Meet Your Savings Goals
With a Discover Bank Online Savings Account

Savings Coin Jar

Achieving your savings goals might seem daunting in a challenging economy, but it doesn't have to be. Follow these three steps and it won't seem so hard to make your savings work harder for you.

Step 1: Decide What You're Saving For

"It's not really that hard, I think," says Morris Armstrong, a certified financial planner in Danbury, Conn. "You just determine 'What do I want to do? Where do I want to be with my life?' You already know how much you make."

Financial goals vary: being able to retire at age 65, funding your child's college education, being able to take an annual family vacation, or having an adequate emergency fund. Perhaps you want to save enough to buy a new computer that will allow you to edit videos and play music.

Next, research how much it will cost to reach your goal and determine how much you can save each month toward that amount. If the computer costs $2,000 and you can save $200 a month, you know it will take you about 10 months to get there.

The best way to save is to set up a repeating transfer from your checking account to your savings account, or have your employer electronically deposit a portion of your paycheck into your savings account. At Discover Bank, you can set up an AutoSavers Plan for repeating transfers or electronically deposit your savings contribution into your online savings account.

Try Discover Bank's Savings Goal Calculator to help you figure out how much to save to reach your goals.

Step 2: Decide Where You'll Save

Once you've decided how much to save, you need to find a safe and accessible place to grow your savings. Start by looking for a financial institution insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC), such as Discover Bank.

"The only thing customers need to know is whether banks are FDIC insured and then they have absolutely nothing to be worried about," says David Barr, an FDIC spokesman in Washington. "Their money is protected up to $250,000, and in 75 years not a single customer has lost a penny at an FDIC-insured bank—and they never will."

Until December 31, 2013, the FDIC insures accounts up to $250,000 per depositor at each FDIC-insured bank you use. After December 31, 2013, the insurance coverage is scheduled to return to $100,000 per depositor at each FDIC-insured bank. (Check back for updates.)

If you have more than $250,000 at a single bank you may want to visit the FDIC's EDIE Web site. EDIE, the Electronic Deposit Insurance Estimator, allows you to check the insurance coverage of your money at all of your banks. You can also check out other information about an FDIC-member bank at FDIC's Bank Find Web page.

Step 3: Decide How You'll Save

You can save cash in many different types of accounts, including savings, money markets, certificates of deposit, and individual retirement accounts (IRAs).

But here's the question you should be asking: Are you earning the most you can in your savings or money market accounts? Look at a recent statement for each account you have, and check out the interest rate each account is paying today. Many banks have significantly reduced the rates they pay. If you're earning less than 1% in any of your savings accounts, you may want to see if you can get a better rate elsewhere.

Try Discover Bank's online savings calculator to compare the interest earned with a Discover Online Savings Account against the national average for savings and interest-bearing checking accounts.

"In a way, the choice of your investments is just like a tool," says Armstrong. "You want to buy the appropriate tool for your goal."

When comparing annual percentage yields (APY) from different financial institutions, take a close look at online banks, and the rates they pay. Online banks generally offer higher rates than brick-and-mortar banks, because online financial institutions have fewer expenses. In addition to paying you a higher APY, online savings accounts offer you easy access to your cash, whether you're investing in a money market account, savings account or in a CD.

Before deciding how you'll save, think carefully about how you'll access your money, what kind of expenses you'll incur tapping into those assets and where you can get the best return. No matter what type of savings account you choose, you should be able to access your cash easily using free electronic funds transfers to and from your primary checking account.

Decide what you're saving for... do your research... save automatically with an AutoSavers plan or electronically deposit into your Discover Bank online savings account—now you've got a way to safely achieve your goals and have cash available when you need it.

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