Now that I have paid off the credit card, I am making a serious move to increase my emergency fund in addition to increasing my retirement. I want to increase my cash savings. HSBC is only paying 1.65% and for such a small balance it is not a big deal. But I've been reading about the installment savings accounts that are so popular at Korean-American banks and it sounded like a good idea. I ran the numnbers all weekend and today I pulled the trigger. I was a little nervous because it's different. There is a lot of negativity about this type of account but if you need to save for a goal and if you want to develop the mindset to pay yourself first, I think it's great. If I already had 20K, I might have went with CD ladders instead. I chose the $20,000 option over 3 years at 5.5%. That means I'll contribute $509.20 a month for 36 months. I calculated that if I try to stay with HSBC and raise that amount I would need to contribute an additional $1226 dollars over the same period of time.
Here's a link to Woori Bank's One Heart Savings if you want to see what the payments are for various amounts:
At the same time, I have opened a high-yield checking at 5.25% to replace the HSBC account. I'm hoping to put up to the max of 25K in that account over the next three years and keeping my fingers crossed that interest rates don't go down so drastically. It's a pain in the butt because you have to do the 10 debit card transactions per month but as the balance grows, that will cut less into my interest earnings. Both types of accounts have their drawbacks and their rewards but I'll get to see which one serves my needs better.