The ONLY financial cheat​ sheet you need for banking

Picture via Shoppe Black

Before we get into the November 2019 discussion, I want to thank everyone who has read and responded to the first post of this series! Our readers didn’t disappoint when I asked the question of what is the difference between being rich and being wealthy. I encourage everyone who reads this series to please share your thoughts by responding to any of our platforms. We might feature you on our next blog post! 

One of the responses from last month that really resonated with me comes from a follower of Love & Luxe’s Instagram account. 

Lauren writes, “Rich just means you HAVE money, [wealthy] is a mentality that NEVER stops making money”. 

I found this response interesting because it aligns with my own personal views. Wealth or being wealthy is a way of thinking in addition to a physical state. As long as you are actively thinking and planning a financial journey, I believe that wealth will ultimately be obtained. I am excited to know that there are other young and willing millennials aspiring to build that same generational wealth! I hope that as a bare minimum Money Talks inspires you to change your way of thinking. Now, on to this months’ topic!  

Do you remember your first encounter with money? How old were you?  How much was that amount? What was that circumstance? 

Pic via Parent

I can’t clearly recall my first encounter with money. But I think I might have been 5 years old? My mom gave me a few bills for lunch and that’s about all I can remember. However, I can confirm that I returned the change to her. This practice of returning cash back to my parents was constant. Up until the beginning of middle school, I never kept what that was given to me. I learned from a young age that money was needed to buy more things, and therefore I either had to give it back to my parents or save. I still do this today but now I “give” money to organizations such as the government, banks and publicly traded companies. Keeping cash in institutions will create more money for you in the long term called INTEREST. Placing your money in the banks, government, or companies is the same as lending it to them. These entities are legally obligated to return your cash to you in addition to a particular percentage for the use of money lent; unlike your parents or your old piggybank in the corner of your room. 

I was 15 years old when I first interacted with one of these entities. I got my first job at Kiwi Yogurt, and my parents took me to PNC Bank to open my first checking account. I was ecstatic. 

Picture via PNC

Unfortunately, there was no difference between PNC bank and my piggy bank at home, I didn’t take advantage of any interest accruing savings accounts. This is because my family and I immigrated to the US when I was 3 years old. My parents didn’t have the opportunity to learn English and therefore the financial intricacies of this country. We depended on the words of our family and friends in the area and they recommended PNC. Naturally, we were inclined to open accounts with this bank. We thought all banks were the same, but I eventually learned that thinking was false. Now, almost 10 years later my situation changed, and my knowledge has grown. Many of my friends ( despite not being immigrants) had the same experience when they opened their first bank account. Most of them did not “choose” their bank, but instead were told. However now that we are capable adults, I believe that this is the best time to ” make things right”.


Opening a savings account with a bank is one of the EASIEST and SAFEST forms of investing you can do. In this article, we will discuss banks and my recommendations for high-interest savings accounts. 

If you don’t have plans of actively investing in the stock market, bonds, or commodities, you should ENSURE that you are at least with a good bank or credit union. This is the FIRST thing you should do, pick the right bank for you! Here is the action plan:

  1. Check the rates of your bank. This information can be found online, over the phone, or in person.  
  2. Make a priority list of what you want (ie. high rates, high incentives, low/ no fees, low/no minimum amount, location, hours of operations, customer service, atm locations, debit cards, etc)
  3. Compare against other banks (luckily for Love & Luxe readers I have already done some comparisons!)

Before we dive into the list of bank comparisons, I want to disclose that I did ask my friends what banks they are with, as a starting point for my research. Below are the results :

Results: PNC – 33.3 %, Chase – 25 % , Bank of America – 8.3%, TD – 8.3 %, Well Fargo – 8.3%, Marcus – 8.3 %  

Now let’s get into the comparisons!

 I will be reviewing the banks that appeared from my poll, and some other honorable mentions. Many of the institutions that appeared are traditional banks in the sense that they have physical locations. If you are interested in banks that have physical locations you may be limiting yourself as online only banks may be more beneficial given your personal criteria. Please also note that this comparison does not include if the institution provides ATM cards. This is not important criteria for myself, but if it is for you, please do not forget to include it in your personal list. This list is not organized by any specific category or priority, and is ONLY through the lense of savings accounts. These banks have other tiers of that may not be included in this list. A separate article focusing on checkings, credit unions, credit accounts and strategies will be published on a later date.

APY %Min BalanceMin Opening DepositMaintenance Fees(if min balance not met)
PNC Standard Savings0.01300255
Wells Fargo Way2Save Savings0.01300255
Chase Savings0.0130005
TD Simples Savings0.0530005
Bank of America Rewards Savings Account0.0301008
Marcus by Goldman Sachs Online Savings1.9000
CIBC Bank USA Agility Savings2.050.0110000
Barclays Online Savings account1.9000
Discover Online Savings1.8000
HSBC Direct Savings2.05110
CitBank Savings Builder1.171001000

One of the most important criteria you should look at is APY, which stands for annual percentage yield. APY will give you the most accurate picture of how much money you can make by opening a savings account. It includes the interest on a deposit over one year.

The formula to calculate APY is : 

 APY= (1 + r/n )^n – 1.

In this formula, “r” is the annual interest rate and “n” is the number of compounding periods each year. Compounding periods can be daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly,  or just once a year. However, you don’t need to worry about the compounding periods or the interest rate independently. APY will tell you EXACTLY what you need to know! Banks that offer higher APY with no/low fees are usually a win. 

The difference between an APY of 0.01% and 2% is more than 100 %!  For example, an initial deposit of 2000 with an APY of .01% with daily compounding and no additional deposits over the span of 1 year will create an interest yield of 20 cents ! However, if you are to do the same but with a 2% APY this will produce 40 dollars and 4 cents! 

So there you have it, a cheat sheet for banks! I hope that with this information you can make an informed decision to store your hard earned cash. I made this list based off of reasons I deemed to be important for myself. Take some time to consider if changing your bank at this time is the right decision for you. If you are hesitant and would like to be loyal to your bank, consider opening a 2nd account with another institution and keep your existing account open. As always, please share your thoughts either on this blog, or our social media accounts.

Good luck friends 😉

Keep up with Trinh and all of her content!

Trinh Trinh Son


Trinh is a columnist for Love & Luxe Collegiate and produces the Money Talks Section of the site.

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