain a minimum balance in order to qualify for the best savings account rate. Additionally, you have to be aware of the restrictions on the number of withdrawal transactions you can engage in when a savings account is involved. Another issue is that the remote (or online) nature of your bank or credit union might mean that you have to wait a few days to access your money.

You can ensure access to your money by linking your high yield savings account to a checking account at the same bank. Then, you can do an instant transfer to your checking account when you need the money and use the debit card to access the money. Another possibility is keeping a small amount in the local brick and mortar bank, and using that until you can get money from your main emergency fund sent in.

Creating a CD Ladder

In many cases, the idea of a CD ladder is confined to long-term savings schemes. However, it is possible to set up a CD ladder as an emergency fund, allowing you to take advantage of higher interest rates in your emergency savings, while still accessing your money regularly. You can set up a ladder that matures every three months – or even every month – based on a 12-month or 18-month maturity for your longest CD. You follow the basic rules of setting up a CD ladder by dividing up your emergency fund money. You can then roll CDs into longer maturity accounts as each term ends, adding money you have saved up, and taking advantage of better CD rates. You do need planning, though, since you will only be able to access your money penalty-free once a month or once every three months.

With some planning and shopping around, it is possible to earn more interest on your emergency fund, making it work a little hard for you.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Trade Schools For Investing in Your Future

After an economic downturn, it can be tough looking for employment. Right now the job market is starting to bounce back, but only after years of continuous job loss. The market is growing, and jobs are becoming available. However, in some areas the unemployed still outnumbers the job market needs. Trade school is a good options for those trying to increase there job qualifications, and also fill a need that may open on the market. Trades also offer an alternative to traditional universities where student have to invest years of work and thousands of dollars to attain a degree.

Massage therapy is one of the fastest growing niche fields with a continued outlook of expected job growth, According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Do research on the requirements to practice massage therapy in your state and research massage schools online.

Due to the aging population and increased interest in preventative care, the health care industry is another field that has seen growth. It can hardly get people into the field quick enough to fill all the available positions. With competitive pay rates and benefits, working as a health care professional could be the best move for you. Consider the average medical clinical assistant, according to the BLS, you can gain a degree in as little as 1 to 2 years with an annual average income of 25 - 30K.

According to Technical Schools Career Guide, traditional trades, such as plumbing, are still one of the best jobs for financial stability. With projected annual earnings above 40K and a projected 10 percent job growth, plumbing is still a lucrative trade. The same goes for electricians. With a 12 percent growth rate over the next decade, electricians make on an average of 24 dollars an hour according to

Consider some of these in demand jobs, if you want to secure your future and create better opportunities for you and your loved ones.