This Day On The Street
Continue to site
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

Curing The Financial FLU

It's going around. It has multiple symptoms, can linger for a long time and put a real strain on your resources.

No, it's not the flu -- at least, it's not traditional influenza. An even more widespread and long-lasting problem is the financial FLU.

Epidemic proportions

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that by the end of 2012, most states in the U.S. were experiencing high levels of influenza or flu-like symptoms. This is a seasonal hazard, of course, and based on the CDC's past data, the flu outbreak is peaking at about the same time this season as it does most years.

Unlike influenza, the financial FLU it is not just a seasonal problem -- it won't go away once the weather warms up.

What is the financial FLU? It is an acronym for a combination of symptoms that can stunt the growth of household savings, drain precious financial resources and cause permanent damage to retirement plans. Here are the components of the financial FLU:
  • F is for Fees on checking accounts
  • L is for Low savings account interest rates
  • U is for Underutilized retirement plans

Do you have one or more of these symptoms? Then read on to learn more about the condition, and what you can do about it.

Fees on checking accounts

Research by has found that free checking is on the decline, and the size of checking account fees is rising. The average monthly maintenance fee would now come to a total of nearly $145 a year. That's quite a chunk out of the typical checking account balance, but since just over a third of checking accounts are still free of those monthly fees, this can be avoided.

Here are some tips for encountering fewer fees:
  1. Search for free checking accounts. If you are a student or senior citizen, ask about special free checking programs for those groups, because several banks offer them. If not, consider an online bank, as these are more likely to offer free checking accounts than traditional banks.
  2. Avoid overdraft fees. Opt out of overdraft protection, and practice responsible record-keeping practices so you don't spend more than is in your account.
  3. Minimize ATM fees. Choose a bank that makes free ATM service available in areas where you travel most frequently.

Low savings account interest rates

According to the FDIC, the average rate on savings accounts is now down to 0.07 percent. And yet, there are some banks offering closer to 1 percent.

1 of 2

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Real Money

More than 30 investing pros with skin in the game give you actionable insight and investment ideas.

Product Features:
  • Access to Jim Cramer's daily blog
  • Intraday commentary and news
  • Real-time trading forums
Only $49.95
14-Days Free
14-Days Free
AAPL $92.96 -0.70%
FB $117.82 -0.20%
GOOG $700.43 0.68%
TSLA $212.49 -4.50%
YHOO $36.96 2.70%


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 17,641.98 -9.28 -0.05%
S&P 500 2,049.49 -1.63 -0.08%
NASDAQ 4,721.0070 -4.6320 -0.10%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs