November 28, 2011

Beat low rates on savings accounts

By Marcie Geffner - Bankrate.com

"Economic conditions ... are likely to warrant exceptionally low levels for the federal funds rate at least through mid-2013."

That sentence, pulled from an Aug. 9 Federal Reserve statement, should send a chill through the heart of any serious saver. Because with those words, the Fed essentially said savers shouldn't expect higher rates on their deposits for at least two years.

Ouch.

The Fed doesn't directly set the rates banks and other depository institutions pay consumers on certificates of deposit, or CDs, checking accounts, savings accounts and the like. But the Fed has plenty of influence over the level and direction of consumer rates. When Fed rates stay low, banks normally follow its lead.

That bleak outlook begs an obvious question: What, if anything, can savers do to improve their position in light of the Fed's decree?

Here are three sound strategies.

Read on: "Beat low rates on savings accounts"