Thinking beyond your checking account—what’s next?

Backpack and camping mat by a lake
« Return to Learn

Checking accounts are like smartphones. Most of us have them, but we use only a fraction of their features.

We love sending texts stuffed with the latest emojis, for example, but making phone calls? That used to be the main reason for owning a smartphone. Now it’s the least popular and least used feature worldwide.

The same is true for checking accounts. Everyone wants auto bill pay and direct deposit, but we often ignore their most important purpose: to help us grow our wealth.

Wanna be a millionaire? Or even just a six-figure retiree? You can use your checking account as a starting point for building your mint. When you open an account with OCCU, you get so much more than just a place to deposit your paycheck. You also get a financial partner that can help you take the next steps toward the brilliant future you wrote about in your college admissions essay.

So now that you have your checking account set up, let’s talk about what your next financial move might be.

Saving for the short term

If you’re not putting your extra dollars to work earning compound interest, you’re missing out on free money. But many people let their savings pile up in their checking account, which doesn’t pay any interest. That means their money’s just sitting there, about as productive as Homer Simpson.

Instead, why not take advantage of your personal savings account? It’s a commonly overlooked feature that automatically comes with your OCCU membership. Anything you put in it will earn interest—plus it qualifies you to take advantage of better investment options. We recommend using it to build up a stash big enough to invest in a higher-yield savings account.

Once you have $500 or more saved up, it’s time to think about ways to earn even more interest. With a money market account, for example, you can earn double the annual percentage yield (APY) while still being able to make unlimited in-person withdrawals. Or you can buy a certificate of deposit (CD) for a set period of time—from six months to five years—and net an even better APY. Since your money gets tied up for the length of the CD term, you won’t be tempted to spend it early.

The more you save, the more options you’ll have for netting higher interest rates. As your money grows, our financial experts can help you pinpoint bigger and better opportunities for helping it along.

Preparing for retirement

Have you thought about how you want to spend your post-employment days? Kicking back in a Florida condo, maybe, or adventuring in an RV? The sooner you start investing, the more dough you’ll have to play with.

Most people rely on their employer-provided 401k for retirement savings, and those are great to have. But if you plan on being your own boss, or you just want to guarantee you’ll have plenty of bling in your golden years, it’s a good idea to start contributing to an individual retirement account (IRA), too.

Your OCCU checking account enables you to set up your own Traditional or Roth IRA and sock away up to $5,500 a year. After a few decades of compound interest, you’ll walk away with a tidy stack to help fund your chosen retirement lifestyle.

Your checking account opens the door to some important wealth-building opportunities. Why settle for just getting the bills paid when you can start taking steps toward financial freedom?