How Many Accounts With Banks Should I Have? Hint: More Than One

how many bank accounts should i have

The average person has three credit cards to their name. When you combine that with the number of debit cards they carry, money they have stored offshore, investment accounts, and more, we're talking a lot of places people park and borrow money from. 

That brings us to this post's core question, "How many bank accounts should I have?" 

Clearly, the answer for the average person is more than one... 

Should you have a bunch of active accounts though? What's the right number for your unique needs? 

In this post, our team breaks down common accounts people open with banks so you can better identify which accounts make sense for you. Keep reading to answer your biggest banking questions! 

Checking Accounts 

There's no better way to start our exploration of our big "how many bank accounts should I have" question than by examining the foundational checking account. 

Checking accounts are the first account most people open at a big bank like Chase or a smaller credit union like Peoples Bank which you can visit their homepage for more information about them. These are accounts that hold your money, are FDIC insured, and that you can withdraw from at leisure. Checking accounts typically do not bear interest. 

We've seen people have three checking accounts or more. Usually, their primary one is for themselves, their secondary one lets them easily send money to family, and a third account might be based overseas for international spending and/or tax purposes. 

Savings 

Every checking account deserves a better half. That better half, according to many financial planners, is the savings account. 

Savings accounts are accounts that usually accompany checking accounts and are used to store money for short-term savings goals. They bear interest which means you get free money for parking your cash in them. 

People can have 5, 10, or even more savings accounts, all with the same bank, for the reason of having an individual account for each of their savings targets. These are sometimes called "sub-savings accounts". 

Credit 

Most of you may be familiar with credit cards. Some of you may not know though that when you open a credit card, you essentially open a bank account. 

As we mentioned, the average person has three credit card accounts. Whether or not you should follow suit depends. 

For example, if you pay your credit cards on time and never carry a balance, it might be in your favor to open multiple accounts to cash in on sign-up bonuses. These bonuses can sometimes be worth over $1,000. 

Having multiple credit cards might also be a necessity if you need a means to pay bills and are worried your spending limits aren't high enough on any one card. 

Business 

If you run a business, you must keep your personal financials and your business financials separate. Why? 

For starters, separating your business money from your personal cash makes tracking income and expenses a lot easier when tax time rolls around. In addition, if anyone were to sue your company, assuming you had LLC protection, keeping your financials separate would disable them from claiming your personal assets. 

As far as how many business accounts one should carry, that's something to figure out with your accountant. We will say that several banks offer free business accounts. Many of those free banks operate online so look into local branches and digital ones to find an institution that works for you. 

Investments 

Anyone that's planning on retiring is going to want to have accounts with a bank that offers investment opportunities. As a matter of fact, most diversified investors have multiple investment accounts with several providers. 

Typical types of investment accounts include: 

IRA / Roth IRA 

Having an IRA/Roth IRA with an investment bank allows you to put tax-advantaged money into stocks/bonds with the hope of accruing enough interest to safely retire at some point. People of any age can open an IRA/Roth IRA so long as the money they put into it is "earned money", meaning money that was not gifted but acquired through some means of labor. 

Note that Roth IRA accounts are not tax-deferred. 

401K 

A 401K is another account you can open with a bank through your employer. These accounts function exactly like IRAs but carry additional legal protections. 

Not every employer offers a 401K. If yours doesn't, make a request to your HR contact that your company look into starting one up. 

CD 

A CD is an enhanced savings account that you can open with just about any bank or credit union. This savings account pays more interest than a typical savings but carries a key catch - You can't touch your money for a specified period of time. 

If you do have to withdraw your CD money early, you can (sometimes fee-free), but will forfeit interest benefits. 

How Many Bank Accounts Should I Have - Answered 

It seems like a month doesn't go by where we don't hear somebody ask, "How many bank accounts should I have?" 

As we hope you realize by this point, the answer is likely much more than one. As far as an exact amount is concerned, that'll be based on your financial needs/goals. In our opinion, we think most adults should at least carry 1 checking account, a savings, a retirement account, and a line of credit, for a total of 4. 

If you still feel like you're in the dark regarding your banking and money questions, our website is here to help. Check out the Frugal Finance section of the Bootstrap Business Blog to learn more about banking solutions and savings tips. Bank better!

Bootstrap Business Blog Newest Posts From Mike Schiemer, Partners, & Blog Outreach Services