The average interest on a bank savings account—0.30 percent—might make you pine for higher dividends, but what you earn on your emergency savings isn't half as important as knowing it's safe and sound. Here's how to reap the best return and preserve your peace of mind:

Stick with a Federally Insured Bank or Credit Union

In the rare event something dire happens, federal insurance will reimburse you (up to $250,000 per person, per bank). At the bank, look for the FDIC logo; at the credit union, make sure there's an NCUA insignia.

Consider a Money Market Deposit Account (MMDA)

You may be able to earn a little more interest than you would with traditional savings: The average yield on a $50,000 MMDA is currently 0.96 percent.

Look into Bank and Credit Union Certificates of Deposit

The yield on a CD depends on its duration and the amount you deposit; the longer the term, the higher your interest rate. You're able to get your money out of a CD at any point, but you may have to forfeit some of the interest you've earned.

Trade for Free

TDAmeritrade's program ( offers 30 free trades for one year.

More: Should you invest any of your emergency savings in the stock market?

Suze Orman's most recent book is her Action Plan: New Rules for New Times (Spiegel & Grau). Ask Suze your question

Note: After the October 2010 issue went to press, Ameritrade discontinued the $100 Save Yourself account offer. We regret any inconvenience or confusion this may have caused.

Please note: This is general information and is not intended to be legal advice. You should consult with your own financial advisor before making any major financial decisions, including investments or changes to your portfolio, and a qualified legal professional before executing any legal documents or taking any legal action. Harpo Productions, Inc., OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, Discovery Communications LLC and their affiliated companies and entities are not responsible for any losses, damages or claims that may result from your financial or legal decisions.


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