If You Have $10K in Savings, It’s Time for These 15 Smart Money Moves

Use these smart money moves to supercharge your $10K savings.
Updated April 11, 2024
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If you’ve saved up any money, you know how hard it can be to keep it. And if you’ve managed to set aside $10,000, you’ve built the self-discipline to boost your bank account even more.

What you do with that money can make a huge difference in how you're able to grow your wealth or how financially prepared you are to meet the unexpected. 

So don’t just let your savings sit in your checking account forever. You can put it to work so your net worth grows even faster. Check out these 15 smart money moves to do once you’ve saved up $10,000.

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Take a mini-vacation

Sunny studio/Adobe family having fun on summer vacation

Most financial advice focuses on saving, investing, and growing your net worth. But it’s important to step back and celebrate the big milestones you hit with your finances.

While saving $10,000 and then spending $4,000 on a vacation is a bit ridiculous, putting together a nice stay-cation or mini-vacation for about $500 can be a great way to enjoy your hard work of putting five figures in the bank.

Open a high-yield savings account

fizkes/Adobe woman paying bills on laptop

If you’ve amassed $10,000, a high-yield savings account is one of the best places to keep it. These accounts are similar to regular savings accounts but pay 4.00% to 5.00% APY on your deposits. 

If you're saving toward a short-term goal or simply want to park your cash for emergencies, this is one of the best (risk-free) ways to do it.

Pay off high-interest debt

Donson/peopleimages.com/Adobe couple budget planning

While having a lot of money in savings might feel good, if you have high-interest debt, you're still losing money to monthly interest payments. 

If you have a credit card or other consumer debt that charges 10% (or more), it’s best to start paying those debts down.  You’ll earn more in the interest saved than you will investing or keeping your money in a savings account.

Resolve $10,000 or more of your debt

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Open an IRA

syahrir/Adobe traditional IRA and Roth IRA

If you have $10,000 saved but haven’t been investing much, it might be a good time to open an individual retirement account (IRA). 

This tax-advantaged retirement account lets you invest up to $6,500 per year. You can open a traditional IRA to save on taxes now or a Roth IRA to save on taxes later.

Increase your 401(k) contributions

Vitalii Vodolazskyi/Adobe 401K plan on white paper at table

If you have a large chunk of change in the bank, you might consider investing more. Compound interest takes time, and increasing how much you invest each year is a recipe for financial success. 

If you have a 401(k) at work, you can contact your HR department and increase how much you invest. If you have a company match, you might earn even more.

Open an HSA

Vitalii Vodolazskyi/Adobe health savings account (HSA)

If you have a high-deductible health plan (HDHP), you may be able to open a health savings account (HSA). 

HSAs allow you to set aside $3,850 tax-free per year (or $7,750 for your entire family), and you can withdraw the funds tax-free for medical expenses.

Most HSAs let you invest the funds, allowing you to grow your wealth inside the account. If you still have money left by age 65, you can withdraw the funds for anything (without penalty) and just pay regular income tax, similar to a traditional IRA.

Set some aside for a rainy day

cristovao31/Adobe man holding a red umbrella

You need money set aside in case of emergencies. Car trouble, medical emergencies, or roof repairs can cost thousands of dollars.

If you’ve saved up $10,000, you should earmark some of those funds for emergencies and even transfer them to a separate “Emergency Fund” account. 

This will help you avoid accessing the funds to spend on non-emergencies and keeps you on budget, even if a financial emergency arises.

Save toward your goals

djile/Adobe couple holding car keys

Putting aside money for different financial goals helps you avoid the painful shock of paying for an expense you could have anticipated. 

You should save for things like car maintenance, gifts, vacations, and other goals ahead of time. You should get started now if you haven’t funded a few savings accounts for these financial goals.

Invest in ETFs

Natee Meepian/Adobe businesspeople discuss investment project

If you want to invest some of your hard-earned savings, you might want to consider investing in ETFs. Exchange-traded funds allow you to invest in a single fund with several investments inside it.

Some of the most popular ETFs own hundreds of stocks inside them, allowing you to invest in the market by holding a piece of many publicly traded companies. 

You can also own ETFs with bonds, commodities, or sector-specific stocks. It’s a smart way to diversify your holdings with just a few funds.

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Pick a few stocks

only_kim/Adobe discussing plan and idea

If you want to learn the ropes of investing and have some money set aside, choosing a few stocks that you believe hold value can be a great learning experience.

Picking companies with solid financials and future growth potential can grow in value faster than the market. But there's also a risk of them dropping in value. 

Only use a small amount of funds for individual stock picking to help avoid the risk of losing all your money.

Pad your checking account

Aurora/Adobe woman creates accounting reports

While putting your money into a savings account is always a good idea, it’s important to keep a “buffer” in your checking account.

Keeping at least $500 extra in your account at all times can help you avoid overdrawing your account for unexpected expenses, saving you the headache (and cost) of overdraft fees as well. 

Just don’t leave too much in there, or you might be tempted to spend it.

Open a robo-advisor account

SOMKID/Adobe working on digital laptop

If you’re unsure of how to invest for the future, opening a robo-advisor account can help guide you through this process and invest your money for you.

Robo-advisors are algorithmically driven investing platforms that help you build an investing portfolio for a small fee and create a diversified investing plan for your future goals. 

Robo-advisors like Wealthfront and Betterment offer a low annual fee and a wide range of investment options.

Invest for your kids

Tamani C/peopleimages.com/Adobe gay dads and kids together

If you have kids, you might consider setting up their financial future by investing for them. Whether it’s a 529 college savings account or a custodial account, you can invest money now that they can access later. 

Even putting aside a small amount of money now can grow into tens of thousands of dollars once they become adults.

Invest in real estate

F-Stop Boy/Adobe People looking at real estate listing

If you’re looking to invest in real estate, $10,000 might not be enough. But you can still invest in real estate with a much smaller sum of money.

Real estate investment trusts (REITs) let you invest in real estate with less money (as low as $100). They offer funds that might own commercial or residential real estate, allowing you to collect dividends from rents. 

REITs can be a smart way to gain exposure to the real estate market without the headaches of being a landlord.

Do nothing

aapsky/Adobe man sleeps with dollar banknotes

If you saved $10,000, there’s no shame in doing nothing. It takes hard work to save that amount of money, so don’t feel pressure to decide on what to do with it right now. 

While you can put the money to work through investing or a high-yield savings account, it’s reasonable to let it sit for a while.

Bottom line

A. Frank/peopleimages.com/Adobe couple on a couch with tablet

Saving $10,000 is a great financial head start, and putting that money to work can help you grow your wealth even faster. There are numerous ways that you can deploy that money to help yourself in the future. 

Whether you invest, save, or pay off debt, you can continue growing your net worth with a few strategic financial moves.

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