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Stocks Pull 401(k) Plans Down A Little

Falling stock prices caused the balances in our 401(k) retirement plans to drop slightly in the second quarter.

The average 401(k) balance fell from $91,800 at the end of March to $91,100 by the end of June, according to Fidelity Investments, a Boston-based mutual fund company.

Overall, the average 401(k) balance increased year-over-year, but only by $100, or 0.1%.

Market losses accounted for much of that decline as both the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average were down.

In addition, many older 401(k) account holders had stock allocations that were too high for their recommended age group, notes Fidelity. This group included Baby Boomers nearing retirement.

“One thing we learned from the last recession is that having too much stock, based on your target retirement age, in your retirement account can expose your savings to unnecessary risk – it’s the hidden danger that many workers are unaware of,” Jim MacDonald, the president of Workplace Investing for Fidelity, said in a press release.

“This is especially true among workers nearing retirement, who should be taking steps to protect what they’ve worked so hard to save,” he added. Click here to read more

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Highest CD Rates Roundup For July 30

Check out all of the top returns we’ve found at credit unions and community banks across the country. These local deals pay more than the best nationally available offers from the banks on our CD Rates Leaderboard.

Click here to read more

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Fed Sets Clock Ticking Toward September

In a widely expected move, the Federal Reserve’s policy-setting committee shied away from raising interest rates today.

If you’re counting at home, that makes 68 straight months — since December 2008 — that Fed policy has sought to keep interest rates at record lows.

But the government bank charged with managing the nation’s money supply appears to be approaching a turning point.

The committee’s July meeting may be the last one before the nation’s central bankers finally begin inching rates upward.

It doesn’t meet in August, but if the Fed holds to its long-term projections, the pressure to increase rates in September now looms large.

For personal savers, that means our certificates of deposit, savings and money market accounts will start to earn a little bit more interest.

It’s not going to be much, and the road ahead is still a long one.

However, it would be the first step toward returning to what used to be considered normal returns for such savings. Click here to read more

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Finance A New Car For Just 2.39%, With No Down Payment Or Application Fees

The nation’s seventh-largest credit union is offering some of the cheapest new-car loans we’ve seen this summer, and they’re available to borrowers nationwide.

Chicago-based Alliant Credit Union is charging as little as 2.39% APR for up to 60 months.

That’s two percentage points below the average cost for 5-year auto loans, according to our national survey of lenders.

If you borrow $20,000 at 2.39% APR for 60 months, your monthly payment would be $353.

That would save you about $14 a month over the average auto loan, or more than $800 over the full five years.

Alliant will also allow you to finance up to 100% of your vehicle purchase, and there is no application fee for auto loans. You can submit an application online and get your loan the same day. Click here to read more

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Michigan Deal On 48- And 60-Month CDs

Michiganders can earn 2.50% APY on 60-month CDs at Vibe Credit Union.

You can try searching Bankrate’s extensive database for its best CD rates, but we suspect you’ll have a hard time beating it.

Vibe tops the best nationally available return of 2.31% APY offered by the banks on our CD Rates Leaderboard.

That earns it a spot in our rankings of the best local deals from credit unions and community banks around the country.

Looking for a quicker maturity date? Vibe’s paying 2.00% APY on 48-month CDs, too.

While we don’t track that term nationally, that’s also among the highest rates from credit unions and community banks.

Membership is open to residents of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, and these certificates of deposit can be purchased online, over the phone or at one of Vibe’s eight branches in the Detroit area with a $500 minimum deposit.

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Milwaukee Deal: $200 Checking Bonus

Milwaukee-area savers can earn a $200 bonus by opening a new checking account at First Federal Bank.

The bonus is available on all four types of First Federal checking accounts and only requires customers to:

  • Create a recurring direct deposit of at least $250 a month.
  • Make 10 debit card purchases within the first 45 days.

Do that and the checking bonus will be paid after the account has been open for 60 days.

But you’ve got to hurry. The bonus expires Aug. 1.

To get started, just print an online flyer from the bank’s website and take it to one of First Federal’s three offices in suburban Waukesha or on Howell Street in Milwaukee.

Freedom Checking is the bank’s free account, with no monthly service fees and a $100 minimum deposit. Click here to read more

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E-Loan Wades Into 1- And 2-Year CD Fray

After shaking up its rates 10 days ago to offer the top nationally available 36- and 60-month CDs, E-Loan has done it again to lead two other terms.

Raising its 24-month yield to 1.52% APY, the online bank tops our CD Rates Leaderboard just one day after previous leader Silvergate Bank reduced its own 1.52% yield to 1.46% APY.

E-Loan also boosted its 1-year return to 1.25% APY, which puts it in a four-way tie with co-leaders CIT Bank, Sallie Mae Bank and Synchrony Bank.

Raising both of these to precisely the top rate as of two days ago – when E-Loan was already co-leading the 36- and 60-month terms – seems to indicate an aim to share top billing across multiple terms.

But then yesterday Silvergate pushed E-Loan and co-leader EverBank aside by increasing the top 36-month lead rate by a mere hundredth of a percentage point.

At the same time, Silvergate lowered its 24-month return to 1.46% APY, putting E-Loan’s new rate alone at the top. Click here to read more

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Silvergate Grabs Top Spot In 3-Year CDs

After consistently residing in the middle to bottom rungs of our CD rankings, it appears Silvergate Bank has developed a taste for the spotlight.

For the third time in five weeks, the San Diego bank with four branches in southern California has revamped its returns just enough to claim top billing on our CD Rates Leaderboard of top nationally available deals.

The latest move increases its 36-month yield to 1.66% APY, snatching the lead from E-Loan and EverBank by a razor-thin margin of a hundredth of a percentage point.

In a similar game of leading by the slightest possible increment, Silvergate lowered its 24-month return from 1.52% APY to 1.46% APY, just enough to stay ahead of Synchrony Bank and its 1.45% return.

Silvergate also continues to require a $25,000 minimum deposit for its certificates of deposit – the most we allow banks to impose and remain qualified for a spot on the Leaderboard. Click here to read more

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3-Year, 1.73% CD Rates In Upstate N.Y.

Upstate New Yorkers continue to enjoy competitive 36-month CD rates from Massena Savings & Loan.

We’ve been tracking the 3-year returns at this small thrift since 2011, and it’s currently paying 1.73% APY with a $1,000 minimum deposit.

Bags of money

You can try searching Bankrate’s extensive database for its best CD rates, but we suspect you’ll have a hard time beating it.

Massena tops the best nationally available yield from the banks on our CD Rates Leaderboard .

Unfortunately, you have to live in Massena or one of its surrounding communities to buy these certificates of deposit, and you must make that purchase at one of its two branches, on Main Street in Massena and Lincoln Avenue in Waddington.

Live somewhere else? Check out all of the top local and regional CD deals we track at community banks and credit unions.

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